What are the most child-friendly interactive science museums in the UK?

When you're planning a family trip with the kids and looking to infuse a bit of education into the fun, the United Kingdom offers an incredible array of interactive science museums. These centres provide a unique blend of history, technology, nature and art, ensuring that your visit becomes a memorable experience for all. Not only will your children be entertained, but they will also partake in learning about the world in a hands-on, engaging way. This article will guide you through some of the best child-friendly science museums in the UK, showcasing their key exhibits and the unique interactive experiences they offer.

The Science Museum, London

As one of the most visited museums in the UK, The Science Museum in London is a standout choice for families with curious young minds. The museum is a treasure trove of historical scientific artefacts, cutting-edge technology, and interactive exhibits that spark interest and fuel imagination.

The museum's interactive gallery ‘Wonderlab’ is a hit amongst kids. This gallery invites children to explore the scientific phenomena that shape our natural world. With over 50 mind-blowing exhibits, live demonstrations, and an immersive 3D technology space, Wonderlab provides a hands-on learning experience that will captivate your children.

Another highlight is the museum's Flight Gallery. This area allows children to explore the history of aviation, with real aircrafts on display and interactive exhibits that test their understanding of the science of flight.

The Centre for Life, Newcastle

Located in the heart of Newcastle, The Centre for Life is a science centre that provides an engaging, hands-on learning environment suitable for all ages. The centre's commitment to making science accessible and enjoyable makes it perfect for a family visit.

One of the centre’s main attractions for children is the ‘Young Explorers' Zone’. This interactive space is designed to allow children to learn about the world around them through play, with exhibits focused on technology, nature, and the human body.

The Centre for Life also hosts a variety of temporary exhibits, ensuring there’s always something new and exciting to discover. Plus, its outdoor ice rink, open during the winter months, provides a fun and energetic diversion for kids.

Natural History Museum, London

London's Natural History Museum is a must-visit for children with a fascination for the natural world. The museum's towering dinosaur skeletons and life-size blue whale model are enough to impress any young mind.

The museum’s interactive area, the ‘Investigate Centre’, encourages children to become scientists for the day. They can examine real fossils, bones and insects under microscopes, and conduct their own experiments using the centre's extensive resources.

The ‘Dinosaurs Gallery’, with its interactive displays and moving models, is another area that will captivate the imagination of children and teach them about these extinct creatures in an engaging way.

National Museum of Scotland, Edinburgh

The National Museum of Scotland, located in Edinburgh, is a hub of Scottish history and culture, and its science and technology exhibits are equally captivating.

The ‘Adventure Planet’ exhibition is designed for children and brings natural sciences to life. This interactive exhibit takes kids on a journey from the deepest oceans to the furthest stars, teaching them about the world we live in and beyond.

Another highlight for kids is ‘Imagine’, an exhibit where they can create their own virtual fish and release it into a digital ocean, learning about marine life in a fun and interactive way.

National Railway Museum, York

York's National Railway Museum is the ultimate destination for children intrigued by transport and technology. Hosting the largest collection of railway artefacts in the world, the museum lets kids get up close to legendary locomotives and delve into more than 300 years of railway history.

Children can participate in the ‘Future Engineers’ interactive gallery where they can get hands-on with gears, levers and pulleys to understand the science behind these machines. They can also take a mini train ride, adding a fun, experiential element to their visit.

From the space-age technology of London's Science Museum to the natural wonders showcased at the Natural History Museum, and from the hands-on learning experiences in Newcastle's Centre for Life to the rich railway history in York, the UK offers a multitude of interactive science museums for families to explore. Each provides an engaging, educational experience that will ignite your children's curiosity and broaden their understanding of the world.

National Space Centre, Leicester

For children who are fascinated by the mysterious universe beyond our planet, the National Space Centre in Leicester is a veritable paradise. From planets and stars to rockets and rovers, this science museum brings the cosmos to life.

The National Space Centre's 'Rocket Tower' is undeniably its most awe-inspiring feature. Home to Blue Streak and Thor Able rockets, it offers an authentic space experience for young explorers. The museum’s interactive ‘Tranquillity Base’ invites children to experience life as an astronaut, allowing them to try their hands at controlling a lunar rover or launching a rocket.

The 'Sir Patrick Moore Planetarium' is another highlight, where visitors can recline and marvel at stunning 360-degree visuals of the cosmos. It's the largest planetarium in the UK and offers an engaging blend of science technology and storytelling.

The National Space Centre is not just about space exploration, though. It also focuses on Earth sciences through its 'Weather Pod' exhibit, where children can learn about meteorology and predict weather patterns.

Isle of Wight Steam Railway and Transport Museum

If your children are captivated by the magic of vintage locomotives and the evolution of transport, the Isle of Wight Steam Railway and Transport Museum is a great choice. It offers an engaging blend of transport museum elements, history museum aspects, and hands-on interactive features.

The museum’s most attractive feature is its collection of vintage steam locomotives. Children can marvel at these historic vehicles, learn about how they function, and even experience a nostalgic ride through the beautiful Isle of Wight countryside.

The ‘Train Story Discovery Centre’ enables kids to discover the story of railways and the people associated with them. From the engineers who designed and built the engines to the passengers who travelled on them, the exhibit brings the rich railway history to life.

The museum also offers a hands-on workshop where children can learn about the engineering aspects of railways. Here, they can tinker with train parts, learning about the science and technology behind these powerful machines.


The UK is home to a wide range of family-friendly interactive science museums, each providing a unique blend of entertainment and education. Whether your children are intrigued by natural history, science technology, transport, or the wonders of the universe, there's something to suit all interests and ages.

A visit to any of these museums will not only be an enjoyable day out, but it will also ignite your children's curiosity, expand their knowledge, and inspire them to explore the world around them. So, if you're planning a family trip in the UK, be sure to include a visit to one of these child-friendly science museums!

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