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Royal Observatory

Royal Observatory

Greenwich

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.

Top ten museums in South East England

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 River & Rowing Museum 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.

If your South East of England break involves a day trip to London we can highly recommend the Cutty Sark, Royal Observatory Greenwich and the National Maritime Museum.

Museums Near Me

Use the 'Map View' button below to find museums near you in South East England.

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Attractions

Bexhill Museum

Bexhill Museum

The displays and exhibitions at the Museum have something for everyone. Main galleries include costume and motor racing heritage as well as...

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  1. Add Bexhill Museum to your Itinerary

    Bexhill Museum

    Type

    Museum

    Location

    Bexhill-on-Sea

    A friendly, local museum with a surprising variety of displays spread over three galleries, lillustrating the geology, natural and local history and archaeology of the area.

  2. Add The Diving Museum to your Itinerary

    The Diving Museum

    Type

    Museum

    Location

    Gosport

    The Diving Museum has the best collection of diving equipment on display in the world. The enthusiastic volunteer Museum Guides come from all sides of diving including the Navy, commercial diving, scientific and sport diving. Families and kids just love it! This is a “WOW” experience!

  3. Add Margate Museum to your Itinerary

    Margate Museum

    Type

    Museum

    Location

    Margate

    Margate Museum is opened by a group of volunteers called the Friends of Margate Museum who work with Thanet District Council to open Margate Museum on a regular basis.

  4. Add Guildford Museum to your Itinerary

    Guildford Museum

    Type

    Museum

    Location

    Guildford

    Guildford Museum is a beautiful 17C building, adjacent to the castle grounds, housing archaeology, local history and needlework displays.

  5. Add The 1642 Living History Village to your Itinerary

    The 1642 Living History Village

    Type

    Museum

    Location

    Rowner, Gosport

    A representational Hampshire village set in the year 1642. Timber and thatched buildings, occupants dressed and speak in 17thC style.

  6. Add National Maritime Museum to your Itinerary

    National Maritime Museum

    Type

    Museum

    Location

    Greenwich, London

    The world’s largest maritime museum, filled with inspirational stories of exploration and adventure at sea. Critically acclaimed temporary exhibitions (ticketed). General admission free.

  7. Add Southsea Castle to your Itinerary

    Southsea Castle

    Type

    Castle / Fort

    Location

    Southsea, Portsmouth

    Built in 1544, Southsea Castle was part of a series of fortifications constructed by Henry VIII around England's coasts.

  8. Add Gilbert White's House & Garden and The Oates Collection to your Itinerary

    Gilbert White's House & Garden and The Oates Collection

    Type

    Museum

    Location

    Alton

    Historic house and garden, home of Gilbert White, author of 'The Natural History of Selborne'. Exhibition on Frank Oates, explorer and Capt Lawrence Oates of Antarctic fame.

  9. 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.

  10. Add Forest Arts Centre to your Itinerary

    Forest Arts Centre

    Type

    Heritage / Visitor Centre

    Location

    New Milton

    Forest Arts Centre is the leading venue for live arts events in the New Forest. A former military drill hall in New Milton, it has a 146 capacity air-conditioned theatre, dance studio, workshop room and licensed café-bar with gallery space.