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Best Science Museums in the UK

Monday 15 April 2024

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Science and technology touch almost every area of our lives, from cleaning products and expert skin care to our modern – but more importantly, comfortable – trains. It’s fair to say that the UK is a leading light in both areas and its museums are a fair reflection of exactly that. Also, science museums in the UK are not London-centric, providing a welcome opportunity to learn and explore a new city.

At CrossCountry, we don’t want to leave you at the platform. Our guide to the best science museums in the UK is to be taken beyond station boundaries, all so you can make the most of the time in your chosen destination.

Cambridge Museum of Technology

If the UK’s industrial heritage is of interest, then now is the time to turn your attention towards Cambridge and its Museum of Technology. One of the main highlights is its Victorian Pumping Station, a feature that offers a glimpse into the wonders of 19th century ingenuity. Also, the Top Bay offers a necessary reminder of the city’s forgotten industries and even features unique examples of push-button machinery.

Cambridge Museum of Technology is the ideal choice for lovers of history and innovation. In terms of refreshments, Kurb Kollective brings the coffee while Engineers House is the place to go for beer and pizza. The latter’s original purpose was to accommodate the Pumping Station’s chief engineer, whereas now it gives a warm – and cheese-filled – welcome to guests of the museum.

Thinktank, Birmingham

Birmingham, the city that connects north to south, is home to Thinktank. Commonly referred to as ‘Birmingham Science Museum’, Thinktank is very much the place to discover all-things digital with interactive shows, educational drop in events, and exciting exhibitions. Space is also on the agenda thanks to its planetarium, an immersive theatre that you’ll probably never want to leave. 

Thinktank’s Signal Box Café serves both hot and cold food options, as well as high-quality coffee and delicious cakes for those with a sweet tooth. Families, as well as lone travellers, will not be disappointed. 

Glasgow Science Centre

For those of you keen to venture north of the border, as well as those already in shortbread’s spiritual home, Glasgow Science Centre is the place to go. In the same spirit as Lego, adults are very much welcome, but the fun on offer for children sets it apart. Experience-wise, there is a planetarium, garden habitats, sensory exhibits and so much more. Cinema lovers will be pleased to find an IMAX theatre, too.

Glasgow Science Centre adapts its opening times depending on the season. It also prides itself on service and is ready to welcome visitors to its café or coffee shop (located in the IMAX). The former has many options to choose from, whether you prefer something substantial or a lighter alternative. In terms of the latter, it is the perfect place for a mid-visit pick-me-up and a delicious piece of cake. 

Visitors observing a light installation.

Science and Industry Museum, Manchester

Manchester was a driving force behind industrialisation, so it’s only natural that the city has its own museum. The Science and Industry Museum very much flies the flag for Manchester when it comes to the development of science, technology, and industry. Also, entry to the museum is free of charge, making it an interesting – but more importantly affordable – experience for lone travellers and families alike.

There are plenty of other ways to support the Science and Industry Museum too, whether that be by purchasing a piece of cake in its café or a souvenir from its shop. After all, it would be a shame to leave empty-handed!

Techniquest Science Discovery Centre, Cardiff

A trip to the Welsh capital of Cardiff wouldn’t be complete without visiting Techniquest Science Discovery Centre. More than 100 interactive exhibits invite visitors to immerse themselves in the scientific method, while live science shows and a planetarium only add to the experience. 

Cardiff Bay is Europe’s largest waterfront development, boasting a number of different restaurants and attractions. It’s often said that the city owes much of its history to the Industrial Revolution, making it the perfect place to learn more about the development of science and technology. Why not book a ticket now?

Science Museum, London

Of course, no article focusing on the best science museums in the UK would be complete without mentioning London’s very own. Situated between the Natural History Museum and the V&A, the Science Museum also benefits from its close proximity to Imperial College London. Exhibitions, events and interactive galleries all come together to create an exciting – but more importantly informative – experience for all. 

Admission is free, although you will need to pre-book a ticket. Its shop also offers a wide range of products, some of which may inspire the next generation to pursue an interest in the fields of science and technology. In terms of logistics, CrossCountry serves Reading, from which you can reliably travel to central London on the Elizabeth line.

you’re planning on visiting the best science museums in the UK, don’t forget to book an Advance ticket via our website or the CrossCountry app. If you need more information, you can contact us here.

Written by Julia

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