Free Museums and Galleries
The UK is home to around 2,500 museums and galleries showcasing historical collections of objects from all corners of the globe.
Below is a roundup of the most popular museums offering free entry to permanent exhibits in the UK. This is by no means a definitive list; you’ll find small museums scattered throughout the country and some of the most enjoyable and niche museums are the ones stumbled upon by chance. Get out there and explore, you never know, you might find a hidden gem close to one of our campsites.
The Ashmolean Museum, Oxford
Part of the University of Oxford, The Ashmolean specialises in ancient and modern art. Founded in 1683, the museum's ever growing collections range from Egyptian mummies to Anglo-Saxon treasures. Can you believe that the museum, just two miles from our Oxford Club Site, holds artefacts dating back to 8000 BC? Located in central Oxford, this museum is easily accessible via public transport with busses stopping a five minute walk away.
The National Railway Museum, York
Attracting over 700,000 visitors each year, the York branch of The National Railway Museum has the largest collection of railway objects in the world. Spanning almost 300 years of history, the 100 locomotives are displayed alongside posters and paraphernalia from all eras. The museum is a treasure trove for railway enthusiasts but provides entertainment for everyone. The museum is just a few minutes’ walk away from the nearest train station and a park and ride bus service stops directly outside the museum. Just 11 miles away is our Sheriff Hutton Club Site which is ideally situated for exploring the historic city.
National Gallery, London
Founded in 1824, The National Gallery is home to well over 2,000 paintings, including Van Gogh’s famous Sunflowers, making it one of the largest and greatest collections in the world. The Gallery, right in the heart of London’s Trafalgar Square, is easily accessible by both tube and bus.
Science Museum, London
Situated on Exhibition Road in South Kensington (alongside Natural History Museum) the Science Museum is another of London’s most visited educational attractions. Home to over 300,000 items, ardent science fanatics can view the first jet engine, James Watson’s model of DNA and Puffing Billy, the world’s oldest surviving steam locomotive. Entry is free, but temporary attractions and IMAX Theatre tickets incur a cost. Please visit their official website before visiting.
Natural History Museum, London
Situated in South Kensington, easily found by both tube and bus and just a stone’s throw from Hyde Park, this is arguably one of the most popular attractions in the city. The Natural History Museum is home to some of the world’s most famous dinosaur skeletons including the most complete stegosaurus fossil named Sophie and the Diplodocus, Dippy. The Natural History is a must visit for anyone interested in the prehistoric era and is just as enjoyable for children as it is for adults.
V&A Museum of Childhood, London
Hop on a London bus or tube and make your way to Bethnal Green, here you’ll find the UK’s national collection of childhood-related objects. A collection of 6,000 children’s garments and accessories, the largest collection of dolls in the UK and a puppet collection including examples from around the world can all be viewed here. The V&A collections are so extensive that adults are bound to spot items which spark childhood memories, and kids will love the interactive exhibitions.
Campsites near London
There are a handful of Club Sites surrounding the capital including Walton on Thames, Chertsey and Theobalds Park. These campsites are perfect for camping near London while being the perfect distance away to enjoy the relaxing atmosphere found on all of our Club Sites.
Museum of Science and Industry, Manchester
On the borders of Spinningfields in central Manchester you’ll find the Museum of Science and Industry, attracting over 850,000 visitors a year. The museum aims to educate on the city’s achievements in the fields of industry and science and is home to aircraft, locomotives, industrial machines and influential computer systems. There are a variety of things to do and exhibits to see for both children and adults. Within around 20 miles of the museum you’ll find our Crowden and Hayfield Club Sites, both the perfect haven to get away from the noise of the city.
Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery
Right in the heart of Birmingham city centre is Chamberlain Square, home to the town hall, Chamberlain Memorial and of course the Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery. The gallery is home to 500,000 objects including fine art, ceramics and natural history pieces. The museum aims to educate visitors on local and industrial history - the latter is particularly important in the West Midlands. Some of the exhibitions in the Gas Hall require a small entry free however the rest of the museum is free for all and makes a great stop off in the centre of the bustling city.
Both our Clent Hills and Kingsbury Water Park Club Sites are within easy driving distance of Birmingham city centre where you’ll find plenty of parking available.
Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum, Glasgow
One of Scotland’s most popular attractions, the Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum, is under an hour’s drive away from our Milarrochy Bay Club Site. Some 22 themed, state-of-the-art galleries display around 8,000 objects. Sir Roger the Asian elephant is one of the oldest objects on display. During the 1880s Sir Roger toured the country with a travelling menagerie and lived out his days in Glasgow zoo. Today you’ll find Sir Roger, a spitfire hanging from the ceiling, Fulton’s Orrery showing the understanding of the planets in the 1820s and much more at Kelvingrove just waiting to be explored and discovered.
National Museum of Scotland, Edinburgh
Take the journey through the history of Scotland and discover diverse collections from around the world including nature, art, fashion and technology. The National Museum of Scotland has something to interest everyone with exhibitions including prehistoric fossils, Scottish artefacts from all eras, vintage pieces from designers such as Lanvin and Jean Paul Gaultier and even a 13th century casket made to house the relics of a saint. Just a 40 minute drive from our Lauder Club Site, the museum makes a great day out.
Imperial War Museum North, Manchester
Under an hour’s drive from both our Hayfield and Crowden Club Sites, the Imperial War Museum North is an iconic building at The Quays. The Main Exhibition Space focuses on a timeline of conflicts that Britain and the Commonwealth have been involved in since the First World War. Other permanent exhibitions include the Big Picture Show and a look at the architecture of the museum building itself. These run alongside pop up exhibitions which range from vintage fashion to artefact roadshows.
The Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology, Cambridge
As part of the University of Cambridge, the museum houses archaeological and anthropological artefacts from all corners of the globe. The museum was founded in 1884 and has since had its collections added to by students of the university. Spread across three floors, the collections include artefacts from the South Pacific, Polynesia, a Haida Totem Pole and even the oldest human tools which have ever been discovered. The museum is just a 15 minute drive from our Cambridge Club Site and is also easily accessible via public transport.
World Museum, Liverpool
Explore relics from ancient Egypt, the story of the museum being bombed during the Blitz and a zoology collection made up of around 1.2 million specimens of invertebrates and vertebrates. The World Museum has over 1.7 million internationally significant artefacts and specimens on display. From geology and botany all the way to the physical sciences, there is an area of the museum to interest all. Less than an hour’s drive from our Delamere Forest Club Site, the museum makes a fantastic day out for the whole family and won’t cost a penny in entrance fees.
Now that you’ve read about some of the best free museums and galleries in the UK, why not book a pitch at one of our Club Sites and enjoy a cheap day out?