Where To Take Geeky Kids In London

Lettie Mckie
By Lettie Mckie Last edited 17 months ago
Where To Take Geeky Kids In London

Got a geeky kid who loves nothing more than exploring the nerdy corners of London? This lot will keep them entertained for endless weekends and school holidays.

Exploring HMS Belfast © IWM

Dinosaur dorkiness

As every true geek knows, there is nothing more fun than examining dinosaur bones and fossils. The Natural History Museum is famed for its collection of dinosaur bones and now it's letting kids and adults alike kip next to the diplodocus in its nicely-named sleepover, Dino Snores.

Until the end of October 2016, you can get stuck into Dinosaurs: Monster Families at the Horniman Museum in Forest Hill, where kids can learn how dinosaurs looked after their eggs, and meet ‘Baby Louie’, the near-complete skeleton of a dinosaur hatchling.

Bed down with bones and fossils at the Natural History Museum's Dino Snores

Transport nerdiness

First stop for transport nuts of all ages will no doubt be Covent Garden's London Transport Museum but fewer know that TfL also runs open weekends at their Acton Depot — a store of over 370,000 objects from 100 years of transport history. If your kids are even nerdier, take them to Whitewebb's Museum of Transport in Enfield — one of the friendliest and most eccentric museums we've ever discovered.

For kids who first hear the call of the high seas at the National Maritime Museum, a trip to HMS Belfast will give them the chance to see the inner workings of real war ship.

But the sky, as they say, is the limit — and transport-loving kids will adore the RAF Museum in Colindale — a great alternative to the Imperial War Museum — as well as monthly open days at Croydon Airport, where they can climb up into the control tower.

London Transport Museum's huge depot in Acton hosts open weekends twice a year.

Water and steam geekery

The Museum of London Docklands tells the 2,000 year old story of city, river and urban regeneration with over 10 free galleries, including a kid-friendly replica Victorian street called Sailortown.

The Brunel Museum tells the story of the Thames Tunnel, considered the Eighth Wonder of the World when it opened in 1843 as the first tunnel under a river. Kids' entry to the museum is free and there are engineering activity packs available in the bookshop.

Meanwhile, families can discover the story of London's water supply at Kew's Water and Steam Museum and even travel back in time to experience Life at the Waterworks for themselves, dressing up in Victorian costumes.

Creative recycling at the Museum of London Docklands

Architecture and archaeology hijinks

If building stuff is more their thing, then RIBA's got it covered with downloadable trails for architectural investigation at their headquarters 66 Portland Place.

Later on this year the Archikids and Open House Junior festivals both offer architect-led workshops inside buildings that are not usually open to the public.

Alternatively, if a healthy dose of awe-inspiring Victorian engineering is required Tower Bridge Engine Rooms reveals the fascinating facts about how the iconic monument actually moves.

Can you never stop your kids from making holes in the garden/park? Young Archaeologist Clubs are the perfect way to keep them happy, digging in the mud to find out what the landscape can teach them about the people who came before. There are three in London at Fulham Place, Museum of London Archaeology and Camden.

Young archaeologists mudlarking on the Thames Foreshore

Medical madness

The Hunterian Museum 's bizarre anatomical and zoological collection is a guaranteed jaw-dropper; exhibits include pickled toads and a real Egyptian mummy's foot. For the curious and brave there are plenty of opportunities to hear gruesome surgery stories about leeches and blood-letting or become disease detectives examining microscopic slides at one of their hands-on family events. There's more of the same at the Old Operating Theatre near London Bridge, while budding doctors and nurses can get their fix at Westminster's Florence Nightingale Museum.

Budding architects at RIBA

Other lectures and activities

The Royal Institution's eclectic mix of activities includes everything from The Ugly Animal Roadshow featuring demos, videos and audience participation to Explore Your Mind where a neuroscientist will help kids to read their own brainwaves.

And let's not forget what is possibly the number one destination for geeky London kids — the Science Museum. Their 3D screenings and kid-friendly talks (for instance an actor playing Thomas Edison) are hard to beat.

Last Updated 30 April 2016