Visit the UK's BEST family-friendly places to go with kids
- 14 September 2020
- National Maritime Museum
We recently announced the winners of the Fantastic for Families Awards 2020 - a celebration of the wealth of excellent creative events and spaces for families across the UK.
This week we've highlighted three creative spaces we believe are the UK's best family-friendly venues suitable for all ages and open now to the public. Next week, we'll take a closer look at the organisations and venues who won the Best Family Event Awards.
As always we'd love to hear about any events or venues you've been along to with the kids, so make sure you tag us on social media.
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1. National Maritime Museum
Award: Best Family Venue
The National Maritime Museum welcomes families with children of all ages and abilities. For under 5s and their parents/carers, Play Tuesdays encourages bonding within the family unit, an opportunity to meet other early years families, and creative engagement with the museum objects through stories, music and sensory play.
For children of all ages and abilities, Discover Sundays and school holiday workshops provide the opportunity to engage with the collection through arts activities as a family. Delivered by artists, children have the chance to explore a variety of art forms and to discover stories of exploration and encounter within the museum.
For children aged 14+, the Youth Programme encourages engagement with and contribution to the Museum. From Saturday Art Club and the Youth Collective to youth-led late events, work experience and creative half term projects, young people are given the space to develop new skills and grow in confidence.
Online, families can discover a whole host of creative activities to encourage creativity, imagination and curiosity in the world around them. Visit their Family Activities page to find everything from Deep Sea Dancing with Drag Queen ShayShay, to creating a ship in a bottle inspired by Yinka Shonibare’s Nelson’s Ship in a Bottle. These activities will help you explore objects and people in the Museum from home!
2. Dundee Contemporary Arts
Award: Audience Impact
Dundee Contemporary Arts is a family friendly arts centre in the heart of Dundee. They have two galleries, two cinemas, a print studio, café/bar and a create space where you can do DIY making activities based on their current exhibitions. They also run regular free drop-in Family Art Labs led by professional artist educators and low-price ticketed Bring A Baby film screenings. Every year they programme Discovery Film Festival, an international film festival for young audiences with lots of exciting activities for all.
They have developed monthly Messy Play sessions for parents and their 0-3 year olds. In these sessions you will visit the gallery for inspiration and then do sensory and art activities in response. You can expect to get stuck into some colourful paintings on a big plastic mat on the floor, and exploring the different sensations in a sensory tray of coloured rice or shaving foam, followed by a baby bath! These sessions are open to the public and you can find details on the DCA website.
Dundee Contemporary Arts have been adapting to the venue closure by sending packs of art materials to families identified as needing extra support and have also been putting up lots of art ideas to do at home with wee ones. You can find everything that's available on the ideas and recipes page. Lots of these art ideas need very few materials or use things from around the house.
3. Leeds Playhouse
Award: Best Age-Friendly Cultural Organisation
You'll find Leeds Playhouse at the heart of the city, producing brand new theatre shows for all tastes and all ages.
The COVID-19 pandemic has disproportionately impacted older people, and whilst the doors to the Playhouse have been closed, the ambition to connect, engage and support our community is stronger than ever. Through Playhouse Connect the organisation has communicated and worked with over 4,000 people through direct contact, online activity and regular newsletters. Recognising the digital divide, older people without online access have been supported through postal packages with at-home creative activities and regular friendly, telephone calls from a staff member or volunteer. By coaching dozens of individuals to use online platforms for the first time, and sourcing devices and data where participants had no access, the Playhouse has continued to run its weekly sessions for people living with dementia and their supporters and virtual Heydays activities.
The currently reduced staff team is working hard to make sure it stays connected with older participants for as long as it necessary, whilst looking ahead to brighter days when gathering together at the Playhouse is possible again.
Stay up to date with activities for people of all ages, including young people, refugee and asylum-seeking communities, and support for teachers by following @LeedsPlayhouse.