The half-term holidays are heaven in this house. Everyone is shattered, overworked and the kids are usually snotty (let’s be honest) with the ever-changing outdoor temperatures. Lola sleeps late and I revel in not doing the school run. But if we aren’t jetting off it’s lovely to inject a little culture amidst the sleepy, sofa-filled afternoons and blustery beach walks we all so love. And this half term that’s easier than ever. Best of England, which launched with the aim of providing a carefully curated portfolio of independent businesses throughout the country (think pubs, restaurants, vineyards, places to stay, antique treasure troves and family days out), have come up with their top English favourite family-friendly museums, which we thought we’d share in case you need a little inspiration……
The Jerwood Gallery, Hastings
The Jerwood Gallery is a modern building located in the utterly charming and historic old town of Hastings. Home to the Jerwood Collection of modern British art, the gallery is fabulous for art fanatics, but it is also suitable for less experienced visitors and families visiting with younger children. There’s even a children’s trail to help you explore the gallery, its collection and exhibitions so they won’t feel they’re being dragged around a grown up exhibition and are much more likely to get involved with what they’re seeing.
The Towner Art Gallery, Eastbourne
The Towner Art Gallery is an award winning contemporary art gallery and museum in Eastbourne. Every summer, they present a major exhibition, with recent shows including Eric Ravilios, John Piper and Peggy Angus. Open since 1923, The Towner collection now numbers over 4,000 art objects including oil paintings, watercolours, works on paper, etchings, prints, sculpture, wood cuts and ceramic objects and is one of the most significant public art collections in the South East. The museum is very welcoming to kids and families with regular activities and workshops to keep the little ones busy. There is a cafe on the top floor with views over Eastbourne and entry is free. (Note the gallery is closed on Mondays).
Pallant House Gallery, Chichester
Pallant House Gallery is located in the historic town of Chichester, tucked away behind East and South street. It may not have the reputation of The Tate but this gallery holds one of the most significant collections of Modern British Art in the country. Aside from its exhibition programme, it also offers an array of talks, workshops for both children and adults, tours, a specialist on-site bookshop and an on-site restaurant with courtyard garden.
The Ditchling Museum of Art + Craft, Ditchling
Situated in the attractive town of Ditchling, The Ditchling Museum of Art + Craft is an unmissable stop for those on the art trail in Sussex. The Museum has a fantastic collection of local artwork and artifacts that focus on showcasing Ditchling’s finest artist’s work. In 2012 the buildings were part of a massive renovation project and have been beautifully finished. The Museum also has a large open café and shop, serving delicious locally sourced cakes and drinks. As well as exhibitions and galleries the Museum also hold a variety of workshops and events including regular art clubs for young people.
The De La Warr Pavillion, Bexhill
The De La Warr Pavilion in Bexhill-on-Sea has become a modernist icon on the South Coast and provides a fantastic program of contemporary arts, renowned musicians and learning activities. The building was the result of an architectural competition held in 1934 and, as well as browsing through the art work or watching live music, you can enjoy some delicious food in the Café Bar, which overlooks the beautiful coastline. A large veranda is gorgeous on summery days and, as family days out go, this is a fabulous option.