10 brilliant British museums your kids will love this summer
Do you have a budding dinosaur hunter, stamp sleuth or art critic among your brood?
Check out these 10 wonderful UK museums to visit over the summer break. All of them prove that "educational" needn't mean "boring".
National Museum of Flight, East Lothian
Image: National Museum of Flight
The birthplace of many a young pilot.
The National Museum of Flight's interactive simulations offer the chance to fly and navigate planes, as well as learn how they're built. There are also tonnes of actual aircraft to look at and climb inside, including a Concorde and the cockpit of a Boeing 707.
This summer sees loads of special events taking place for the children, from learning the patter for the flight attendants' pre-take off safety talk to making your own Airfix model.
Steve McLean, the museum's general manager, is particularly looking forward to Scotland's National Airshow on Saturday, July 22.
"We’ve planned a fabulous line-up of high-flying entertainment featuring thrilling displays from state of the art fast jets including the world-famous Red Arrows, and incredible historic aircraft with fascinating stories," McLean explains.
"Combined with fantastic entertainment on the ground, and the chance to explore our fascinating Museum, we believe this makes Scotland’s National Airshow one of Scotland’s best family days out.”
The Postal Museum, London
Image: The Postal Museum
Got a budding Postman Pat at home?
The Postal Museum, close to Royal Mail's main Mount Pleasant sorting office, is the place for you.
Ride the underground Mail Train, which for 100 years carried the post across London.
See telegrams sent from the Titanic as she sank.
Then check out the incredible Sorted! play space, where under 8s can put on uniforms, sort the mail and get all the letters delivered on time.
Throughout August there will be storytelling and art activities galore.
It opens after a major revamp on July 27.
Walker Art Gallery, Liverpool
Image: Walker Art Gallery
Big Art for Little Artists.
That's the name of a special art gallery designed for the under nines, housed in this prestigious Liverpool institution.
There your mini Picassos can:
· Make their own artworks
· Dress up as characters from the Walker’s many paintings
· Play with puppets
· Listen to stories
· Pose on a throne
All in all, a fantastic way to introduce your tiny ones to the joy of art. There's also a dedicated children's menu at the café.
Visit the Walker Art Gallery's website.
Horniman Museum, London
Image: Horniman Museum
The Horniman Museum is a museum kids love. Yet one that manages to retain a traditional feel.
The over-stuffed walrus guarding the entrance sets a Victorian tone, but make no mistake, this is a museum that lets you get involved.
Try out some of the Horniman's 8,000 musical instruments, gaze at the jellyfish in the aquarium or enjoy the nature trail. Keep an eye out for the alpacas. They're not stuffed.
What's happening over the six-week break?
"Visit the Horniman this summer and you can bring animals to life in the Robot Zoo, search for native wildlife on a bat walk, minibeast safari or pond-dipping, and enjoy music, dance and film at our Indian Summer events including a 50th-anniversary open-air screening of The Jungle Book," the museum told us.
"Our summer of storytelling, family crafts and Big Wednesday fun days will lead up to the opening of a brand new butterfly house, filled with free-flying tropical butterflies."
Image: W5 Centre
Want to build a robot? Take a lie detector test? Race your handmade model car on a giant racetrack?
The curators behind W5 sat down and thought, "what do kids love to do?" and built it.
Across four themed rooms there are more than 250 interactive exhibits to enthral.
Oh, and did we mention? This summer you get to meet an augmented reality alien…
First you need to head underground to the Dino Mine, where you'll encounter life-size dinosaur upon dinosaur lurking around every corner.
Then it's time to dig for fossils, before listening to amazing stories about these terrible lizards from long ago.
Still got some energy?
There are plenty more dinosaurs to find throughout Dinopark, and a bouncy castle just to make sure everyone sleeps in the car on the way home.
And yes, there is a T-Rex.
Science has never been this much fun.
Get involved with wild experiments in the Live Lab, learn about flight (and make your own flying object), cover yourself in a huge bubble of soap and then create your own cartoon animation.
The museum also features the UK's only 3D planetarium.
At-Bristol is the definition of a full day.
This summer you can enjoy the Festival of What If – "a six-week celebration of everything it is to be curious".
Ryedale Folk Museum, Yorkshire
Image: Ryedale Folk Museum
Want to give your city-dwelling kids a sense of country life? From years ago? The Ryedale Folk Museum comes up trumps.
Across 20 buildings, you can trace the area's history from the Iron Age to the 1950s. The kids will love the model village, feeding the farm animals and the opportunity to dress up in period costume in the photographic studio.
National Football Museum, Manchester
Image: National Football Museum
There's loads of interactive stuff for your kids to enjoy at the National Football Museum. They can test their reactions, take part in a penalty shootout (complete with the Wembley goalposts), and play a game of blindfold football.
And there's lots for the adults too, of all generations. Prepare to see Grandad get misty eyed over the Stanley Matthews collection.
London Transport Museum, London
Image: London Transport Museum
Something for the dads. They will enjoy clambering on old buses, trams and cars. And they'll love trying their hand at driving a tube train.
The kids will have fun too, assuming they get the chance.
There are loads of family activities on offer this summer, including arts and crafts, an orchestra jam session and "Transport Detectives", in which you try to track down the strange lost property of London.
See more at the London Transport Museum's website.
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