Geffrye Museum – Review for families

Visit a rare gem in London's hipster capital Shoreditch

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What is it?

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A museum about the living rooms and gardens of the English middle classes, showing how homes have been decorated and furnished for the past 400 years. Find it on Kingsland Road in Shoreditch, right in front of Hoxton overground station.

Best for:

5 – 8 / 9 – 12 / 12+

OK for:

Babies

Cost:

Free. There’s no need to book in advance, either. Some temporary special exhibitions might hold a charge.

What’s on offer

You’ll be initially struck by the gorgeous exterior of this period house and immediately welcomed into the main displays on the ground floor. The Geffrye Museum is home to eleven period rooms, decorated and styled accordingly to whichever time they come from, whether that’s the 1690’s or 1960’s. Through this, the museum touches upon differences in society, style and attitudes over time.

You can wander through the Restored Almshouse, which was built in the early 1700’s and rescued from 1900’s Hoxton by an arts council willing to restore it to it’s former glory. It is now designed to show how poor pensioners lived in the 1800’s and 1900’s. You can also take a stroll through the gardens, becoming enchanted by them in the process.

Object, image and text collections all related to the home. Temporary exhibits including Design exhibits and Museum history exhibits.

The Geffrye Museum offers clipboards and activity sheets for young children, their website has a kids zone and also details special children’s and family events on weekends and school holidays. Check out the official site to see what’s on during your visit.

In terms of facilities, the museum offers an accessibly toilet and baby-changing facilities, in addition to lift access and an entrance ramped for wheelchair use, which will also be suitable for buggy users. There’s a decent audio guide available to talk you through the museum. On site, there is a restaurant, which offers a children’s menu, overlooking the beautiful and serene gardens.

Highlights

The Geffrye is an all around enjoyable experience, whether you would like to take a slow stroll and soak it all in or get around quickly. The activities for children are good and the views, rooms, gardens and houses are all sights to behold.

What to watch out for

  • The period rooms are beautiful to look at and interesting to view, but may not be engaging for young children who are not old enough to appreciate them.
  • Check the Restored Almshouse is open for public viewing before you arrive.
  • Wheelchair uses will not be able to access the Restored Almshouse and therefore, it would probably be difficult for buggy users, if not impossible.
  • Interest in interior design, art, property or a strong interest in history is probably necessary to get the most out of this museum. It falls a bit flat otherwise.

MFM tips:

  • If you want to keep costs low but make a visit to the Geffrye a full day, take a walk along Regent’s Canal to Broadway Market and then through Broadway Market to London Fields park for a spot of lunch or a nice picnic/barbecue!

What the owners say

“The Geffrye Museum is devoted to the history of the home, showing how homes and gardens reflect changes in society, behaviour, style and taste over the past 400 years.”

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Visit the official Geffrye Museum website

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