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There’s nothing we boaty types like more than exploring the rich history that surrounds our favourite pursuit. Fortunately, the UK is home to some truly great maritime museums so if you find yourself nearby, make sure you check out what we think are the best maritime museums in the UK.
5. Aberdeen Maritime Museum
This award-winning museum is the perfect place to learn about the history of the North Sea and the offshore oil industry. Located near to Aberdeen’s bustling centre, it’s easy to get to – and free to get in!
There are plenty of interactive displays to explore and the members of staff are friendly and willing to answer any questions you might have. There is something for all ages here and it certainly offers more than its compact size might suggest. http://www.aagm.co.uk/
4. Lancaster Maritime Museum
Based in a truly stunning location, the Lancaster Maritime Museum is perfect for those with a particular interest in 18th-century maritime history.
Admiring the local Georgian architecture adds bonus value to the trip. Within the museum, you can investigate the museum’s two beautiful buildings and learn all about Lancaster’s golden age. The exhibits are well laid out and there are plenty of attractions to keep you occupied for a couple of hours.
The friendly members of staff take particular delight in getting the kids involved in the interactive exhibits. Make sure you head up to the top floor to watch the video. http://www.lancaster.gov.uk/sports-and-leisure/museums/maritime-museum/
3. National Maritime Museum, Cornwall
Most seafarers don’t need much of an excuse to head down to Cornwall. But the NMM in Falmouth is one more to add to the collection!
With a firm focus on engaging all who pass through its doors, this museum is packed with attractions and enticing stories behind every exhibit. Visitors can easily while away an afternoon exploring the interactive exhibits and popping down to the under-sea-level basement to watch passing fish through the big windows. http://www.nmmc.co.uk/
2. Merseyside Maritime Museum
Liverpool’s offering was opened back in 1980 and has since been expanded due to popular demand. Based on the city’s famous Albert Dock, the maritime history of the entire area is brought to life for you to explore.
With Liverpool being something of a shipping gateway to the world, there is plenty of interesting historical knowledge to be gained from a visit to the museum. http://www.liverpoolmuseums.org.uk/maritime/
1. National Maritime Museum, Greenwich
Arguably the leader of the pack, our number one spot goes to the NMM in Greenwich. Part of the Maritime Greenwich World Heritage site, the entire area on which the museum sits is steeped in nautical history.
Visitors should allow several hours to fully explore everything the NMM Greenwich has to offer. If you’re taking the kids along, there’s a dedicated space in which they can interact and learn about maritime history. Make sure you take the time to stand on the Meridien Line at Longitude 0° and don’t forget to go and admire the outfit that Horatio Nelson himself wore at the Battle of Trafalgar. http://www1.rmg.co.uk/
From Penzance to the Medway, the south coast of England offers some truly incredible sailing spots. Moving from west to east, we’ve chosen the top six options for those looking for exciting waters and beautiful scenery.
The natural deep harbour at Falmouth is the world’s third largest, making it a real hotspot among seasoned sailors. Inland, the River Fal caters for less experienced boating fanatics with a range of activities on offer. Head up the Carrick Roads for a real sailing adventure or explore the nooks and crannies of the harbour to your heart’s content. Falmouth town is packed with fantastic places to eat and drink, so don’t forget to sample some delicious Cornish fare while you’re there.
Well, if it’s good enough for the Olympics, it’s good enough for us! The Royal Yachting Association itself claims that Weymouth offers the best sailing waters in northern Europe. Cutting through the water at top speed with the dramatic Jurassic Coastline as your backdrop makes for a pretty exhilarating experience. Make sure you pack the camera!
The sailing scene in Poole is infectious. It seems everyone’s just itching to get on the water and the enthusiasm in the air is tangible. The beaches are amazing so you can enjoy yourself on and off the water and there’s a dedicated watersports area if you’re keen to try your hand at other pursuits. The shallow waters in Poole Harbour offer the idea environment for those who are finding their sea legs and the town of Poole itself is a hive of activity with plenty of bars, restaurants and pubs to relax in after a long day on the water.
Home to one of the best UK boat shows, Southampton is considered a central point for the marine industry. Southampton Water is rarely quiet: it’s almost always teeming with crafts of all shapes and sizes. Head inland on the River Hamble to check out the energetic community of houseboats and watch the boating world go by. By night, Southampton is alive with likeminded water enthusiasts if you head to the right places. Head to the city during the Boat Show in September and you’re guaranteed a rip roaring night on the town as well as plenty of fun on the water.
Home to the Royal Navy, history and sailing fans will have a whale of a time exploring everything that Portsmouth has to offer. The Solent offers up some exciting sailing challenges, which is probably why seafarers from all over the world flock to Portsmouth to test their skills. The area gets particularly busy when Cowes Week kicks off, transforming the area to a battleground on which 1000s of craft compete to win trophies.
If you like your sailing with a side of contemporary chic, Brighton is the hub for you. Cities don’t come much more cosmopolitan, and the well-equipped marina is the UK’s largest. The waves can get pretty fierce around Brighton so if you like a bit of white water, you’ll enjoy the challenge. Drying off, there’s loads to explore in Brighton including the exquisite Royal Pavilion, eclectic shopping in The Lanes and the activity-crammed Pier.