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Dinosaur Isle, Isle of Wight

Dinosaur Isle, Isle of Wight

Museums

If you haven’t been to a museum in years for fear of drab venues and broken pots in glass cases, you may be interested to hear that museums in England have been transported into the 21st century. Prepare yourself for a surprise as the South East has some of the most dynamic museums in England, with more than 300 options across the region.

In place of stuffy rooms and wardens shushing for quiet, you’ll find inspirational and interactive spaces with engaging and accessible exhibits from retro cars to animatronics. Whether you’re into heritage, maritime, wildlife, or sport, you’re bound to find a museum that’s right up your street.

The South East is home to two brilliant Dockyards: Portsmouth Historic Dockyard in Hampshire and The Historic Dockyard Chatham in Kent. Discover maritime history onboard some of the most famous war ships in British Naval history and find out what life was like for sailors in years gone by.

Car enthusiasts won’t want to miss the world-famous National Motor Museum at Beaulieu in Hampshire’s New Forest. See one of the largest car collections held by any of the museums in England, with 250 cars of every age including land speed record-breakers Golden Arrow and Bluebird.

Many of Britain’s best-loved authors lived in the South East and found the region inspirational for their work. Explore the Jane Austen House Museum in Hampshire, the  house where Jane Austen wrote some of her famous novels, and visit the many locations in Kent that tell of the life and works of Charles Dickens, such as the Guildhall Museum in Rochester and the Dickens House Museum.

Other museums in the South East that will help expand your curiosity include the Ashmolean Museum and the River & Rowing Museum, both in Oxfordshire; Mercedes-Benz World in Surrey; Dinosaur Isle on the Isle of Wight; The Roald Dahl Museum and Story Centre in Buckinghamshire; and The Look Out Discovery Centre in Berkshire.

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  1. Add Mary Rose Museum to your Itinerary

    Mary Rose Museum

    Type

    Museum

    Location

    Portsmouth


    New £27m Mary Rose Museum open 31 May 2013: The famous Tudor warship to finally reveal all her secrets 500 years after she sank


    The ship that captured the world’s imagination when she was raised from the seabed in 1982 now has a museum built around her, reuniting the ship with its contents...

  2. Add Kent Life to your Itinerary

    Kent Life

    Type

    Museum

    Location

    Maidstone

    Kent’s premier heritage farm park will soon be launched into a new era with several developments on the cards between April and July, including brand new costumed characters and a baa-rilliant Sheep Festival!

  3. Add Winchester's Military Museums to your Itinerary

    Winchester's Military Museums

    Type

    Museum

    Location

    Winchester

    Five splendid military museums on an historic site with Visitor Centre, café displays and activities to interest all the family.

  4. Add Buckinghamshire Railway Centre to your Itinerary

    Buckinghamshire Railway Centre

    Type

    Railway

    Location

    Nr Aylesbury

    Large collection of railway relics including, steam locomotives, railway carriages and equipment. Steam train rides available.

  5. Add Old Town Hall Museum to your Itinerary

    Old Town Hall Museum

    Type

    Museum

    Location

    Hastings

    Housed in a Regency town hall, the displays include seaside holidays, wartime, fishing, Victorian life, smuggling, Titus Oates, the Cinque Ports and the Hastings mint.

  6. Add Leeds Castle to your Itinerary

    Leeds Castle

    Type

    Castle / Fort

    Location

    Maidstone

    Just 4 miles south of Maidstone, Leeds Castle is one of the best preserved historic castles in South East England, as well as one of the most iconic.

  7. Add Royal Engineers Museum to your Itinerary

    Royal Engineers Museum

    Type

    Museum

    Location

    Gillingham

    There is something for all the family. Zulu War items, Boer War, World Wars I and II, planes, trains, tanks, bridges, bombs, 25 galleries.

  8. Add RAF Manston History Museum to your Itinerary

    RAF Manston History Museum

    Type

    Museum

    Location

    Ramsgate

    Aircraft and exhibits illustrating the history of the airfield at Manston from 1916 to the present day.

  9. Add Marlipins Museum to your Itinerary

    Marlipins Museum

    Type

    Museum

    Location

    Shoreham-by-Sea

    Twelfth-century secular building with unusual architectural features. Housing the museum of the history of Shoreham as a port, and a film centre in the early 20th century. Includes maritime paintings, models and special exhibitions.

  10. Add Arundel Museum  to your Itinerary

    Arundel Museum

    Type

    Museum

    Location

    Mill Road, Arundel

    Crown Yard Mews is the temporary home of the Museum and Information Point, as a brand new , Heritage Lottery Funded Museum is due to be built in Mill Road