Discover quirky collections and magical museums to expand your mind and provide the perfect day out for the curious of all ages.
In the heart of Southampton, the SeaCity Museum has an important story to tell. Trace the lives of some of the Titanic crew and passengers, and discover a wealth of historical artefacts that recount the tales of people who have departed from or arrived in the port over the centuries. The permanent exhibitions offer an abundance of maritime history worth navigating.
William Herschel discovered the planet Uranus in March 1781. In doing so, he doubled the size of the known universe, and he did it all from the comfort of his own home at 19 New King Street. Even more remarkable was that he was a self-taught amateur astronomer who built his own telescopes. The museum has been fully restored to reflect an authentic Georgian property and offers a fascinating look into how we used to live, as well as the world among the stars.
Aviation enthusiasts, rejoice! There are more than 80 aircraft on display at the Helicopter Museum as well as an interactive zone and a film theatre to enjoy. At certain times of the year open-cockpit days let visitors learn about how a helicopter flies while sitting in one. The museum is run and maintained by a dedicated team of volunteers and you can pay extra if you’d prefer a guided tour from one of the knowledgeable members of staff.
Once upon a time (2003 to be exact), the Story Museum was founded. Initially an initiative to take stories and storytellers to schools and communities, it is now a permanent museum space in the centre of Oxford. Visitors walk through a series of rooms, each themed and decorated in the style of a well-known book. You can even write and film your own story while you’re there. Great for kids, and there’s a café too.
Recently refurbished and due to reopen this July, make yourself an appointment at Europe’s oldest surviving operating theatre, located in the attic of an English baroque church. Once an extension of old St Thomas’ Hospital this rather grisly place is where students in the 1800s would come to watch live operations and enhance their surgical skills. Visiting here is like stepping back in time to a Victorian Britain where you can learn about poisons and herbs, see macabre surgical instruments and leave feeling relieved that medicine nowadays has advanced a lot since then.
A library of more than 5,000 books and 4,000 comics, this museum is a celebration of British cartoons, caricatures, comic strips and animation. From Victorian cartoonists to original artwork featuring Dennis the Menace, Minnie the Minx and Dan Dare, this gem of a collection will keep you entertained throughout your visit. There’s a great little gift shop too.