How to improve holidays with children

Beat the boredom: take a kid-friendly tour

Hands up if you've ever traipsed around a gallery with a whinging child or three in tow? I bet you've done it at least once, because you believed (mistakenly) that becoming a parent didn't have to mean giving up ever doing anything interesting.



We all know that children and galleries don't mix. I only have to set foot in one and my little Botticelli cherubs are running ransack, leaving a trail of devastation in their wake. And when they're fed up with doing that, they announce in loud voices to anyone and everyone that they're "bored with a capital B".

So why put myself (and them) through it? Call me old-fashioned, but I still cling to the notion that going on holiday can be about soaking up a bit of culture as well as a lot of sun. Having done some homework, I've discovered that many galleries and museums now offer guided tours specifically for children.

Take your kids to the Louvre and you can book them on one that is tailor-made to meet their needs (00 33 6 73 77 33 52; parismuse.com). This isn't just any old guided tour; your family has its very own English-speaking guide whose "treasure hunt" through the exhibits promises to get your offspring so excited about everything from Egyptian masterpieces to Da Vinci that they won't want to leave.

Children's tours are now features at galleries all over the globe. New York's Museum of Modern Art (00 1 212 708 9400; moma.org) is well known for its host of activities for tiny tearaways, but there are other, lesser-known offerings out there. Edinburgh's Royal Museum of Scotland (0131-247 4422; explore-edinburgh.com) holds kids' tours every weekend.

But my favourite of all is offered at the Tate Modern (020-7887 8008; tate.org.uk), which has a brilliant audio narration by children's author Michael Rosen. It lasts just long enough to give your little treasures a taste of everything from Monet to Munch.

The great thing about these tours is that your children actually learn something. When my elder son's teacher asked if anyone knew who painted the Mona Lisa, he was the only one with his hand up. The fact that he said Leonardo DiCaprio is beside the point - he was half-right, after all. And for now, that's enough to keep me happy - with a capital H.

KATY'S TOP TIP

Look out for 'Where's the ME in Museum: Going to Museums with Children' (Vandamere Press, £15.99), a handy book for culture vultures with kids.

Katy Holland is deputy editor of 'Mother and Baby' and motherandbabymagazine.com. She has written several books on childcare.

The Independent travel offers: Discover a world of inspiring destinations

Voices
On the last day of campaigning before the polling booths open, the SNP leader has written to voters in a final attempt to convince them to vote for independence
scotland decidesIs a huge gamble on oil keeping First Minister up at night?
Arts and Entertainment
Rosalind Buckland, the inspiration for Cider with Rosie died this week
booksBut what is it like to be the person who inspires a classic work of art?
Life and Style
techApple has just launched its latest mobile operating software – so what should you do first?
News
A male driver reverses his Vauxhall Astra from a tow truck
newsThe 'extremely dangerous' attempt to avoid being impounded has been heavily criticised
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment
Lionel Messi in action for Barcelona
filmSo what makes the little man tick?
Arts and Entertainment
tvReview: An undercooked end (spoiler alert)
News
i100
Travel
ebookHow to enjoy the perfect short break in 20 great cities
Arts and Entertainment
Pharrell dismissed the controversy surrounding
musicThe singer said 'the last thing I want to do is degrade'
Sport
Cesc Fabregas celebrates his first Chelsea goal
footballChelsea vs Schalke match report
Arts and Entertainment
Toby Jones (left) and Mackenzie Crook in BBC4’s new comedy The Detectorists
tvMackenzie Crook's 'Detectorists' makes the hobby look 'dysfunctional', they say
Life and Style
fashion

Olympic diver has made his modelling debut for Adidas

News
i100
Independent Travel Videos
Independent Travel Videos
Simon Calder in Amsterdam
Independent Travel Videos
Simon Calder in Giverny
Independent Travel Videos
Simon Calder in St John's
Independent Travel Videos
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs Travel

    IT Administrator - Graduate

    £18000 Per Annum: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd: ***EXCELLENT OPPORTUNITY FO...

    USA/Florida Travel Consultants £30-50k OTE Essex

    Basic of £18,000 + commission, realistic OTE of £30-£50k : Ocean Holidays: Le...

    Marketing Executive / Member Services Exec

    £20 - 26k + Benefits: Guru Careers: A Marketing Executive / Member Services Ex...

    Sales Account Manager

    £15,000 - £25,000: Recruitment Genius: A fantastic opportunity has arisen for ...

    Day In a Page

    Mystery of the Ground Zero wedding photo

    A shot in the dark

    Mystery of the wedding photo from Ground Zero
    His life, the universe and everything

    His life, the universe and everything

    New biography sheds light on comic genius of Douglas Adams
    Save us from small screen superheroes

    Save us from small screen superheroes

    Shows like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D are little more than marketing tools
    Reach for the skies

    Reach for the skies

    From pools to football pitches, rooftop living is looking up
    These are the 12 best hotel spas in the UK

    12 best hotel spas in the UK

    Some hotels go all out on facilities; others stand out for the sheer quality of treatments
    These Iranian-controlled Shia militias used to specialise in killing American soldiers. Now they are fighting Isis, backed up by US airstrikes

    Widespread fear of Isis is producing strange bedfellows

    Iranian-controlled Shia militias that used to kill American soldiers are now fighting Isis, helped by US airstrikes
    Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

    Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

    Shoppers don't come to Topshop for the unique
    How to make a Lego masterpiece

    How to make a Lego masterpiece

    Toy breaks out of the nursery and heads for the gallery
    Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

    Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

    Urbanites are cursed with an acronym pointing to Employed but No Disposable Income or Savings
    Paisley’s decision to make peace with IRA enemies might remind the Arabs of Sadat

    Ian Paisley’s decision to make peace with his IRA enemies

    His Save Ulster from Sodomy campaign would surely have been supported by many a Sunni imam
    'She was a singer, a superstar, an addict, but to me, her mother, she is simply Amy'

    'She was a singer, a superstar, an addict, but to me, her mother, she is simply Amy'

    Exclusive extract from Janis Winehouse's poignant new memoir
    Is this the role to win Cumberbatch an Oscar?

    Is this the role to win Cumberbatch an Oscar?

    The Imitation Game, film review
    England and Roy Hodgson take a joint step towards redemption in Basel

    England and Hodgson take a joint step towards redemption

    Welbeck double puts England on the road to Euro 2016
    Relatives fight over Vivian Maier’s rare photos

    Relatives fight over Vivian Maier’s rare photos

    Pictures removed from public view as courts decide ownership
    ‘Fashion has to be fun. It’s a big business, not a cure for cancer’

    ‘Fashion has to be fun. It’s a big business, not a cure for cancer’

    Donatella Versace at New York Fashion Week