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South West

Check out our guide to Bristol. The guide is one of a series of mini-websites giving detailed info on ten different cities.

For the rest of the South West region, we've got a great list below of places to go.

All museums or galleries listed here love having young visitors - so get out and about and have fun!

Click on the museum names to find out where they are and when they open.


Explore-At-Bristol

A science museum and a natural history museum rolled into one.

There's always loads going on for kids - from action-packed exhibits and live shows to workshops and hands-on activities galore, plus they've got an amazing chrome-plated, futuristic planetarium.

photo of a large reflective globe with two children walking in front of it


Get to grips with Brunel's tunnelling triumphs, radical railways and shipbuilding prowess in The Forces That Made IK Brunel.

Find out how this innovative and reckless engineer wrestled with so many huge and deadly forces.


Share a sense of the dangers he faced, experiment with the forces harnessed and experience how these are still at play in the engineering marvels of today.

From using vacuums to move objects to seeing how you fare as the next legendary bridge builder, there's plenty for you to get stuck in to!


Royal Albert Memorial Museum and Art Gallery, Exeter, Devon

The museum is full of fascinating objects from all over the world.

Whether you fancy trying on Roman armour, getting creative with clay or settling down for some storytelling, RAMM is the place to visit!

Child in modern dress wearing a Roman helmet

The front of a steam engine.


Tiverton Museum of Mid Devon Life

This museum is full of objects that show you how people lived in the past - from toys to the first tractor, costume to cooking utensils, farm machinery and horsedrawn wagons.


Listen to the air raid siren in the World War Two Anderson Shelter or be a train driver in the cab of the Tivvy Bumper (in the photo).

Photo of a boy and girl looking into a glass case full of ornate tiaras and combs.


Cheltenham Art Gallery & Museum, Gloucestershire

There's loads to do here, including discovery trails, colouring sheets and handling tables. Discover the secrets of The Dance of the Seven Drawers, and take a seat in the sedan chair!


ss Great Britain, Bristol

Step back in time on board famous engineer Brunel’s ss Great Britain – the world’s first great ocean liner.

Launched in 1843 to provide luxury travel to New York, the ship set new standards in engineering, reliability and speed. She was the world's first large iron ship and the first to be driven by a screw propeller.

The bow of the ss Great Britain.

A boy and a girl looking at a museum display. Courtesy of Trowbridge Museum.


Trowbridge Museum, Wiltshire

Here you can hunt for the hidden mice, identify archaeological finds and meet Stumpy the Sheep! There are fun, free activities every school holiday.


STEAM, Swindon

Here's one for the train buffs among you! This Museum tells the story of the men and women who built, operated and travelled on the Great Western Railway - a railway network that, thanks to a man called Isambard Kingdom Brunel, became admired as the most advanced in the world.

The story is brought to life with film, stories of ex-railway workers, hands-on exhibits, interactive displays and famous locomotives.

A steam locomotive with the word 'North' on the side in big gold letters.

Child in a spiky orange card mask with big white jagged teeth and black eyes with white stalks. Courtesy of the RCM.


Royal Cornwall Museum, Truro

Not many museums have a seal cave! This one's part of a fantastic display all about Cornish wildlife. There are also fascinating Greek and Roman artefacts to look at - and make sure you visit the Egyptian mummy!

If you're eight or over, you can join the Saturday Art Club.

There are drop-in holiday activities in the museum's free family activity centre.

A large group of children and a number of adults standing outside the entrance to the museum.


British Empire and Commonwealth Museum, Bristol

Find out about a time when the British Empire stretched across the globe. Good and bad, the history is all here.


Victoria Art Gallery, Bath

Here you can help yourself to an 'art cart', full of art materials to get creative with in the gallery. You'll be inspired by all the amazing paintings, some of which date back to the 15th century!

If you're aged 3 to 11, you can join the Young @ Art Club.

A little girl and her mum looking at a model of a dinosaur with very sharp teeth - and she's putting her hand in its mouth!


Dinosaur Museum, Dorchester

Are you a dinosaur fan? If so, what are you waiting for? This museum is definitely the one for you.

Also in Dorchester, just along the road there's The Tutankhamun Exhibition where you can check out all things Ancient Egyptian.


City Museum & Art Gallery, Bristol

The building alone is amazing, before you've even started to look at what's inside. Great day out.

Shows a photo of a smiling boy sailing a remote control yacht on an indoor lake. A lady next to him is watching, smiling. Photo: National Maritime Museum Cornwall


National Maritime Museum Cornwall, Falmouth

If you've got the sea in your bones this is the museum for you. Make sure you go for a whole day as there's stacks to see and do.


Georgian House, Bristol

This historic house tells you all about the day-to-day life of an 18th century master and servant.

The kitchen has a roasting spit and dozens of pots and pans - imagine how long the servants would have spent tirelessly doing the chores for their master! In the basement there's a cold-water plunge bath lined with stone - not our idea of a relaxing soak!

School, Victorian-style at Blaise Castle House! Image by Neil Phillips. Courtesy of Bristol Museums.


Blaise Castle House Museum, Bristol

Here they have a Victorian Toy Room with old dolls, board games and the ever-popular model trains.

There's also a great collection of household items, including cooking utensils and vacuum cleaners. Find out how different cooking the dinner and cleaning the house used to be!


Wheal Martyn Museum of the China Clay Country, St Austell, Cornwall

Travel back in time to the 1820s here, when Cornwall was a very different place.

Shows in the exterior of the museum, with a water cannon in the foreground.

Dressing up as Tudors at Red Lodge. Image: Neil Phillips. Courtesy of Bristol Museums.


Red Lodge, Bristol

A beautiful 400-year old house with a fantastic Elizabethan-style knot garden.

Look out for weekend events where you can find out how life might have been in the 17th and 18th centuries. Hear characters' tales and see members of the household go about their daily lives!


Museum in the Park, Stratford, Gloucestershire

A park and a museum all rolled into one. Rev. Awdry, the author of Thomas the Tank Engine books was a local, so see if you can spot Thomas around the museum.

The front of the museum, with a statue of a person holding a bird in their hand.