Grandparents' guide to the Science Museum
12th July 2023
Image credit: Neil Turner
The Science Museum in London is one of the world’s greatest museums and one of London’s finest attractions. Packed full of fascinating exhibitions and interactive activities, the Science Museum is also the perfect place to visit for grandparents to visit with their grandchildren.
In this article, you will discover helpful information such as where to get tickets, the Science Museum opening times, how to get to the museum and what you can look forward to seeing. For visitors with limited mobility or who might use stairlifts at home, you can also learn about how accessible the Science Museum is. So, use the contents below to find the information you need and start planning a fascinating trip to the Science Museum.
Where is the Science Museum?
The Science Museum is located in South Kensington, London and the full address is: Science Museum, Exhibition Road, South Kensington, London SW7 2DD.
Travelling by tube to the Science Museum
The nearest tube station to the Science Museum is South Kensington, a five-minute walk away. The station is on the District, Circle, and Piccadilly Lines.
Gloucester Road is also close to the attraction – just 15 minutes away. Gloucester Road is on the District, Circle, and Piccadilly lines.
Travelling by bus to the Science Museum
Once you arrive in London, the bus is a good option to get to the Science Museum, as several routes stop close to the attraction.
Routes that have stops outside South Kensington Underground Station include 14, 49, 70, 74, 345, 360, 414, 430 and C1.
The 9, 10, 52, 452 and 70 bus routes also stop outside the Royal Albert Hall, which is a six-minute walk to the museum.
You can plan your tube and bus route on the Transport for London website.
Travelling by car to the Science Museum
Travelling by car to the Science Museum is possible, but the museum does not offer its own parking, and there is no public parking on Exhibition Road.
The closest option for public parking near the museum is Prince Consort Road, which is about a five-minute walk away.
Further travel advice can be found on the visit page of the Science Museum's website.
The Science Museum opening times
The Science Museum is open seven days a week, between 10.00 and 18.00.
Last admission for the Science Museum: 17.15
Those visiting later in the day should be aware that the galleries start to close 30 minutes before the museum closes, so make sure you have seen what you want of the museum well before closing time. That way, you can take your time and enjoy the museum at your leisure.
How long does the science museum take to walk around?
Although you are welcome to stay in the museum as long as you like, on average visits last around two hours. If you have limited mobility, it may take slightly longer.
Where to get Science Museum tickets
Booking tickets to the Science Museum is easy and won’t cost you anything. However, the museum does ask all visitors to book their free tickets in advance as it can’t guarantee that tickets will be available at the door.
To book your tickets, head to the attraction’s website and go to the ‘Welcome’ page. Then click the ‘book now’ button. Once you have chosen the date you would like to visit, select the time you would like to arrive and then choose whether you would like to include a donation to the museum. Once ready, add the tickets to your basket.
Is the Science Museum free?
The Science Museum is free for all visitors, which is a great incentive to visit this incredible attraction, making it accessible to people of all budgets and backgrounds. However, while the tickets are free, the museum does ask visitors to consider making a small donation for adults.
Annisa, from the blog London Traveller, loves the museum and has shared some advice for visitors: “Science Museum is a great museum to visit because, first of all, it’s free. What I love about the museum is that there it is full of surprises. The history of medicine, spaceships, how our lives evolved since the 18th century and the evolution of steam engines. I would advise you to spend at least one hour there and get there as early as possible as it can be busy with people, especially during school holidays.”
How accessible is the Science Museum?
The Science Museum has a number of facilities in place to help those with limited mobility who would like to visit.
There are a number of lifts throughout the museum, the majority of which are wheelchair accessible. There are also accessible toilets on all levels of the museum and accessible baby-changing facilities.
A limited number of wheelchairs are available to borrow, which could be handy for those who might not manage to be on their feet throughout the duration of their visit.
Guide and assistance animals are welcome at the museum, and there are other facilities to help people enjoy what the museum has to offer, such as hearing loops, large print books, and tactile maps.
While the Science Museum doesn’t offer disabled parking, there is a small number of accessible parking spots on Exhibition Road for Blue Badge holders.
Science Museum accessibility
- Lifts (the majority are wheelchair accessible)
- Accessible toilets
- Accessible baby-changing facilities
- Wheelchairs available to borrow
- Guide dogs are welcome
- Hearing loops
- Large print books
- Tactile maps
Further accessibility information can be found on the accessibility page of the Science Museum’s website.
What is there to see and do at the Science Museum?
The Science Museum has attractions for people of all ages. This section looks at some of the best things you can do, including the must-see exhibits.
Alyson, from the blog World Travel Family, has visited the Science Museum with her kids, and she offers some tips if you are visiting with children: “It's important to allow children to enjoy the London Science Museum in the way that they choose to enjoy it. For my children, this always involved spending hours in the hands-on areas where science and play were combined.
“Adults need to participate as needed or just allow the children to explore independently; it depends on the child. They were never particularly interested in the traditional exhibits, but these areas were fun for them. Also, allow time to watch and participate in one of the free science shows; these are great for kids and adults, providing science learning in an exciting and entertaining way.”
Wonderlab: The Equinor Gallery
This gallery offers a range of interactive experiences as you can enjoy live science shows and demonstrations. The museum’s Science Explainers also tell visitors about the beauty of science and maths and how they shape our everyday lives, allowing visitors to try cool experiments themselves.
Some of this gallery's amazing exhibits and attractions include friction slides that you can slide down, a lightning strike exhibit, a chemistry bar, a shape maker that you can get hands-on with, and a space zone.
Victoria, the writer of the Bridge and Balloons blog, visited the museum with her toddlers, and she talked about her visit: “The Wonderlab is an incredible interactive space filled with opportunities to learn about and interact with real scientific phenomena in fun ways. There are slides where you can learn about friction, ferrofluid to play with, a colour zone to explore and all sorts of other fun concepts.
“They also hold regular demos throughout the day, teaching about space, chemistry, electricity and more. Otis absolutely loved it, and while it was a bit old for Arlo, he still enjoyed wandering around and taking it all in – there’s a lot of sensory stimulation!”
If you or your grandchildren are gamers, then this area of the Science Museum will be like a dream come true as there are 160 consoles from five decades that you can play.
This hands-on gaming experience features the best video games and consoles that have been released over the past 50 years. Games range from Pacman to Mario, and you can play against family and friends in multiplayer showdowns. You can even test out the latest next-gen virtual reality experiences.
Stephanie, the author behind The LDN Gal blog, had visited the exhibition before and spoke about what she loves: “There’s plenty to do! This is a truly interactive experience with something for everyone. The event offers visitors an in-depth history of gaming, just waiting for you to explore.
“The sense of nostalgia is wonderful as you stop by each console and seek out the games of your own childhood. Across the exhibition, you’ll find yourself pausing to reminiscence constantly.”
With a next-generation IMAX Laser 4K projector and a 70mm film projector, the cinema at the Science Museum offers filmgoers an incredible experience.
The IMAX Cinema at the museum is one of only two screens in Europe to feature digital and analogue cinema, meaning it is equipped to show a variety of films ranging from newly released blockbusters to stunning 3D documentary films and cinema classics.
Check out the temporary exhibitions
Every year there will be a variety of temporary exhibitions at the Science Museum, which can be on display for just a few months or over a year.
It is well worth checking to see what temporary displays are at the museum. We have listed some of the exhibitions which have been on temporary display below:
Science Fiction: Voyage to the Edge of Imagination: This exciting exhibition saw you placed at the heart of a science fiction adventure. You had to board and explore a spaceship, scout an unknown planet and even learn how scientists and science fiction creators have built new worlds on understanding our own world better.
BBC at 100: This temporary exhibition celebrated 100 years of the BBC with a display which features objects from across the BBC’s long history, including radio, television and digital programming. Some objects you could see included a ‘Midget’ portable disc recorder, used by war correspondents on the Western Front, an original Cyberman that featured in Doctor Who in the 1980s, and learning about how the BBC has grown.
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Food and drink at the Science Museum
If you are looking for places to eat near the Science Museum, you needn’t worry, as there are plenty of restaurants and cafes at the museum itself. Discover some of these eateries below.
The Energy Café is a popular spot to stop for lunch as you can enjoy a variety of hot and cold dishes. In addition, there is a selection of sandwiches, salads and pizzas you can enjoy, to name just a few. If that is not enough, you can try homemade cakes and award-winning coffee too.
The Shake Bar, which is located by the Wonderlab: The Equinor Gallery, serves delicious, made-to-order ice cream milkshakes. You can even design your own by picking your own flavours and toppings.
At the Diner, you can enjoy an array of sandwiches, salads, cakes and ice creams. The eatery also serves hot and cold beverages and is a great place if you want to relax during your visit to the Science Museum.
This Gallery Café has a menu which is entirely vegetarian and vegan. It includes healthy meals, sandwiches, salads, and hot and cold drinks.
The Basement Café is the perfect place to visit if you are after a snack during your day. From cakes and ice cream to coffee and tea, the menu is extensive.
If you would prefer to bring your own food and drink, you can, and there is a dedicated picnic area at the Wonderlab: The Equinor Gallery on Level 3.
Hotels near the Science Museum, London
If you are visiting London with your grandchildren for the weekend or a few days and are looking for places to stay, there is so much choice. In this section, you can find some of the hotels near the Science Museum.
The Queen’s Gate Hotel
The Queen's Gate Hotel is located in the centre of London, in the Royal Borough of Kensington & Chelsea, and is just a short walk from the museum as well as other attractions such as Hyde Park and Kensington Gardens. It is also close to Gloucester Road and South Kensington Tube stations. The hotel is also accessible to visitors who use a wheelchair or have limited mobility.
Another hotel that is close to the Science Museum is the four-star Strathmore Hotel. It is a fully restored Victorian mansion with 77 classic en-suite guest bedrooms, including carved wood furniture, LCD flat-screen televisions and Wi-Fi. There is an in-house restaurant and lounge bar that serves breakfast and dinner.
Strathmore Hotel is accessible to guests with limited mobility, and a lift serves all floors of the hotel.
The Bailey’s Hotel
The Bailey’s Hotel is a popular place to stay if you visit the Science Museum as it is just a few minutes’ walk away. This redbrick townhouse is a fusion of British and Asian heritage, but its impressive architecture isn’t the only draw for guests as you can stay in some luxurious rooms in this four-star hotel.
Millennium Gloucester Hotel
The Millennium Gloucester Hotel is located in Kensington and is the perfect place to stay if you want to explore London. With over 600 bedrooms, the hotel offers unrivalled comfort and plenty of choice. In addition, the hotel is accessible to guests with limited mobility as all the rooms have been equipped with assistive technology.
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What to bring to the Science Museum
If you are planning to spend the day at the Science Museum, you will need to think about what to bring and here is a list of some potential items worth bringing with you.
- A backpack
- A camera
- Comfortable shoes to wear
- A packed lunch or some snacks
- A reusable water bottle
- Warm or light clothing depending on the time of year you are visiting
Visiting the Science Museum as a grandparent
Hopefully, this grandparents’ guide to the Science Museum will help you plan a trip to this brilliant attraction with your grandchildren.
For more attraction recommendations or in-depth guides to everyday activities, visit our news page. If you are looking for stairlift advice, please get in touch with Handicare and Age Co for expert assistance.
This news article is from Handicare UK. Articles that appear on this website are for information purposes only.