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Fancy seeing something a little bit different this year?
Explore the fascinating collections and displays available
throughout the UK in this selection of smaller museums
that you may not have yet discovered.
Built in 1709, the rectory was the childhood home of John and Charles Wesley, the founders of Methodism. Here they received their earliest education from their parents, Samuel and Susanna Wesley. Open March–October offering tours, a schools’ programme, catering and special events. Visit the house, grounds and physic garden. More information can be found on the website.
Tel: 01427 872268
Two hidden 18th-century London gems: Methodist founder John Wesley’s first purpose-built chapel in London and the residence in which he lived the last thirteen years of his life, filled with original furnishings and personal mementoes. Don’t forget to pay a visit to our stunning all-original Victorian lavatories! Free entry, see website for opening times, group bookings and much more.
Tel: 020 7253 2262
Tiptree, the place where in 1885 the first Tiptree preserve was made. J.S. Wilkin collected paraphernalia related to preserve making, storing pictures, documents and redundant machines in the factory. Today, the Museum is jam-packed with artefacts! You’ll learn how preserve making at Wilkin & Sons and Essex village life has changed over more than a century.
Tel: 01621 814524
Discover the life and work of William Henry Fox Talbot, inventor of photography and once owner and resident of Lacock Abbey. Learn about the making and discovery of the photographic negative at Britain’s last sole photography museum. Enjoy a collection of historic cameras and changing exhibitions in our upper floor gallery.
Tel: 01249 730459
Strutt’s North Mill is the world’s first ‘fire-proof’, water-powered, cotton spinning mill. Grade 1 listed, the mill playedapartin theIndustrial Revolution. Award-winning exhibits reveal spinning history and machinery, framework knitting, the great Brettles cotton and silk hosiery collection, chevening and nail-making. The extensive Strutt Worker’s housing and renowned Belper River Gardens are nearby.
Tel: 01773 880474
Situated in the heart of London, The Guards Museum traces the history of the five Foot Guard Regiments from their beginnings right up to the present day. The Museum displays, uniforms, portraits, personal items relating to members of the regiments, including medals, weapons, headdress, equipment and lots more. See website for admission prices.
Tel: 020 7414 3428
Enjoy an amazing collection of automatic musical instruments, including musical boxes, reproducing pianos, orchestrions, violin players, and the 'Mighty Wurlitzer' cinema organ which rises up from beneath the stage in the concert hall. There are live instrument demonstrations and special events, check the website for details.
Tel: 020 8560 8108
The Geffrye Museum explores the history of the home from 1600 to 2000, focusing on the living rooms of the urban middle classes in England, particularly in London. A series of period rooms show how such homes were used and furnished, reflecting the changes in society and patterns of behaviour as well as style, fashion and taste.
Tel: 020 7739 9893
Leighton House is one of the most remarkable buildings of the 19th century and the former home of Victorian artist Frederic Leighton (1830–1896). The purpose-built studio-house contains a fascinating collection of paintings and sculpture by Leighton. From modest beginnings the house grew into a ‘private palace of art’.
Tel: 020 7471 9153
The founders of Weald & Downland Open Air Museum called it the “impossible museum”. By rescuing endangered timber- framed buildings and painstakingly re-erecting them in the heart of the South Downs those men and women achieved the impossible and created a breathtaking open air museum with dwellings and workplaces spanning six centuries.
Tel: 01243 811036
Visit the London Fire Brigade (LFB) Museum and travel through time to discover why the Great Fire of London was so influential to the history of firefighting.Explore aVictorian fire station, hear the brave stories of firefighters during the Second World War and finish your adventure learning about the LFB today and how it protects the people of London.
Tel: 020 8555 1200 ext. 39894
Discover life in Victorian times. Potters, pitmen and ploughboys were part of a religious movement that transformed the lives of working people forever. Chartists and trade union leaders, women preachers and child labourers: discover their stories in this tranquil conservation area in the heart of Cheshire. School visits are welcome. Contribute your Methodist history to our archive at www.myprimitivemethodists.org.uk
The New Room is the oldest Methodist building in the world, originally built in 1739 and enlarged in 1748. A Georgian gem located in the heart of Bristol and open throughout the year. The Preachers’ Rooms, located above the chapel, house the accredited museum, which tells the story of the early Methodist movement and the work of John and Charles Wesley in Bristol: the‘cradle of Methodism’.
Tel: 0117 926 4740
The Museum of English Rural Life (MERL) at the University of Reading explores life and work in the countryside over the last 150 years. This nationally important collection of objects, archives and photographs reflects the changing face of food, farming, rural technologies and craft. MERL also offers a varied public programme of events and activities for all ages.
Tel: 0118 378 8660
The Ragged School Museum offers an authentic experience of life in the Victorian East End. It is housed in three canal warehouses which Dr Barnardo converted into the largest free school in London. On the first Sunday of the month visitors can experience the rigours of Victorian education.
Tel: 020 8980 6405
A treasure trove of anaesthesia- related medical equipment for the invariably curious. Dating from 1774 to the present, our collection is ever expanding. From inhalers using natural sponges to contemporary plastic face pieces there is something to spark everyone’s interest. Admission is free (pre-booking advisable).
Tel: 020 7631 1650
Haworth Parsonage, once home to Yorkshire's famous Brontë sisters, is now a top UK tourist attraction. Newly refurbished for 2013 with an exciting £60,000 decorative scheme, the Museum has never offered a more powerful experience of the famous authors of Jane Eyre (Charlotte), Wuthering Heights (Emily) and The Tenant of Wildfell Hall (Anne). BD22 8DR
Tel: 01535 642323
This unique collection of military aircraft and artefacts includes two past holders of the World Air Speed record, iconic military aircraft, Battle of Britain memorabilia including the remains of a crashed Hurricane, simulators and many more fascinating items, all housed on the site of the legendary Battle of Britain airfield at Tangmere. Everyone will find us well worth a visit!
Tel: 01243 790090
Dedicated to the life and music of England’s great composer. Be transported back to Elgar’s Victorian and Edwardian past; learn about his musical achievements; and discover his varied hobbies and travels abroad. Relax in the Cottage Garden or have family fun in our Musical Garden. An Introductory Video, shop and café bar all add to the enjoyment of a visit.