If you find yourself at a loose end this summer, searching for ways to keep the kids entertained, a day packed out with adventure, fun and action at one of London’s many museums is the answer.

Perfect for rainy days or for somewhere with air conditioning to escape the London heat, it’s fun, engaging and often pretty educational too! From Tate Modern’s dotty Obliteration Room to the V&A’s special homage to Beatrix Potter, these are the best family-friendly exhibitions taking place this summer that even parents will enjoy. 

Yayoi Kusama’s Obliteration Room

If you haven’t already visited Yayoi Kusama’s exhibition at the Tate Modern, you’ll have at least seen the striking photography that’s been circulating across social media since it opened. And now the iconic gallery is set to make way for another of her installations with the arrival of the Obliteration Room. 

Taking place throughout the summer holidays, adults, children and everyone in-between is invited to enter the interactive space, home to a sea of colourful dots. 

You’ll be able to entirely transform the space from the domestic white apartment into a multicoloured artwork. Grab the stickers and spend the afternoon placing them all over the apartment, from the dining table and sofas through to the carpets, stools and shelves.

23.07.2022 – 29.08.2022 

www.tate.org.uk

The Secret Garden

Fall back in love with the beloved children’s book The Secret Garden as London’s Garden Museum takes a look back at the story and its depictions over the past hundred years. From artist interpretations to the film adaptations, see France Hodgson Burnett’s tome in a whole new light. 

You’ll be invited to uncover the true story and real ‘secret garden’ that inspired the book, as well as exploring the museum’s own Secret Garden, complete with interactive games and trails. 

And the best part? All kids under 18 go free!

Inside the Wonderful Garden, Lauren Child, collage on paper (c) Lauren Child
Mrs Sowerby visiting the garden, image courtesy of Studio MinaLima

06.07.2022 – 04.09.2022 

www.gardenmuseum.org.uk

Yewstock School, Dorset, ages 10–11

Take One Picture 2022

The National Gallery’s annual Take One Picture programme returns for another year, bringing with it works from 30 primary schools across the country. This year’s theme saw primary school students respond creatively to ‘The Finding of Moses’ by Orazio Gentileschi. 

The painting depicts a scene from the Old Testament (Exodus 2:2-10), in which Pharaoh’s daughter discovers baby Moses in a basket along the River Nile. The painting discusses cross-curricular themes from rivers and journeys to fashion, gesture and family.  

Let your child see their work on display or head down to let their little minds get inspired by the works in front of them, from woven baskets to handmade jewellery.

Until 11.09.2022 

www.nationalgallery.org.uk

Maiden Voyage – JeeYoung Lee

NOW Gallery is known for its giant installations in its entry space but this might be our favourite yet… 

Their latest art commission is from Korean artist JeeYoung Lee. Titled Maiden Voyage, the installation is inspired by memories, dreams, emotions and her personal experience. Nodding to themes of travel and nature, the work features origami objects with displays of boats, planes and swans floating in a Gingko leaf sea. 

Visitors are invited to engage and connect with the work. They are encouraged to think about their first memory and write it on a piece of origami paper and fold it into a swan to add to the growing collection.

Until 25.09.2022 

www.nowgallery.co.uk

Inspiring Walt Disney: The Animation of French Decorative Arts

One for the Disney fans… This spring sees Wallace Collection’s new exhibition dedicated to Disney’s animation, offering a space for lovers of the franchise to explore the magic come to life like never before. 

On display from April until October, the exhibition explores the connection between American 20th-century hand-drawn animation and French 18th-century art. You’ll be able to see how some of your favourite characters and narratives were first brought to life, from idea through to the present-day animations.

Until 16.10.2022 

www.wallacecollection.org

Our Time on Earth

Great for the older kids, explore the natural world more deeply in the Barbican’s new exhibition, Our Time on Earth. The exhibition, on display until August, allows us to delve and look at our world in different ways, from technologies and science through to art and activism. 

Your mind will be cast to different scenarios, from dining with other species to commuting through a rewilded city. You’ll be able to examine how we can help shape nature in the future for the better and how we can tackle the climate crisis hands on.

Delve into the world through a different lens, from technologies and science through to art and activism. 

Until 29.08.2022 

www.barbican.org.uk

Beatrix Potter: Drawn to Nature

Rediscover Beatrix Potter’s loveable characters this summer at the V&A’s family-friendly exhibition, Beatrix Potter: Drawn to Nature. Open to fans until early 2023, the exhibition will guide you on a journey through Potter’s life as a scientist and conservationist, spanning the places and animals that inspired her famous characters. 

Created in collaboration with the National Trust, the exhibition features drawings and detailed illustrations, studies and paintings created by the children’s author. Fall back in love with Peter Rabbit and all of his friends in this fun and detailed exhibition.

Until 08.01.2023

www.vam.ac.uk

Cats and Dogs

Know your pet pooch pretty well? Think again. Horniman Museum & Gardens presents a brand new exhibition designed to teach kids and adults alike more about their furry friends.

Cats and Dogs is an interactive offering, exploring everything from animal behaviour to examining human relationships with our feline friends and doggos.

Until 30.10.2022 

www.horniman.ac.uk

Mexican Geniuses: A Frida & Diego Immersive Experience

There seems to be an influx of large-scale exhibitions popping up around the capital. And no, we don’t just mean exhibitions with a hefty collection of work. We’re talking works that are being ballooned onto the walls to create an inspiring, immersive environment.

The next instalment to arrive on the scene is Mexican Geniuses: A Frida & Diego Immersive Experience, a dive into the vibrant works from Mexico’s most renowned artists of the 20th century.

Displayed through the latest video-mapping technology, digital displays of Frida and Diego’s works will come to life in giant form.

Football: Designing the Beautiful Game

A great one for the tiny footballers…

Combine your culture fix with your partner’s favourite pastime as the two worlds collide in the Design Museum’s latest exhibition, ‘Football: Designing the Beautiful Game’.

The exhibition, running until August, will allow you to explore the story behind football, delving into how design has been woven into the game for centuries. Showcased through more than 500 objects, films and interviews in sporting performance, kit development, stadium design and more, it’s an exhibition that shouldn’t be missed whether you’re a football fan or not.

CREDIT: FELIX SPELLER
OVER 70S WOMEN’S TEAM THE SOCKERS DURING THE LAS VEGAS FRIENDSHIP CUP IN USA, 2021, JUDI WORKS AND SHANNON SIEGEL/GOAL CLICK

Until 29.08.2022 

www.designmuseum.org


Want to receive more great articles like this every day? Join our daily email now