Mr A's Favourite Museums

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Britain has loads of great family-friendly museums and many of them offer free entry. With all sorts of activities, events and displays, they make a perfect family outing.

From going behind the scenes of a favourite movie to drawing a self-portrait, hands-on areas and exciting backpacks, you will find museums all over the country that will give you and your family a great day out.

Here are some of Mr A's favourites and some top things to go and see.

National Gallery, London

Trafalgar Square's iconic art museum houses a collection of more than 2,300 of the world's greatest paintings. Visitors love seeing Vincent van Gogh's Sunflowers and works by Rembrandt and Leonardo da Vinci. Look out for free hands-on art workshops and drawing sessions every Sunday at 11am and 2pm for children aged 5-11.

Van Gogh's Sunflowers make me feel happy.

http://www.nationalgallery.org.uk/

British Museum, Great Russell Street, London

Visit the Families Desk in the Great Court and you can borrow activities and get advice on your visit. Gallery backpacks, activity trails and art materials are available for children and there are even opportunities to explore behind the scenes and find real objects from the film Night at the Museum: Secret of the Tomb which was filmed on location at the museum.

I loved watching Night at the Museum. Bit scary though!

http://www.britishmuseum.org/

World Museum, Liverpool

Top must-sees at this museum include a trip to the free planetarium where you can blast off on a spectacular journey through space and time; the Bug House where children can examine creepy crawlies and even download insect recipes; and the Egyptian mummies and their X-Ray scans.

Don't miss the planetarium. It's really cool and you feel like you're in the stars.

http://www.liverpoolmuseums.org.uk/wml/

Roman Baths, Bath

These are the best preserved ancient temples and baths in Western Europe. Children of all ages can find out about life in Roman times. There are tunnel tours, a hoard of over 17,000 silver coins on display to see, Roman costumed characters to talk to and a chance to dress as a Roman, you can make your own Roman coin and there are special events organised in the school holidays.

I'd like to go back to Roman times for a day or two. Do you think I'd be able to get a pizza?

http://www.romanbaths.co.uk/

Victoria and Albert Museum, Cromwell Road, London

The Victoria and Albert Museum is the world's largest museum of decorative arts and design. On until 2 August is the largest retrospective of Alexander McQueen. But there's lots more to see. Children can hunt for treasures from sparkly jewels to samurai swords, journey back to Medieval, Tudor and Victorian times, get up close to West End costumes and famous fashion. Look for the hand-on symbol on hundreds of exhibits.

Dressing up in West End costumes and pretending to be a famous actor sounds fun.

http://www.vam.ac.uk/

Churchill War Rooms, King Charles Street, London

Visit the Churchill War Rooms and discover the original Cabinet War Rooms, the wartime bunker that sheltered Winston Churchill and his government during the Blitz. You can explore the historic underground rooms and find out about the people who worked in them while London was being bombed overhead. The rooms have been left exactly as they were in 1945.

I want to see the maps on the wall and the pin points of bombings.

http://www.iwm.org.uk/visits/churchill-war-rooms

National Railway Museum, York

Explore the world of railways, big and small, at York's National Railway Museum.

On until September 6th is the free Playing Trains exhibition where children can discover the sounds of the railway, put on a smart uniform and sell tickets in their ticket booth, pretend to be a driver on board a child sized train or create their own world with track building toys.

This delightful museum also houses the largest collection of Royal carriages in the world. You can peak inside Queen Victoria's lavish 'palace on wheels' which was her favourite way to travel.

I wonder how different Queen Victoria's carriage is compared to the London Underground!

http://www.nrm.org.uk/

National Museum of Scotland, Edinburgh

Children of all ages are welcome at the museum and there are galleries and activities aimed at them. From meteorites to monsters from the deep, there are galleries telling the story of Earth. Look out for the giant T. rex guarding the Natural World galleries.

On until November is a Photography exhibition where you can discover how the Victorian craze for the photograph transformed the way we capture images today and mirrors our own modern-day fascination with recording the world around us.

I'd like to dress up as a Victorian and have my photograph taken.

http://www.nms.ac.uk/national-museum-of-scotland/

Kelvingrove Art Gallery & Museum, Glasgow

This museum houses one of Europe's largest great art collections and is amongst the top three free-to enter visitor attractions in Scotland. Look out for Museum Mouse who has lots of ideas and fun things to do for children under five.

Open until August 16 is a fun touring exhibition (tickets required) from New Zealand called Hatching the Past: Dinosaur Eggs and Babies – with real specimens collected from around the world. Look out for dinosaur eggs from China and the Gobi Desert, a crocodile skull from the Middle Jurassic Period and a cast of dinosaur footprints.

I love dinosaurs... but I couldn't eat a whole one!

http://www.museumsgalleriesscotland.org.uk/member/kelvingrove-art-gallery-and-museum

Brunel's SS Great Britain, Bristol

Brunel's SS Great Britain was the ship that changed the world. The first great ocean liner, she was hugely advanced for her time. Today, you can stroll on the decks and take in the views and sounds of animals and general bustle of the ship preparing to sail. Below decks you can peep inside the luxury cabins of First Class passengers and marvel at the massive turning engine. You can even go beneath the waterline with a glass 'sea' giving you a view of the ship's iron hull.

The Dockyard Museum tells the SS Great Britain's remarkable story, from her launch in 1843 through a long career as luxury liner, emigrant steam clipper to a super-sized sailing ship carrying coal to San Francisco. You will discover the story of her rescue from the bottom of the South Atlantic and her final triumphant return to Bristol.

I think I would feel really small walking around such a big ship!

http://www.ssgreatbritain.org/

Natural History Museum, Cromwell Road, London

A great day out, the Natural History Museum has bags of things to do and see. With gallery trails, puppet shows, specimen handling and art activities, there is something for visitors of all ages.

Look out for the Sensational Butterflies exhibition which runs until September 13 on the museum's East lawn (ticket required). You can experience the magic of coming face-to-face with hundreds of free-flying moths and butterflies as you wander through the tropical butterfly house. There will be creatures from Africa, Asia and South America taking flight.

Mr A says: "This is one of my favourite museums. Look out for Dippy the dinosaur in the entrance hall. He's going to be moved soon and replaced by a blue whale skeleton. Yikes."

http://www.nhm.ac.uk/

Don't forget to take some chilled Sunny D with you on your adventures - it's perfect for keeping all the family refreshed!

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