I hadn't been to The British Museum for many years and the last time I went, I went alone carrying only a small handbag and walking the jaunty walk of the unburdened. How times change. This time I went laden down with small people and large bags. I remembered it as being interesting but not interactive so I wasn't sure how it would go down with my daughter who is used to being able to touch things in museums. Before I went I therefore sought the advice of twitter and found out that if you ask at the very helpful Families Desk (an excellent idea in itself) you can get a children's backpack that gives the children a trail to follow and activities to do as you go around the museum. This is entirely free (you leave a deposit) and proved a really excellent idea as it interested my daughter in exhibits she wouldn't otherwise have noticed and also made her time there interactive and interesting.
There are also other things that children can do including activity trails but we didn't try these out. I'd say that at three she was just old enough for this museum and that older children would get a lot more out of it but we had a really good time and saw some very interesting things. You can find out more here on their page for families. We were really pleased to see how the museum clearly welcomes families and caters for them.
After our visit to the museum, it was clear that the children needed to let off some steam and we were very stumped as to where they could do this in the area until I remembered Coram's Fields which I had heard of but never visited. For those who don't know, Coram's Fields is a seven acre playground and park for children that includes three playgrounds, a small farm and a children's centre. There is also a cafe open February - October but this wasn't open on our visit (it reopens on 12th Feb). The park is free to enter but no adult can enter unless they are with children. The children's centre has arts and crafts drop ins that you can go to and there is a free half term programme running. We loved seeing the animals and playing in the playgrounds and large sandpit.
This really is an excellent place to go as there is a lot of space for children to run around and when the weather is nicer there are lots of good picnicking spots and a fountain to splash in. It feels a world away from the bustle of central London yet is just a few minutes walk from Russell Square. We were very pleased to discover it and will definitely be visiting again in better weather.
It was really nice to get out in central London and to find how very child friendly London can be - both in it's cultural hotspots and in it's open spaces. These are the things that make this North London Mum certain that she'll never leave London....
Have you been to either of these places? Do you have anywhere you recommend we check out and report back on. Do let us know.