10 of the best: London attractions

Date Posted: 20/03/2013

There’s a whole host of educational opportunities available at London’s many museums, galleries, iconic landmarks and historic attractions. We highlight what’s on offer at the capital’s ten top visitor attractions, based on statistics compiled by Visit London.

1. British Museum

Exhibiting works from prehistoric to modern times, highlights at the British Museum include the Rosetta Stone, Parthenon sculptures, and ancient Egyptian mummies.

The schools team offers a wide range of educational sessions exploring the richness and diversity of world cultures in the museum.

School groups are entitled to free entry at special exhibitions, which are often accompanied by a range of learning resources and teachers’ previews.

2. Tate Modern

Housed inside a former power station on the banks of the Thames, the Tate Modern is Britain’s national showcase for contemporary art.

While school trips to the Tate Modern are free, there is a charge for special exhibitions, and teachers can also book a 90-minute practical workshop based in the galleries and led by practising artists.

3. National Gallery

Pupils can take photos by the Trafalgar Square lions before visiting the National Gallery, which is filled with European paintings from the 13th to the 19th centuries.

Current exhibitions include Barocci: Brilliance and Grace, running until 19th May; which will be followed by Michael Landy: Saints Alive, running from 23rd May to 24th November.

Catering for pupils aged four to 18, gallery educators can lead fun, interactive sessions which aim to bring the paintings alive by encouraging school groups to look, think and imagine.

4. Natural History Museum

The permanent dinosaur exhibition is always a highlight for students who can also discover the biggest, tallest and rarest animals in the world at the Natural History Museum.

The South Kensington museum is a leading resource for Science and Geography education, with a changing schools programme catering for all ages and levels from foundation to A-Level. Curriculum-linked events, workshops, hands-on activities and a teacher support service can help you get the most out of your school trip.

5. The EDF Energy London Eye

A 30-minute trip on the EDF Energy London Eye - reportedly the world’s highest observation wheel - provides unforgettable views of more than 55 famous landmarks.

This iconic attraction can be used to exemplify aspects of learning, whether in specific areas such as Design & Technology, Architecture and Engineering; or more broadly to promote numeracy and literacy, commercial or community issues.

6. Science Museum

See, touch and experience the major scientific advances of the last 300 years at the Science Museum, with exhibits including the Apollo 10 command capsule and Stephenson’s Rocket.

Gallery and exhibition highlights include Atmosphere: Exploring Climate Science, History of Agriculture, Energy: Fuelling the Future, and Glimpses of Medical History. A school trip can also be combined with a range of live events, including shows, storytelling and costumed characters.

7. Victoria & Albert Museum

The Victoria & Albert Museum - or the V&A - celebrates art and design with 3,000 years’ worth of artefacts from around the world.

Upcoming exhibition highlights include David Bowie Is, an international retrospective of the career of David Bowie, running until 11th August; and Club to Catwalk: London Fashion in the 1980s, running from 10th July to 16th February 2014.

8. Madame Tussauds

Learning promises to be fun at Madame Tussauds; starring wax figures from show business, politics, sport and royalty.

Key Stages 1 to 3 can take advantage of a resource pack tailored specifically to Art & Design; with additional resource packs for KS3 Design & Technology, and KS4/5 Leisure & Tourism.

9. Royal Museums Greenwich

This historic south London cultural collection includes the National Maritime Museum and Queen’s House; both of which offer a variety of on-site sessions catering for Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS) and KS1-5.

Also part of Royal Museums Greenwich, the Royal Observatory offers a full-day programme for groups at each Key Stage including a workshop in the Lloyd’s Register Educational Trust learning centre.

Key Stages 1 to 3 can also take advantage of curriculum-linked facilitated workshops at the Cutty Sark.

10. Tower of London

A school visit to the Tower of London will reveal a host of colourful and bloodthirsty tales, and students can also see the iconic sight of the Yeoman Warders, or Beefeaters.

The education admission rate includes access to the White Tower, the Jewel House and Crown Jewels, the Royal Beasts exhibition in the Brick Tower, and Edward I’s Medieval Palace.

Teachers can also book an education session to enhance pupils’ experience of the Tower.

School Travel Organiser's Guide
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