When it comes to planning family-friendly days out in London, there are plenty of great options to consider – but one destination that sometimes goes overlooked by parents is the Victoria & Albert Museum. As the world’s largest museum dedicated to decorative arts and design, it’s easy to see why parents might not think their youngsters would get excited over this museum. But, the V&A is definitely not your standard art museum – and there’s plenty for kids to love.
So, what can you do to ensure a trip to the V&A goes smoothly? Here are a few tips to help families get the most of their visit:
1. Choose the right entrance
How you approach anything can have an impact on how your overall experience goes, and that’s certainly true for the V&A. While the front entrance is beautiful – there’s the lovely architecture and an amazing Chihuly glass chandelier that should not be missed – parents should probably aim for the side entrance.
There are a few reasons the side entrance is the best choice. For one thing, it’s usually quieter than the main entrance. It’s also linked to an underground walkway that connects the museum to South Kensington tube station. That means you can come off a train, make your way through the station and walk straight to the V&A without ever having to cross a road – and you’ll be sheltered from the weather too.
There’s also a cloakroom situated next to the side entrance – so you can immediately check bulky coats and backpacks and even park things like pushchairs and scooters, before entering the main part of the museum.
Once you’re settled in, you can make your way through the exhibits, unencumbered and free to enjoy the many different items on display. Just be sure to take a look at that spectacular front entrance too.
2. Head to an information desk
There’s always a lot going on at the museum – there’s all the permanent displays to see, plus plenty of events and special exhibits. So be sure to talk to a staff member, or pick up a leaflet, to find out what is currently available for the kids. If you’re planning your trip in advance, be sure to check out the latest list of family events on the V&A’s website.
3. Take a good look at the museum map before you set off
The museum is massive, and there’s so much to see and do, you probably won’t get it all done in a day. So, be sure to refer to the map to see if there’s anything you really want to see and to plan your route through the museum. As you look over the map, be sure to also keep an eye out for where the various facilities are – for example, where the quietest toilets might be, where the baby changing stations are and the location of the lifts.
4. Look out for interactive displays
The people at the V&A don’t believe that art should be something to be revered in silence, and visitors are encouraged to discuss and enjoy the items on display. To go along with this, the museum has a number of interactive displays, which are perfect for getting kids thinking about the exhibits in different ways.
There are even some areas where children can play dress up with unusual or historic clothing, hats and accessories. Not only is this bit good for a laugh, but it’s perfect for a few funny family photos to help you remember your visit.
5. Have fun!
The V&A isn’t your typical stuffy art museum. It’s not just a bunch of old paintings hanging on walls. Since its focus is design, the items are displayed in a way that illustrates artistic themes throughout history. Items are juxtaposed in unusual ways, and kids will love looking at the eclectic mixture of furniture, clothing, sculpture, toys, artifacts and art.
6. Find family-friendly accommodation nearby
If you’re visiting London, one key part of enjoying your stay in the capital is to find comfortable, high-quality accommodation that is welcoming to families. If you’re looking for a hotel, then be sure to check out the Park Grand Kensington Hotel in London.
With stylish decor and plenty of homely amenities, this hotel is an ideal choice for those travelling with youngsters. The hotel restaurant offers a delicious range of food throughout the day, and our friendly team is always on hand to provide advice and assistance.
What’s more, the Park Grand London Kensington is only a mile from the V&A Museum. On a clear day, it’s a lovely walk, or you can hop on the underground and be at the museum in less than ten minutes. The hotel is just two minutes from Earl’s Court station, and South Kensington station is only two stops away.