A Culture24 top ten of the best dinosaur museums and collections in the UK

| 01 August 2013 | Updated: 01 February 2016

Here's a handy guide to the best dinosaur museums and collections in the UK...


Natural History Museum Dinosaur Gallery, London

Large dinosaur head reconstruction
Albertosaurus© Trustees of NHM, London
The terrifying animatronic T-rex and the one-of-kind Stegosaurus skeleton make the NHM top of our list. The museum is packed full of facts, figures, fossils, reconstructions and engaging interactives that explore an ever-developing knowledge of dinosaurs. The only drawback is the summer and half term queue - but you can jump to the front by reserving a ticket online.


The Rotunda, The William Smith Museum of Geology, Scarborough
 
Child with dinosaur model at The Rotunda Museum
Getting up close to some of Scarborough's former inhabitants at The Rotunda© Scarborough Museum Trust
Scarborough’s bastion of geology is a must-visit for anyone wanting to understand the dino-history of Yorkshire. The Dinosaur Coast Gallery offers a bright, colourful and resolutely family-friendly experience which explores the coastline and its treasures.


Manchester Museum, Manchester

model of a tyrannosaurus rex
Stan the T-rex© Manchester Museum
Stan the Tyrannosaurus-Rex is the towering centrepiece to this impressive palaeontology collection of more than 100,000 fossils. Search out the Ice Age bear foot fossil and take part in an interactive Magic Carpet activity. The museum is home to dinosaurs, mummies and live animals and is an engaging place to visit to learn how our planet has changed over millions of years.


New Walk Museum, Leicester

Large dinosaur reconstruction
New Walk's Rutland Dinosaur© Leicester City Council
The impressive Rutland Dinosaur takes centre stage at the New Walk’s famous Dinosaur Gallery which is also home to some of the oldest fossils in the world. Displays include the Plesiosaur, the giant fish and the 540 million-year-old Charnia fossil. There are dinosaur interactives and cutting edge reconstructions of marine reptiles and they run brilliant activities during school holidays.


Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum, Glasgow


A photo of a dinosaur model in a museum
One of Kelvingrove's prehistoric residents© Tom Hodgkinson, Glasgow / CC BY-SA 2.0
Amid the many wonders in this something-for-everyone museum is the Creatures of the Past Gallery, which puts the dinosaurs that once roamed Scotland into context. The museum has 8000 astonishing objects and dinosaur and fossil lovers will be pleased to know the collection includes a 2.6 metre skeleton of Stenopterygius, crocodilian remains and an almost complete shell of a Jurassic turtle.


World Museum, Liverpool

Visitors looking at dinosaur model
Exploring the models in World Museum's Dinosaur Gallery© Mark McNulty
Lifesize casts of famous dinosaurs including a Megalosaurus and the fearsome Allosaurus await visitors to the Dinosaur Gallery of the World Museum in Liverpool. There are also fossilised reptile footprints, dinosaur poo and bones - and the occasional visit from a young T-Rex.


The Great North Museum: Hancock, Newcastle

Young girl next to life size dinosaur
Up close and personal with a prehistoric giant in the Fossil Stories Gallery© Great North Museum
A full size T-rex skeleton in Fossil Stories makes this museum great for dinosaur enthusiasts. Have a go at being a palaeontologist by re-building prehistoric creatures and explore hundreds of exciting fossil plants and animals. Organisers run regular behind the scenes tours featuring natural history exhibits not on regular display and the Mouse House activity room will entertain the under-5's.


Sedgwick Museum of Earth Sciences, Cambridge

A photo of a dinosaur model and its shadow
This Deinonychus skeleton was highlighted for Twilight at the Museums© Sedgwick Museum of Earth Sciences 2016
Iggy the enormous Iguanodon skeleton guards the entrance to this museum, which is home to 1.5 million fossil, rock and mineral specimens from around the world. Explore 12 different galleries from the Ice Age to the Cambrian period and journey more than 500 million years through the history of life on Earth.


Dinosaur Isle, Isle of Wight

Model of a large dinosaur
Dinosaur Isle's Eotyrannus model© Dinosaur Isle
The Isle of Wight is one of the richest dinosaur locations in Europe, with more than 20 species from the Cretacious period found on the island. The interactive Dinosaur Isle Museum has reconstructions of five local dinos; Neovenator, Eotyrannus, Iguanadon, Hypsilophodon and the giant Sauropod. Displays use clever lighting, sounds, smells and animatronic technology to create an exciting and at times scary experience for visitors. They also lead very popular fossil walks throughout the year.


The Jurassic Coast, Dorset and east Devon

The Jurassic Coastline of fossil-rich beaches, stretching across Dorset and into East Devon, is our very own World heritage Site. There are several visitor centres and museums where you can find out more. But here are our three of the best...


Dorset County Museum

child laying next to dinosaur skull exhibit
Weymouth Bay Pliosaur© Sam Rose / Dorset County Museum and Jurassic Coast Trust 2016
The Jurassic Coast Gallery is a walk through time charting 95 miles of coastline from Exmouth in Devon to Old Harry Rocks in Dorset. The giant jaws of a huge marine reptile are on display here, with a 2.4 metre long skull and razor-sharp teeth, the Weymouth Bay Pliosaur is aptly named 'The World's Biggest Bite'.


The Dinosaur Museum, Dorchester
 
T-rex model with its jaws wide open
The frightening T-rex© The Dinosaur Museum, Dorchester
This museum is devoted to the fascinating world of dinosaurs and is the perfect place for younger visitors. Life-size reconstructions and real fossils and dinosaur skeletons make for an exciting visit with hands-on displays that feature everything prehistoric.


The charming Lyme Regis Museum celebrates the pioneering fossil hunter and palaeontologist Mary Anning, who discovered the Ichthyosaur on the local beaches in 1811. The Geology Gallery contains a wealth of fossils and for the real thing you can join one of the famous fossil walks along a historic stretch of Dorset coast.


A photo of a giant dinosaur model
Lyme Regis Fossil Festival 2013© John Cummings / CC BY-SA 3.0
And don’t forget the Lyme Regis Fossil Festival each May. The whole family can enjoy walks, talks, music and comedy. An exciting range of hands-on science activities are always on offer: you can look under the microscope at tiny fossils, meet dinosaur experts and build a giant sand ammonite.


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