Child dressed as astronaut at Winchester Science Centre

Winchester Science Centre & Planetarium

Museums

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You'll find some of the most engaging, fun and educational museums in the UK here in South East England.  Whether you're looking to discover more about the stars or cars, dinosaurs or boats, country or town life, there is a museum here for you.  You'll find many free museums, making them a great addition to a budget-busting day out that doesn't break the bank.  So if you haven't been to a museum in years, 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 fun museums in England, with 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, the chance to journey to the stars and the worlds beyond, get hands-on with history and walk in the footsteps of famous characters in history.  Whether you're into heritage, art, science, maritime, or wildlife, you're bound to find something right up your street.

Museums in England

The featured museums are located in the counties of South East England and demonstrate the sheer variety of interest on offer. A more detailed list can be located through the map at the bottom of this page.

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.  Whisk your way along to Milestones Museum, Basingstoke, where you can see an array of vintage vehicles including Hampshire's three big manufacturers.

Hampshire Cultural Trust are guardians of  2.5 million objects that relate to Hampshire’s rich and internationally important cultural heritage. Managing 23 attractions across Hampshire, including the brand new 878 AD which opened in the autumn of 2022 in Winchester, and the recently refurbished Gosport Museum and Art Gallery where you'll find museums and art galleries that explore Vikings, Victorians, Natural Sciences, Archaeology and much more.

The South East is also home to world-famous Bodleian Libraries, Oxford.  Not a museum in the traditional form, but the libraries are the oldest in Europe, and are the 2nd largest in the UK, only second to the British Library. Together, they hold over 13 million printed items and today offer the chance to visit and explore them, marvel at their exquisite architecture and dive into their fascinating history with a guided tour.

The D-Day Story and the LCT7074 landing craft, Portsmouth, is the only museum in the UK dedicated to the Allied Invasion in June 1944.  Whilst Portsmouth Historic Dockyard is home to not only the world famous Mary Rose but also HMS Victory, Admiral Lord Nelson's flagship. Discover Portsmouth's rich 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.

Museums in London

Museums in Hampshire and the Isle of Wight

Museums in Buckinghamshire

Museums in Oxfordshire

Museums in Surrey

Museums in Kent

Museums in Berkshire

Museums in Sussex

Museums Near Me

Use the 'Map View' button below to find museums near you in South East England including dozens of local museums showcasing their town's proud history. Check individual listings to see which museums are open today.

Number of results:

Number of results: 91

, currently showing 1 to 20.

  1. Margate Museum

    Type

    Type:

    Museum

    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.

  2. Dickens House Museum

    Type

    Type:

    Historic House / Palace

    Broadstairs

    The museum is housed in the cottage that was Charles Dickens’ inspiration for the home of Betsey Trotwood in David Copperfield.

  3. Willesborough Windmill

    Type

    Type:

    Heritage / Visitor Centre

    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.

  4. Winchester's Military Museums

    Type

    Type:

    Museum

    Winchester

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

  5. Hastings Museum and Art Gallery

    Type

    Type:

    Museum

    Hastings

    Visit Hastings’ family-friendly and diverse Museum and Art Gallery for an exploration of art, heritage and history from around the world.

  6. Amberley Museum

    Type

    Type:

    Museum

    Arundel

    Amberley Museum & Heritage Centre is a 36 acre open-air site dedicated to preserving the industrial heritage of the south east.

  7. Beaulieu, Home of the National Motor Museum

    Type

    Type:

    Museum

    Beaulieu

    Beaulieu featuring the world famous National Motor Museum, Palace House home of the Montagu family and Abbey Ruins containing an exhibition of monastic life.

  8. Forest Arts Centre

    Type

    Type:

    Heritage / Visitor Centre

    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.

  9. Curtis Museum

    Type

    Type:

    Museum

    Alton

    One of the finest local history collections in Hampshire, exploring 100 million years of history Displays include prehistoric tools, Roman pottery reconstruction, Saxon burials, the Battle of Alton 1643, the notorious tale of Sweet Fanny Adams and…

  10. Brooklands Museum

    Type

    Type:

    Museum

    Weybridge

    Brooklands Museum is on the site of the world's first purpose-built motor racing circuit and houses collections of cars, motorcycles and bicycles, particular from the heyday of the track until it closed in 1939.

  11. The Gurkha Museum

    Type

    Type:

    Museum

    Winchester

    The Gurkha Museum takes you on a journey of discovery through the history of Gurkhas in British service.

  12. Southsea Castle

    Type

    Type:

    Castle / Fort

    Southsea, Portsmouth

    Visit Henry VIII's Southsea Castle, right along the water's edge.

  13. The Brickworks Museum

    Type

    Type:

    Industrial Archaeology

    Bursledon

    Come and be amazed at the authentic sights, sounds and smells of the last steam-driven Victorian brickworks in the UK.

  14. Guildhall Museum

    Type

    Type:

    Museum

    Rochester

    Discover the history of Medway from pre-historic times to the present day at the Guildhall Museum in Rochester.

  15. Southampton Medieval Merchants House

    Type

    Type:

    Historic House / Palace

    Southampton

    Sensitive restoration has returned this house to its mid 14th century appearence steeped in atmosphere. It is easy to imagine the life of John Fortin, a wine trader, and his family who lived here c1290.

  16. Royal Engineers Museum

    Type

    Type:

    Museum

    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.

  17. Milestones Museum

    Type

    Type:

    Museums & Galleries

    Basingstoke

    From cobbled streets to a seaside pier, teddy bears, vintage vehicles, an operating pub, sweet shop and more, there is so much for everyone to see, do and enjoy at Milestones, Hampshire’s museum of living history! 

  18. Red House Museum and Gardens

    Type

    Type:

    Museum

    Christchurch

    A former Georgian workhouse, the Red House is now a museum exploring the story of Christchurch from before the Ice Age to modern times.