The UK is home to some of the best museums in the world and as it's International Museums Day on 18 May we thought we'd round up some of our favourites. Whether you’re after a culture fix or just searching for something to do with the kids, here’s a round up of the best museums in the UK.
Beamish Museum – Durham
Discover what life was like in North East England pre-WWI at Beamish - a living, working museum, set in 300 acres of beautiful Durham countryside. Step back in time as costumed folk bring the Town, Pit Village, Home Farm and Pockerley Old Hall to life.
Wander the cobbled streets or hop on a tram to enjoy an immersive museum experience. Visit the 1900s town and watch delicious bread, cakes and biscuits being made using traditional Edwardian recipes. Indulge your sweet tooth by tasting some cinder toffee or bon bons at the traditional sweet shop or stop for a pint at the Sun Inn Pub. Head to the fairground to try your hand at the coconut shy stands.
You’ll be taken further back in time when you take a steam train ride through the Georgian landscape on an 1800s replica locomotive. See what’s cooking in the cottages, practice your handwriting in the school and visit the chapel in the 1900s Pit Village. Visit the 1940s farmhouse and learn about family time during the war - smell the rations cooking on the Aga and listen to music and news broadcasts on the wireless.
Admission: It’s £19 for an adult ticket, £11 for a child ticket and all children under 5 are entitled to free admission. The tickets are valid for 1 year from first entry for unlimited visits.
Getting there: The closest train station to Beamish Museum is Chester-le- Street. Once you arrive at Chester-le-Street there are regular bus services from the town centre to Beamish Museum that take approximately 15 – 20 minutes.
Space Centre – Leicester
The whole family will enjoy an out-of-this-world experience at Leicester’s award-winning Space Centre. Get ready for lift-off as you board the iconic rocket tower that stands at 42 metres high and dominates Leicester’s skyline. Discover the largest planetarium dome in the UK and enjoy the 360° cinema experience, which takes you through our solar system. Six interactive galleries bring you face-to-face with astronauts and take you on a journey through the history of space.
Visit the Orbiting Earth Gallery to discover the satellites in space that influence your day-to-day life. Enter the weather pod to record yourself reading the teleprompter for a weather report in the year 2085, watch the impact of an asteroid collision and even create your own sound waves!
It’s not rocket science; interactive and educational, the Space Centre is one of our favourite museums in the UK.
Admission: Visiting the Space Centre costs £14 for adults and £11 for children, under 5’s go free.
Getting there: Bus 54 runs every 10 minutes Monday to Saturday and every 20 minutes on Sunday from Charles Street, which is a short walk from Leicester Train Station.
Brunel’s SS Great Britain – Bristol
Alive with the sights, sounds and even smells of another age, discover the world’s first great ocean liner when you step on board Brunel’s SS Great Britain. Rescued from rust and wreckage in 1970, the ship has since been lovingly restored to her Victorian heyday.
Learn what it was like in the lavish First-Class areas, before discovering the cramped and quarrelsome conditions of the lower deck. Discover everything from the kitchen and cabins, to the dining room and doctor’s surgery.
Visitors can steer by the stars, dress up as an emigrant family and meet passengers who would have been aboard the ship. Step into the shoes of a Victorian sailor and climb the ship’s huge mainmast. You’ll be securely strapped into a harness and briefed, before heading up to the rigging platform 26 metres above the ground. Here you can enjoy beautiful views of Bristol Harbour.
New for 2018 is the Being Brunel museum, which explores the life and legacy of Isambard Kingdom Brunel, who was one of engineering’s greatest minds and the designer of the magnificent SS Great Britain. Brunel built bridges, tunnels, ships and railways that were longer, faster and bigger than anything ever seen before, and Being Brunel delves into the innovator’s life.
Admission: Adult tickets are £16.50 and for children it’s £9.50 (under 4’s go free).
Getting there: From Bristol Temple Meads Train Station, it’s a 30-minute walk or short ferry or bus ride.
JORVIK Viking Centre – York
Discover the lives of the Vikings, as you travel around the reconstruction of a 10th-century York.
At JORVIK Viking Centre you will stand on one of the most fascinating discoveries of modern archaeology. Between 1976-81, archaeologists from York Archaeological Trust discovered houses, workshops and backyards of the Viking-Age city of Jorvik as it stood nearly 1,000 years ago! And now, it has been wonderfully reconstructed for you to explore.
Everything you see during your visit is based on real archaeological evidence found during the discovery of the site, with emphasis on recreating every detail of the experience. This includes small details such as the flora and fauna growing in the ground and the different animals that inhabited the area. Even the splashes of natural dyes found in one of the backyards can be seen.
With a fun ride experience and state-of-the art galleries showcasing a unique collection of Viking artefacts, it’s educational and fascinating to explore as well as great fun for all the family.
Admission: £11 entry for adults and £8 for children, under 5’s go free.
Getting there: York JORVIK Viking Centre is a 15-minute walk from York Train Station.
Whichever museum you choose to explore, make sure you take advantage of great savings with CrossCountry Advance train tickets.
*Entry Prices stated are accurate at time of writing.