British children are culture starved, study says

Child playing the flute The study found 39% of children were learning an instrument

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Millions of British children are "culture starved" as they have never been to an art gallery, theatre or museum, a study has claimed.

The research, commissioned by Visit Birmingham, found four in 10 children had never been to an art gallery, while a quarter of parents had never taken their offspring to the theatre.

One in five parents said they did not think their child would be interested.

The study surveyed 2,000 parents of five to 12-year-olds around the UK.

It also found 17% of children had never visited a museum, while one in 10 had not been outside their home town to visit other sites in the UK.

Half of parents said they made little effort to educate their children about culture or history and relied on schools to do so.

A quarter said they could not afford to visit attractions with 28% saying they did not have the time and 18% believed their child was "too young for culture".

However half said they were more likely to take their children sight-seeing when they were abroad on holiday.

When asked what cultural activities their children had participated in, the most popular was learning an instrument (39%), with ballet (24%), painting (23%) and singing in a choir (22%) the next most popular activities.

Just over a fifth of children were learning a foreign language.

Emma Gray, from Marketing Birmingham, which runs the Visit Birmingham campaign, said it was important for all generations to embrace cultural activity.

"Culture can take many kinds of forms and it's essential our children are encouraged to get involved with this at any early age," she said.

"A few trips during the year to museums, landmarks or even cultural festivals will prove to be memorable, informative and fun occasions for youngsters."

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