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Lucy Corkhill

By Lucy Corkhill

12th December 2012

Isn’t it just fantastic that walking through a city on a wet and windy day, you can step into an art gallery or museum and soak up some of the world’s great offerings for free? I always relish the rush of delight I get from stepping into The Natural History Museum in London – that this incredible and wondrous world of learning is free to explore! There are so many great places on our doorsteps, some well-known and some less so.

Lucy Corkhill

By Lucy Corkhill

12th December 2012

Lucy Corkhill

By Lucy Corkhill

12th December 2012

On the useful Kids In Museums website, you can find out their awards for the best museums and galleries for kids and check out some of their recommendations. We’ve picked our top ten fun and interactive free museums and galleries for you to enjoy this winter. Why not take your tribe along for an amazing learning experience:

Our top ten free museums and galleries to enjoy with the kids this winter

1). World Museum, Liverpool
Discover treasures from around the world, explore outer space and meet live creatures! Check out the planetarium, aquarium, bug house, and theatre, and handle objects from around the world. You’ll see Egyptian mummies, Samurai armour, casts of dinosaurs and a meteorite from Mars – what are you waiting for?!

2). Highland Folk Museum, Newtonmore
The Highland Folk Museum is a living history museum, bringing to life the domestic and working conditions of earlier Highland peoples. Visitors learn how Scottish Highlanders lived, how they built their homes, how they tilled the soil and how they dressed, in an exciting learning environment. An award winning visitor attraction (they won a Silver Green Tourism award amongst others), the museum not only encapsulates human endeavour and development in Highland life from the 1700s to the present day, but offers an opportunity to explore a beautiful natural setting, home to red squirrels and tree creepers.

3). Horniman Museum and Gardens, London
The Horniman Museum and Gardens in South London combines anthropology, musical instruments and natural history collections displayed in six free galleries, plus an acclaimed aquarium and award-winning 16 acre gardens. Kids can explore the links between plants and medicine, food, materials and dyes, watch performances on the bandstand, play music in the sound garden, and let off steam in the lovely gardens. Check out the great free events for kids too.

4). The Cardiff Story, Cardiff
In The Cardiff Story’s fun and interactive galleries, kids can discover how Cardiff was transformed from the small market town of the 1300s, to one of the world’s biggest ports in the 1900s, to the cool, cosmopolitan capital of today. The museum is rich in stories, objects, photographs and film, telling the history of Cardiff through the eyes of those who created the city – its people. Families can dress up as evacuees from the Second World War, pretend to drive a Victorian steam train, or marvel at the dolls’ house.

5). National Museum of Scotland, Edinburgh
Journey into the heart of Ancient Egypt, build a plane and explore the mysteries of the Lewis Chessmen. And that’s just for starters! Inquisitive children will love exploring the games and things to make and do. There are lots of special events coming up over the festive period too.

6). Yorkshire Sculpture Park
Yorkshire Sculpture Park is a pioneering place that aims to challenge, inspire, inform and delight, welcoming over 300,000 visitors, including 40,000 learning visits each year. Combine an invigorating family walk in 500 acres of dramatic northern landscape with an opportunity to see some of the UK’s finest sculptures. Perfect for kids who feel confined by museums and galleries to experience dramatic and awe-inspiring art in the open air.

7). Portsmouth City Museum, Portsmouth Natural History Museum, Southsea Castle
See a lock of Charles Dickens’ hair and some of his furniture and personal effects in the Charles Dickens Collection at Portsmouth City Museum. Or take a look for the heron stalking its prey and the Brent geese coming into land after their 3000 km flight from the arctic at the Portsmouth Natural History Museum. Southsea Castle was built in 1544 for Henry VIII to protect the country from invaders – get yourself in the Tudor spirit at this dramatic castle!

8). Haslemere Educational Museum
Winners of the Telegraph’s Family Friendly Museum awards, this museum is not officially free but admission by donation (and, let’s face it, we should be donating to all these wonderful institutions to keep them going strong into the future for our grandchildren!). The museum houses over 240,000 natural history specimens, along with over 140,000 human history artefacts from around the world. Kids will love exploring the 15,000 sq. metre grounds which include a large pond and gazebo, an observation beehive and a tree trail.

9). House of Marbles, Bovey Tracey, Devon
This exciting free museum has marble runs, a gallery where you can watch glass making, an exploration of the 4000 year history of glass, and a museum of games from as early as the 1600s. Loads and loads of cool glass-based learning and activity…

10). V&A Museum of Childhood, London
There’s so much to soak up and enjoy at the V&A Museum of Childhood; the exhibitions and displays explore a broad range of subjects relating to childhood, from design, photography and fashion, to play and social issues. Kids will love finding out how children lived in the past; the games they played and the clothes they wore and some of the major exhibitions, such as Beautiful Games, feature around a hundred objects, interactive interpretation and multimedia.

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