20 things to do with the kids at Royal Pavilion and Museums this summer

Bear made by Steiff, TYTMP000119
Bear made by Steiff, TYTMP000119

Want to get your kids away from the TV or their screens this summer? Short of cash or looking for something to do on a rainy day? Get some culture and head on down to one of Brighton’s museums or the Royal Pavilion.

Here’s why? You can hide from the rain and wind, they’re free to get in and you can have lots of fun inside. And you can smugly reward yourselves with some delicious cake for spending some time in an educational way.

With the help of parenting website Brighton Mums, Twitter and some of my friends, I’ve come up with a list of some of the secret and unusual sides of the RP&M which you may not have found yet.

If you’ve got a favourite place your family visit in the museums, let us know and we’ll add it to the list during my time as Blogger in Residence.

  1. Visit the pet’s graveyard at the gorgeous walled garden at Preston Manor. Read the heart-breaking gravestones of some of the dogs and cats who have lived in the big house.
  2. “Writing your name in hieroglyphics is brilliant,” says Isobel, 9. “You can find it in the Egyptian exhibition at Brighton Museum.”
  3. Family Sleep Coach @familysleep said her daughter loves the Wizard’s Attic at Hove Museum. If you’ve not been yet, make sure you do. It’s full of old toys, places to climb and trains to watch.
  4. Put your coppers in Brummel the museum cat and hear him roar (OK purr) in the foyer at the Brighton Museum.
  5. Imagine what it would be like as scullery maid in the downstairs rooms at Preston Manor.
  6. All children love the spookiness of the stuffed animals at the Booth Museum. And there’s a really good gift shop there too with some excellent cheap take home toys.
  7. “Queen Victoria’s toilet is really funny,” says Theo, 11. “You don’t expect to see that in the museum.” You can find Her Majesty’s closet in the Royal Pavilion.
  8. “There are always pens and paper for colouring in Hove Museum,” says Louisa. “It means you can chat to your friends while the children are busy doing something vaguely educational.”
  9. “We always sit on the tiny replica of the Salvador Dali mini-sofa,” says @grumpfuttock. “It’s become a bit of a tradition with us.”
  10. “The pure luxury of the Pavilion wows children, whatever their age, especially the Chinese entrance hall” says Helen. “It’ll take their breath away.” Make sure you take advantage of the free audioguide too. Is it Bernard Cribbens doing the voice-over?
    Iranian calligraphy workshops
    Images of Iranian calligraphy event 2012, Brighton Museum (copyright Neda Kahooker)
  11. Find the Merman in The Booth museum.
  12. A trip to Preston Manor can be a whole day out if you also include a run around in Preston Park complete with tennis courts, a play park and two great cafes. Don’t forget the rock garden across the London Road which is surprisingly big.
  13. Little ones love the art workshops at Hove Museum which are on throughout August. They can get all messy and you don’t have to clear up.
  14. Have a go at table football in the World Voices gallery in the Brighton Museum.
  15. Enjoy a free film in the city’s smallest cinema in Hove Museum – produced by the early film pioneers based in Hove called ‘little Hollywood by the sea.’
  16. Sulky teenagers can discover the history of rebellion in the Renegade exhibition in the fashion gallery at the Brighton Museum.
  17. Create your own Punch and Judy show in the performance gallery.
  18. Escape the sunshine and get Chilled to the Bone with some ice age exhibits at the Brighton Museum.
  19. Imagine you are an art critic – everyone has to find their favourite picture in Brighton Museum – and explain why they like it. Do the same for the picture you most dislike too.
  20. Discover HRH George IV gargantuan dinner parties in the Banqueting Rooms and kitchen at the Royal Pavilion before tucking into some cake at the Pavilion tearooms with the best view in Brighton.

Caroline Sutton, Blogger in Residence


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