I can’t think of a better way to spend a frosty December Saturday than exploring one of the world’s greatest art and design museums and one of my all time favourite places, The V&A in South Kensington.
It’s easy to feel spoilt for choice with the vast array of museums that London has to offer but for me the V&A holds a very special magic that is hard to put into words. It is visually one of the most beautiful and awe inspiring museums out there, with breathtaking architecture, a diversity of exhibits, ranging from historical to contemporary, and to top it all off an unrivalled range of family friendly activities to keep even the littlest museum go-ers happy.
As luck would have it, we arrived just in time to experience one of the lunchtime christmas concerts that are taking place on selected days throughout December. As crowds began to gather in the grand entrance hall beneath Dale Chihuly’s magnificent Rotunda Chandelier we quickly huddled together beside the glow of the museum’s towering iron christmas tree, our gazes fixed skywards as the spine tingling chorus of christmas carols echoed down from the balconies, honestly what a treat! A must see if you can make it down before christmas – see here for dates and times of future performances.
Also running throughout December are a number of family based Christmas workshops that we couldn’t wait to try out. First on our list was a trip to the Learning Centre for the Digital Kids – Christmas Card workshop, a chance to create our very own designs using images from the museum’s extensive christmas card collection. We spent ages poring over the beautiful Victorian illustrations, some of which date back as early as 1843. Thankfully there were helpful staff on hand to guide us through the process and we left feeling very proud of our festive masterpieces.
Other activities include christmas decoration design, mask making and a special Christmas pop up performance – A Christmas Gathering. The children were delighted with tales of Victorian Christmas festivities and how children entertained themselves on christmas day. Be sure to check the V&A website for further details and future performances including a short piece inspired by the Nutcracker later in the month.
In addition to the seasonal family events the V&A also offer a range of fantastic free, activity backpacks and family trails. These are cleverly designed to engage children with the objects around them, spark discussion and provide a fun focus to the visit. A little like a treasure hunt, the award winning backpacks are full of hands-on activities such as puzzles, role play games, quizzes and objects to guide you as you explore the different galleries. Each backpack takes about an hour to complete which proved the perfect length of time for my inquisitive pair. For anyone visiting with children for the first time the huge scale of the museum can seem a little overwhelming but these packs serve as an excellent framework for little ones to tackle even the most grown up of exhibits.
We decided to try out the adventure in China backpack and had so much fun learning how to write our ages in chinese, acting out a chinese tea party and testing out a bizarre chinese pillow made of wood! The whole concept of these clever guides is just so fun — we are already planning our next visit just to try out a new backpack. You can collect trails and backpacks from the learning centre and from the information desk in the main entrance hall. See here for a full list of activities and hands on exhibits.
If you’ve yet to experience the huge range of family friendly activities that the V&A has to offer then this time of year really is a perfect time to visit. The wonderfully festive atmosphere is hard to beat and there is simply tons to do with kids! I’ve always had a major love affair with The V&A and I’m pleased to say that my children are now big fans too.
This post was sponsored by the V&A Museum. We are proud to be able to support one of our favourite museums in the world. Thank you for supporting the brands and companies that support Babyccino.
Such pretty photos of your time there. Ah – you are making me miss London with all your visits to our favourite museums, wearing cosy jumpers, tights, doing Christmas crafts. Makes me want to jump into these photos (and bring some Australian sunshine with me)!! xx
If only Courtney – and yes some sunshine would be good. Merry Christmas xx
I love love love the V&A. I could live there!! Such lovely photos — I really want to bring our children there soon (and try the activity backpacks — how fun)! xxxx
Your kids would love the backpacks Esther, so fun!!
London, my favourite place in the world! These photos are so cosy and christmassy and London-y! Smiles all round!
Thanks for the lovely comment Zoe. Merry christmas.
Next time I’m in London, I must visit this museum! The V&A has part of their dollhouse exhibit here in DC right now – loved it!
It’s a date Annie xx
Some really great photos! can’t wait for my twins to get a little bigger so I can take them on trips to the museum and do fun activities. Looks so good, love that museum.
Thanks Rochelle, its such a great place.