Five coastal museums

Published 10 February 2015

Heading to the coast to enjoy the summer sun? Plug in your sat-nav and make a beeline towards one of our favourite seaside museums, from Tayside to Pembrokeshire.

Theicon signifies when there is a National Art Pass offer
Penlee House

Penlee House Gallery and Museum

  • Cornwall
Free entry

Penlee House's art is housed in a 19th-century Italianate villa set among semi-tropical gardens. The collections focus on works by the Newlyn School, a colony of artists who worked nearby from the 1880s to the 1930s. The group counted Laura Knight, Walter Langley, and Stanhope and Elizabeth Forbes among its members, all of whom are well represented in the collection.


The Historic Dockyard Chatham

  • Kent
Free entry

Cold War submarines, Victorian sloops and Second World War destroyers are among the historic vessels on display at Chatham's magnificent 80-acre dockyard. The site itself is an exhibit: a 400-year-old dockyard filled with collections that shine a spotlight on the lives of centuries of people who worked there.

Tenby Museum & Art Gallery

Tenby Museum and Art Gallery

  • Pembrokeshire
Free entry

With extensive collections spanning geology, archaeology, and maritime and local histories, this jewel of a museum in Pembrokeshire looks out over the picturesque Carmarthen Bay. The museum is also home to works of art by notable local artists, from Augustus John to topographical etcher Charles Norris.


Discovery Point and Royal Research Ship Discovery

  • Tayside
Free entry

Captain Scott and Ernest Shackleton's landmark expedition to the Antarctic wouldn't have been possible without the RRS Discovery. The last traditional three-masted wooden ship built in Britain, it was designed specially for Antarctic research, with a hull created to withstand frozen ice and raked bows to aid ice-breaking. Discovery Point tells the history of the ship, as well as giving visitors access to the vessel itself.

Towner Eastbourne © Marc Atkins / Art Fund 2020


  • East Sussex
Free to all
50% off exhibitions

While Eastbourne's museum of art dates back to 1923, it only moved to its current home in a cutting-edge building designed by Rick Mather in 2009. Originally founded around John Towner's bequest of 22 paintings, today the Towner Collection is one of the most important public art holdings in the south-east of England, boasting over 4,000 works by artists from Joseph Wright of Derby to Pablo Picasso.

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