Reviews of Museums in Covent Garden and Soho

The Transport Museum

  • £10 per adult, children under 16 free (last year we purchased a year-long membership for £30 but we are not sure of this years rate yet)
  • Wonderful museum that works great for the Under 5’s
  • A bit tricky with two toddlers
  • Snack, restaurants and picnic area
  • Great changing facilities and family toilets
  • Bus: 6, 9, 11, 13, 15, 23,24, 29, 87, 91, 139, 176
  • Tube: Covent Garden         

The Transport Museum is Mecca for all children.  Spread over three floors, the museum has different models of the various means of transport through the ages for children to climb into and explore.  Especially on a rainy day, it is well-worth the admission cost.

If you take two children here alone, one of them either has to be steady enough to climb around on their own, or the other needs to stay in their push chair or baby carrier at times as there are double-decker busses to explore.

There are two designated children’s play areas, one with dress up with a model bus to drive and the other is for even younger children with life-size model wooden boat, bus, taxi and tube car to play on in addition to a large model city with trains and buses to push along.

It is a treat for boys and girls alike, and a wonderful place to spend a few hours.  Be sure to check out the Royal Opera House next door for coffee after, See Suggested Itineraries for The West End for this and other recommendations near-by

The National Gallery

  • Free
  • Magic Carpet Ride on weekends GREAT for the 3 – 5 year olds
  • Tricky with two toddlers
  • Snack and restaurant, no picnic area
  • Great changing facilities and family toilets
  • Bus: 3, 11, 12, 24, 53, 87, 88, 159, 453
  • Tube: Charing Cross

The National Gallery is more of a grow-ups museum as there are no exhibits in this particularly pitched to little ones.

That said, there is The Magic Carpet Ride for the Under 5’s.  Every Sunday, at 10:30 and 11:30, in the education wing (which is the opposite side of the entrance on Trafalgar Square) a docent gathers families for a prompt start to the activity.  After in introduction and discussion of the rules, the group walks through the galleries and sits in front of a work of art to listen to a story about the picture and sing a song.  It is priceless, literally … its FREE!!

If you are not able to catch The Magic Carpet Ride, the museum is still good to take children to as there is so much to look at and the main galleries have amazing leather sofas to sit on.  There are lifts to get around step-free and wonderful family toilets and changing facilities.

The café is cafeteria style and difficult to get the pushchair next to a table when it is busy.

The National Portrait Gallery

  • Free
  • Story Telling for Families (3 – 5 year olds), 3rd Sunday each month 2 and 3pm
  • Tricky with two toddlers
  • Snack and restaurant, no picnic area
  • Changing facilities and family toilets
  • Bus: 3, 11, 12, 24, 53, 87, 88, 159, 453
  • Tube: Charing Cross

The National Portrait Gallery is not the most push-chair friendly museum.  There are lifts to get you around the museum, but there are foyers where you need to descend three steps or go through an ordeal to avoid them and use the lift.

We have yet to remember when we are on the 3rd Sunday of the month to attend Story Telling for Families, but based on the National Gallery’s program for the Under 5’s, I am eager to check it out.

The Museum is really great if you have time to read all the interesting explanations for the portraits that you are looking at.  This is a great place to go during nap time..

The Portrait Gallery Restaurant has amazing views of Whitehall, but I have not been there since having children.

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