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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.

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.

In this section

Attractions

Gilbert White's House & Garden and The Oates Collection

Gilbert White's House & Garden and The Oates Collection

Gilbert White & The Oates Collections celebrates the lives of three explorers of the natural world. The historic house was the home of the eighteenth...

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  1. 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.

  2. Add The Royal Hampshire Regiment Museum to your Itinerary

    The Royal Hampshire Regiment Museum

    Type

    Museum

    Location

    Winchester

    The story of the County Regiment of Hampshire, its Regular, Militia and Volunteers from 1702.

  3. 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.

  4. Add Cogges to your Itinerary

    Cogges

    Type

    Heritage / Visitor Centre

    Location

    Witney

    Everyone who visits Cogges for the first time is bowled over by its beauty. Visit a unique venue and heritage site with a fascinating story, set around a manor house and farm buildings, walled garden and orchard. Take welly walks around the island woodland and moat by the River Windrush, at the...

  5. Add Tudor House Museum and Garden to your Itinerary

    Tudor House Museum and Garden

    Type

    Historic House / Palace

    Location

    Southampton

    Uncover over 800 years of history in the heart of Southampton’s Old Town. Tudor House and Garden gives visitors an insight in to the lives and times of its residents with informative displays and hands on interactive experiences.

  6. Add Explosion! Museum of Naval Firepower to your Itinerary

    Explosion! Museum of Naval Firepower

    Type

    Museum

    Location

    Gosport

    The amazing story of naval firepower, from gunpowder to the Exocet, in an exciting visitor experience for all the family on the Gosport side of Portsmouth Harbour.

  7. Add De La Warr Pavilion to your Itinerary

    De La Warr Pavilion

    Type

    Gallery

    Location

    Bexhill

    The De La Warr Pavilion is a Grade 1 listed Modernist icon for contemporary arts on the sea front in Bexhill

  8. Add The Queen’s House to your Itinerary

    The Queen’s House

    Type

    Historic House / Palace

    Location

    Greenwich, London

    An exquisite architectural gem housing a world-class art collection. This former Royal residence is a treasure trove of beautiful architectural features.

  9. 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.

  10. Add The Mary Rose at Portsmouth Historic Dockyard to your Itinerary

    The Mary Rose at Portsmouth Historic Dockyard

    Type

    Museum

    Location

    HM Naval Base, 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.