Museums are fantastic places to fire the imaginations of both the young and old. There’s something inherently exciting about a day trip to a museum, particularly those that are catered for children. Learning really can be fun and interactive and, while our home town of London has scores of world-class museums, there are also plenty of must-sees across Europe.
With help from top fellow family travel bloggers, MTM has compiled a list of Unmissable European Museums To Visit. From Denmark to Manchester, no matter what city you’re in, a visit to a museum will guarantee a great family day out.
At-Bristol Science Centre
From a Duplo building site to a talking to a robot, Lisa from Travel Loving Family had a blast with her son learning about all sorts of weird and wonderful science at the At-Bristol Science Centre. The highlight was the Planetarium Show where keen explorers can look up into the sky for a tour around the Galaxy, land on the Moon and go to Mars and Saturn to collect imaginary rocks to place in imaginary bags!
Museum of Natural Sciences
It may not be the most advertised of attractions in Brussels, says Laura from Sidestreet Style, but the Museum of Natural Sciences is a brilliant choice for children. Be greeted by two-story high bronze dinosaur, and explore a baby animals exhibition. Meanwhile, there are plenty of interactive play areas as well as an insect and bug gallery.
An official visitor’s centre on the EU, Joanne from Kids Days Out Reviews only came across the Parlementarium after spying it onboard a sight-seeing bus. She’s glad she decided to go back, however, as they got to take part in a code breaking type challenge which was a wonderful way to engage with the exhibits – made up of several floors of interactive displays about the work of the EU.
Viking Ship Museum
If you head out of Copenhagen to the ancient village of Roskilde, you’ll discover the wonders of Vikings and their phenomenal ships. Nichola from Globalmouse Travels had an incredible day at the Viking Ship Museum and the kids loved being able to get up close to boats dating back thousands of years. Children can also dress up in Viking costumes and step onboard a war ship or cargo ship.
Eureka, the National Children’s Museum
Lisa from Travel Loving Family also recommends a visit to Eureka in Yorkshire – her and the family love it so much they are repeat visitors. From role-playing to learning about how our bodies work, the interactive exhibits are brilliant for little ones to really explore and exercise their imaginations. Plus outside has a whole host of play areas including a giant snakes and ladders board and a mammoth sand pit.
The National Space Centre
Adored by Robert from Family Travel Times, who was 10 at the time of his visit, The National Space Centre is a must for all space enthusiasts. He particularly loved the building a sponge rocket and the Sir Patrick Moore Planetarium. However, it was the tranquillity star base that really got his thumbs up – with various tests, and a simulator ride which mimics how you’d feel travelling through space. Sounds so much fun!
Okay so it’s not technically in London, but just around half an hour outside in Weybridge. But if you have a car and aviation fan then a day out at Brooklands Museum is a must, says Gretta from Mums Do Travel. Constructed in 1907, Brooklands is the world’s first purpose-built motor circuit which you will be able to see as well as explore the Motoring Village, Test Hill and the Track, Aircraft & Aviation and the London Bus Museum.
London Transport Museum
Myself and Karen from MiniTravellers really recommend a day out at The London Transport Museum in Covent Garden. We loved being able to see the old steam trains and buses, while Monkey loved being able to drive a real bus and tube train. Karen’s daughter also thought much the same – so just goes to show transportation through the ages is a winner for all kids!
The Natural History Museum
Meanwhile, Cerys from Rainy Day Mum talks about an all-time favourite in the Capital, The Natural History Museum. Of course, the biggest appeal for kids is their fantastic dinosaur and marine life exhibits. Get their early though… to avoid the queues and crowds.
The Science Museum
Monkey has been hounding me to return to The Science Museum for a while now – we went for an event and didn’t get the opportunity to explore properly. However, Cathy from Mummy Travels has been on several occasions and has nothing but praise for all the interactive activities for kids to sink their teeth into, such as the water play area.
Nisbah from Five Adventurers has a comprehensive post about the top picks of museums in Manchester, but it’s the Manchester Museum that comes highly recommended. There are tons of events and exhibits from dinosaurs to mummies – and their Big Saturday events see a new topic matter being covered every month.
The Ferrari Museum
When we were in Italy last summer, my husband was desperate to go to Marenello to see some Ferraris, but unfortunately it was just too far for us to travel to. Luckily, Elizabeth from Wander Mum did get to go to The Ferrari Museum and for car enthusiasts everywhere what’s not to love? I know that my son would jump at the chance to be able to get close to these historic cars and trying out the F1 simulator and pit stop challenge.
Not far from another unmissable site of Pompeii, Laura from Have Kids Can Travel discovered the historical delights of the ancient Greek city of Paestum. On the grounds you can discover ruins, mosaics and temples of the city that was taken over by the Romans in 273BC. Meanwhile, the museum itself houses excavated treasures from the ancient town, while children are able to move freely and explore the exhibits over three floors.
Whales of Iceland
There are several fascinating museums and art galleries in the centre of Reykjavík – it really is a case of take your pick. Before our whale watching trip, however, we wanted to take Monkey to an exhibition which would showcase the stunning marine life in the surrounding waters. The Whales of Iceland is an excellent attraction which houses 23 life-sized models, as well as huge skeletons and interactive displays. There’s even a little drawing corner for youngsters to get creative.
The Norwegian Petroleum Museum
Situated in Stavanger, The Norwegian Petroleum Museum is a well-designed for children says Jennifer from Little World blog. After docking from their cruise, Jennifer and family were delighted to discover this modern museum which explores how oil and gas were created millions of years ago. With models of oil rigs and machinery, interactive exhibits and buttons to press, children can even start the drill!
During her 10-day Scandinavian road trip, Elizabeth from Wander Mum decided that the Vasa Museum in Stockholm was one of her must-see attractions. What’s so special about the Vasa? Well, being greeted by a 17th century battle ship – the world’s only preserved ship from that century which dramatically sank a few metres out to sea on its maiden voyage. And with a guided tour, family trail and plenty of interesting history, it’s brilliant for all ages.
Ötzi Dorf Stone Age Village
Set in the unspoilt Ötztal valley in the Austrian Tirol, Gretta from Mums Do Travel discovered a fascinating story behind the Ötzi Dorf Stone Age Village which was inspired by the discovery of the body of a prehistoric man frozen in the mountains on the Italian-Austrian border in 1991. Visitors are encouraged to touch the ‘stone-age’ exhibits and not only are there various farm animals to see, but various activities including archery, clay pottery, fire lighting and bread making.
The Haus Der Musik
If you’re ever in the beautiful city of Vienna, then I imagine learning about its vibrant musical history will be top of your priority. Kirstie from The Family Adventure Project recommends taking some time to visit The Haus Der Musik – a musical centre where you can the Vienna Philharmonic, try to perform or create strange music and record your own sounds.