11 of the Most Family Friendly Museums in Britain: Chosen By Parents!

Emily Manning

Emily Manning

July 4, 2018

Boy reading map for family friendly museum in Britain

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The finalists for the 2018 Family Friendly Museum Award have been announced and there are some great contenders! All the venues are unique and offer plenty of opportunity for a fun (and educational!) day out. What do you think are the most family friendly museums in Britain? You can check out the shortlist below: 

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Kids in Museums has announced an eleven-strong shortlist for the 2018 Family Friendly Museum Award.

The  Award, run by charity Kids in Museums, has celebrated the most family friendly museums in Britain since 2004, and remains the only museum prize in Great Britain judged entirely by families, children and young people.

Child learning at museum for family friendly museum in britain

There was tough competition for a place on the shortlist for the 2018 Award, but what set the 11 fabulous museums apart was their commitment to putting families’ voices at the heart of their organisations, using family feedback to plan everything from their toilets and cafés to their exhibition programmes.

What do you think makes a museum ‘family friendly’? In response to family feedback, the shortlisted museums have gone so far as to:

  • Create new children’s galleries
  • Build quiet space with chill out zones and a family snug
  • Curate an exhibition based on toddlers’ choices of art
  • Develop new family activities such as audio Easter Egg hunts and Messy Museum sessions
  • Reach out into their local communities visiting prisons, schools and Sure Start Centres
  • Run a shuttle bus to get people to their site.

Many of the shortlisted museums have seen recent increases in their visitor numbers, with family visitors driving this trend. This shows the impact of placing families’ voices at the heart of museums and how family friendliness can make museums for everyone.

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Parents’ Choice of Family Friendly Museums in Britain

National Maritime Museum, London

National Maritime Museum for family friendly museum in britain

National Maritime Museum is the UK’s leading museum of maritime history. The museum boasts the most important holdings in the world on the history of Britain at sea, including maritime art, cartography, manuscripts, official public records, ship models and plans.

It is home to 10 free galleries, ground-breaking exhibitions, art and a wide range of family activities.

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The Erewash Museum, Derbyshire

Erewash museum for Family friendly museumErewash Museum is a social history museum with exhibitions and displays reflecting the history of the Erewash Borough.

Home for the museum is a late Georgian house with Victorian extensions. It was both a family home and school accommodation before becoming a museum in the 1980s. Many original features remain and visitors can enjoy the garden with unrivalled views across the Erewash Valley.

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Leeds City Museum, West Yorkshire

Leeds City Museum for family friendly museumLeeds City Museum has 4.5 billion years of discovery with four floors of treasures. Whether you love Leeds history, the ancient worlds or natural sciences, or are simply looking for a fun and free day out – there’s loads to enjoy at Leeds City Museum.

Museum of the Order of St John, London

Museum of St John for family friendly museumMuseum of the Order of St John tells the unique and fascinating story of an ancient religious military Order, from its origins caring for sick pilgrims in eleventh century Jerusalem, through to its modern-day role with St John Ambulance, the international first aid charity.

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Perth Museum and Art Gallery, Perth and Kinross

Perth Museum Art Gallery for family friendly museum

Perth Museum and Art Gallery has a fantastic collection of objects which reflect the history of the area and a changing programme of exhibitions and events. It is one of Scotland’s oldest established museums and is home to more than half a million local, national and international objects with 69,000 visitors per year.

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The Postal Museum, London

London Postal Museum for family friendly museumsThe Postal Museum reveals the surprising and fascinating story of the first social network and makes their extraordinary collections available and enjoyable for all. From interactive galleries to an immersive subterranean rail ride, modern research facilities to a wide-range of learning activities, The Postal Museum offers something for everyone, from all backgrounds and of all ages.

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The Red House, Suffolk

The Red House Suffolk for family friendly museumsThe Red House is the base for the Britten-Pears Foundation, established to promote the musical legacy of the composer Benjamin Britten and his partner, the tenor Peter Pears.

The Foundation is based at The Red House, their former home in Aldeburgh, Suffolk. Visitors can explore Britten’s home – visit his library, studio, gallery spaces showcasing their extensive collection – as well as five acres of gardens.

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Torquay Museum, Devon

Torquay Museum for family friendly museumsTorquay Museum is Devon’s oldest museum and home to a UNESCO designated collection of artefacts from the Quaternary period. These include rare Neanderthal skulls and the KC4 jawbone, discovered at nearby Kents Cavern, which is the oldest human jawbone excavated in Europe. It is also home to the only gallery in the UK dedicated to the life and works of Agatha Christie.

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The Whitworth, Greater Manchester

Whitworth museum for family friendly museumThe Whitworth, part of the University of Manchester, was founded in 1889 and houses significant historic and contemporary fine art, textiles and wallpaper collections, designated to be of national importance.

The Whitworth reopened in 2015 after being transformed by a £15 million redevelopment project that doubled it in size and created new spaces that embrace the park in which it is located.

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Wrexham County Borough Museum, WrexhamWrexham County Museum for family friendly museums

Wrexham County Borough Museum is a small museum which collects, preserves and tells the stories of local people and the wider world. Housed in one of the town’s landmark buildings, the museum also holds the Welsh Football Collection.

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Yr Ysgwrn, Gwynedd

Yr Ysgwrn for family friendly museumsYr Ysgwrn is a cultural symbol to the people of Wales, home of Hedd Wynn, one of Wales’ best-known poets and the national symbol of doomed youth lost during WW1.

Yr Ysgwrn has been a destination for pilgrims since 1917 and, following major conservation and renovation works (supported by the Heritage Lottery Fund and the Welsh Government) reopened in June 2017.

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When Will the Winner Be Announced?

Kids in Museums are searching for a team of undercover family judges to visit the shortlisted museums. Over the summer, the family judges will assess just how family friendly each of these museums really are, and it will be their reports and experiences of visiting the museums that will decide the winner of the 2018 Family Friendly Museum Award.

If you think your family would make great judges for these family friendly museums, you can find out more here. The winner will then be announced at a ceremony in London in early October.

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Have you visited any of these shortlisted family friendly museums in Britain? Leave a comment below and let us know – we’d love to hear from you!

Mykidstime Family Friendly Museums in Britain (1)

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Published On: July 4th, 2018 / Categories: Travel / Last Updated: July 4th, 2018 / Tags: , , , , , /

About the Author: Emily Manning

Emily Manning
Emily is the coffee-loving Editor of MyKidsTime. Mum of one daughter and two naughty Tibetan Terriers, she is particularly partial to Curly Wurlys and unable to resist pretty stationery and new cookbooks. As an avid foodie and domestic goddess-wannabe, she is most likely to be found in the kitchen.

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