Phew, that title was a bit of a mouthful. Yes, it’s BFLF time again and this time it was somewhere I’ve always wanted to go to but never got round to – Museum of London Docklands. It’s just kinda out of the way, but I’ve heard great things. So when BFLF invited us out there, it seemed like the perfect opportunity to check out the museum and have some BigFish fun at the same time.
It was also the perfect opportunity to find the secret entrance to the DLR part of Bank station. Last time I took the DLR, Eva and I walked miles to find the platform and Reuben wasn’t with us, despite me repeatedly yesterday that he was (“You remember, Reuben When we went to Mudchute. You remember!” He didn’t remember. Cause he wasn’t there.) So this time, I wanted to see if we could find it a little quicker. All kudos to this blog for helping me out.
It took us a little while to find it but there is indeed a secret entrance to the DLR on King William Street, right next to Starbucks. It’s a lift down to the Northern Line lobby, and it’s intended for customers with a disability or a pushchair, which makes you feel a tad guilty if you have neither. But I see myself as an trailblazer, cutting through the overgrown vines of the Square Mile to bring you new and improved step-free routes. So if you call this lift (and I believe there is an actual person who needs to send it up to you), you can descend to another set of lifts, which then take you to the top of the DLR escalator…and I think there is even a third lift for that part. Then once you’re on the DLR, the world is your step-free Oyster. We’d walked from Liverpool Street (the Central Line for one stop is just not even worth the hassle) so ta-da; step-free all the way from Highams Park to Westferry. You’re welcome.
The next challenge was to the find the museum from the DLR station, as it wasn’t immediately obvious. Luckily another family were looking equally clueless and we eavesdropped as they were given directions by a native. You basically follow the blue cycle path, circle round onto the main road and u-turn back on yourself by the cinema and this brings you out at the back of the museum. It sounds complicated but it was a 4 minute walk, according to Google. Go around the side of the big brown building and this is where it brings you out:
Entrance to the museum is on the left there.
So we’d successfully navigated Docklands. Win! There were also lockers to put all our coats, hats and spare clothes in (we’ll come back to the spare clothes). Now for some partying. We had our usual BFLF arrangement of chasing a child each, though Nathan’s job was complicated this time by not having a child that slept through the whole thing.
This time he took Roo to the craft table and I took Eva to the dancefloor. Typically though, she was most interested in posing with her own shadow:
After a while, she asked to go to the Mudlarks children’s area, which is an interactive play gallery. There is pirate theme dressing up:
Giant lego bricks (this is a superhero, apparently):
And a substantial soft play area, though this is only for under 5s so she was fine but Reuben wouldn’t be. I noticed a curtain that went round the whole thing so presumably you could mark it as off-bounds if a school group went in there. I don’t think Roo went to this bit at all, but there was a lot of stuff he would have liked in there even if he had to stay off the soft play frame. Possibly not worth the risk of meltdown though.
Soon, she was all tired out and needed a drink of water, which I mention only because of the beautiful water dispenser in the cafe:
There was lots more to do in the basement, so we went downstairs in search of a hula-hooping mermaid. When we found her, Eva declared that she had a “fake tail” because it was a pair of “swimming jeans with scales on”. Still, she had awesome hula-hopping skills and she was ready to teach tiny mermaid wannabes:
That room also had a kaleidoscope screen, which Eva loved standing in front of. Look of the millions of Mummies and Evas!
As with everything that involves looking at herself, I had to drag her away. But there was one more room to investigate…and this one involved fluorescent paint!
At this point, I took off her newish white skirt…although we still ended up with paint everywhere. Even on her newish white coat, which at that moment was still in our locker. It may have had something to do with her fish.
Sadly, I didn’t get a photo of the fish…,but I can get one any time because she yuvved it so much she made me carry it home all the way back to HP. She painted it reallly thickly with fluorescent paint, which looked good under the UV lights of the Under the Sea room but looked a bit brownish in the daylight. It didn’t dry for a long time. I’m not sure it’s dry now.
The idea was you painted a fish and stuck it on the wall, but you could also just paint on the wall as well. This is my handiwork:
The floor was covered in shredded paper, for messy play and there may have been a few children buried under the piles. I’m not sure. It was dark. Lots of fun though. So much fun that we missed the parachute dance, even though HannahBFLF came down to tell everyone about it. Reuben was disappointed when we went back upstairs, but hey – he was busy adding his own fluorescent fish to the wall.
We got upstairs just as the party was finishing – I barely got to do any dancing but that’s the way of things when you kids are old enough to know their own minds. As the lights went up, they were stubbornly making playdough shapes at the playdough table and we once again had to drag them away. Still, it was a great afternoon.
On the way back, we sat at the very back of the wizard train, looking out. I wouldn’t recommend it, as I felt distinctly sick going backwards into Bank station. The kids thought it was fun though. And it took Eva’s mind off trapping her fingers in the lift door at Westferry. Who says we don’t show them a good time?
The Museum was ace by the way – we’ll go back there another time when it’s a bit calmer. Though it won’t quite be the same without the hula hooping mermaid…