Calling all sailors! Discover how the docks shaped the city we know today through a wide range of activities for our youngest visitors and their families. From interactive displays to immersive activities, there’s always something new to discover. Here are 10 things for family visitors to look forward to at the museum.
Get hands-on in Mudlarks
An interactive, stimulating space for children aged up to 8 years old.
1. Get hands-on in the Mudlarks family gallery
Delve into the joy of exploratory play in our interactive family gallery for children aged up to 8 years old and their parents/carers. Help your little ones play and have fun in a stimulating environment that supports their learning by introducing stories told within the galleries of the museum – book now (opens in a new tab).
2. Follow the Tail Trail
Riley Ratcliffe, a city rat, wants to learn about some of her ancestors on display in the museum. Help her spot members of her furry family and find out what life was like in the past for these little Londoners with this fun, free, self-paced activity. Pick up your own trail map from the family desk when you arrive at the museum.
Get up close with the history of the docks
Peer through the loophole doors to the quayside below and imagine you’re hauling heavy sacks up into the warehouse – just like a dockworker.
3. Find the mummified cat and rat
Discover how dockworkers unloaded and moved goods arriving from the West Indies, including rum and sugar. Peer through the loophole doors to the quayside below and imagine you’re hauling heavy sacks up into the warehouse! Psst... can you find the mummified cat and rat in this gallery?
No. 1 Warehouse gallery | 3rd floor
4. Try out the treadwheel
The Legal Quay is a busy place to work. The heaviest cargo is lifted off the ships using a treadwheel. Hop on and see if you can lift the barrel – it’s such hard work!
Legal Quay | 3rd floor
Channel your inner Brunel
Help build a tunnel or see if you can make a bridge.
5. Build a tunnel under the Thames
Channel your inner Brunel and help build a tunnel under the Thames, or see if you can make a bridge strong enough to walk across. Try your hand at these challenging activities one brick at a time.
Building London, City and River gallery | 2nd floor
6. Venture through the streets of Victorian London
Wind your way through the dark streets of dockside Victorian London in our recreated Sailortown. Peep into the Animal Emporium and chandler's shop or pop into the Three Mariners pub for a tipple!
Sailortown | 2nd floor
Take a seat in our wartime shelter
Learn how the port survived and aided the war effort. Can you hear the air raid siren?
7. Step inside a wartime shelter
Learn how the port survived and aided the war effort from Dunkirk to D-Day. Step inside our recreation shelter to imagine what it might have been like during an air raid. Can you hear the siren?
Docklands at War gallery | 2nd floor
8. Become a master of the tube network
Choo choo! Guide trains along the underground on our train table and learn how public transport linked the docks to the rest of London in our New Port, New City gallery.
New Port, New City gallery | 2nd floor
Pat-a-cake, pat-a-cake, baker’s man, bake me a cake as fast as you can!
9. Get baking in our kitchen role-play area
Pat-a-cake, pat-a-cake, baker’s man, bake me a cake as fast as you can! Admire the bakes in our recreation of a Docklands bakery from the early 1900s then have creative cooking fun in our kitchen role-play area.
Thames gallery | 1st floor
10. Play to your heart's content every month
Join our free monthly drop-in play sessions for under 5s on the last Wednesday of every month. There’s always plenty to keep little ones busy at their own pace: building, role-play, puppets and more! Check the event page(opens in a new tab) for upcoming dates and themes, as well as additional special events.