3 Smaller Museums You Must Visit in the United Kingdom

All too often, the big and famous museums and art galleries get all of the attention. From the Metropolitan in New York to Paris’ Louvre, to the UK’s British Museum, these large establishments attract many tens of thousands of visitors each year. While there are some undeniable treasures and masterpieces on display in such places, you shouldn’t forget about the smaller, more intimate museums and galleries. Often, these places offer a deeper level of connection and understanding, without the presence of tourist crowds. If you’re visiting the UK any time soon, make an effort to visit one of these small yet high-standard museums.

The Radstock Museum

Situated just 10 miles from the city of Bath, which is itself just 10 miles from Bristol, this fascinating and quirky little museum tells the story of the Industrial Revolution in England’s rural areas. Somerset is a rural county, now home to plenty of agriculture and farming, but two hundred and fifty years ago, it was the center of England’s coal industry. The museum explores the links between coal and industrialization, and it doesn’t shy away from investigating the ongoing environmental effects of coal extraction in the region.

Cra’as Nest Museum

This museum is situated somewhere very special—on the island of Hoy in the Orkney Islands. It is a replica of an 18th-century croft (or cottage), so you can experience how the islanders would have worked and survived in the incredibly tough conditions on the island. Whille the croft and its contents are simple, everything is unbelievably well made and has withstood the harsh island conditions as well as the test of time.

The Museum of English Rural Life

Situated in the town of Reading, this fantastic little museum explores changes to English countryside life since 1750, through artifacts, inventive displays, and interactive exhibits. There are first-hand accounts documenting the changes brought by new machinery and technology, and plenty of photographs to study. Like most museums in the UK, entry is free but a donation is recommended to support the running of the museum.

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