Guide to Visiting the British Museum with Kids

British Museum

So you’ve booked your special offers at London hotels and read the city guides. They all tell you that you cannot possibly visit London hotels near Hyde Park without making a trip to the British Museum. But you’ve got kids with you and you’re not sure they’ll make it through a whole museum without getting bored or rowdy. Well, here’s a guide to touring the British Museum in a way that will keep your kids interested.

Time your visit

Ring up your Park Grand London Lancaster Gate concierge and set an early wake-up call, because the best time to visit with kids is in the morning. The museum opens at 10am – try get there as close to that time as possible. Once you hit midday, the crowds will start to build up and it can be an overwhelming experience for both you as a parent, and your child.

Tailor your tour

As an adult, you might simply want to meander around the museum, taking in all the different exhibitions and learning about whatever it is you stumble upon next. But children need a bit more focus for that, and who better to tailor their tour than their parents? You know what your child likes most, so pick exhibitions that suit that. Do they like anime? Take them to the Manga Exhibition. Are they more into their Greek myths? They’ll really enjoy the Troy: myth and reality exhibition. Or if they’re perhaps partial to a good old Western film, then they’ll be thrilled by the Yinka Shonibare: Cowboy Angels exhibition.

Take them to events

Yes, a tailored tour is usually a good option when it comes to kids as it gives you more control and allows you to gauge when it might be time for them to have some food or head home. However, the British Museum hosts events especially for children which can be a great way for your kids to learn and meet other kids, as well as taking a bit of pressure off of you as a tour guide.

The Samsung Center is designed to teach children about world history and culture through the use of their bespoke learning equipment. Using Samsung’s display technology, children are able to watch history come to life with interactive displays as well as exciting workshops where they can colour in some of history’s most famous arteffacts, or even photoshop themselves in a photobooth alongside the pharaohs in Ancient Greece. The following free events are taking place over the next month:

A Gift For Athena (7+)

4, 10, 18, 24 August & 1, 8, 14 September 2019
11am – 4pm
Room 18

This digital workshop involves kids getting a Samsung tablet to play an augmented reality game about the sculptures from the Parthenon Gallery.

Colour The Collection (7+)

11 August 2019
11am – 4pm
Great Court

Colouring-in has never been so educational! Kids have the opportunity to learn about the sculptures and objects found all around the museum by colouring them whatever colours they deem appropriate – who said the Bust of James I can’t be purple?

Egyptian Photo Booth (7+)

17 August 2019
11am – 4pm
Great Court

Everyone’s used a photo booth before, but has your child had the opportunity to be a great Egyptian pharaoh before? Samsung’s booths make that possible, and children are able to impose their faces into the worlds of the Ancient Greeks, while learning about the scenes they’re recreating.

Fun Family Photos (5+)

25 August 2019
11am – 4pm
Great Court

Children from five upwards can use the exhibition’s devices to make a family photo quite unlike the ones you likely have on your mantelpiece back home. The kids can use photo editing tools to put their family into contact with some of the museum’s most historically and culturally significant artefacts.

Little feet: animal explorers (under 5)

31 August 2019
11am – 4pm
Room 15

This is one for the younger kids (plus their parent or carer) – who says the extra-youngsters can’t enjoy their British Museum experience too? Children, with their supervisor’s help, will navigate through their devices to discover the world of Ancient Greece and its expansive galleries.

Samsung Great Court games (5+)

7 September & 5 October 2019
11am – 4pm
Great Court

If all the events above sounded exciting, then this is the event for you as it encompasses all the games on various devices in the Great Court. It’s a family-friendly day of exploration, learning and fun with specially designed trails that end in a fun-filled Saturday.

Green Screen Greeks (5+)

15 September 2019
11am – 4pm
Great Court

Nothing facilitates learning better than a bit of friendly competition. The whole family can get involved with this interactive experience as a Greek athlete, using green screen technology to make your family’s involvement with a Panathenaic pot a reality.

Build Roman Britain In Minecraft (7+)

21 September 2019
11am – 4pm
Samsung Center

Do you spend hours trying to stop your kids playing Minecraft? Well, the hassle is over, because you’ll want them to play it in this interactive display of Roman Britain, from Hadrian’s wall to Claudius’ invasion – it’s a learning experience that really appeals to your kids’ idea of a good time. This will probably be a very popular event, as it draws in slightly older kids as well, so make sure you get there early to nab your place for this first-come-first-served event.

Put things into context

Though these events run throughout the day, you’re not required to stay for the entire duration, just as long as your kids are still enjoying themselves and learning new things. Once your child has their print-out of their family with some of the museum’s artefacts or a picture of them with the Ancient Greeks, it might be fun for them to see those exhibits in action. It’s one thing for them to be able to interact with the objects on the screen, and another layer of interest and learning for them to then see them in real life. Creating this counterbalance is a great way for them to really make the most of all the things the British Museum has to offer.