4 December 2022
It’s impossible to understand the history of our country without understanding the influence of our armed forces. Here are the best places in London where your children can get to grips with that history.
They’ll learn the incredible stories of brave men and women, wonder at the astounding feats of science and feel the impact of war on ordinary people.
This museum focuses on the two World Wars and is recommended for kids aged seven and over. You can buy a kids’ exploration guidebook, with stories and activities based on the exhibits.
Kids will be wowed by the planes, tanks and vehicles on display, but there’s so much more to it. The museum exhibits all kinds of objects from the wartime periods, from everyday items and clothing to posters and publications. Alongside these are the personal stories of the people who owned them. Your kids will get a real sense of the impact of war on everyday people.
The Holocaust Galleries are also fascinating and powerful, but some parts might be too harrowing for younger or more sensitive children.
Accessed from the South Bank between the London and Tower bridges, this is more than just a museum. It’s an actual ship that participated in the D-Day landings and other military operations.
You’ll all get access to the entire ship - nine decks waiting to be explored. Your kids can climb to the bridge and be the captain, before descending to the engine room below the waterline.
For those more inquisitive ones, friendly, knowledgeable staff and interactive exhibits will provide them with an unforgettable, immersive voyage into the past.
The sky’s the limit for your family day out at RAF Museum London. It has a huge collection of iconic aircraft on display and awesome, immersive experiences. Admission is free (it welcomes donations) and there’s plenty of parking. There’s loads to see and do without spending a penny, but the experiences are worth their extra cost.
Kids over eight can climb into the cockpit of Britain’s most legendary aircraft, the Spitfire. Kids over four can experience the thrills of flying in a fighter jet in the 4D theatre or the flight simulator. There’s even a playground with equipment modelled on famous aircraft, so they can engage in their own imaginary aerial battles.
Set amongst London’s most famous landmarks, this small museum could form part of an unforgettable day of sightseeing. It’ll only take you a short while to get around, but there’s plenty to occupy the kids.
They’ll see the working stable in action as the horses are prepared for parade. And if you time it right, they’ll even see the changing of the mounted guards or the inspection parade itself. They can even try on the famous uniform.
During school holidays, the museum holds children’s events where they can get a real feel for what it takes to run the regiment that guards the Queen during her royal duties.
Though it’s technically just outside of London, this place offers more variety for your family day out. If your kids are into things that go ‘Boom!’ then this is the place for them.
They have a great collection of guns and rockets. Kids can learn all about gunpowder and how it’s shaped our history with the award-winning film in the main exhibition.
There’s loads more to keep them busy, with the highlight being the Science shows in Professor Nitrate’s Mad Lab. The grounds are beautiful and contain lots of wildlife. Recon the area on foot or go for a ride on the guided tractor tour.
London provides plenty of places where your family can march right into Britain’s military history.