10 Best Museums in England to Visit in 2024

If you want to learn about Britain’s rich history and impact on the world, you need to browse some of the best museums in England. Whether it’s ancient civilisations, naval warfare or football, there’s a museum in England for just about everything. 

Best Museums in England

For a small nation, the UK has undeniably had a major impact on the world as we know it today. It gave birth to the Industrial Revolution, controlled the biggest empire the world has ever seen, and produced iconic cultural exports ranging from soccer to the Beatles. 

While you’ll find many of England’s best museums in London, it’s worth travelling further afield to see everything this diverse country has to offer. 

Whether you want to stroll through a recreated Georgian village, follow in the footsteps of the Romans or journey back in time to the age of the dinosaurs, one of the most popular museums in England is ideal for you. 

So, here’s our selection of the most interesting museums that offer insights into many aspects of England’s history and culture. 

Best Museums in England 

From the iconic British Museum to the remains of the Tudor-era Mary Rose warship, here are some of the most fascinating museums in England. 

1. British Museum, London 

Founded in 1753, the British Museum is the most popular museum in the UK, attracting over six million visitors in a typical year. 

British Museum facade

While exploring the museum’s galleries dedicated to different regions and time periods, you’ll see over 80,000 objects on display that detail two million years of human history. 

The museum’s vast collection includes items from a variety of ancient civlisations, including antiquities, prints, drawings and books. Some of the museum’s most famous treasures include the Rosetta Stone, the Parthenon sculptures and the Egyptian mummies. 

As one of many renowned museums in England with no admission fees, the British Museum is certainly one of the best free things to do in London. It’s also one of the Capital’s most iconic landmarks

2. Natural History Museum, London 

Over in the South Kensington area of London, you’ll find the Natural History Museum, which boasts a collection of over 80 million objects that detail 4.5 billion years of the Earth’s history. 

NNatural History Museum, London, England

If you’re exploring this museum with the kids, you might want to check out the displays of fossils in the Dinosaur gallery. In the Hintze Hall, you’ll discover a huge skeleton of a blue whale, which is believed to be the largest animal to have ever lived. 

The museum is divided into four zones and a total of around 20 galleries, meaning you could easily spend all day here. It’s also free to browse the permanent exhibits – what more could you want from a day out in London

3. National Football Museum, Manchester  

Of all the things England is famous for, football (soccer) has to be near the top, which is why it makes sense that the world’s largest football museum is located here. It probably also makes sense for the National Football Museum to be in Manchester, one of England’s best places to visit in 2023

National Football Museum, Manchester, England

As you browse the 2,500 football-related objects on display, you’ll learn about the sport’s history in the UK, its impact on society and its global reach. There are also a range of interactive exhibits, such as virtual reality games and penalty shootouts. 

Whether you’re a dedicated football fan or just want an insight into one of England’s biggest cultural exports, the National Football Musuem is a must-visit destination on a day out in Greater Manchester. You’ll find the museum inside Manchester’s iconic Urbis building. 

4. The Beatles Story, Liverpool 

If you’re interested cultural exports, you might enjoy following in the footsteps of the Beatles at the world-famous Beatles Story in Liverpool, the iconic band’s home city. 

The Beatles Story is one of the most fascinating museums in England

At this interactive museum, you’ll gain insights into the lives of John Lennon, Paul McCartney, George Harrison and Ringo Starr, from their early beginnings to their success as one of the world’s most influential bands of all time. 

Exhibits include memorabilia, rare photos and displays that detail the band’s music and cultural impact. You can also peruse recreations of iconic locations like the Abbey Road Studios and the Cavern Club.  

As one of the most entertaining museums in England, the Beatles Story is more than worth visiting on a day out in Liverpool. The historic Albert Dock is located right next door. 

5. Jorvik Viking Centre, York 

For a journey back in time to Viking England, head ‘up north’ to the Jorvik Viking Centre in York, a former Viking capital. 

During this unique museum experience, you’ll travel in a small carriage fitted with speakers through life-size dioramas of recreated Viking village settings. On top of lifelike mannequins, sounds and smells are used to bring the scenes to life. 

After the carriage ride, you can browse a range of exhibits and displays that detail the customs, beliefs and daily lives of the Vikings. You can also attend workshops led by costumed interpreters. 

The Jorvik Viking Centre is one of the best museums to visit in England for insights into one of the many civilisations that left their mark on the nation’s history. You can easily squeeze this fascinating museum into a one-day York travel itinerary

6. Roman Baths, Bath 

While we’re on the subject of civilisations that shaped England’s history, we need to mention the Roman Baths in the incredible city of Bath. 

Roman Baths, Bath, England

This historic site dates back over 2,000 years, providing a window into Roman Britainnia. As you stroll around the ruins of bathhouses that include a frigidarium, caldarium and tepidarium, you’ll find out how Bath became one of the world’s foremost Roman spas. You can also browse a range of interactive exhibits and artefacts that offer insights into Roman life. 

During your visit, you’ll have the chance to taste the water from the hot springs, which is said to have healing properties. It’s just one feature that makes the Roman Baths one of the best places to visit on a day out in Bath

7. Beamish, the Living Museum of the North, County Durham 

For a journey into England’s more recent past, we suggest paying a visit to Beamish, the Living Museum of the North. At this world-renowned open-air museum, you’ll discover life in North East England during the 1820s, 1900s, 1940s and 1950s. 

Beamish, the Living Museum of the North, County Durham, England

While strolling through the museum’s 300 acres of exhibits, you’ll explore a reconstructed Georgian town, an Edwardian colliery, a 1900’s pit village and a 1940’s farm. You’ll also have the chance to ride vintage buses and trams, attend traditional crafts workshops and meet costumed actors. 

One of the largest museums in England of its kind, Beamish offers a truly unique day out in County Durham

8. Ashmolean Museum, Oxford 

Part of the University of Oxford, the Ashmolean Museum was the first public museum in England. It’s dedicated to art and archaeology through the ages, with objects dating back as far as 8,000 years. 

Ashmolean Museum in England

As you make your way through the galleries, you’ll see displays of ancient Egyptian mummies all the way through to collections of modern art. You’ll also see the world’s most prestigious collection of Raphael drawings. 

When you need to refuel and give your brain a rest, you can order exquisite bites from the Rooftop Restaurant, which offers sprawling views of the city. 

The Ashmolean Museum is one of the most iconic museums in England outside of London. After your visit, you can check out the University of Oxford on your day out in Oxford for a glimpse into one of the nation’s most famous and influential educational institutions. 

9. National Railway Museum, York 

British inventor Richard Trevithick is credited to be the engineer of the first railway steam locomotive – which is a pretty incredible feat. If you want to learn about the history of rail in England and its tremendous impact on the world, York’s National Railway Museum is the place to go. 

National Railway Museum, York, England

This vast museum is home to over 100 locomotives and around 300 other exhibits that detail the entire history of British rail travel. Highlights include the Flying Scotsman and the Mallard, which set the high-speed world record for steam locomotives in 1938. 

On top of heritage trains and artefacts, the National Railway Museum has interactive exhibits that allow you to experience what it was like to work on the railways. With so much to do at this museum, it has to be one of the most interesting places to visit in North Yorkshire

10. The Mary Rose Museum, Portsmouth 

During a tour of England’s best museums, you might want to discover a few galleries that delve into the nation’s naval heritage, and the Mary Rose Museum is the place to do just that. 

Mary Rose Museum, Portsmouth, England

The Mary Rose Museum houses the remains of a Tudor warship of the same name that sank back in 1545. In addition to the ship itself, you can browse a range of artefacts at this fascinating museum, including the ship’s hull, personal belongings and a range of weapons. You can also see the genuine skeleton of a former crew member. 

The Mary Rose is a must-visit museum in England for anybody interested in naval warfare, archeaology or Tudor England. You’ll find the museum in Portsmouth’s historic dockyards, just a stone’s throw from other naval attractions like HMS Warrior and HMS Victory. You can easily fit all three attractions into a one-day Portsmouth day out

What are your favourite museums in England? 

While there are far too many amazing museums in England to discuss in one article, the museums we’ve discussed above will give you a detailed insight into many aspects of British history, from prehistoric times through to the modern day. 

You’ll learn about the Industrial Revolution, the British Empire and UK inventions ranging from the steam locomotive to the Rosetta Stone. You’ll also discover the nation’s best known cultural exports, such as soccer and the Beatles. 

Have we missed any quirky or famous museums in England that our readers should know about? Let us know by leaving a comment below. 

Quick list of best museums in England 

  1. British Museum, London
  2. Natural History Museum, London 
  3. National Football Museum, Manchester  
  4. The Beatles Story, Liverpool 
  5. Jorvik Viking Centre, York 
  6. Roman Baths, Bath 
  7. Beamish, the Living Museum of the North, County Durham 
  8. Ashmolean Museum, Oxford 
  9. National Railway Museum, York 
  10. The Mary Rose Museum, Portsmouth 

Josh Saunders

Similar Posts

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *