Top 5 UK Sports Museums

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Image © National Football Museum via Facebook

Been rained off? Here’s where to enjoy some sports whilst keeping warm and dry

Some sports fans may wince at the idea of spending a family day out at a museum, but feel free to let them know that galleries and museums aren’t just for arts and ancient history! Most sports have far reaching and fascinating histories, and where better to learn about these than in a dedicated museum. Pull them off the pitch (or out of the pub) and go find out a little bit more about the world of sport!

Image credit: National Football Museum via Facebook

National Football Museum


Whether you’d prefer to while away a Saturday afternoon at Man United’s Old Trafford or Man City’s Etihad, Manchester is undoubtedly a hotbed for football fans. The National Football Museum is an unmissable glass building in the city centre, offering a whole six floors of goals, penalties and pitches. The museum has been ideally built for both kids and adults alike. Not only will you find artefacts, trophies and memorabilia, but you’ll also find interactive games and activities. Work side by side with Gary Lineker and follow the auto cue for Match of the Day or practice your skills with one-two or the shot stopper. Exhibitions will show you the history of not just the game itself, but its fans, stadiums and clubs (and much more). The multi-media museum boasts short films, artwork, things to look at and things to do, making it perfect for all the family!

Image credit: The British Golf Museum - St Andrews via Facebook

British Golf Museum

St Andrews

From the rowdy team sport of football to the calm and collected world of golf. The Scottish seaside town of St Andrews is the ‘home of golf’, boasting a handful of popular golf courses and the world-famous British Golf Museum. Golf has a broad history that began in the 17th century, and the museum displays over 160,000 mapping 160 years of the game. From clubs, balls, trophies, medals, fashion, art work and films - they’ve got a bit of everything. Learn about the evolution of the club house as a social space, or the modernisation of the sport’s fashion and golf balls. Avid golfers will be in their element and absolute novices will be sure to pick up some interesting knowledge along the way! Not a golf fan? Perhaps sit this one out at the café or explore the beautiful town of St Andrews whilst the rest of your party enjoys one of the towns many 18-hole courses.

Image credit: River & Rowing Museum via Facebook​​​​​​​

River and Rowing Museum


Henley-on-Thames is put on the map each year in July, where posh people from across the globe pilgrimage to the world-famous Henley Royal Regatta. Hundreds of boats will thrash across the River Thames, and highly esteemed trophies and medals are rewarded to varying teams. Whilst this event only lasts for one weekend a year, the River and Rowing Museum is open in the town centre all year-round. Here you can discover the history of rowing as a sport, from the ancient Greek to the modern Olympic Games. Plenty of boats are displayed for you to peruse, including the boat that Sir Steve Redgrave used to win his fifth Olympic gold medal at the 2000 Sydney Games. Closer to home, the museum also presents the boat that won the first of Henley’s boat races and a history of the town.

Image credit: National Paralympic Heritage Trust via Facebook

National Paralympic Heritage Trust


Stoke Mandevillle Hospital is widely acknowledged as the birth place of the Paralympic games. In 1948, the first of the Stoke Mandeville Games allowed injured service personnel (14 men and 2 women) to participate in an archery competition, after the resident Dr Ludwig Guttmann encouraged rehabilitation through sport for those injured during the war. This small event grew bigger and bigger, and now the Paralympic Games is as prominent as the Olympic Games, with thousands competing from countries all over the world. Here in Buckinghamshire’s Aylesbury you can visit the original Stoke Mandeville hospital and wander the National Paralympic Heritage Trust to find out more about this crucial event. Discover the history of the Paralympics in the previous 80 years and learn more about the life and works of Dr Guttmann himself. Meet Paralympians themselves in the virtual hall of fame and get to know key members of staff from the hospital’s post-war era.

The Paralympic Heritage Exhibition will be presented at Bradford’s Cliffe Castle Museum until 4 November 2019. Click here for more information.

Image credit: Palace House Newmarket via Facebook


Situated in the original sporting palace and stables of Charles II, this museum is the go-to attraction for lovers of all things equestrian. Newmarket is often considered to be the birthplace of horse racing, and the town continues to be intrinsically linked with the Royal Family’s love of horses. The Palace House is split into three attractions: The National Horse Racing Museum, The Fred Packard Museum and Galleries of British Sporting Art and The Rothschild Yard. At the museum you can learn all about the industry of training racehorses and the history of horseracing as a sport. Kids will love heading here to dress up as a jockey and have a go on their popular racehorse simulator! Head out to the Fred Packard museum to study the subject of horse riding in arts, from classic paintings to more contemporary art, with many pieces on loan from the Tate and the V&A. Finally, outside in the Rothschild Yard you can meet some famous winning Thoroughbreds. Home to the Retraining of Racehorses charity, this is the perfect place to meet some four-hooved friends and view demonstrations in retraining horses to enjoy life after their racing career ends!