Museums and galleries for a perfect bank holiday weekend
Spend time with loved ones, experience something new and take a culture trip this bank holiday weekend. Here’s a museum of every shape and size to inspire you.
Ah, bank holidays. Sunshine (sometimes), extended weekends and... more time to visit museums! What better time to be with loved ones and make memories together?
Whether you’re a fan of contemporary art galleries, historic houses or expansive outdoor spaces, here are some great places where you can gather friends and family together and experience something new. Explore works of art, pop into lovely cafés and shops or wander outside – there’s something for everyone.
Check out these places for a bank holiday weekend to remember, and don’t forget you’ll get fantastic benefits when visiting with a National Art Pass.
Historic houses are an excellent option for a day out with family or friends, and Holkham Hall is the crème de la crème. With expansive grounds to explore, it’s also the perfect spot for a picnic if the weather’s nice – you’ll be joined by the herds of deer who also the roam the estate. The lovely Holkham beach is just a short five-minute walk away. And if it rains, why not pop inside the house to explore beautifully decorated interiors?
Brighton has always been a bank holiday hotspot, and the crown jewel of its buildings has to be the mesmerising Royal Pavilion. The interiors are pure opulence and extravagance, made up of a series of lavish rooms inspired by Chinese and Indian design. There’s something to draw the eye for everyone here, plus it’s just a short walk from the pier when you’re ready to retire to the beach for a punnet of chips.
Fancy spending your bank holiday on a boat? Board the Cutty Sark and discover what life was like on one of Britain’s iconic sailing ships. There are plenty of surprises to explore below deck, and you can even add on a rig-climbing experience for the daredevils. Other things to do include steering the mighty Victorian wheel and visiting the lavish Captain’s Cabin. Children and adults will both have plenty to do here, plus you can combine your trip with a visit to some of the other places in the Royal Museums Greenwich family, such as the Royal Observatory.
Motor shows are a long-running British tradition and a great way to spend a bank holiday – but if you can’t find one near you, why not pop into the National Motor Museum instead? Located in the heart of the gorgeous New Forest, this museum explores the history of motoring in the UK and is home to a vast collection of vehicles. See Mr Bean’s beloved Mini and the iconic Only Fools and Horses van here, plus vehicles dating from 1905 to the present day.
Located on the Dundee waterfront, the Scottish arm of the V&A family is dedicated to design. Explore designs from artists around the world, plus the best of Scottish creativity. Children are very welcome here and there’s plenty for adults too, with a range of striking contemporary exhibitions, galleries, a lovely café and a museum shop to visit on site.
Go back in time to the 19th and early 20th centuries for a bank holiday with a difference. This open-air museum recreates the sights, smells and sounds of Victorian Shropshire – visit Victorian shops and cottages, taste authentic food and sweets or join craftspeople demonstrating their trades in a beautifully recreated Victorian town. Why not dress the whole family up for a Victorian portrait or try traditional fish and chips with friends?
For more frolicking in the outdoors, Jupiter Artland is a fantastic option for spending the bank holiday getting back to nature and exploring incredible works of art. This sculpture park is filled with striking works by the likes of Barbara Hepworth, Damien Hirst and Ai Weiwei, all against a stunning green backdrop.
This museum is tucked away in the leafy streets of Forest Hill, an oasis of calm away from the hustle and bustle of London life. The gardens are the perfect place to meet a friend for coffee or take little ones to run around. Inside there are a number of fascinating exhibits, particular highlights being collections relating to global cultures and the natural world.
Liverpool's World Museum is jam-packed with fascinating objects from all over the world. Whether you want to explore their exhibitions, marvel at the solar system in the planetarium, or immerse yourself in the deep blue of their aquarium, there is truly something for everyone.
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.