The Victoria & Albert Museum or just “V&A Museum” in South Kensington is one of the world’s leading museums of art & design. While there is no lack of museum objects and impressive pieces of art, how interesting is it for families to visit?
Choosing Among the South Kensington Museums
South Kensington is spoilt for choice when it comes to big national, museums and many kids will have the Natural History Museum (dinosaurs!) and the Science Museum (machines!) as their first choices. But don’t disregard the V&A even if it doesn’t have that many interactive galleries targeted towards kids. In fact, many local London families have the V&A as one of their favourites, which has a lot to do with all the creative activities they organize. If you’re planning to visit the V&A with kids, we highly recommend to check out their scheduled workshops and events for families and book in advance if required.
Visiting the V&A Museum with kids – 4 recommendations
- Plan in advance: Check the V&A webpage, and plan for a family activity, event or workshop that you want to join.
- Talk to the staff: The layout of the building is quite complex, so talk to the friendly staff to find your bearings and get ideas for family activities.
- Relax in the Garden: After your activity has finished, take a break and head for the John Madejski Garden to have lunch or just relax.
- Do the V&A family trail: Grab a free brochure and see how many museum objects you can find.
Head for the Sackler Educational Centre
The first time we visited the V&A Museum we didn’t really have a plan and probably looked quite lost. Luckily it didn’t take long for a friendly staff member to approach us and shepherd us in the right direction. And the right direction was the Education Centre in the Sackler part of the building, where a range of activities was organised for children as well as for adults.
Get Creative at the Victoria & Albert Museum
The draw for families visiting the V&A is much more about creative activities rather than passively watching the objects in the museum. We joined the Sunday pop-in Design session that had just started, and soon thereafter we were fully engaged in designing a new twist to a historical outfit! The brief was to design a green costume matching historical patterns that were superimposed digitally as a filter by using one of their iPads! In the end, it was an enjoyable activity for the whole family with everyone proud of their creations.
With activities in mind, it makes sense to check the V&A’s family page to see what kind of events and activities are being organised and when they are taking place. Some of the exhibitions are probably more interesting for older children, although there are some interactive elements that can be fun for younger children as well.
5 fun museum objects for kids at the V&A Museum
- Trajan’s Column – The biggest and one of the most impressive museum object in the V&A, this is a kids favourite. See how many different animals you can spot on the many scenes displayed in the column.
- Samurai Armour – Kids of all ages get fascinated by Japanese Samurai warriors, and this is a proper scary piece of armour.
- Tippoo’s Tiger’ – A terrifying Indian tiger with a musical organ hidden inside.
- Michelangelo’s Statue of David – This replica of the famous giant statue from Florence is truly impressive!
- The Fashion section – See how fashion and clothing have evolved through the centuries in different cultures around the world.
Enjoy a good lunch in V&A’s garden
If weather permits, we always try to have lunch outside in the big central Garden. There is a fountain in the middle which is very tempting for toddlers to splash around in, especially on hot summer days… Note that they don’t allow this, although they will tolerate you dipping your toes in 🙂 As with most London museums, you will pay a premium for average sandwiches and wraps, but the quality is very decent.
Is the V&A Museum family-friendly?
Yes, especially if you join one of the free family-focused workshops. There are also plenty of exciting museum objects for kids to get engaged in.
Is the V&A Musem good for toddlers?
It’s probably not the most toddler friendly museum in London in terms of interactive play areas. On the other hand, you’ll find nice lunch and picnic areas as well as convenient baby change facilities, so you’ll most likely have a good time.
Is the Victoria and Albert Museum free?
Yes, the main part of V&A Museum is free with some paid for exhibitions.
What’s the nearest train station to V&A Museum?
Go to Victoria Station and take the District and Circle Line with no need for changes directly to South Kensington tube station.
What else is there to see near the V&A Museum?
Can I take a buggy to the V&A Museum?
Yes, you can take a buggy through the galleries, or leave it at the designated buggy-park.
How can I support the museum?
You can become a member, make a donation or purchase something from the museum store.
Are there baby changing facilities in the museum?
Yes, baby changing facilities are in most toilets.
How much time should I plan for visiting the V&A museum?
It all depends. The museum has a vast collection so you can spend several days or less than an hour if you’re just interested in a single object. With young kids in tow, we try to keep the visit to maximum 3 hours including a break for lunch/snacks.
Will kids have fun at the V&A museum?
If you’re kids are into creative play and like dressing up, this is a great museum this is definitely a great choice. If they are more into machines and dinosaurs, consider the Natural History Museum of Science Museum instad.
Is it stressful for parents to bring kids to the museum?
Not necessarily, but the V&A museum might require a bit more efforts from parents than other musuems with more play areas. There are not that many places for kids to explore on their own, like in the National Maritime Museum or London Transport Museum.