An Exploration into Britain's past: Our top 3 Must-see Museums & Exhibits

Posted on by Abbie Coombes

If not discovered by curious minds, our British heritage can become buried within the archive, the museum, and the artifacts that are carefully displayed within these great architectural structures. 

It was the start of English Tourism Week on 17th March- a great excuse for us to explore what Britain has to offer at present, in order to gain a greater sense of this nation's past. We have carefully selected our top 3 must-see museums and exhibits that uncover and celebrate, the great literary minds, adventurous spirits, and inventions that are so integral to this country's history. 

Thomas Hardy's Cottage, Dorchester

The 19th Century novelist, Thomas Hardy was renowned for his poetry and novels that not only confronted social concerns of the Victorian era, most notably A Laodicean which voiced concerns on telegraphy, but also those which dealt with love conflicts and heartbreak, most significantly Tess of the d'Urbervilles. In a small Dorset village amongst English bluebells and a 26 hectare woodland, there lies the cottage that was once home to Hardy, waiting for us all to discover. 

This National Trust site allows you access to the very bedroom from which Hardy wrote Under the Greenwood Tree and Far From the Madding Crowdand it is unsurprising to see how this literary figure gained inspiration for his novels when he was surrounded by such a picturesque setting. 

Until the end of March, the cottage will be providing the opportunity to experience the hardship endured by Hardy through times of economic difficulty and harsh weather conditions-you can even taste a meal alike to that which he would have consumed during those tough winter months of the 1840s. 

You are not only free to explore Hardy's cottage at your will but during your visit you can also enjoy a walk through woodlands, the visitor centre and with Easter approaching, you can even hunt for some rather delicious Cadbury treats! Click here for more information. 

Opening Times: 

Monday- Sunday: 11am-5pm.     

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Telegraph Museum, Porthcurno

In a small coastal village in Southwest Cornwall in 1870, the first telegraph cable was laid, stretching 5,000 miles to Mumbai. Today, the telegraph museum in Porthcurno situated close to arguably, one of the most stunning bays that the country has to offer, provides an insight into this remarkable achievement in communications. 

Having visited the museum during my university studies, I was impressed with both the informative and interactive nature of it. You can walk through tunnels that take you to a telegrapher's working room as it would have looked in the 19th Century, as well as the Second World War bunkers within which secret messages would have been exchanged. 

You can also communicate with your fellow visitors via a morse code machine within the museum- communicating in the dots and dashes that would have once been translated within seconds by the telegrapher. 

As soon as you feel you have taken full advantage of what the museum has to offer, you can then take a pleasant stroll down to the cable hut. This is home to some Victorian telegraph cables, and from which you can admire a truly breathtaking view, which Cornwall so often provides- perfect for a picnic! Remember, a picnic doesn't just have to be during summer time, click here to discover more. 

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Opening Times

Friday 24th February- 23rd March 2018: 11am-4.30pm.
Saturday 24th March- Monday 29th October 2018: 10am-5pm. 

The Antarctic Collection at the Natural History Museum

With the beast from the East making several unwanted appearances in the last few weeks, we have become quite accustomed to arctic temperatures. We cannot, however, compare these plummeting temperatures to those that were endured by Robert Falcon Scott and his four companions on January 17th, 1912, when they reached the South Pole.  

This exhibition of Scott's last expedition, allows you to read the diaries of these brave souls and the unimaginable conditions they were subjected to in the final weeks prior to their demise. The diaries reveal their methods of survival from enjoying the tunes of a gramophone or sitting down to a good novel. 

The exhibition displays the personal belongings of the explorers, their clothing and you get a real sense that this is a tale of sheer endurance. It certainly is a display that provokes reflection on the extent to which man's resilience can be tested. 

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Opening Times

Monday-Friday: 10am-5.50pm

Written by Abbie Coombes.