Science for Kids Around the UK

Six of The Best Science Attractions for Families in the United Kingdom

UK museums and science attractions are finally addressing the native curiosity of today's clued up, techno savvy kids. Some of us can probably remember when going to a science museum was a dull class trip that featured specimens in glass cases or diagrams and demonstrations with too much to read and too little to see and do. Not anymore. The latest crop of science museums are interactive, exciting and full of the kind of inspiration that could turn a child's inquisitiveness into a lifelong interest in what makes us - and our world - tick. Check out some of these.
  • 01 of 06

    Magna Science Adventure Centre

    The Big Melt at Magna Science Adventure in Rotherham England simulates the operation of the original steel mill at the site. Ell Brown
    • What:This imaginative conversion of a form steelworks in the Sheffield area won a prize from the Royal Institute of Architects for its imaginative reuse of an immense industrial building. Today it is divided in to areas that explore Earth, Wind, Water and Fire with engaging, interactive exhibits, games and activities. It may be science for kids, but it will keep parents equally amazed. And a huge water park and gravity defying play area add to the fun.
    • Highlights:
      • The Air Pavilion is a "zeppelin" suspended from the ceiling 15 meters up.
      • In the Fire Pavilion there's a five meter "fire tornado
      • Hands-on earth moving with a JCB in the Earth Pavilion
      • The Big Melt - recreates the drama of the giant Arc Furnace of the original steel mill.
    • Where: The Templeborough District of Rotherham, near Sheffield.
    • Hours:
    • Admission: Adult, child and concession tickets plus group tickets for families of 3, 4, 5 or six available online.
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  • 02 of 06

    The Life Science Centre

    Life Center Newcastle upon Tyne
    Entrance to Life Science Center Newcastle. Glen Bowman
    • What: Serious scientific research sits side by side with science education and science fun in Newcastle-upon-Tyne's Life Science Village. The Life Science Centre features a range of changing exhibitions and activities that bring science to life for kids of all ages.
    • Highlights:
      • The biggest planetarium in the North of England
      • A science theatre where real scientists, doctors and astronauts act as "explainers" on a variety of topics and demonstrations
      • A motion simulator ride
      • A Young Explorer Zone for very young children
    • Where: Life Science Centre, Times Square, Newcastle upon Tyne, NE1 4EP
    • Hours: Monday to Saturday 10am - 6pm, Sunday 11am - 6pm, including Bank Holidays
    • Admission: Under 12's free. Family tickets for up to 4 available.
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  • 03 of 06

    National Space Centre

    Man on the moon. Getty Images
    • What: Initiated by the University of Leicester, which has been involved in space research for about thirty years, this was a Millennium Project for the Leicester City Council. It combines 250 exhibits - 100 of them interactive, with a domed "space theatre" and the UK's largest planetarium in a 42 meter high, landmark space tower.
    • Highlights: Lots of interactive exhibits and simulators. Explore black holes, take a 3D simulator mission to the ice moon Europa, test drive a Martian Rover robot.
    • Where: North of Leicester city centre at Exploration Drive, Leicester, LE4 5NS
    • Hours: Tuesday to Friday 10am - 4pm, Saturday and Sunday and school holidays to 5pm, check their website for occasional closures.
    • Admission: Adult, child and concessions available. Under 5s go free. Stay Play Explore family short breaks are good value.
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    • Watch the National Space Centre Video
  • 04 of 06


    Bristol Planetarium
    Bristol Planetarium. Getty Images
    • What:Bristol's quirkly named science museum is a science center for children with more than 300 interactive exhibits.
    • Highlights: Watch cosmic rays streak through a cloud chamber, walk through a tornado or get inside a giant soap bubble. The center's small but striking planetarium has shows for over fives and Little Stars shows for younger children.
    • Where: Anchor Road, Harbourside, Bristol, BS1 5DB, near the Bristol City Centre Ferry Landing
    • Hours: Monday - Friday 10am to 5pm, Weekends,bank holidays and school holidays to 6pm
    • Admission: Adult and family tickets as well as cheaper grandparent family tickets. Planetarium show extra.
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    Continue to 5 of 6 below.
  • 05 of 06

    The Science Museum

    Robot at the Science Museum
    Robot at the Science Museum. Oli Scarff/Getty Images
    • What: Who could forget London's Science Museum, one of the UK's top free attractions with both permanent and temporary interactive exhibits in the heart of London's Museum district in South Kensington.
    • Highlights: Stephenson's Rocket locomotive and the Apollo 10 Command Module are among the larger exhibits. Also learn about flight, shipping, telecommunications, computers, medical history, space exploration,geophysics and oceanography and lots more.
    • Where: Exhibition Road, South Kensington, London SW7 2DD
    • Hours: 10am tp 6pm daily and ato 7pm during school holidays.
    • Admission: Free except for flight simulators, IMAX cinema and some special exhibitions.
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    • Catch up with current exhibits on video.
  • 06 of 06

    The Spaceport

    Simulated astronaut photo
    Astronaut simulation. Getty Images
    • What: Claiming to be the only "spaceport" in the UK, the Spaceport is a futuristic attraction that combines a little bit of science for kids - about the solar system, the Milky Way, and space travel - with a fair bit of child friendly hokum. Elements meant to simulate a voyage to the space station will thrill only the youngest visitors.
    • Highlights: Wallace and Gromit in Space exhibition includes a selection of sets and Wallace's orange space ship.
    • Where:Victoria Place, Seacombe, Wallasey, Wirral, CH44 6QY (take the Ferry Cross the Mersey from Liverpool)
    • Hours: Tuesday to Sunday 10:30am to 6:00pm, last admission 4:30p.m.
    • Admission: Family tickets available as are various combinations with River Explorer Cruise and U-Boat Experience tickets.
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