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Top Fossil Museums for Children in the UK

6 December 2022

Believe it or not, Britain was once home to all manner of fantastic creatures (yes, even dinosaurs). And many of them stuck around to be discovered millions of years later. 

Britain is teeming with the rocky remains of these long-extinct animals and plants. Luckily for your kids, many of them have been collected and displayed in museums all over the country. Here are our top picks.

Natural History Museum London

This place has it all. Really, you need a couple of days to fully explore it. First, your kids’ minds will be blown by the blue whale skeleton hanging above the main hall. 

Then, they’ll meet all kinds of weird and wonderful creatures from the distant past in one of the world’s most important fossil collections. Star of the show is Sophie, the world’s most complete Stegosaurus skeleton.

And be sure not to miss the life-sized animatronic dinosaurs!

Rotunda Museum, Scarborough

In contrast to some of the sprawling museums on our list, this one packs hundreds of millions of years worth of history into one quirky little building. 

Kids will come face to face with the unbelievable creatures that once roamed the area in the Ancient Seas of the Yorkshire Coast exhibitions. They can handle real fossils and see lifelike reconstructions of ancient beasts. 

You’ll soon get around this compact gem of a museum, so you’ll have time to hit the beach afterwards. 


Sedgwick Museum of Earth Sciences, Cambridge

If you happen to be in the wondrous town of Cambridge, this museum is well worth a couple of hours. Iggy the Iguanadon, towering over the entrance hall, will welcome your kids to the museum. 

Then they’ll have a great time exploring the fantastic collection of fossils. The original Victorian cabinets will make them feel like real historians. 

Another highlight is the Megaloceros (an extinct giant deer) skeleton. The size of the antlers will astonish your kids. 


National Museum of Scotland, Edinburgh

This museum is a treasure trove of fascinating objects. You’ll find everything from classical aircraft to pieces of jewellery worn by legendary Scots. Of course, it also has a cracking fossil collection. 

If they dare, kids can get up close and personal with a T-Rex skeleton, before taking a close look at all kinds of terrific smaller fossils. There are plenty of interactive exhibits and activities to keep them busy. 

Kelvingrove Museum and Art Gallery, Glasgow

Staying in Scotland, this museum is a world of wonder. With everything from priceless works by world famous artists to Ancient Egyptian artefacts, there’s enough to keep the kids wide-eyed with awe for hours. 

Kids will be surprised to know that crocs and turtles are as ancient as the dinosaurs. They’ll see some of the UK’s oldest examples of these reptiles, as well as a mean-looking Stenopteryigius skeleton.

The Dinosaur Museum, Dorchester

It would be rude not to include a museum or two from the Jurassic Coast. It’s where Mary Anning changed our understanding of the world’s history with her discoveries on Dorset’s beaches. 

While there’s much more to fossils than dinosaurs, this place is shamelessly devoted to the terrible lizards. It’s very much aimed at younger kids, and they can get to grips with life-sized models and real fossils. They can even touch some fossilised dino poo! 

It’s small enough to get round in an hour, so no danger of young ones getting fed up. 

Lyme Regis Museum, Lyme Regis

What better place to find fascinating fossils than the former home of Mary Anning herself? The museum is home to a stunning collection of fossils, but that’s not all.

Your family can join expert geologist Chris for a fossil walk along the very beach where Anning made many of her discoveries. The constantly crumbling cliffs reveal new treasures all the time. There’s always a good chance your kids will discover a brand new fossil!

New Walk Museum, Leicester

Heading inland, this is another museum that has a bit of all sorts to amaze the kids. Amongst works by Picasso and Ancient Egyptian mummies, they’ll find some great fossils. 

The most impressive is the Rutland dinosaur, nicknamed George, who looms over the main fossil gallery. It’s one of the most complete specimens of its kind in the world. 

There are plenty of interactive exhibits and kids will get to handle real fossils. 

Great North Museum, Newcastle

Kids will certainly have a great time at this family-friendly museum. But first, they’ll have to compose themselves after coming face to face with the full size T-rex skeleton overlooking the Fossil Stories gallery. 

The fossil collection tells the story of Britain’s prehistoric past, and kids can even use technology to reassemble a fossil skeleton. They’ll really see what it’s like being a palaeontologist.

Wherever you are in the UK, there’s somewhere for your budding palaeontologists to feed their fossil fascination. 

Photo by Kevin Mueller on Unsplash

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