Out and about this weekend

Your guide to what's on around Britain this weekend


If you are stuck for something to do this weekend, this guide may provide just the inspiration you need. Sophie Tuson has sourced some of the finest historical events and exhibitions taking place across Britain – from an exhibition on royal menageries to a medieval experience at York Castle Museum. Whatever your taste, there are plenty of ‘historical happenings’ to suit almost every taste.




Exhibition: London Street Photography
Museum of London, London
Until 4 September 2011
020 7001 9844

London through the lens: 200 candid photographs of everyday life in London have been brought together in this extraordinary collection to sensitively capture the dynamic nature of England’s capital city and the evolution of street photography. Come and witness London captured on camera – from sepia-toned images of horse-drawn carriages to 21st-century digitals shots.
Admission: free


Exhibition: Treasures of Heaven: Saints, Relics and Devotion in Medieval Europe
British Museum, London
Until 9 October 2011
020 7323 8299

This major exhibition on medieval Europe features 150 ‘sacred treasures’ of the medieval age. Visitors have a rare opportunity to view objects drawn from over 40 institutions including the Vatican and many prestigious museum collections from around the world.

Tour: Restored Historic Almhouses
The Geffrye Museum, London
6 August 2011
020 7739 9893

The Geffrye Museum is opening up one of its 18th-century almshouses to the public this weekend. Fully restored to its original condition, the almshouse offers a unique insight into the lives of London’s historical poor and elderly.

Exhibition: Royal Beasts
Tower of London, London
Until 31 December 2011
0844 482 7777

This interactive exhibition explores the rare and exotic animals that were kept at the Tower of London’s Royal Menagerie for over 600 years. Beginning in the early 1200s these ‘royal beasts’ were given as gifts to the court and were predominantly used for entertainment. Visitors can discover the animals’ own individual histories – from the polar bear who fished in the Thames to the ostrich that ate nails.


Event: Billy Jenkins: A Pirate’s Life for Me
Museum of London Docklands, London
7 August 2011
020 7001 9844

Conducted by one of Dockland’s ‘pirates’, this interactive story-telling session offers children an exciting new way to learn about the old port of London and life at sea. Minimum age six.
Admission: free

Exhibition: Royal Wedding Souvenirs
Museum of Brands, Packaging and Advertising, London
Until 31 August 2011
020 7908 0880

An intriguing exhibition on royal wedding souvenirs is currently on show at the Museum of Brands, Packaging and Advertising. The display brings together popular souvenir products dating from the marriage of Victoria and Prince Albert in 1840 to the recent marriage of Prince William and Kate Middleton. The fascinating objects on display chart the social history of the souvenir industry and reveal much about the universal human instinct to keep momentoes, which itself dates back to ancient civilisations.


Event: Family Workshop
Horniman Museum, London
6 August 2011
020 8699 1872

Two themed workshops invite families to indulge their senses in a thoroughly ‘hands-on’ exploration of world history. Touch real museum objects, toys and puppets from the Horniman’s fascinating handling collection and explore the animal kingdom.
Admission: free


South East

Event: Summer Car Show
Imperial War Museum (IWM), Duxford
7 August 2011
01223 835 000

For car enthusiasts the IWM Duxford Summer Car Show offers the perfect day out this weekend. A spectacular range of automotive classics will be on display from the Halcyon Days of motoring, and visitors will also be given the opportunity to talk to the owners of their favourite cars.

Exhibition: The Battle of Naseby
Cromwell Museum, Cambridgeshire
Until 4 September 2011
0345 045 5200

This travelling exhibition from the Market Harborough Museum charts the historic events of the Battle of Naseby (1645), arguably the most important battle of the English Civil War. The exhibition explains just why this renowned battle was so significant and demonstrates the importance of Cromwell’s role as a cavalry commander to the Parliamentarian New Model Army’s victory.
Admission: free


South West


Exhibition: On Thin Ice: Pioneers of Polar Exploration
National Maritime Museum, Cornwall
Until 9 October 2011
01326 313388

This six-month exhibition offers visitors a chilling insight into Britain’s polar heritage. On display are artefacts from the tragic Terra Nova expedition of 1910–13, including letters, a compass, pony snow shoes and Scott’s snow goggles.


Exhibition: Marilyn – Hollywood Icon
The American Museum in Britain, Bath
Until 30 October 2011
01225 460503

This collection of 20 authentic Marilyn Monroe costumes and personal items is part of the American Museum’s 50th anniversary programme celebrating the legacy of the famous Hollywood icon. Notable exhibition items include Monroe’s iconic cocktail dress worn in Some Like It Hot (1959). All the objects on display are part of the David Gainsborough Roberts Collection, an astounding collection of celebrity memorabilia.


North East


Event: Knights, Castles and Chivalry
York Castle Museum, York
Until 31 August 2011
01904 687687

This summer the York Castle Museum is offering visitors the full ‘medieval experience’. Come and discover more about York’s historic castle with themed outdoor activities. Immerse yourself in everything medieval: try on military style helmets, shoot arrows and, if you’re unlucky, take a trip to the stocks.


Exhibition: Revolution on Paper: Mexican Prints 1910–1960
Hatton Gallery, Newcastle
Until 13 August 2011
(0191) 222 6059

This weekend offers the last chance to catch an exquisite exhibition on the great age of Mexican printmaking between 1910 and 1960). Displaying 140 objects from over 35 artists, this collection charts the history of Mexican printmaking through the early 20th century and the powerful political and social impact it assumed during Mexico’s social revolution.
Admission: free


North West

Event: Animals and War
Imperial War Museum North, Manchester
7 August 2011
0161 836 4000

A host of puppet characters share their stories of wartime animal bravery. Come and meet Voytek the bear and Spitfire the horse.
Admission: free


Exhibition: The Bed of Rhys ap Thomas of Dinefwr
St Fagans National History Museum, Cardiff
Until March 2012
029 2057 3500

The star of this exhibition is the ornately carved bed of Rhys ap Thomas of Dinefwr (1132–1197), once one of Wales’s most powerful men, complete with its hidden self-portrait. Featuring other objects of the age, such as the original wall paintings from the medieval St Teilo’s Church, this rich collection provides a fascinating insight into the 1500–1700 period.
Admission: free




Exhibition: ‘The Glesga that I used to know’ – 1970s Glasgow: Through the Lens
Scotland Street School Museum, Glasgow
6–7 August 2011
0141 287 0500

This collection of 86 photographs taken in the 1970s captures Glasgow at a time of great change. ‘Through the Lens’ photographically delves into the ordinary domestic lives of 1970s Glaswegians to reveal the ways in which they went about their daily lives as their city transformed around them. The collection includes popular images of Paddy’s Market and Glasgow Green and is part of a series of photographical surveys led by Patrick Camera Club.
Admission: free

Northern Ireland


Exhibition: Starstruck
Ulster Museum, Belfast
Until 25 September 2011
0845 608 0000

Old-fashioned Hollywood glamour has descended on Ulster Museum. This unique exhibition brings together 50 of the world’s most filmed and photographed costumes from television and the big screen. Exhibition highlights include costumes from the award-winning The King’s Speech and hugely successful television drama Downton Abbey.


To find out what else is going on around Britain this month, take a look at our extended events and exhibitions guide.