Museum of London Docklands
- Dive straight into the history of London, uncovering secrets, unknown information and the interesting past of this capital city.
- Don't miss out on the family-specific gallery, Mudlarks, for interactive fun activities, reconstructions of historical periods, and plenty more.
- Make sure to check out their exciting programme of shows and exhibitions, as they take you through London's captivating history.
- This is the perfect introduction for your children to the history of migration, trade, slavery and commercial history.
Museum of London Docklands is a 200-year-old warehouse that is great for a day of family fun and learning, as it reveals the intriguing history of London as a port, through fascinating stories of migration, trade and commerce through world-class galleries and amazing and unusual objects.
The Mudlarks gallery is a fantastic place for children and families; it is a free interactive exhibition space for children aged up to eight years old and their parents and carers. Mudlarks introduces the stories that are told within the Museum in a stimulating, hands-on environment that supports learning and development for younger kids, engaging them in history. During your visit, children can play word games, fill out worksheets, play the colour hunt, grab an adventure bag, and explore the Museum's trails.
Within this gallery space, there is a soft play area which is fun and allows kids to explore, learn and interact. There's even a water play area where you can learn about damming and floating or try out a real-life diver's helmet from the 20th century. Your kids will be engrossed in the small interactive world of cranes, trains and boats, docking and lifting to their heart's content. They can even try loading cargo on an interactive ship!
After, you can take a break in the café or restaurant and dig into some great food. The museum café offers complimentary flavoured filtered water on request, and is a safe environment for children, with high chairs, colouring sheets and other child-friendly activities available, along with plenty of healthy children's food on offer. Even while eating, the kids will be endlessly entertained. If you fancy bringing along a picnic instead, there's a separate room for that.
Be sure to check out the thrilling parties that Mudlarks hosts, which offers an exclusive 75-minute session in the children's gallery, followed by a private decorated party room, so the party can continue on with a delicious birthday tea. This is all done with the help of a host, who will help throughout the day.
If you're looking for things to do in Canary Wharf, don't miss out on the array of events held at Museum of London Docklands, where you can learn about a wealth of objects in state-of-the-art galleries, from whale bones to WWII gas masks, to the heritage and culture of Sierra Leone. These come with great tour guides who will be sure to keep kids entertained and satisfied while learning about London and Canary Wharf history.
Be sure to check out the immersive experiences that this fantastic museum has to offer, like the audio walk through the city, where you'll hear histories from Londoners past and present as you wander the streets of London. There are several informative and interesting walks that regularly take place, where you could walk down Southwark, Greenwich, and Vauxhall to discover the fascinating history of the Bronze Age.
Some of their permanent galleries include the No. 1 Warehouse, an introductory history of the building, and Trade Expansion, where you can meet the sailors, merchants and even pirates who transformed the port of London. In the London, Sugar & Slavery gallery, you can discover how London and London Docklands history was shaped by the trade of enslaved Africans. You can trace this history straight through to more modern times, too, and learn about the docks during the Blitz in WWII. Did you know that football rackets were used as alarm sound systems to warn of German gas attacks?
Take part in the Museum of London Docklands workshops on offer, such as Bronze Age pottery or a jewellery masterclass. This is a fun way to engage kids and teens, while leaving with something tangible to take home, too.
The Museum of London Docklands is a brilliant place for groups and schools to experience London's fascinating history and culture. It can provide an engaging start to the history of the capital for visitors. There are packages for groups, tours and walks, and self-guided options too.
There is a great shop at the Museum of London Docklands, and this specialises in gifts and books about London's Docklands and the River Thames, the people who live and work there and more. They offer posters, postcards and prints relating to Docklands and all make great gifts and memorabilia for children.
What to know before you go
- Museum of London Docklands has now reopened in line with COVID safety measures in response to government advice. The lunch hall is closed until further notice, and the Mudlarks soft play area is closed until further notice.
- Purchase coffee and a selection of beverages at the on-site café, or head to on-site restaurant Rum and Sugar for a bigger meal.
- Mudlarks Gallery is on the ground floor and is wheelchair accessible.
- Museum of London Docklands has full physical access to all of the public areas of the museum; this includes galleries, classrooms, shop, café and theatre. If you have any requirements, ask the Visitor Hosts at the Information Desk.
- Museum of London Docklands offers a helping host service for all disabled visitors and their families. This offers some extra assistance during your visit. A trained team member of the Visitor Services team at the museum will be around to accompany you, and help out, on your visit for up to two hours. It's advisable to book at least two weeks in advance.
- Assistance dogs are welcome.
- Toilets can be found in the reception hall. Disabled toilets are also available.
- Baby-changing facilities can be found in the toilets.
- Kidadl top tip: after your visit, take a stroll down to the Crossrail Gardens above Canary Wharf station; it's stunning, and also free.
- Museum of London Docklands is located at No. 1 Warehouse on West India Quay.
- The museum entrance is a two-minute walk from West India Quay DLR station, and a six-minute walk from Canary Wharf Tube station (Jubilee line). Both stations have step-free access from street to train.
- By bus, take routes D3, D7, D8, 277, D6, 15, 115, 135.
- A really fun way of getting to the Museum of London Docklands is via the river. Canary Wharf Pier is a short walk away, with Thames Clippers River Bus services departing from the pier every 20 minutes, linking to other London piers including London Eye, Bankside, Greenwich and London Bridge.
- If you're coming by car, the Vinci car park behind the museum on Hertsmere Road.
- Due to the redevelopment in the area, the museum doesn't offer disabled parking at the moment. There is a public car park situated directly behind the museum, in Hertsmere Road, which has a height restriction.
- There is a bicycle rack situated directly behind the museum on Hertsmere Road, by the Cineworld cinema entrance.