The Victoria & Albert Museum or “V&A” in London’s South Kensington is one of the world’s leading museums of art & design. There is no lack of historical objects and impressive pieces of art, but how interesting is all of this for children?
Spoilt for choice
Kensington is spoilt for choice when it comes to big national, museums. Actually, a lot of families will automatically prioritise the Natural History Museum (dinosaurs!) or the Science Museum (machines!). However, the V&A should definitely not be disregarded when it comes to the most child-friendly museums in London. Many local London families have this as one of their absolute favourites, and it has a lot to do with the activities they organize.
Make a plan
The first time we visited the V&A we didn’t really have a plan. We probably looked quite lost, because it didn’t take long for a friendly staff member to approach us and shepard us in the right direction. And the right direction was to go to 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
What we didn’t realize at first is that the draw for families at 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 emerged 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 a really fun activity for our daughter, and we as parents felt both innovative and creative!
With the 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.
Enjoy a good lunch in V&A’s garden
If weather permits, we 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 while sitting. As with most London museums, you will pay a premium for average sandwiches and wraps, but the quality is very decent – comparable to what you would find in Pret or Eat.
Summarising, we have four pieces of advice:
- Check the V&A webpage, and plan for an activity, event or workshop that you want to join.
- Upon arriving, grab a map and head straight to that activity avoiding distractions.
- Have a nice lunch and relax. Enjoy the Garden in summer.
- Check out some of the interactive exhibitions. They are marked with a hand pointing a finger on the map.
Getting to the Victoria & Albert Museum
Address: Cromwell Rd, Knightsbridge, London SW7 2RL