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Free days out for the family
A common issue for parents up and down the UK: 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?
For those of you struggling for a little last-minute inspiration, 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.
Royal Cornwall Museum Truro
Cornwall's oldest museum is famed for its displays of minerals, an unwrapped mummy and many aspects of Cornwall's unique culture. The art gallery includes Newlyn School paintings, while the museum has a range of exhibitions throughout the year together with an extensive programme for all the family. Contact the museum for details of events and activities.
Oxford Museum of Natural History
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. Please note the museum will be closed during 2013 for roof restoration work.
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 in Wales
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.
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.
Brighton Museum & Art Gallery
Brighton Museum & Art Gallery Brighton
A £10-million redevelopment has transformed the museum into a state-of-the-art attraction for all ages. Dynamic new galleries, including fashion, 20th-century design and world art, feature exciting interactive displays. The spacious new entrance in the Royal Pavilion gardens provides full disabled access. Good cafe too.
Hat Works Museum Stockport
Hat Works is the UK's only museum of the hatting industry, hats and headwear. See how hats are made with a working example of Victorian millinery machinery, while tour guides give you an insight into a once flourishing industry. Browse the extensive collection of hats before relaxing in the Level 2 cafe. There are exhibitions and events throughout the year.