Visiting The British Museum with Kids

British Museum with Kids

My daughter’s topic at school at the moment is ‘Digging up things from the past’ which includes art.  So we thought it was the perfect opportunity to pop down to the British Museum to see the Eldorado Exhibit, to show her we are interested in her learning and support what she’s doing in school. It’s only a short hop from St Pancras International, you could walk it or jump on the tube to Russell Square.

Enduring tale of a city of gold

‘The exhibition delves into the legend of El Dorado and features over 200 objects from Museo del Oro, Bogotá, and around 100 from the British Museum’s collection.’

British Museum with Kids

If I’m honest, she wasn’t too taken with the exhibit, albeit it was rather impressive collection for adults, but didn’t have the ability to grab and hold her attention.  Do bear in mind she is only 6 but she did enjoy working out what the objects were made of and what they may be used for, which is exactly what they’ve been doing in school.

However, we are grateful for the introduction to the British Museum.  I’ve been in the UK for 15 years and have never been.  I’ve been to the Science Museum and Natural History Museum but never the British Museum.  You’d remember if you’d been to the British Museum, the columns as you walk up to the museum are impressive but when you enter the inner courtyard it takes your breath away.

British Museum for Kids

Get the most out of the Museum

After the Eldorado Exhibit, we wondered around a bit lost, not actually lost, just not sure where to start,  but then we were pointed in the direction of the Families Help Desk, where the staff were incredibly helpful.  They introduced us to a selection of Museum Trails for kids age 6-11, that were only about 45 minutes long which was perfect.

Museum Trails for Kids

British Museum Trails for Kids

Surprisingly my daughter chose the one about Ancient Egypt (Sailing the Nile), even though she previously suffered from a fear of mummies, so much so that she hid all her books that had any reference to them.  It was the perfect length, gave us a focal point and helped her to engage with the exhibit.

It’s Free!

We will definitely be going back to try out a few more of the trails.  Thanks to American Airlines and the British Museum for this opportunity.

Note:  The places to eat inside the Museum are decent, plus there are loads of pubs and other eateries dotted around the Museum.  Or if the weather is nice take a picnic and eat on the stairs out front.


Creating Childhood Memories in London

Things to do with kids in London

In association with Direct Rail

‘We recently took the girls into London and had a fabulously random day! ‘

Taking children to London can provide then with memories that will last well into adulthood. For children, central London can seem like a giant playground. Everything looks like it’s on a much large scale, from the lions in Trafalgar Square to just the sheer size of the buildings towering overhead.

Things to do with kids in London

Whereas other cities have their own unique charm, no other UK city can compare to London in terms of scale, history and the ability to create lasting memories.

We love the Natural History Museum!

London also has a lot for children to do, so much so that you could spend an entire week there and still find new things to keep your little ones entertained. Child-friendly museums abound in the city, which is a fantastic way of making learning so fun that children won’t even realise they’re having an educational day out.

Dinosaur Exhibit at Natural History Museym

The Natural History Museum is a must for children of all ages. Seeing the life size model of the Blue Whale will be a memory that will stay with them for a long time, while kids love seeing the roaring T-Rex. Another popular destination is the British Museum where encountering real life mummies will satisfy most children’s fascination for the macabre. While the child friendly, HMS Belfast offers a unique and fun day out.

Travelling around London with Kids

Even just a simple trip on the Underground will often seem like an adventure for children. The old tunnels will capture their young imaginations, while the novelty of travelling underground provides an extra thrill. It is also a great opportunity to tell them stories about the history of the city and how Londoners would shelter in the dark tunnels during the Blitz.

Tower of London

Children love stories and London’s thousands of years of history provide lots of stories to tell. You can bring some of these to life by visiting places like the London Dungeon and the Tower of London; they will also help to capture children’s ghoulish imaginations.

Sometimes by sheer chance and luck you’ll be in the city on the day of a big occasion or ceremony, but even if this isn’t the case London has a lot of daily traditions that are great to watch. Perhaps the most famous of these is the Changing of the Guard at Buckingham Palace, although you will probably have to navigate through tourist crowds for a view.

Memories will also be created at London’s theatre district. Musicals are a great way of introducing older children to the theatre, while if you want to start them even earlier look out for productions inspired by much loved children’s books. Introducing children to the theatre at an early age not only provides them with a special treat, but also means that when they are older a night out at the theatre won’t seem as intimidating.

Street Performers in Covent Garden

Children also delight in seeing street performances, so if you get a chance head to Convent Garden, again this is a great way of introducing them to art and culture while also providing them with childhood memories that will stay with them for years to come.

Written by Derin Clark, a writer, editor and blogger


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Ask Italian has had a facelift and a new menu

If you’re on a diet I wouldn’t recommend going to Ask Italian for lunch.  It’s not that the food is exceptionally fattening, but I couldn’t stop eating and the Prosecco Brut was flowing.

Italian Chef Theo Randall

We were invited down to try out the new menu.  Award winnning Italian Chef, Theo Randall, has been brought in as a consultant chef and has helped to transform the restaurant.  They felt the restaurants were looking tired and wanted to, not only give the restaurants a face lift, but also to match the menu to the new look.

Ask Italian Restaurant London

The team, including Theo, had recently been to an remote area outside of Naples, Italy where they discovered Panzerottini, a small dough ball stuffed with Turnip Tops.  However, he knew that if he put Turnip tops on the menu in the UK they wouldn’t be that popular so they’ve modified them.  You can choose between Chilli and Cheese or Pancetta.

Ask Italian - Panzerottini

We had a chance to make them ourselves.  I was rather impressed that I didn’t manage to ‘balls’ it up. I’m not a huge fan of a lot of spice but weirdly I preferred the Cheese and Chilli.  It’s the perfect starter and great for sharing.

Making Panzerottin - Ask Italian

Then we sat down for the most amazing feast.  The food just kept coming.  I wish they’d warned us!

Spaghetti Al Pomodoro

Ask Italian - Spaghetti Al Pomodoro

Prima Pizza – stone-baked with longer, crispy bases

Ask Italian - Pizza


Dessert Sharing Board – for those that can’t decide

Ask Italian - Pudding Sharing Platter

I think they’ve nailed it! Simple Italian food with quality ingredients.  Thanks to Ask Italian for a yummy lunch!

Pictured with me making dough balls is Clare from The Vegetarian Experience and Heather from Hef’s Kitchen.

My First Cinderella by the English National Ballet

Children's BalletWe’ve just got back from the Ballet, My First Cinderella by ENB2.  We went to My First Sleeping Beauty last year and it was magical.  This one was good, but not as good as last year but that may have something to do with the cantankerous grandmother behind me and the obnoxious yummy mummy in front of me using her phone, which was brighter than Blackpool!

Rude Cow!

When we arrived, the seating wasn’t brilliant so we tried to rearrange our kids so they were sitting behind other kids so their view was not as obstructed.  Unfortunately, the theatre didn’t have booster seats.  The grandmother, then leans forward and says ‘do you mind not blocking my granddaughter’s view’.

I did, very politely, which is unlike me, suggest that she may want to swap seats with her grand-child so she too would be sitting behind a child.  But no!  What did she want me to do, lie on the floor!  I was tempted to say, stop being so tight and you could have spent some of the inheritance on a better seat, but I didn’t!

But as you will see it didn’t take away from Madame’s enjoyment, just like last year she was transfixed and during the interval turned into a Ballerina.

I do hope they carry on this programme as it’s an excellent way to get kids to appreciate and enjoy the arts.  However, I was really looking forward to a grand wedding scene at the end.

 Disclosure:  Our tickets were complimentary.

Family Christmas Activities at the Science Museum, London

If you’re stuck for things to do over the Christmas Holidays, I really rate the Science Museum in London.  We went last Saturday and had a brilliant day and learned a lot.

After a bit of deliberating we decided to drive in, as it worked out cheaper than taking the train even with the price of parking.  We did have a bit of a surprise when we arrived as the underground car park we normally use, is no longer in use.  But thanks to a very kind Black Cab driver, we found street parking just around the corner to the museum on Prince Consort Rd, which was about £14 for four hours.

The museum itself is free but there is a suggested donation of £5.   We went to see the Legend of Apollo 4-D, to celebrate the 40th Anniversary of the Landing on the moon.  If you’re like me you’re probably wondering what 4D is?  We had a bit of a surprise on our quick trip to the moon, our chairs started to shake as we went through the atmosphere and we landed on the moon with a bit of a bump, bombed around in a space buggy collecting rocks,  learned what the moon smells like and then splashed back to earth.

If you do go do make sure you make a day of it as there is so much to see and do at the Museum.  We barely made a dent in it.  Our daughter is 5, so if you have children of a similar age, I really recommend the Basement where you will find the Garden an interactive play area and a theatre with different shows throughout the day; we saw the Bubble Show and it was great fun.

The Museum is open every day except 24 – 26 December, and stays open until 19.00 (last entry 18.15) during the school holidays.  For a full list of their Family Christmas Activities 2012 click here.  I quite fancy the Festive Physics show.  Could Reindeers really fly?  Why do crackers crack?

Disclosure:  Our tickets to the 4D Cinema were complimentary.