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Jane Austen

Jane Austen

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 hundreds 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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Attractions

Fishbourne Roman Palace

Fishbourne Roman Palace

The remains of the largest domestic Roman building in Britain is displayed inside a cover building, with many impressive mosaic floors, underfloor...

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  1. Add Fishbourne Roman Palace to your Itinerary

    Fishbourne Roman Palace

    Type

    Historic Site

    Location

    Chichester

    Remains of the largest Roman domestic residence in Britain. Beautiful mosaics, museum, audio visual programme. Replanted Roman gardens and Roman gardening museum. Discounts for groups of 20+. Open Daily 1st February - 15th December.

  2. Add Museum of Oxford to your Itinerary

    Museum of Oxford

    Type

    Museum

    Location

    Oxford

    History of the city and university. Discover the cities earliest residents, medieval crafts, civil war stories, famous literary connections and the growth of a modern city.

  3. Add Portsmouth Museum to your Itinerary

    Portsmouth Museum

    Type

    Museum

    Location

    Portsmouth

    The City Museum is the Museum of and for the people of Portsmouth with exciting and varied displays.

  4. Add The Lightbox to your Itinerary

    The Lightbox

    Type

    Gallery

    Location

    Woking

  5. Add Otford Heritage Centre to your Itinerary

    Otford Heritage Centre

    Type

    Heritage / Visitor Centre

    Location

    Otford

    Models of Otford's Tudor Palace and 19th Century local aviators' glider compliment changing displays of the present and recent past,plus local geology and archeology, linked by the 56 foot illustrated timeline. Group visits by appointment.

  6. Willesborough Windmill

    Add Willesborough Windmill to your Itinerary

    Willesborough Windmill

    Type

    Heritage / Visitor Centre

    Location

    Ashford

    135 year old Smock Mill, in course of restoration. Miller's cottage, restored Hornsby 14hp gas oil engine which drives one pair of stones.

  7. Add SEARCH to your Itinerary

    SEARCH

    Type

    Museum

    Location

    Gosport

    SEARCH is Hampshire Museum's Hands-on Centre for History and Natural Sciences. Normally only open to pre-booked groups, SEARCH also offers occasional family open days and holiday workshops.

  8. Red House Museum and Gardens

    Type

    Museum

    Location

    Christchurch

    Relax in the aromatic walled Herb Garden featuring herbs and old-fashioned roses, and stroll through the woodland walk in the tranquil South Garden.

  9. Add Booth Museum of Natural History to your Itinerary

    Booth Museum of Natural History

    Type

    Museum

    Location

    Brighton

    This fascinating museum houses exhibits that include hundreds of British birds displayed in recreated natural settings, insects from butterflies to beetles, a killer whale skeleton and dinosaur bones

  10. Add The Hop Farm Family Park to your Itinerary

    The Hop Farm Family Park

    Type

    Museum

    Location

    Paddock Wood

    A collection of well-preserved Victorian oast houses, home to the Hop Story Museum and the famous grey and black shire horses. 'Decades experience,' Indoor adventure playground and nature trail.