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Charles Dickens Birthplace

Charles Dickens Birthplace

Portsmouth

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

SeaCity Museum

SeaCity Museum

Southampton’s Titanic Story. As the port from which the 1912 White Star liner Titanic set sail, Southampton is at the very heart of the Titanic...

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  1. Add SeaCity Museum to your Itinerary

    SeaCity Museum

    Type

    Museum

    Location

    Southampton

    SeaCity Museum tells the story of the people of Southampton, their fascinating lives and the city’s historic connection with the sea. Visit us to discover how we bring maritime history to life through an interactive experience designed of all ages.

  2. Add Museum of English Rural Life to your Itinerary

    Museum of English Rural Life

    Type

    Museum

    Location

    Reading

    MERL houses one of England's most fascinating collections relating to life and work in the countryside over the last 200 years.

  3. Add River & Rowing Museum to your Itinerary

    River & Rowing Museum

    Type

    Museum

    Location

    Henley-on-Thames

    Inspiring, entertaining and interactive...we're so much more than a Museum!

  4. Add Mary Rose Museum to your Itinerary

    Mary Rose Museum

    Type

    Museum

    Location

    Portsmouth

    The Mary Rose is based in Portsmouth Historic Dockyard. Built between 1509 and 1511, she was one of the first ships able to fire a broadside, and was a firm favourite of King Henry VIII.

  5. Add Bignor Roman Villa to your Itinerary

    Bignor Roman Villa

    Type

    Museum

    Location

    Pulborough

    Bignor Roman Villa is the stunning remains of a Roman home with world-class mosaic floors in a spectacular Downland setting. One of the largest villas open to the public in Great Britain with some of the finest mosaics all in-situ and all undercover.

  6. Add Eastney Beam Engine House to your Itinerary

    Eastney Beam Engine House

    Type

    Museum

    Location

    Southsea

    Eastney Beam Engine House contains a pair of James Watt beam engines and reciprocal pumps restored to their 1887 condition. The engine house is open the last full weekend of every month.

  7. Add Manor Farm (Farm and Museum) to your Itinerary

    Manor Farm (Farm and Museum)

    Type

    Farm

    Location

    Southampton

    Traditional Hampshire farmstead - range of buildings, farm animals, machinery and equipment, pre-1950's farmhouse and 13thC church set for 1900 - living history site.

  8. Add Whitchurch Silk Mill to your Itinerary

    Whitchurch Silk Mill

    Type

    Water Mill

    Location

    Whitchurch

    A gem of industrial heritage in beautiful, rural Hampshire, Whitchurch Silk Mill is a 19th century water mill that weaves English silk fabrics using 19th century machinery. The Mill is open to the public and is one of Hampshire's hidden gems.

  9. Add Finchcocks Musical Museum to your Itinerary

    Finchcocks Musical Museum

    Type

    Museum

    Location

    Goudhurst

    Beautiful Georgian manor set in 13 acres of garden. Home to Richard Burnett's collection of over 100 period keyboard instruments.

  10. Add Queens Park Arts Centre & Limelight Theatre to your Itinerary

    Queens Park Arts Centre & Limelight Theatre

    Type

    Arts Centre

    Location

    Aylesbury

    Offering over 70 weekly arts and crafts workshops, live comedy, music and theatre as well as exhibitions and demonstrations, Queens Park Arts Centre and Limelight Theatre has something for everyone.