Start your journey into London’s incredible museums in South Kensington, where you’ll find three of the most famous: the National History Museum, the Science Museum and the Victoria and Albert Museum or V&A. You’ll discover that despite their size and prestige, they’re great value: entry is free to all.
With more than 70 million specimens, ranging from micro-organisms to dinosaurs, the Natural History Museum collection is the largest of its kind in the world. One of the first things you’ll encounter is a life-sized model of a Blue Whale – an incredible spectacle and a great beginning to a day full of exploration. The museum is divided into four zones: in the red zone, there is an earthquake simulator that guarantees excitement. The green zone houses rare treasures such as a dodo skeleton and an emperor penguin egg from Antarctica. Hundreds of flowers, butterflies, birds and beetles fill the Wildlife Garden in the orange zone. But wait till you enter the blue zone - the Jurassic Park here is a mega-popular maze of animated dinosaurs. Children are left open-mouthed when they see a moving T-Rex, one of the largest predators in history.
Next door at the Science Museum, those who want to fly can get on a flight simulator and ride with their imagination. One of the most precious attractions of the museum is the gallery of fighter aircraft and the Apollo 10 space capsule, which orbited the moon. The Science Museum is an invitation to interact and play, especially its Wellcome Wing and The Garden, an interactive room for children between 3 and 6 years old, where they can play with water, light, and sound.
It is easy to lose track of time at The Victoria and Albert Museum. Fondly known as the V&A, the museum has 145 galleries spread over six floors, with more than 4.5 million objects showcasing more than 5,000 years of human creativity. From gilded Buddha statues to 1930s evening wear and exotic Persian carpets, the collection ranges from enormous to eclectic to eccentric. Look out for the world's first Christmas card, London's oldest photograph and the original manuscript of Charles Dicken's Oliver Twist. Tip: Take a mid-tour break at the museum's lovely courtyard, where you can relax with a coffee or snack.
Sailors or pilots?
Following the route towards the London Transport Museum, would you prefer to fly or to drive a red double-decker bus? Children and adults can drive a London bus simulator or play with the lost property items found every day in the world's oldest subway, the Tube.
But if you are keen to touch the displays at the museums, your best option would be the Horniman Museum, located in the exceptional Forrest Hill. This anthropological museum, with 16 acres of gardens, has around two thousand musical instruments from all around the world, many of which can be played, while enjoying the London skyline.
From there, visit the HMS Belfast, a World War II ship, docked in the middle of the River Thames. It’s a gigantic open museum, where the dream of becoming sailors feels real, as you move among the metal corridors. The last stop is Pollock's Toy Museum, which is home for real rarities like Eric, the oldest Teddy bear, or Mickey Mouse’s great great-grandfather, a four thousand-year-old Egyptian mouse.
As you can see, the past is full of magic, and you can experience it all at London's museums.