12 great UK museums to visit on International Museums Day

Category: News

You may not know it, but 18 May was International Museum Day.

The UK is home to a wide range of fascinating museums, attracting flocks of tourists from around the world. For people already living in the UK, the variety of attractions offers countless opportunities for days out, or even to shape a weekend away.

To celebrate International Museum Day, read on for a glimpse into some of the best museums in the UK, that you could visit during 2022.

1. Victoria and Albert Museum, London

The Victoria and Albert Museum is the biggest museum of applied arts, decorative arts, and design in the world. It was established in 1852 and named after Queen Victoria and Prince Albert.

Known locally as the V&A, this museum is home to more than 2 million artefacts. The range covers the creative industries over five millennia.

The V&A is famous for hosting newsworthy exhibitions that have wide appeal and is a firm favourite with fans of art and fashion.

2. Natural History Museum, London

While some of the London museums might appeal to adults more than to children, the Natural History Museum has long been a family favourite. The building is huge, and you can walk from room to room, learning about the history of the natural world.

As you might expect, the dinosaur exhibitions are especially popular. But there are other creatures too – and some you may not have heard of – that are no longer around. Not to be missed is the blue whale skeleton – the only way to appreciate the size is to stand right next to it!

3. National Railway Museum, York

For railway enthusiasts, this museum is a must-see. The National Railway Museum (NRM) is the biggest of its kind in the UK and is home to more than a million artefacts.

A visit to the NRM will enlighten you on the country’s rail history and how the transportation system changed the UK’s work and culture. If you’re peckish afterwards, head to the on-site restored train carriage for a cream tea.

4. National Gallery, London

The National Gallery is another well-known London museum. Situated just off Trafalgar Square, international crowds visit year-round to see its huge collection of famous paintings.

The museum houses more than 2,300 works of art, from as far back as the mid-13th century. Also, the gallery regularly runs major exhibitions that attract visitors.

5. Dingles Fairground Museum, Devon

Dingles Fairground Museum is a must-see for any fair ride enthusiast. Nestled in rural Devon, this wonderful museum has a large warehouse building with an array of fairground rides, lights, pictures, and artefacts.

You can walk through the museum and see how fairgrounds have developed and changed over the years. There is a separate hall filled with working vintage rides and games, making it a great day out for the whole family.

6. British Museum, London

London’s British Museum is a public museum based in the Bloomsbury area. Its rooms are devoted to human history, art, and culture.

It rivals other major museums of its kind around the world, hosting a staggering 8 million artefacts. The British Museum tells the story of human culture from evolution right up to the present day.

7. Churchill War Rooms, London

The War Rooms are a secret underground labyrinth of tunnels and offices, the headquarters of Winston Churchill’s war effort and the place where he lived and worked throughout the second world war.

Now turned into a museum, visitors can learn about the life and work of the prime minister.

8. National Museum of Scotland, Edinburgh

This busy attraction will lead you through the history of Scotland and its culture. You’ll see a range of pieces from scientific breakthroughs to works of art.

If you’re bringing children, don’t miss the remarkable three-metre LEGO replica of the museum.

9. Imperial War Museum, London

This war museum focuses on the lives of those who live through conflict, telling individuals’ stories through 23,000 hours of film, 155,000 three-dimensional objects, and 11 million photographs.

Beginning with the first world war, the museum covers over a century of human conflict.

10. Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum, Glasgow

One of Glasgow’s most famous art galleries, Kelvingrove’s collection ranges from classic art to modern pieces, and hosts many eclectic exhibitions, from work by famous painters to superhero comics.

The real beauty of this gallery and museum is its variety – there’s something for everyone behind its doors.

11. Titanic Belfast, Belfast

Titanic Belfast opened in 2012 and the museum serves as a monument to the city’s maritime history. It is located in Belfast’s Titanic Quarter where the RMS Titanic was built.

Whether you’re into maritime history or not, this museum is likely to enthral you. The Titanic Belfast takes you on a journey back to the birth of the Titanic, through its maiden voyage and on to its tragic end.

12. Haynes Motor Museum, Somerset

This famous motor museum is located near Yeovil in Somerset. It boasts an array of more than 400 cars and bikes from nostalgic classics of the 1950s and 1960s, magnificent Bentleys and Rolls-Royces, to top-of-the-range supercars of today, such as the Jaguar XJ220 and the Ferrari 360.

The museum also has a café and a great children’s area.