Elmer and Friends: The Colourful World of David McKee

Welcome Back!  

Book Now for general admission – Thursday to Monday 10am to 4pm – including the NEW John Piper display, Café, Shop and all galleries.

Last chance to see Elmer and Friends Exhibition – extended until 21 June.

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Elmer and Friends Exhibition

“Fans of children’s literature are going to be blown away by the whole exhibition.” Sarah Lawrence, Collections Director, Seven Stories

There’s no better way to celebrate the reopening of the Museum than the triumphant return of Elmer and Friends: The Colourful World of David McKee. This joyful exhibition celebrates the feelgood world of illustrator and author McKee.

The exhibition from Seven Stories, The National Centre for Children’s Books and celebrates 30 years of Elmer the Patchwork Elephant and includes special reading spaces to pour over these favourite stories, as well as the opportunity to explore Elmer’s jungle and, as if by magic, to enter Mr Benn’s costume shop. Or simply immerse yourself in the visual feast of original illustrations, many on display for the first time.

McKee, creator of classic books and characters including Mr Benn and Not Now, Bernard has been awarded Illustrator of the Year 2020 and was recipient of the Book Trust Lifetime Achievement Award.


21 June – Last day to visit Elmer and Friends before they march off to pastures new.

Sign up to enews to keep up to date with our latest information and for details of our online events programme.

Enhance your visit with our Elmer and Friends trails around the exhibition

For under 5s

This version of the Under 5s trail includes sound!

For 8yrs +

Don’t miss the blue birds taking you around the exhibition too.

Andersen PressSeven Stories National Centre for Children's Books

Visitor safety – Elmer exhibition

• For the safety of all our visitors, visitor numbers to the Elmer and Friends exhibition, as with general admission tickets, will be capped to facilitate social distancing – with a maximum of 8 people at one time in the Kirkham Gallery (nor more than 6 people per group or extended household bubble booking). Visitors are asked to respect social distancing at all times.

• To support social distancing, a one-way route is in place to guide visitors around the exhibition and the Museum.

• In line with Government Covid-19 guidance, face masks are mandatory across the Museum for visitors aged 11 or over. Please remember to bring face masks with you when you visit.

• Hand sanitiser stations will be located throughout the exhibition and the Museum will conduct a programme of regular cleaning of seating and contact areas.

Terms and conditions of booking

Our special exhibition, Elmer and Friends: The Colourful World of David McKee takes place in the Museum’s ground floor Kirkham Gallery (max of 8 people at one time). The Elmer and Friends experience then continues – via the Museum’s one-way route – in the Discover! area on the first floor. An accessible lift is available.

• Please choose a preferred time slot to book tickets for the exhibition. Advance booking is essential. Tickets sold online are valid only for the date stated selected.

• Please arrive promptly at the start of your chosen time slot – the time you have chosen to enter the exhibition in the Kirkham Gallery, where the exhibition starts, for a dwell time of 30 minutes. Your exhibition experience then continues upstairs in the Discover! area – an accessible lift is available.

• Please note that due to the anticipated popularity of the exhibition, we cannot guarantee exhibition entry after your chosen time slot. Should you wish to spend time in the Café ahead of your visit, please arrive early ahead of your exhibition entry time.

• Tickets are non-refundable. Tickets are also non-transferrable to other dates, times and visitors, with the  sole exception where Covid-19 prevents visitors taking up their visit at the booked time.

• Time slots are available throughout the day from 10am, with last entry to the exhibition at 2.30pm.

• Please book a ticket for each member of your party (including all children and under 4s) of up to a maximum of 6 people per household or support bubble. Once you have chosen and booked your time slot and tickets, your date and time slot will be included on your booking confirmation. For the safety of all our visitors, daily visitor numbers at the River & Rowing Museum will be capped to facilitate social distancing. Children under 16 will not be admitted without an adult.

• Tickets need to be booked in advance for all visitors including Annual Passholders, Friends (plus visitors accompanying Friends), Patrons and National Art Pass holders, who will all need to pre-book a time slot for visiting the exhibition. All valid membership cards must be shown at the time of entry. All tickets will be sold and booked on a first-come-first-served basis.

• Tickets for Elmer and Friends: The Colourful World of David McKee also enable same-visit access to the Museum’s other permanent galleries but entry to the Elmer exhibition in the Kirkham Gallery must be at the start of the timeslot chosen at booking stage in order to manage visitor safety and social distancing.

• Visitors are invited to extend their visit by spending time in the Museum’s permanent galleries (including Wind in the Willows) after their exhibition visit only. Entry to Wind in the Willows is strictly on a first come, first served basis and at times of popular demand and in order to manage visitor safety and social spacing, entry cannot always be guaranteed.

• Tickets do not guarantee car park entry and Museum parking charges are not included within the price.