Taking LM as a tinier baby to art galleries in London was a big thing for me. Particularly because I wasn’t sure how he was going to behave, and had overriding, anxious concern that the gallery staff would be snooty, and tut and sigh all over us. I was worried the spaces were going to be tiny and what felt like our ginormous pram carrying everything bar the kitchen sink was going to knock things over, that LM would start uncontrollably crying, and basically that we’d be thrown out!
Well, I needn’t have worried, and I’m sharing this to advise you, that you don’t need to unduly feel anxious and worry either. Going to London art galleries with toddler, is relative straight forward. At least, at the galleries that I’m sharing in this article. Exhibitions change all the time of course, so that aspect I can’t update you on, but I am feeding back on how the staff, atmosphere and physical environment of the below places worked for us! Best of all, they are all (apart from 1) FREE. If you want more of an insight into what exhibitions may work better for your baby/toddler, on Instagram @mindonmymonet explores exhibitions in London galleries with her 3 year old son, on a weekly basis. By following her, I decide what seems best for LM and I.
Things have definitely changed in regards to what I can choose as he’s got older of course, and despite any reviews, you’ll know your child best and what works for them, rather than someone else’s. As a toddler who now likes to walk/climb stairs, I am looking for galleries that ideally have a spot/cloakroom I can park the buggy: and to be honest, most, if not all, do. I think just working out where your child is at, and managing your own expectations around that is really helpful.
So, here goes, 8 of our favourite London art galleries with toddler options!
1) Pitzhanger, Ealing Broadway tube (We saw the wonderful Julian Opie exhibition in October 2021)
The Pitzhanger is a Manor House but it has an exhibition space set up: so it’s a treat with all sorts for you and the family to get involved in: a perfect London art gallery with toddler venue. The space for the exhibitions is 1 level, and it’s a small but decent enough size. There is good running space for a little one wanting to let off steam. Afterwards visiting the Manor itself is included in your ticket, and there are lots of stairs, but nothing of value for a small child to break. There are also some carefully thought of child-centered art pieces throughout to capture the minds of small ones (see photos below). The Manor also backs onto Walpole Park, with a children’s playground and cafes, so plenty of lovely activities and places to relax in the area.
Feeding space: I think you could find a space if you needed to, however, they have their cafes nearby and if good weather Walpole Park on the doorstep too.
Entrance: step free and all on one level. Stairs inside the manor if you access that: you are able to leave your buggy by reception.
2) Alison Jacques- Berners St, Oxford Street tube
We have seen a couple of exhibitions here now, and I love that when we arrive we are always greeted by a lovely lady on their reception desk. It’s a small but friendly space. There is a large room downstairs, a smaller room next to it which may/may not be able to take your pram, and on the 2 occasions we have been, it’s either been just us alone, or us and one other person. A super one to try out for in this list of “London art galleries with toddler” options.
There’s also an upstairs: though the stairs are slightly hidden which is handy, if you have a child who like LM is stairs obsessed!
Feeding space: no benches to sit, but definite corners you could park yourself down and quietly feed. We did!
Entrance: has 2 wide, fairly deep steps but still easy to manage solo with a pram. I was able to bounce the pram up and down on entrance and exit independently.
3) Sadie Coles HQ, Carnaby St, Oxford Street tube (we admired the work of Multi Artists in: “What do you see, People Gazing At Me”, January 2022
This upstairs space is totally HUGE, so it’s great for little ones letting off steam. The exhibit we went to, as per photos below, was a bit of a risk, as had many sculptures at little hands level. However, apart from trying to stroke the lady in the middle photos hair, we really didn’t have any problems which was brilliant!
Feeding space: The upstairs is so so large, that if you needed to sit and fit your child, whilst there aren’t any benches, you could easily do so.
Entrance: Is one level, and you can leave buggy downstairs: there is a big flight of stairs to carry yourself/child up if required.
4) Josh Lilley London, Oxford Street Tube (we saw Rachel McClean’s “That Not Me” in January 2022)
This lovely little gallery is just round the corner from Alison Jacques. It’s on street level, and has stairs leading down to another part. We were treated so warmly here, allowed to leave buggy to one side, and they were very good humoured about LM repeatedly trying to climb the stairs into their little office! It’s a gorgeous one to try for your first of hopefully many London art galleries with toddler!
Feeding space: Not as easy to sit here away from the art as it’s a bit smaller and no benches at the time of our visit. We were alone when we visited though (mid week)
Entrance: 1 tiny, easy step.
5) Simon Lee Gallery, Green Park Tube (we saw Angela Bulloch’s “Rainbow Unicorn Rhombus”)
Again, lots of things for little hands to potentially touch: however apart from the middle photo and the luminous box above, LM didn’t touch anything else which was a huge welcome surprise.
The staff sit at the back of the space, and were really nice when we saw them. When we went downstairs, we were able to leave the buggy easily beside them.
Feeding space: No seating inside. If you got cut short, you could find somewhere (you need to do what you need to do at the end of the day) but this one would also be a bit tricky to find personal space in. It’s super near Green Park though if the weather is good (and Green Park tube having an extra win as a step free access station).
Entrance: Step free
6) Saatchi Yates, Green Park Tube (we saw Bijoo in March 2023)
We adored this exhibition- it’s a great one to add to this London art galleries with toddler list! Really large open venue, really nice staff as we came in. Our first time here, so we hope to be back to see other exhibitions! A really lovely feel to this bright and airy London art gallery.
Feeding Space: No benches inside.
Entrance: 2 steps to enter.
7) Lungley Gallery, Oxford Street tube (we saw Relic Garden by Lana Locke in March 2023)
A very tiny exhibition space, the size of a room. We showcased this one on our Instagram, as part of a trio of central London galleries we visited that day (taking in Saatchi Yates and Sophie Tea Art that morning also). We were warmly welcomed by the staff there, and given a brochure about the exhibition we were seeing, which also happened to be immersive: perfect for LM.
Feeding space: Absolutely zilch room for it! Plenty of coffee shops nearby though.
Entrance: one step in at street level, and then up several flights of stairs. There is space for 1-2 prams max at the bottom of the stairs.
8) Sophie Tea Art, Oxford Street Tube, Carnaby Street
This is such a fab space for little ones. There’s places to sit, and it’s ok if they touch many things, and you get a lovely warm welcome from the staff here. We were able to leave our pram by the reception area, and there are a couple of mini flights of stairs to walk down. I particularly enjoyed the Smeg Fridge room! And LM loved writing with the pink pen on the mirror and using the telephones 🙂
Feeding space: couches within that you’re welcome to sit on, both up and downstairs. I don’t think they’d mind you feeding here at all.
Entrance: step free
Hopefully this was a really useful “London art galleries with toddler” round-up! The Central London ones are within easy walking of each other which is also super helpful and we enjoyed each of these galleries honestly so much. LM has been exposed to London art galleries since baby days, and I absolutely love having an art gallery morning and planning our routes!
Do you already take your little one to art galleries, and how is it for you? I love that what we have in London is mostly free (we paid only for the Pitzhanger exhibit of the above mentioned exhibits, which was totally worth it) and that as a “new mum” or a mum who’s kind of got the hang of it by now, you and your child can both get something very valuable from these visits.