A few weeks ago I was invited up to the National Portrait Gallery, London, to see a preview of the exhibition of Elizabeth I and Her People. I love the Gallery and have worked with them before on their Big Draw events but if I'm honest it is not one I choose to visit with Stanley so thought I'd make the most of the offer and go. This was a family blogger event and so we were going to see the family trail in the exhibition and to test out the coffee and sweet things afterwards!
The exhibition was really good, small enough to get round all of it and they gave us a 'Family Trail' so we could focus on a theme within the exhibition. The little leaflet was perfect and even though Stanley is not quite three he enjoyed trying to find the animals in the various paintings and objects around the room. It was interesting to look at Tudor paintings with a fresh eye having previously only studied them at school! In fact when we were looking for all the different animals in Elizabeth I amazing dress two ladies in front remarked that they hadn't even noticed the animals and were pleased to have been shown something new!
They also have family trails which are free to pick up and a lovely thing to do with slightly older children around the museum - they can be a portrait artist and look for different things to draw. The paper quality is really good too (speaking from a proper paper geek!)
Although it is not a place I think of to take Stanley (normally heading for the Science Museum) it was really nice not to rely on buttons and fancy gadgets to keep him entertained - more effort from me, but a really lovely experience. I know they also have free storytelling sessions with an art activity afterwards once a month in the museum too, which is a lovely way to be introduced to a seemly 'stuffy' painting and learn the story behind the person in the picture.
The Portrait restaurant was great too - even though you are right in the middle of London there are some surprisingly nice views from the restaurant floor.
We were testing out their really lovely afternoon tea for kids which included a selection of sandwiches as well as 'ice your own biscuits' complete with tiny piping bags and dried rose petal sprinkles! Needless to say, Stan was a fan! It would make a lovely treat for a special occasion.
If you live in London GO! I think you'll be surprised by how wonderful it is to visit with kids.