The Museum of Water and Steam is my pick for the best place in London to take your littlest Steampunks. There are fun, hands-on exhibits about the water cycle, as well as info about the history of harnessing the Thames and combatting the Cholera outbreaks through London’s history. But the most exciting parts of the museum complex are room after room of awesome steam engines. In the courtyard there are some smaller engines as well as a station to make giant bubbles in the afternoon– another plus for kids. There is also a replica of a Victorian-era workshop where all the machines run on the same belt system (the original workshop was destroyed during the Blitz), and they offer tours.
There is also a nice little cafe that was recently redone and sports mechanical stuff for decorations and china teapots for your afternoon cuppa. The gift shop area has some cute stuff as well as more than one book about the history of steam power that I wanted to add to my shelf.
Tips for Visiting the Museum of Water and Steam:
- They don’t run all the engines every day, so it is a good idea to check their website before you visit. I went on a bank holiday, which is one time they do make a point of running the engines. When you buy your tickets they give you a schedule of the tours and engine schedule.
- If you are intending to drive you should aim for early in the day because the parking lot isn’t huge. There is room for maybe 25 cars.
- There is free Wi-Fi, you just have to ask at the counter for the password.
- If the cafe is too busy to get a table there is a Costa Coffee a couple of blocks away.