Museums in Brighton
Brighton & Hove
Museums in Brighton & Hove
Through the tireless effort of historians, archivists, researchers, preservation teams, and heritage fund donors, very little of Brighton’s rich cultural heritage has been lost to history.
With each museum within Brighton and Hove bearing its own cultural significance through unique collections, pop-up exhibits, and visitor experiences, there’s something for everyone within the vast network of museums, which see a steady footfall of tourists and locals throughout the year.
With its eight museums, twenty-two art galleries, and seven additional heritage sites, Brighton is frequently lauded as one of the main cultural capitals in the UK. Whether you are a natural history buff, an art aficionado or love to learn science via exploring historical artefacts, Brighton’s museums will quench your thirst for knowledge and provide ample opportunity for cultural enrichment.
Beyond the flagship Brighton Museum & Art Gallery, the Booth Museum of Natural History, Hove Museum of Creativity, and Preston Manor & Gardens are cultural hubs worth frequenting and frequenting again for their exhibits. Whereas the Old Police Cells Museum, Brighton Toy and Model Museum, and Fishing Museum cater to slightly more niche tastes.
The main museums in Brighton & Hove include:
Brighton Museum & Art Gallery
On the grounds of the Royal Pavilion, Brighton Museum & Art Gallery is the most prominent museum in East Sussex; it exhibits a diverse range of artworks and artefacts, from fine art to historical photographs, exhibits depicting the evolution of the textile trade to displays of LGBT+ art, this cultural hub is hard to beat.
Except for public holidays, the museum is open year-round; tickets cost £9 for adults and £4 for children; plan your visit via the official website.
Booth Museum of Natural History
The Booth Museum of Natural History was curated to exhibit the history of our natural world and the ways we can protect it. As you browse the building, you will see skeletons of creatures big and small, British birds in their natural habitats, and discover the phenomenon of Victorian taxidermy. There are also plenty of opportunities for children to get involved with interactive exhibits.
The museum is open on Tuesdays and Wednesdays from 12pm – 5pm and Saturdays and Sundays from 10am. – 5pm. Plan your visit here.
Hove Museum of Creativity
Hove Museum of Creativity is what it says on the tin, and so much more. Some of the main permanent attractions include Jaipur’s Gate, which fuses Indian craftsmanship with English design, the Wizard’s Attic, an enchanting children’s favourite, the fine art exhibit, and the showcase of contemporary crafts. The international curation was designed to bring art from the other side of the world a little closer to Hove.
Info: The museum is open throughout the week and weekend, including bank holidays except December 25 and 26. Admission is free; plan your visit here.
Old Police Cells Museum
Under Brighton’s town hall lies the Old Police Cells Museum where you can catch a glimpse into a bygone era of Brighton policing. Go underground to see a testament to the tumultuous past of Brighton, crime artefacts and discover how the role of women in policing has evolved throughout the decades. By viewing the washroom graffiti, you will also see the thoughts and fears of prisoners chillingly laid out in front of you.
Accessibility may be limited, and it is recommended to check ahead when booking as opening times and days vary. Plan your visit and book tickets, which start from £5, here.
Brighton Toy and Model Museum
Brighton Toy and Model Museum, located within the Brighton railway arches, is a must-visit tourist destination for adults and children alike. The exhibition of over 10,000 toys has enthralled visitors for decades. The Hornby toys, dinky cars and vintage teddy bears are sure to bring back swathes of nostalgia to adults while children can engage with interactive exhibits and watch puppet theatres.
The museum is typically open from Monday – Saturday, admission is charged at a nominal fee; group and family discounts are available. Check the official website for details on special events, such as workshops, educational programs, and special exhibitions.
If you are an angling fan or want to immerse yourself in the essence of Brighton’s maritime legacy, the Brighton Fishing Museum should reel you in hook, line, and sinker. Before Brighton became a tourism hotspot, before the arrival of the Prince of Wales and the construction of the Royal Pavilion, it was best known for being a ramshackle fishing town. Fittingly, the Fishing Museum is situated on the seafront; it showcases historical boats, fishing artefacts, and enthralling audio-visual displays to take you back in (mari)time.
Entry is free, but donations are always welcome. The museum is open seven days a week from 10 a.m. – 4 p.m., however, weather conditions may affect opening hours. Make booking enquiries via the official website.
Preston Manor is a charming historic house on the outskirts of Brighton & Hove. Decorated and furnished in Edwardian style with elegant ‘upstairs’ reception rooms and bedrooms and ‘downstairs’ kitchens and servants’ rooms. Entrance fee payable.
The museums in Brighton play a pivotal role in preserving and reflecting the city’s unique culture. In addition to historical preservation, the interconnected and independent museums also foster community engagement, celebrate creativity, and provide platforms for progressive dialogue.
More than just homes for artefacts, the museums keep stories alive, stimulate thought, bridge generational gaps and perhaps most importantly, encapsulate the ever-evolving Brighton spirit.
For accurate opening times and days, information on admission fees, and guided tour options, visit individual websites for current information, as all the aforementioned are subject to change.
Special Events and Exhibitions
There are always new exhibitions and family-friendly experiences being installed in each of the museums in addition to cultural programs and one-off events.
Stay up to date with what is happening in Brighton by visiting the What’s On in Brighton website.
Plan Your Visit
If you have specific accessibility needs, it is recommended to contact the museum you are interested in ahead of your visit, as some of the attractions may not be wheelchair-friendly or suitable for people who have mobility impairments.
Contact information is readily available on the official website of each museum and art gallery.
Due to their inner-city locations, not all museums can provide on-site parking. Always consider your parking options.
Membership and Support
By becoming a member or patron of a museum, you will typically gain membership benefits, such as exclusive access to events, unlimited free access, and shop discounts; your membership is equally as valuable to the museums you become a member of, as you will be supporting the cultural institution as it continues to educate, inspire and preserve history.
Many of the Museums in Brighton now provide free virtual tours of their cultural institutions for people who can’t visit in person and enable fans of their conservational work to keep up to date with new events via social media.
For more information and social media links, consult the individual official websites.