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Discover Britain

Free days out for all the family

Our list of top indoor museum attractions will provide some welcome inspiration

It’s lashing down with rain and blowing a gale outside, putting paid to your plans for a day out and about in the sunshine. What to do?

We’ve drawn up a list of top indoor museum attractions – aimed at both keeping you in the dry and occupying young minds. Better still – they’re all free.

National Railway Museum
National Railway Museum York

This is the world's largest railway museum. The collection includes more than 100 locomotives, including The Flying Scotsman, and nearly 200 other items of rolling stock, telling the railway story from the early 19th century to today.

Oxford University Museum of Natural History Oxford

Built between 1855 and 1860, this museum of the 'natural sciences' intended to satisfy a growing interest in biology, botany, archaeology, zoology and entomology. Author Lewis Carroll visited the museum with young Alice Liddell and her two sisters soon after it opened. Some of the characters in his book 'Alice's Adventures in Wonderland', published in 1865, are inspired by exhibits in the museum. Look out for the dodo, and the dinosaurs too.

People's Palace & Winter Gardens Glasgow

Glasgow was once the second city of the British Empire. Trade with the Americas, and later industry, made the city rich. But not everyone shared in Glasgow's wealth. The People's Palace on historic Glasgow Green shows how ordinary Glaswegians worked, lived and played. Discover how a family lived in a typical one-room Glasgow 'single end' tenement flat; see Billy Connolly's amazing banana boots; learn to speak Glesga; take a trip 'doon the watter' and visit the Winter Gardens.

St Fagans National History Museum St Fagans

St Fagans is Wales's most popular heritage attraction. More than 40 traditional Welsh buildings from different periods have been reconstructed in 100 acres of beautiful grounds. They give a fascinating insight into how people in Wales lived, worked and spent their leisure time. You can also see people practising traditional crafts, see the animals they kept and, at certain times of year, the ways in which they celebrated each season.

National Roman Legion Museum Caerleon

The museum illustrates the Roman legionary fort of Caerleon and the daily life of its garrison. On display are arms, armour and equipment, a collection of engraved gemstones, and a labyrinth mosaic. At weekends and school holidays children can try on replica armour and experience the life of a Roman soldier. Or you can picnic around the nearby amphitheatre, the most complete one in Britain.

Geffrye Museum London E2

This is the only museum in the UK to specialise in house rooms and the furniture of town dwellers. A sequence of period rooms spanning from 1600 to the present day captures the nature of our interior style. The museum is set in 18th-century almshouses, and a series of gardens highlight changes from the 17th to the 20th century. One of the almshouses has been restored to its original condition and is open on selected days (phone for details). Try the attractive restaurant for lunch.