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Must visit Museums and art galleries

(69 Posts)
Gunznroses Sun 25-Nov-12 20:26:07

I would like to take dc (11 and 9)to visit some educational places, so far we've been to the natural science and History museums, we've been to the Tate modern ds1 thoroughly enjoyed the works of Damien Hirst.Im trying to make a list of more places to visit but there seems to be so many museums (some miles away and dont seem worth the journey).

I dont mind a couple of hrs drive but want to seem something worthwhile at the end and not just some old broken crockery from medieval times iyswim. There are some very small museums but that contain very interesting things like the Lowewood museum in hoddesdon. Ive also just spotted "Roald dahl museum in aylesbury, anyone been there ?

Can anyone recommend a list of interesting museums or art galleries that they have been to that would really add value educationally and isint just a few dustry old cups sprinkled around followed by a visit to the tea and cake shop grin

dinkybinky Mon 26-Nov-12 14:46:59

What about stately homes? Hatfield House and Knebworth are both worth a visit.

dotty2 Mon 26-Nov-12 14:56:44

Your DD is a bit old for the Katie books, but we had a wonderful 30 minutes in the National Gallery recently, going to see just 3 or 4 paintings my dds (5 and 7) had seen in the books. And I think in general, if you're going somewhere free so don't have to worry about value for money, that is a great way to see an art gallery - just plan to see a few things and stop at anything else that catches your eye.

For others with younger children, this is £10 well spent, though the narrative's a bit clunky.

Hertfordshire is not the richest bit of the country for museums - too near London. Many northern cities have stronger museums (because of civic pride in the nineteenth century, mostly, and wanting to make sure people didn't miss out because they were a long way from London). Hull, Newcastle, Leeds, York, Manchester and especially Liverpool all have some fabulous museums, if you ever fancy a cheap night in a Premier Inn.

mimbleandlittlemy Mon 26-Nov-12 15:07:52

HMS Great Britain in Bristol is terrific, and you can also do Bristol Zoo which is great on conservation and also has a good high ropes course in the summer over the tops of some of the animal cages which my ds really enjoys.

I'd also really recommend getting a family rail card and taking the trip up to York. If you get the 8am train from King's Cross you are in York at 9.49. Walk straight to the excellent train museum, then round the walls of the city, go to Yorvik Viking Centre, the undercroft of the Minster for the Roman city, the Minster itself, up and down the streets for a good feeling of a medieval/tudor city, the to Clifford's Tower with its great views, on to the main Museum for the Victorians and a bit of exciting stuff about highway men, Betty's for tea and back on the train to London just after 6pm, knackered and happy! We've done it a couple of times and it's always been a huge highlight.

LAlady Mon 26-Nov-12 17:19:19

A lot of the ones I would recommend have already been listed, not sure if the Milestones museum in Basingstoke has though. Excellent living history museum - really worth a visit.

alcofrolic Mon 26-Nov-12 18:14:20

Mary Rose.

Wilding Mon 26-Nov-12 18:24:01

Not ideal for this time of year perhaps, but Blists Hill Victorian Town, Acton Scott Historic Working Farm and the Weald & Downland Open Air Museum are all awesome. The Tate Britain has some of my all-time favourite paintings, and Sir John Soames' museum and The Wallace Collection are a couple of more quirky museums in London with an interesting assortment of art.

kensingtonkat Mon 26-Nov-12 18:33:28

I would seriously question the wisdom of anyone taking a small child to the Pitt Rivers. It's terrifying as an adult. It's not cutesy NHM-style animatronics, they have ACTUAL SHRUNKEN HUMAN HEADS and abnormal mammalian foetuses preserved in jars of formaldehyde shock. Great for older kids who like a bit of blood and gore, I suppose.

The Ashmolean museum has had a massive refit and now exhibits in themes, not by chronology or geography. It's brilliant, and the cafe on the roof is heaven on a sunny day.

Geffrye Museum - domestic rooms preserved from previous centuries. Like going to Ikea but backwards into the past grin.

lostintoys Mon 26-Nov-12 18:36:40

The armour collection at the Wallace Collection is fantastic for boys and there's a room where children can try on replica armour. DS had a wonderful time. And it's free.

Startail Mon 26-Nov-12 18:42:38

Can I second The SS Great Britain, It is really well done. Something to appeal to all ages, even DD2 at her most cynical enjoyed it.

lateSeptember1964 Mon 26-Nov-12 18:50:51

Took mine to Churchills War Rooms. They thought it was great. Also the Dahl Museum at Great Missenden.

Xenia Mon 26-Nov-12 18:51:57

After Natural History and Science one in London (free) I second the Chiltern open air one (on a warm day).

Kew Gardens is lovely too but that's not a museum.

LadyIsabellaWrotham Mon 26-Nov-12 19:07:09

Ironbridge (including Blists Hill) is really fun and educational about the Industrial Revolution. Of the London museums the Museum of London and MofL in Docklands are frequently overlooked but really strong educationally for that age group.

LadyIsabellaWrotham Mon 26-Nov-12 19:07:45

Oh, and has anyone suggested Chatham Naval Dockyards?

3b1g Mon 26-Nov-12 19:16:37

Chiltern Open Air museum is best when they have an activity day or something going on.

The National Space Centre in Leicestershire is an amazing day out and well worth the journey. Entry price includes Planetarium show.

Totally agree that Techniquest is great. The Lookout Discovery Centre in Bracknell has many of the same exhibits and would be closer for you.

RAF Hendon and Duxford are both good days out if you're into lots of aeronautic stuff.

Noobo Mon 26-Nov-12 20:02:41

Actually Xenia I think Kew does qualify as a "museum" as it holds collections of plants and has the royal palace and the pagoda amongst other things. They also have quite a nice playground (though more for younger children) and a carousel at Xmas etc. My DD's have been to some really amazing events there over the years such as pumpkin and wood carving.

Forgot to mention the London Wetland centre in Barnes. Probably not for OP as too far, but a fabulous half day out and a lot of pond related activities for kids.

OP are you anywhere near St Albans? My DD's really enjoyed the Roman Museum when they were the same age as your kids, again we went on a weekend when they had special events for kids.

Pyrrah Mon 26-Nov-12 22:29:29

I have a very macbre DD (3.6) who likes things like the 'Trench Experience' and 'Britain in the Blitz' bits of the Imperial War Museum.

She is also a big fan of The Hunterian Museum at the Royal College of Surgeons. It is full of creatures in bottles - human and otherwise - and nasty diseased bits. A doctor friend of mine took her 2.5 year-old who also enjoyed it (she's very grown-up for 2.5 - seems more like a 4 year-old).

In the same area is the John Soane Museum which is fun - but only before or after the 'Don't Touch' stage.

Others that we do regularly are:

Museum of London
Museum of London - Docklands
National Maritime Museum - Greenwich
Science Museum
Natural History Museum
National Army Museum
Museum of Transport
Horniman Museum

Pitt Rivers in Oxford is fantastic.

3b1g Mon 26-Nov-12 22:33:31

Pyrrah: your DD would love the Natural History Museum at Tring!

HazeltheMcWitch Mon 26-Nov-12 22:39:29

I love Tring also, as do my DCs. HAve been guilty of some very LOUD PARENTING there blush

It's great as you can get up close - although still separated by glass cases - and see, eg the gorilla's hand, and how like ours it is.

And if a child likes an element of gore, you can look at the crappy sewing on the lion, and discuss how it might have been stuffed.

Roald Dahl museam is great for little ones, but I think (OP), an 11yo might be bored. There are some lovely little exhibits to play on, that are great if a) you've read the books, or b) you're of a sciencey bent: as RD was a bit of an inventor, this is honoured in exhibits that play around with mirrors, old fashioned animationy things. Might be worth a trip from Herts, but not really father afield.

BikeRunSki Mon 26-Nov-12 22:45:14

OK, miles away for you, but if you are ever passing through Yorkshire, you must visit the Yorkshire Sculpture Park. It's 5 mins off the M1, so even if you are just passing whilst headed elsewhere it's worth a stop.

ISeeSmallPeople Mon 26-Nov-12 22:47:58

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

ISeeSmallPeople Mon 26-Nov-12 22:48:49

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

AuntySib Mon 26-Nov-12 22:53:07

Stansted Mountfitchet ( medieval village plus dinosuars and a toy museum) M11
Science Museum
Steam M<useum - Kew
Bodiam castle ( Tenterden station, then steam train to castle)
Geffrye museum
Museum of London ( not too big)
RAF Museum, hendon
Sutton House (Hackney?)
St Albans Roman Museum

Pyrrah Mon 26-Nov-12 23:00:03

Adds Tring to Museums to Visit list...

I should probably worry about my daughter's interest in the ghoulish - I have managed to convince her that she wouldn't really enjoy the London Dungeons, although she did like the Clink.

One that I think is a bit of a disappointment is the V&A Museum of Childhood - especially since it's not the easiest to get to.

The Weald & Downland Open Air Museum is fabulous - I haven't been in donkeys, but loved it as a teenager.

Oooh, Bodiam Castle - amazing place and the biggest goldfish in the world in the moat. We told my brother that they ate children who fell in and he was scared of it for years.

BikeRunSki Mon 26-Nov-12 23:00:05

ISeeSmallPeople I live three miles away, I am a Friend and am there at least once a week. DS has a very precocious understanding of modern sculpture for a 4 yo offspring of two scientists!

hardboiled Mon 26-Nov-12 23:00:59

All the above in London, but if they like art, we have also spent hours at the National Gallery, National Portrait Gallery and Tate Gallery with a sketch book and a pencil. National Gallery runs good art workshops too every weekend - lasting about 2 hours max.

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