With the half-term holiday upon us and Halloween looming close behind, the big national museums are gearing up for a busy week. But what about the smaller, regional museums? Here Culture24 picks a few highlights from our listings of what regional museums are doing this half term.
Up to three children can get in free with every full-paying adult (£6.75) at Snibston Discovery Museum until the end of the month.
In addition to the usual galleries, climbing, sliding and swinging inside and outside the award-winning former colliery, beam engines will be running on Wednesday and Thursday. Visitors can enjoy short tours on a restored 1960s rail coach until Wednesday.
If engines aren't your vehicle of choice, try a model sailing boat at the Ironbridge Gorge Museums near Telford, including dragon-themed activities at Coalport China Museum, puppet theatres and hunts.
Aming themany activities at the Heritage site families can help artist Tamzin Jones create a weaved willow sculpture of a dragon (between Monday and Wednesday) and on Monday a Victorian dragon hunter will tell stories of his audacious escapades.
Ironbridge Museums in Shropshire
The Big Draw heads to the Bailiffgate Museum at Alnwick in Northumberland, allowing wannabe artists to help make a mural.
On Friday and Saturday guests can also make a terrifying witch on a broomstick and find "gruesome ghosties" hidden around the museum, accompanying prize draws and free family activities.
The Magna Centre in Rotherham
Rotherham's Magna Science Centre has embraced the spooky season for workshops based on Gruesome Grubs and Fizzy Bugs, with daily workshops (every hour between 11.30am and 3.30pm inclusive).
The Yorkshire Museum has gone for a Viking veneer, teaching rugged skills every day from Monday including Viking coin minting, warrior weaponry and a last chance to see the astonishing Vale of York Viking Hoard display in the museum. All events 10.30am-1pm and 2pm-4.30pm.
The Bedford Museum
Nottinghamshire is the place to be, with pumpkin trails and puzzles until Sunday November 1 (11am-2pm). At The Workhouse, near Southwell, costumed storytellers will tell stories (7pm-8.30pm, £2.50, call 01636 817250.)
The Musical Museum in Brentford has trails and activities based around the legendary Mighty Wurlitzer resident, and will screen dance film 42nd Street at 3pm on Sunday (admission £8/£6.50). Call 020 8560 8108 for details.
Ipswich continue their popular Get With the Programme events series for under-19s – visit the Programme online or call 01473 432863 for details.
Artist Gareth Bayliss invites youngsters to deconstruct tribal stereotypes through sock puppets and film on Tuesday and Thursday (11am-4pm, drop-in), Wanja Kimani leads a photography and poetry session on Wednesday (11am-3pm) and you can take your bike in for custom painting on Friday (11am-5pm).
Dragon Hall, in Norwich, has Magic and ritual tours for children and adults between Monday and Friday (2pm, £3-£5, under-fives free, family ticket £12).
Caldicot Castle in Monmouthshire has Halloween storytelling, trails, horror workshops (11am-1pm, £6) and more every day. There’s a craft school on Saturday October 21 (11am-1pm and 2pm-4pm, £6) and a ghost tour and murder mystery evening on Sunday October 25 (7.30pm-9pm, £25, unsuitable for under-15s.) Call 01291 420241 to book or for more details.
The Musical Museum in Brentford
Hastings Museum and Art Gallery heralds an Indian Summer programme with toy tales (11am-1pm) and Indian shadow puppets (2pm-4pm) on Tuesday (£5 per workshop, £8 all day, bring lunch, 12 places available for each workshop). They’re followed by a tutored Bollywood Dance lesson on Thursday (11am-1pm, £5, 20 places available). All activities for over-8s, call 01424 781155 to book.
Things also get hands-on at the Weald and Downland Open Air Museum, in West Sussex, where activities including pumpkin carving, scarecrow making, conkers, brass rubbing, chalk and charcoal drawing and candle rolling run from Monday to Friday (11am-3pm).
These of course are just a selection from the hundreds of events happening in museums and galleries across the UK. Check Culture24 listings to find out what's happening near you.