Saturday, 23 May 2009

EVEN MORE FREE THINGS TO DO IN SCHOOL HOLIDAYS

Vist the (Bethnal Green) Museum of Childhood, London.And it's not just for kids. See over 6,000 exhibits covering 400 years of childhood - from Harry Potter's Nimbus 2000 broomstick back to around 1750s.

Cambridge Heath Road, Bethnal Green, +44 (0)20 8983 5200, vam.ac.uk/moc. Open daily 10am-5.45pm.


National Waterfront Museum, Swansea

This museum charts the Industrial Revolution from a Welsh seaport perspective, including archive images and oral history, to give an insight into community life. Poverty versus wealth, dangers to health and body, families under pressure, noise, grime and exploitation are all covered in this warts 'n' all investigation.

Oystermouth Road, Maritime Quarter, Swansea, +44 (0)1792 638950, museumwales.ac.uk. Open daily 10am–5pm

People's Palace and Winter Gardens, Glasgow

The People's Palace is the story of ordinary Glaswegians and, how they have made the most of the poor hand life that has often dealt to them over the last 250 years: a single tenement room contrasts with a tobacco lord's trappings while political banners and the famous banana boots worn by Billy Connolly on stage in the 1970s are different voices of Glasgow culture. The splendid Victorian glass-and-iron Winter Palace, housing tropical and subtropical plants is the perfect place for a warming coffee and a slice of Millionaires Shortbread.

Glasgow Green, +44 (0)141 276 0788, glasgowmuseums.com. Open Monday to Thursday and Saturday 10am-5pm, Friday and Sunday 11am-5pm

Russell-Cotes Art Gallery & Museum, Bournemouth

Housed in an Italianate/Scottish villa on the cliff side, the Russell-Cotes is a "must see" even on the sunniest day in Bournemouth. See this highly colourful collection of artworks, stained glass and Japanese souvenirs collected by the Russell Cotes family during their travels in the late Victorian period. Currently showing (until Aug 9) is A-Z, A Handbook, featuring mosaics by Cleo Mussi, one of the world's leading exponents of the art.


Blaise Castle House, near Bristol

Jane Austen described this handsome late 18th-century mansion as "the finest place in England". It is situated in the parkland of the Blaise Estate, just north of Bristol and serves as the city's social history collection. Has a collection spanning the last 300 years, showing domestic equipment and items used in bygone Bristol households, a large Costume Gallery and a toy collection. See the unusual items in the Cabinet of Curiosities; a Hiroshima fused glass bottle, a Scold's Bridle and an arm bone of a Bristol rioter (1831) carved with a human face!

Henbury Road, Henbury, +44 (0)117 903 9818, bristol.gov.uk. Open Saturday to Wednesday 10am-5pm.


Leeds City Art Gallery

Perhaps one of the best collections of 20th-century British art outside of London. Nationally important prints, watercolours, paintings, sculptures, photography, and contemporary art include works by Henry Moore, Barbara Hepworth, Antony Gormley and Francis Bacon. There is a new multi-media exhibition gallery and the Victorian Tile Hall café.

The Headrow, Leeds. +44 (0)113 247 8256, leeds.gov.uk/artgallery. Monday to Tuesday 10am-8pm (except Bank Holidays). Wednesday 12pm-8pm. Thursday to Saturday 10am-5pm. Sunday 1pm-5pm.


Linen Hall Library, Belfast

Between the 17th and 19th centuries linen was almost as important to Ireland as wool was to England. One of Belfast's "hidden" gems, known to locals only - where you can enjoy a coffee with splendid views on to the buzzing hub of the city, Donegall Square. Tucked away in a new annex is a small museum with features on The Troubles and, should you wish to trace Irish roots, a genealogy section.

Library: 17 Donegall Square North, +028 9032 1707, linenhall.com. Open Monday to Friday, 9.30am-5.30pm, Saturday 9.30am-1pm.


Barber Institute of Fine Arts, Birmingham

Perhaps one of the finest small art galleries in Europe with works by Monet, Manet, Magritte; Renoir, Rubens, Rossetti and Rodin; Degas, Delacroix and van Dyck, not to mention Turner, Gainsborough and Picass, housed in an art deco building. The Barber is also renowned for one of Europe's best collections of coins.

University of Birmingham, Edgbaston, +44 (0)121 414 7333, barber.org.uk. Open Monday to Saturday 10am-5pm, Sunday 12pm-5pm.


Shipley Art Gallery, Gateshead

The North East's leading gallery of design and contemporary craft. Alongside the Shipley's excellent fine art collection, a new Designs for Life gallery showcases over 300 objects from all over the world. C

On 23 May the eagerly awaited Great North Museum: Hancock and the Hatton Gallery (admission also free) will be opening on the other side of the Tyne.

The Shipley: Prince Consort Road, Gateshead, +44 (0)191 232 6789,

Great North Museum Barras Bridge,

Newcastle upon Tyne, +44 (0)191 222 6765, twmuseums.org.uk/greatnorthmuseum

Both are open Monday to Saturday 10am-5pm, Sunday 2pm-5pm.

More Ideas HERE for Things to do on School Holidays!

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