On Sunday, Mushroom and I spent the morning at the National Maritime Museum in Greenwich with Auntie L and Uncle S.

We had originally planned to go to celebrate the Chinese New Year as we’d read on the website that there were family activities and a Lion Dance happening but when we arrived it turned out we’d got our dates wrong and this is in fact taking place during the half-term week. That didn’t stop us having fun though!

NMM entrance

The Museum is very family friendly with a whole floor created especially for kids (The Children’s Gallery). It’s interactive and eye level is just right (well ok, a little above) for Mushroom, who especially enjoyed driving a ship to New York (it’s a simulator – but one that’s easier to walk away from if you’re feeling a little ‘seasick,’ perfect for Mushroom who usually gets scared in simulators and suffers from terrible motion sickness!) and drawing a picture of a boat to leave on the wall for posterity (or til they take it down at the end of the day).

He had the most fun though, when we all stopped to cool down with a quick drink (it’s hot in there!). Just below the kids area, on the ‘Upper Deck,’ there’s a Paul’s bakery and the floor outside is painted with a map of the world (The Great Map). Plenty of kids were simply running around letting off steam and Mushroom was no exception.

NMM World map


That is, until he spotted a boat making it’s way across the Atlantic. It turned out you could ‘hire’ these (it’s free, you just have to sign them out) so Auntie L did the honours and together they navigated their way across North Asia…

NMM - Sailing across N Asia

Before we headed home, Mushroom insisted on rustling up a snack in the ship’s kitchen…

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He started to get a bit possessive when other children came along though, declaring it was ‘his’ kitchen and they couldn’t ‘sit there,’ so after a couple of warnings we decided it best to distract him and we left shortly afterwards for a lovely long pub lunch.

If you’re in Greenwich then it’s one of many attractions that are well worth a visit. The only (very minor) thing I didn’t like was the donation sign in the entrance hall. It states ‘Please Donate,’ and gives a price (£3 if I remember correctly). Surely the whole point of a donation is that it’s optional and you can give as much or as little as you can afford? I mean, I know we’re lucky to get free admission to many of our museums in the UK and it’s definitely worth an admission fee (more than they suggest, to be honest) but the sign could feel a bit guilt inducing. My preference would be that it states either an admission fee, or clearly indicates that the amount listed is a suggested donation. Like I said though, it’s really quite a minor thing.

The Lion Dance takes place as part of the Chinese New Year celebrations on Saturday 15 February, when the museum will be hosting a day of workshops and performances about how trade by sea brought people and cultural celebrations from Asia to Britain. We’re in Greenwich this weekend so not sure we’ll go again next week but if we do maybe we’ll see you there!

Mums do travel

Disclosure: This is not a paid review. The National Maritime Museum is free to visit (but there is that big donate sign) and we just wanted to share our thoughts as we had a lot of fun! Opinions are mine (Mushroom’s Mum) and Mushroom’s own. Read my full PR and disclosure policy here.