Ten great days out for summer

National Maritime Museum Cornwall
National Maritime Museum Cornwall

If you're planning what to do this summer, we've got 10 suggestions of places with something for everyone – from animals by the seaside to museums exploring the sea and sky.

If you are searching for sunny days out with something for everyone, there are hundreds to choose from across the UK. We've selected 10 venues suited to the summertime that we think are worth highlighting.

Whether you want to dive into maritime history or take to the skies with stories of aviation; make some new furry friends in the grounds of beautiful houses or combine a visit to the seaside with a dollop of history, these 10 museums, galleries and historic places are all free to visit with a National Art Pass.

Ten great days out for summer


Canterbury Roman Museum

Fascinate the whole family with a trip to a city rich in history, and learn about its Roman past at Canterbury Roman Museum. You’ll not only find Roman antiques galore, but the remains of an actual Roman town house around which the museum is built. It contains the UK’s only remaining Roman pavement mosaic that’s still in place – and if you’ve had your fill of the Romans, you can wander pretty streets and relax by the River Stour.


National Maritime Museum Cornwall

If you need to cool off in the summer heat, where better to take some fresh coastal air than at this charming museum dedicated to the maritime heritage of Cornwall? Artefacts including whale-tooth carvings, old telescopes and log books tell the stories of the sea, and there’s also a Treasure Island play zone for kids.

You can take in the depths of the deep blue sea in the Tidal Zone as well as reach the dizzy heights of the The Lookout at the top of the tower with magnificent views over the harbour. All this, plus the Waterside Cafe and picnic area that are happy for you to bring your own food over the summer holidays. Shiver me timbers!


National Museum of Flight

Chocks away! The National Museum of Flight charts the history of aviation from the First World War to the present day, with lots of examples of military and civil aircraft, memorabilia and the chance to get close up and supersonic with Concorde.

Learn how aeroplanes work, how they are built and what it takes to be a pilot. The museum also houses the only Red Arrows Hawk on display in the UK, famously used by the Royal Air Force Aerobatic team.


Scolton Manor Museum

Open all year round, but particularly glorious in the summer months, this manor house set among park and woodland boasts a sculpture trail, tranquil walled garden, woodland bike trail and a beekeeping centre, so there’s plenty to keep everyone occupied. Not too mention Margaret, the newly restored steam engine. Meanwhile the house itself offers visitors the chance to experience Victorian country life ‘above and below stairs’.


Torre Abbey Historic House and Gallery

Explore medieval and walled gardens at Torquay’s most historic building. And if the weather’s not looking so good, eight galleries inside tell the story of this former monastery from 1196 to the present day, and include several pencil sketches by Pre-Raphaelite artist Edward Burne-Jones.

There are also heated glasshouses that house exotic cacti, succulents, and rare tropical and sub-tropical plants. Look out too for the Open Air Cinema Festival which happens every August.


Cardiff Castle

Explore 2,000 years of history at one of Wales’ most significant heritage sites, which dates back to the building of a Roman fort around the end of the 50s AD. Roman walls were uncovered in the 19th century having been buried for centuries and the remains of which are on display int he castle's visitor centre.

Keep an eye out for the Animal Wall, which flanks the castle and is populated by a host of watchful creatures carved into stone, from a pair of lions to an anteater, pelican and seal. Be careful not to get in the way of the replica trebuchet, a 13th century military machine for knocking down stone walls.


Captain Cook Birthplace Museum

Little adventurers will enjoy the tale of 18th-century explorer and mariner Captain James Cook, as told by this museum dedicated to his life and story. Themed galleries explore life on board ship, the science behind Cook’s voyages and more, and you can see a collection of items relating to Cook’s personal life including possessions and memorabilia from his journeys.


Sewerby Hall

Discover a dramatic day out by the seaside at Sewerby Hall, which looks out over Bridlington from a clifftop. Choose from award-winning walled, rose and pleasure gardens to wander around – and even pay a visit to the on-site zoo!

While capuchin monkeys and Humboldt penguins will keep everyone entertained outside, inside a recent refurbishment means this beautiful Edwardian house looks how it would have done in 1910, and features furniture on loan from the Victoria and Albert Museum and East Riding collection.


Osborne House

If you’ve ever visited Kensington Palace, you’ll be interested to see a very different side to Queen Victoria’s life: her holiday retreat. This palatial seaside home on the North coast of the Isle of Wight offered the monarch and her family a place of respite and repose.

Visit the Queen Victoria's Beach, a private alcove overlooking the Solent, where you can catch some sun, take a dip in the water, or even try out Queen Victoria's Bathing Machine.


Shakespeare's Family Homes

You might know Shakespeare inside out, but you’re bound to unearth something new at one of these five family homes. All within a short walk or drive of each other, each distinctive house plots a point in the Bard’s life, from his mother’s childhood farm via his future bride’s cottage to his daughter’s Jacobean residence. And of course, you might want to pop by the Royal Shakespeare Company for a play too.

IndividualTiana Clarke Please note this is an example card and not a reflection of the final product

The more you see, the more we do.

The National Art Pass lets you enjoy free entry to hundreds of museums, galleries and historic places across the UK, while raising money to support them.

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