Where can you find interactive Victorian workshops for children in London?

Across the city of London, there is a vast array of resources available for those wishing to educate and entertain their children, particularly in the field of history. From the early medieval period right through to the end of the Second World War, the capital offers a diverse range of opportunities for learning. Yet, there's a particular era that continues to capture the imaginations of young learners: the Victorian age. This time in Britain's history, spanning from 1837 to 1901, was a period of immense change and progress, making it a fascinating subject for children to explore.

One of the most effective ways to engage children in learning about the Victorians is through interactive workshops. These sessions, often held in historically significant locations or museums, allow children to 'travel in time', experiencing first-hand the sights, sounds and activities of the Victorian era. In this article, we'll explore some of the key locations in London where you can find these highly engaging educational experiences.

The Ragged School Museum

Nestled on the edge of the Regent's Canal in East London, the Ragged School Museum offers a vivid and immersive journey into the world of a Victorian classroom. Here, children can take part in a 'Victorian Classroom' workshop, where they can experience the strict discipline, traditional curriculum, and austere surroundings familiar to Victorian schoolchildren.

The workshop is led by an actor in period costume, who takes on the role of the stern schoolmaster or schoolmistress. Pupils are encouraged to dress in Victorian-style clothing, and the session includes chalkboard lessons, reading from the King James Bible, and even singing hymns. It's a unique opportunity for children to experience the stark contrast between their own school day and that of their Victorian counterparts.

The Charles Dickens Museum

The Charles Dickens Museum, situated in the author's former home on Doughty Street, offers a fascinating insight into both the life of Dickens and the wider Victorian era. Here, the 'Victorian Home Life' workshop allows children to step into the shoes of a Victorian servant, exploring the day-to-day tasks and duties that would have been their responsibility.

Children will get the chance to handle genuine Victorian objects, learn about the etiquette and manners of the Victorian upper classes, and even try their hand at some typical Victorian household tasks. It's a great way to bring the realities of Victorian social history to life.

The Museum of London

The Museum of London, located in the heart of the city, offers a range of interactive workshops focusing on different aspects of Victorian life. One of the most popular is the 'Victorian London' workshop, where children can learn about the key historical events, significant people and major changes that took place in London during the Victorian era.

This workshop involves a variety of interactive activities, including handling artefacts, role-play, and group discussions. It provides an excellent way for children to develop a deeper understanding of this pivotal time in London's history.

The Foundling Museum

The Foundling Museum tells the story of the Foundling Hospital, London's first home for abandoned children. The 'Victorian Foundling' workshop focuses on the experiences of the children who lived there during the Victorian era, using original sources and artefacts to explore their lives.

During the session, pupils will engage with a range of historical sources, including photographs, objects, and documents, as they build a picture of a Victorian child's life. This workshop provides a unique perspective on the Victorian era, focusing on the experiences of some of the era's most vulnerable individuals.

Online Victorian Workshops

Finally, for those unable to travel to London or those preferring to learn from home, several organisations offer online Victorian workshops. These sessions allow children to explore the Victorian era from the comfort of their own home, using interactive elements such as virtual tours, video clips, and downloadable resources.

One such resource is the BBC's 'Victorian Britain' online learning module, which includes a range of activities and resources related to Victorian history. As with the physical workshops, these online sessions provide an engaging and immersive way for children to engage with the Victorian era, bringing the past vividly to life in their own living room.

The Royal Collection Trust

The Royal Collection Trust offers several Victorian-themed workshops for children, set in and around some of the most significant locations from Queen Victoria's reign. From Buckingham Palace to Windsor Castle, these historic settings offer an ideal backdrop for a time-travelling Victorian adventure.

One particularly engaging session is the 'Victorian School Day' workshop. Held at Windsor Castle, this workshop takes children on a journey back in time to experience a day in the life of a Victorian school child. The session is interactive, with pupils participating in a range of activities such as penmanship lessons with authentic quills, arithmetic drills, and even a traditional Victorian PE lesson.

Moreover, the 'Florence Nightingale: The Lady with the Lamp' workshop allows children to delve into the life and work of the iconic Victorian nurse. It provides an exciting opportunity to learn about her impact on nursing and public health during the Victorian era. The workshop combines storytelling, role-play and object handling to create an immersive and educational experience.

The London Museum of Water & Steam

The London Museum of Water & Steam offers a 'Victorian Washday' workshop aimed at Key Stage 2 pupils. The session takes children on a journey through the living memory of a Victorian laundress, providing a close-up view of life during this period.

The hands-on workshop involves various activities such as handling artefacts, washing clothes using a dolly and tub, and understanding the function and operation of the steam engines. It's an excellent way to engage children in the fascinating history of water and steam technology during the Victorian era and its significant role in the Industrial Revolution.


Whether it's a day-trip to a museum or an online workshop from the comfort of home, London boasts a wide array of opportunities for children to immerse themselves in the Victorian era. The interactive nature of these workshops allows children to engage in a form of 'time travel', fostering a stronger connection with the past and a deeper understanding of this rapid period of change and progress.

From the stern discipline of a Victorian school workshop at the Ragged School Museum to the life and work of Florence Nightingale at the Royal Collection Trust, the resources available cater to a wide range of interests and learning styles. Moreover, the use of online workshops ensures that no child misses out on these enriching experiences, regardless of geographical location or current circumstances. London truly is a treasure trove for those eager to explore the vibrant history of the Victorian era.

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