Scotland’s tribute to its aviation history is one of the best museums in the whole country. Just south of the village of East Fortune, the museum is housed on the former site of the RAF East Fortune which is an extremely well-preserved World War II airfield. As a result of this the entire site is a scheduled ancient monument with no permanent structures added.
The museum is composed of four hangars, each hosting a different aviation exhibition. Conservation, military aviation, civil aviation and the spectacular Concorde all have their own dedicated space. You’ll leave with some incredible photos and a whole host of fresh knowledge.
Housed in a converted mill on the edge of Lake Windermere, this museum is nothing short of a cacophony of cars. The fascinating collection of over 30,000 exhibits trace the development of road transport throughout the 20th-century. Their extensive set of cars spans more than 100 years of motor heritage, and the amount of car-themed memorabilia alongside it is just the icing on the cake. We also love the fact that the museum ties in its passion for automobiles with the history of the wider area.
There are fantastic recreations of period shops, a 1920s garage and 1950s café onsite, giving you an insight into what daily life was like during this era of immense social change. Without doubt, this is one of the best museums in the UK.
This concrete coastal defence was built 1860 and 1872 by 26 Company of the Royal Engineers to protect Portland and Weymouth Harbours, the former becoming a strategically important naval base. One of the best-preserved forts of its kind, it was been Grade II listed since 1974.
The museum pays homage to the fort’s importance, with archives and artefacts giving visitors a great insight into its day-to-day purpose. There are also artillery guns, educational experiences and a kid's zone. It’s the stunning view out at Dorset Jurassic Coast that cements Nothe Fort’s place in the best museums in the UK. All that’s left for you to do is look out at the horizon and imagine you’re about to fire some artillery out to sea.
This RNLI site commemorates one of Victorian’s Britain’s greatest heroines, Grace Darling. At the tender age of 22, she risked her own life to rescue nine survivors from the wrecked SS Forfarshire on 7 September 1838. This extraordinary act of bravery made front page news and she was awarded the RNLI's Silver Medal for Gallantry.
The museum guides you through Grace’s upbringing and life living at Longstone lighthouse and details the events that propelled her into the limelight as a national hero. You’ll find yourself transported back to 1838 with audio-visual tools and a spectacular model of the lighthouse. Grace’s museum is one of the best in the UK and paints a fantastic picture of an individual that continues to inspire today.
This museum in the south east is a real hidden gem. Open-air, the museum covers 40 acres with over 50 historic buildings ranging from 950AD to the 19th-century. Visitors can see, touch and even smell what life in the UK has been like across this immensely varied period of time. It’s hard to imagine that each and every one of the buildings on display was threatened with demolition before they were carefully dismantled, conserved and rebuilt on the site of the museum.
You can also get involved in hands-on activities here, with cooking and weaving just two of the things that give visitors a snapshot of daily life in some of the buildings. This place really does get you thinking about how life has changed and developed, so we had to include this as one of the best museums in the UK.