A couple of weeks ago we took a little trip to the Museum of London Docklands. This museum is operated by the same charity that runs the Museum of London that we visited earlier in the year so we were keen to try this one out. Every school holiday, I’m always thankful that we live in London – there are so many lovely free things to do with kids and there are so many brilliant museums that are completely child centered. Our kids also love the journey as much as wherever we’re going – trains and buses are a lot of fun! We’re trying to visit one every holiday if we can. However, the weather had other ideas and the day we visited, the rain was torrential. Still, we battled on with raincoats on and our spirit of adventure remained intact even if we did arrive at the museum rather soggy!
The Museum of London Docklands in the heart of Canary Wharf and is very buggy friendly – which is a must for us obviously with a just turned two year old. Everything is accessible by lift and the different floors demarcate the different periods of History. The No 1 Warehouse is one of the floors and focuses on the West Indian Docks as one of the oldest in London. In this historic building, the story of the docks success is described. My kids loved the ‘Hamster Wheel’ which was a excellent way of explaining how wheels are used to make carrying weight easier.
Our kids favourite section of the museum was the Sailortown, where you can pretend you’ve gone back in time! They also loved the interactive exhibitions where you can help to build a Victorian underground and dress up through the ages.
They also have a lovely interactive play area for under 5s in the Mudlarks Gallery area which is also free but needs to be booked in advance. Mudlarks gallery is open 10am-5.30pm on school holidays, or 2pm-5.30pm during term time. There were also lots of things in here that my 7 and 9 year old enjoyed such as stacking the parcels and understanding how a pulley works by experimenting with weights.
Archie and Orla loved the water play area (Archie practically got in it – shoes and everything!) and also the soft play area. Next time we go – we’ll take a change of clothes! The only disappointing about this was there were timed slots and the kids really didn’t want to leave! Archie had to be prised away from the builder’s hats and wheelbarrows with stacking bricks!
We stopped off for some delicious lunch at ‘Rum and Sugar’ – a family friendly bar which is next door and has a stunning location in one of the old warehouses that used to store – yes, you guessed it – Rum and Sugar! I had my first experience of a jerk chicken burger in a black bun – apparently it has charcoal in it – it looked and tasted amazing! The kid’s menus were great with large portions and the best thing is that kids eat free is available for each child accompanied by an adult ordering a main course. There is also a cafe on the ground floor of the museum which sells sandwiches and the usual fare.
After our lunch, we headed to the new Roman Dead is on at Museum of London Docklands , it’s free and is on until the 28th October 2018. The exhibition is aimed for children 8 and over and so we didn’t visit every part of it – there are some scenes of baby’s bones but it is a fascinating look at how the Romans died and my 7 and 9 year old were not overly worried by it. We particularly enjoyed learning about Roman burial rites and rituals. There are several skeletons on display along with hidden treasures found with the dead, including a jet pendant of Medusa – we were impressed with this! We went to an interactive and sensory show called ‘Styx, Stones and Roman Bones’ which is aimed at families with children aged seven and above and follows a lady called Grata and relives her burial and journey to her underworld. Unfortunately for us – we could only stay for a short time as our younger two weren’t enjoying it as much. Elodie (aged 9) was really disappointed though so I’ve promised to take her back one day!
I was really interested by the exhibition on building Canary Wharf, I can remember this happening when I was younger and it was interesting to see how there were originally many protests against this as they were worried the East End of London community would be destroyed. Where they right? I wonder what they’d make of it today?
There’s even an empty room at the end, for the Docklands history that hasn’t yet been written!
Like many in the city, the Museum of London Docklands is free, although a donation is recommended. They do offer picnic areas inside and out if you bring your own lunch. It’s a great London museum to visit – there’s a great time to be had here, we had a lot of fun – I can’t recommend it enough!
You can see the other Museums in London we’ve visited here………
*We were given a free lunch at Rum and Sugar in return for a review. All words, photos and opinions are my own.*