Museum of London Docklands - Review for families
Everything you need to know about a kids day out at Museum of London Docklands
What is it?
It’s a museum that explores the history of the River Thames and Docklands. Find it on the Isle of Dogs, East London – a short walk from Canary Wharf.
Babies / Toddlers & Preschool / 5 – 8
9 – 12 / 12+
What’s on offer
Living inside a 200 year old warehouse is the surprisingly interesting history of London’s role as a port.
There are ten permanent galleries, covering trade, the World Wars, migration and much more. There are three family-oriented exhibitions – Mudlarks, Sailortown and Warehouse of the World. These exhibits are interactive, with Warehouse using touch screen games as part of the educational experience. Mudlarks is hands on, allowing children to play and learn – with a special soft play and train-driving activities for under 5’s.
Under 5’s activities include free Explorer backpacks (to borrow) for 2 – 5 year olds, babies and toddlers groups for children as young as 6 months on selected weekday mornings, story time, music sessions and various holiday events. Make sure to check out the official website for full dates, times and availability.
There are also events for children up to the age of 12 on various selected dates.
The museum café, which offers a children’s menu, is located on the entrance level. It’s got plenty of highchairs for younger children. If you’d rather the family eat a packed lunch, picnic areas are open on weekends and school holidays.
Relax and enjoy your trip around the history of the Docklands knowing that you can easily push your buggy around and that baby-changing facilities are available. There’s a public car park right behind the museum building and fully accessible toilets and lifts within the museum itself. If you’re carrying extra luggage (or a huge baby bag!) lockers can be hired for £1 per use.
More like this
Museum of London Docklands, like it’s sister attraction, Museum of London, is very clearly laid out. The galleries employ the use of film clips to illustrate how the history of the Thames has helped shaped modern and London and it’s people.
Parents and grandparents will enjoy the models of past bridges (like the model of the old London Bridge). While it might be that none of the usual exhibits are enthralling for some children, the Sailortown recreation of the old docks will be a delight for everyone.
TripAdvisor users noted that their children loved the whole visit, with one even asking to return the same day! Parents noted that the free activities and workshops for children were great additions to their visit.
Special mention goes to the Mudlarks area. You receive your ticket for this section on arrival and the fun can then begin. It’s theme is life in London’s past – children can work together to weigh cargo and load a tea clipper (if they’re interested in ships, why not visit Cutty Sark)? They can pretend to drive a DLR train and London bus. It’s fun and informative.
What to watch out for
- If it’s a busy day, time restrictions may apply to time in the Mudlarks section. You can always go back to reception and book more time, though.
- If you have a travelcard or can afford a ticket, why not hop on the DLR at Canary Wharf and go for a ride on the Emirates Air Line Cable Car in Greenwich?
What the owners say
"From Roman settlement to Docklands’ regeneration, unlock the history of London’s river, port and people in this historic warehouse. Discover a wealth of objects from whale bones to WWII gas masks in state-of-the-art galleries, including Mudlarks, an interactive area for kids; Sailortown, an atmospheric re-creation of 19th century riverside Wapping; and London, Sugar & Slavery, which reveals the city’s involvement in the transatlantic slave trade."
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