Open: Mon-Fri 10am-5pm. Last entry 4.45pm, closed bank hols. Open 10am-1pm 24/31 Dec.
Description: This museum shows objects from the Bank of England's 320 years of existence, from cartoons to banknotes to furniture. You can even try to lift a real gold bar!
MSE user Jo reviewed this museum: "Good informative museum with related worksheets for children, as well as fun things like holding a gold bar. My 10-year-old especially enjoyed the experience. It took about 1.5 hours to cover it all."
Description: Permanent displays include the Holocaust Exhibition and Peace and Security from 1945. Some other exhibitions may charge a small fee.
MSE user Jane Fergusson reviewed this museum using the form below. She says: "Absolutely amazing! Better for ages 7 and upwards, although there are free activities for younger children. Very interesting throughout, seeing part of the Twin Towers meant that the history was right up until modern times. Recommended highly."
Helen Cobley tells us: "I could have spent days here, the amount of things to see is vast. From planes and uniforms to everyday things like ration books and personal letters. The Holocaust museum is harrowing and people were moved to tears, but it's important something so awful is documented for future generations to learn from."
Description: One of the world’s largest urban history museums. Exhibitions include the story of modern London from 1666 to today.
MSE user Lisa E says: "This museum charts London's history from Roman times to today, laid out thoughtfully with interactive features for children, and regular talks by staff on various topics.
"My highlights were the War, Fire and Plague sections, which show how the city has coped with its various disasters over the years."
Debra Herring adds: "This is a great place to take the whole family. You can just stroll around all the history of London and it's great for all ages as well. You can reminisce about all the things from your era with the kids."
Open: Every day 10am-6pm. Thu-Fri
until 9pm (apart from 1 Jan). Closed 24-26 Dec.
Description: Founded in 1856, it has over 200,000 portraits, from modern subjects to paintings from the 16th century.
MSE user Kate Haywood says: "This was really great. They have 3 free booklets for children - one is a fantastic workbook, one is a portrait trail and the other is a museum trail. All captured the interest of our 4 year old."
Open: Every day 10am-5.50pm. Open till 10.30pm last Friday of every month. Closed 24-26 Dec.
Description: The museum features life and earth science specimens. Collections include Botany, Entomology, Mineralogy, Paleontology and Zoology. Popular with visitors are the earthquake room and the dinosaur gallery.
Open: Every day 10am-6pm. Closed 24-26 Dec and 1 Jan. (Closed 5-9 Jan for annual repairs).
Description: Make your way around five huge buildings crammed with aircrafts, artefacts, aviation memorabilia, fine art and photographs covering the history of aviation.
MSE user J McEntee says: "This is a fantastic museum. It is very child-friendly with lots of interactive things for children to do. There are picnic areas both inside and outside the museum if you want to bring your own food and snacks. My favourite aeroplane is the Lancaster bomber which is huge! Great for families and all ages."
Judy Knight adds: "It was great to get so close to this huge collection of aircraft. I found it both inspiring and very moving to find out about events in history."
Open: Wed/Thu 10am-5pm, first Sun of each month 2pm-5pm.
Description: Lots to see, including a Victorian East End kitchen, a reconstructed Victorian classroom
and several gallery areas. Visit during school holidays on a Weds or Thurs for family days and fun activities.
Description: The museum shows the story of childhood, from doll houses to contemporary children's clothing, to moving and optical toys.
Lisa Smith reviewed this museum for MSE using the form below. She says: "A building rammed with nostalgia for anybody over the age of 30. A fantastic place to visit with siblings for some serious reminiscing!"
Description: The museum houses art ranging from 18th century portraits by Raeburn, Hogarth, Ramsey and Reynolds to powerful 20th century works by Paul Nash, Ben Nicholson, Stanley Spencer and Francis Bacon.
Open: Mon-Sat 10am-4pm, Sun 12.30pm-4pm (closed Mon during Oct-Mar).
Description: Located at the mouth of the River Tay, this castle museum houses a range of displays on local subjects.
MSE user Lucy reviewed this museum, she said: "This chilled museum covers the history of the world from the point of view of Broughty Ferry, including woolly mammoths and some nice 19th century paintings.
"You can bird watch and look for dolphins from the top floor, and it's very handy for the clean beach and an excellent play park. No wheelchair access though, so you will need to be able to get up lots of stairs."
Open: Mon-Thu & Sat 10am-5pm, Fri & Sun 11am-5pm. Closed 24-26 Dec and 1-2 Jan.
Description: Varied collection includes weapons and suits of armour, and Impressionist paintings.
MSE user Catriona Gibson says: "This museum has undergone a major refurbishment. I have two young kids and this is the ideal place to spend a wet afternoon. There are animals, weapons, paintings and a Spitfire hanging from the ceiling. Also, on Sunday afternoons there is normally an organ recital."
Open: Mon-Thu & Sat 10am-5pm, Fri & Sun 11am-5pm. Closed 25-26 Dec and 1-2 Jan.
Description: Dedicated to sea and land transportation.
Angela Halsall reviewed this museums for MSE. She says: "This state of the art museum hosts a huge collection of excellent old transport, and provides extra information via touchscreen tablets. Outside is an impressive ship which is well worth a visit."
Open: Tue-Thu & Sat 10am-5pm. Fri & Sun 11am-5pm. Closed 25-26 Dec and 1-2 Jan.
Description: Devoted to Scotland's education history, exploring advancements in schooling and the old school's heritage.
MSE user ScotsBob reviewed this museum using the contact form below: "This was originally a school and anyone who was a pupil in Glasgow will identify with the gallery building. Going round is just like a step back in time. However, it is used extensively by school trips and this restricts the areas the public can visit. Better to go in school hols and visit all the areas."
Open: Mon-Fri 10am-5pm, Sat 10am-4pm, Sun 11am-4pm.
Description: Features displays on the Ancient Greeks, Ancient Egypt, animals and plants, and a planetarium.
MSE user Lisa sent us her review using the form below. She says: "This is a great museum, and I love taking my godson there. There's lots to see and do and several interactive things to keep the kids occupied."
Weekends and bank hols from 30 Mar-2 Nov and daily during school holidays, from 11am-4pm, except Christmas.
Description: Museum that recreates the steam railway era. Based at the home of George Stephenson's engine Billy.
MSE user Cheryl sent us her review using the form below. She says: "This is a small museum with a wooden train set with limited trains. It's great for younger children. The train rides don't always run so ring ahead if it's important and there's a charge for this. It’s located just around the corner from the Silverlink so there's good bus links. It has indoor and outdoor picnic spots and during the summer there are special events. I would recommend spending an hour at the museum, if you’re not going when there's an event. There's also a train ride for little ones."
Open: Every day 9.30am-5pm (last entry 4pm). Underground tours 10am-3.30pm.
Description: Museum devoted to all things mining-related, with plenty to see and do.
MSE user Nicky Matcher says: "Really different, but a little difficult to find. It's right at the end of an industrial estate, but well worth finding. Genuine ex-miners are your guides to a brilliant and authentic underground tour (not for small children or those with limited mobility). There are lots of supporting displays on the surface too."
Description: Welsh history from early periods to the present day, including archaeology and geology. Suitable for all ages.
MSE user Rebecca M says: "This fantastic museum has loads of different things to see, including a brilliant geology and dinosaur section, as well as a hands-on room where you can handle exhibits. The art collection is superb too with lots of impressionist paintings and pieces by very famous artists."
Open: Mon-Sat 9am-5pm, Sun 10-5pm. Closed Easter Sunday, 25-26 Dec and 1 Jan.
Description: The House of Marbles is a working glass and games factory located in a historic pottery.
We've been inundated with reviews for the House of Marbles.
Jaynice says: "House of Marbles is a shop of the past. There's lots of old toys to buy and it has a very good glass factory where you can watch things being made. You can buy marbles too. It's a good place to visit on a rainy day."
Sotonmum adds: "Went to this not expecting very much and ended up spending way longer than anticipated with my three and six year olds. Lots of interesting things to see and glass making demonstrations. There is also a lovely outside cafe and play area including giant chess and jenga pieces which entertained the children while we adults had a yummy cream tea."
Ruth Dearing also visited on a rainy day and enjoyed the cream tea. She says: "Went last year on a very rainy day. Quite small, lovely quirky exhibits. Good shop and excellent cafe/bistro - had best Devon cream tea there! You can order stuff in their factory (which you can also view) and have it sent to you, if it is not in their shop."
Open: Every day 10am-5pm (opens Fri 10.30am). Closed 26 Dec.
Description: Houses more than 40 galleries, and located in a Grade II listed building. It also has two exhibition spaces.
MSE user Chris Lock says: "One of those places where you never have enough time! Housed in a magnificent building, it has the Staffordshire Hoard, a wonderful collection of pre-Raphaelite paintings and many artefacts. The highlight was the fascinating display tracking the remarkable history of the city. We will visit again and again!"
Martyn Welsby adds: "What a fantastic collection of paintings, especially the Pre-Raphaelite pictures. There's something for everyone."
Open: Daily 10am-6pm (closes at 5pm Nov-Feb). Last admission 1 hour before closing.
Description: Housing German, British and American aircraft, this museum explores military aviation.
Linda Price used the form below to send us her review of the museum. She says: "This is a great site, irrespective of the weather. There is something for every generation. I visited with children aged 7-9 years and they thoroughly enjoyed the Fun Flight section, the workshop and viewing the aircraft at such close proximity. The volunteers/staff were all very helpful too."
Dawn Stratham agrees the museum is perfect for rainy days: "The RAF Museum at Cosford has a range of old and new planes which are displayed in hangars (great for rainy days). Their new Cold War hangar is very interesting and has interactive screens so you can get up close and personal with planes, tanks and missiles."
Open: Mon 11am-5pm, Tue-Sat 10am-5pm. Closed bank hols.
Description: Collections of fine and decorative art, a contemporary art show and a range of artefacts.
Sadiya Ali reviewed this museum for MSE using the form below. She says: "Preston's Harris Museum and Art Gallery stands above the city centre like a proud mother. Its elegant facade doesn't disappoint.
"Alongside its quirky and interactive historical displays and ancient artefacts, you'll find intriguing artwork lining the grand stairs and challenging contemporary art installations. It's an artistic and historical oasis."
Open: Every day, 10am - 5pm. Closed from 2pm 24 Dec and all day 25-26 Dec and 1 Jan.
Description: Liverpool-based attraction with galleries including paintings, sculpture and decorative art.
MSE user Colette Forrest says: "The Walker is a real treasure. I have been many times and discover something new each time. If you want something for the children, the big art by the front door has lots to offer by way of activities related to paintings in the gallery.
"They have costumes to dress up, microscopes, magnetic games and a showcase that teaches number and observation skills. It's an excellent resource for the under 5s."
Open: Every day 10am-5pm. Closed from 2pm 24 Dec & all day 25-26 Dec & 1 Jan.
Description: A collection of artefacts from across the globe, with an insect house, theatre, aquarium and planetarium.
MSE user Rebecca says: "As a Scouser, I believe the World Museum is the best in Liverpool. There's loads to do and everyone in the family will find something they love. The planetarium and the bug house are my favourites!
"It's a must-see if you're coming to Liverpool, easy to get to by public transport and central for popping to see everything else in the city."
Ruth also reviewed this museum by using the form below: "Dinosaurs, fossils, elephant skull, an ant farm, spiders - kids are spellbound by this fabulous museum. It also has an aquarium that's better than some expensive attractions, as well as exhibitions which engage and stretch young imaginations in fun ways."
Robert Lunt also sent a review after his visit. He says: "I recently went to Liverpool with my wife and children (ages 11 and 12). My wife was working so me and the lads had eight hours to kill.
"I was going to take them over to the Wirral but they misbehaved so as a punishment (I thought), I took them to the museum. We left six hours later and the boys thoroughly enjoyed every minute of it and learnt so much. Thank you, Liverpool."
Open: Tue-Sun & bank hol Mons 10am-5pm. Closed 24-26 Dec.
Description: Collections span eastern and western civilisations, charting the aspirations of humanity from the Neolithic era to today.
MSE user Susan Toner says: "Sensational collection displayed intelligently in a splendid melding of the original building and modern extension. There's also excellent food available in the cafe and roof top restaurant, as well as lifts to all floors for those with limited mobility."
Open: Tue-Sat 10am-5pm, Sun 12noon-5pm (closes 4pm daily Nov-Mar).
Description: Mixture of paintings, the cultures of other lands, and a view of local wildlife today and as it would have been 150 million years ago.
MSE user Keith says: "This museum's well off the tourist beaten track and, importantly, offers free parking! From the invention of TV to Grey Owl (a writer and envirnomentalist from Hastings), with a stop off via the mods and rockers, it's a great museum that's hidden away."
Open: Mon-Sat 10am-5pm,
bank hols and Sun midday-4pm (closed Sun Nov-Mar). Closed 24-28 Dec.
Description: Exhibition themes include ancient Egyptians (including a 2,700 year-old mummy!), biology, costume and archaeology.
MSE user Roger Cockett sent us his review: "Maidstone Museum's wonderful. It's a 16th century manor with a gallery from Henry VIII's time. Things to see include: Saxon brooches, ladies costumes and Japanese porcelain. The staff are great, especially with kids."
Open: Tue-Sat and bank hols 10am-4.30pm, Mon 12noon-4.30pm.
Description: Founded in 1884, it features a range of ethnographic and archaeological artefacts from across the globe.
MSE user Cathy Moranne says: "This is my favourite museum in the UK. It's arranged in a really different way, with similar artefacts displayed all together instead of being from a specific area or time. You can hunt the wooden mice, see shrunken heads and even a witch in a bottle - fans of Philip Pullman's His Dark Materials will love it!"
The shrunken heads were a hit with Chris Reeve too: "Brilliant quirky museum with vast displays of really obscure objects - my favourites were the shrunken heads - kids will love them!"
Want to review a recent visit to one of the above museums? Send us your feedback in no more than 50 words and we'll add the best reviews to our write-ups. For some inspiration, see Martin's review of the Coventry Transport Museum in the West Midlands
Other ways to cut the cost
As well as the free museums and galleries listed above, there are tons of permanent ways to cut the cost of family fun.
Save 1/3 with Tesco Clubcard
One of the cheapest ways to entertain kids is to spend your Tesco Clubcard vouchers on days out. This way, you effectively get them for a third of the normal price. This is because 100 Clubcard points are only worth £1 if you use them in-store.
There are nearly 200 days out on offer, including Alton Towers, Thorpe Park and National Trust Scotland properties. For a full list of ways to maximise Clubcard points, check out the Loyalty Schemes guide.
2for1 days out in London and the south of England
There's a trick to get 2for1 activities to hundreds of theatres, museums and theme parks throughout southern England, with National Rail's Days Out Guide scheme. To take advantage, you need a train ticket valid on the day you want to visit. With savings of up to £25, buy the cheapest £2ish ticket and you’ll still be quids in.
As an example, London Zoo costs £23 for adults and £17 for kids, so entry for a family of four is normally a jumbo £80. But buy a £1.90 single to and from any station, present it with the voucher, and you’ll slash the cost to £40, saving £38.10.
You can print as many vouchers as you like and the cheapest person gets in free. Attractions include everything from Madame Tussauds to Shakespeare's houses.
2for1 London days out
Another useful way to get 2for1 vouchers for theme parks, attractions, shows and restaurants in London is through National Express's London 2for1 Offers scheme. This has printable 2for1 vouchers for a range of days out, including Madame Tussauds, the London Dungeon and the London Aquarium.
You'll need two valid National Express coach tickets to London to use them, so this is good if you're planning to get the coach to the capital anyway.
Even if you're not travelling by coach, it may be worth getting two cheap National Express tickets to London from a nearby destination, though make sure they don't cost more than you'd save with the voucher.
You'll need to register after you've selected your offer in order to print the vouchers, which are personalised. Expiry dates vary, so make sure you check these on the voucher before you go.
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