On a very cold windy day in February half term, Mr M was off work and we wanted to head out somewhere but when you’re trying not to spend a fortune too, options in Winter can be tricky.
So we decided to head out to the Maritime Museum in Greenwich. It’s somewhere I’ve wanted to take the kids for a while because it’s free and you can easily spend a good few hours there and then we thought we could pop to Greenwich afterwards. Always a favourite place for us to go!
Well, it turns out that a visit to the Maritime Museum is fun on a variety of levels, so whether you have small ones who want to get out of buggies and clamber on stuff, or curious school agers who want to learn something, there’s enough depth of both entertainment and information to facilitate both!
There are lots of Drop In or Book-In-Advance craft activities that happen during the school holidays at the Maritime Museum so check out their website for that but, that aside there’s tons to do! All of the exhibitions offer interactive displays for children, kids’ books, hands on activities and activity sheets. Our favourite was the exhibition about the ‘Trade Exhibition’ where we learnt about the different textiles and products Britain traded. Their were lots of opportunities to watch videos about trading spices and to touch the materials we traded. We did attempt the Slave Trade exhibition which we felt it was important for them to learn about but this wasn’t as interactive and didn’t hold their attention.
Just before we had some lunch, we stumbled upon a Giant Map Atlas – this is hard to explain but at the centre of the museum there is a massive atlas so children and adults can walk across the map’s surface, and use a tablet with a touch-screen to learn more about pirates, the Scott’s Antarctic expedition and different trade routes. Needless to say this kept our 4 entertained for an hour! What I loved about this was how super helpful the staff were – Finlay (aged 7) found the Ipad a little tricky to use but the very helpful assistants showed us how and then he was away! He completed the whole route and was very proud of himself – we had to encourage him away with the promise of a lunch box from the Cafe! The lunch boxes were perfect for our kids – because they included jelly and grapes! But you can get a choice of different items to have which is always a winner!
Next, we headed to the AHOY Gallery! Oh my! This is actually a treasure trove for kids, a proper full on brilliant museum experience! The area is completely interactive – kids can pretty much climb or grab everything in there, there’s plenty for kids of all ages to explore. Our kiddos aged 1-9 adored it all in equal measure!
The different areas within the ‘AHOY’ gallery are set up for kids of different ages. So the babies and toddlers can enjoy rock pools, buying ice-creams at the beach hut, playing in the rowing boats and watching water bubbles. As the gallery continues, the games get more advanced. Our older two enjoyed getting involved with stoking a boat’s engine with coal, weighing and selling fish at a market, and experiencing the inside of a ship’s passenger quarters. This area did get a little busy and as we left people were queuing so I’d probably head here first and check out the other exhibitions later.
Once we’d been impressed by all that the museum had to offer – we popped to a chilly Greenwich and indulged in a Churro from the market to warm us up! Blissful! Then we spent an hour or so window shopping the market and a gorgeous fabric shop called Miss Gingers. Oh how I wish I could sew clothes – they had the most amazing array of fabrics there! Everything from Star Wars fabric to unicorns – she sells online too and so if you’re ever in need of any fabric – check it out!
A lovely day was had by all and so The Maritime Museum hits the spot for number 6 in our ‘Top Ten Things to do in South East London.’ It possibly could rank higher for some really lovely interactive exhibitions but there are also some not quite family friendly so we popped it in at number six. It’s definitely a great museum to try out with young kids though!