Museums in Kent – East Kent

For things to do in Kent look no further than the rich tapestry of the county’s history and heritage through its captivating museums covering a vast array of collections. Encompassing seaside, religious, regional, and heritage collections, explore a world of the county heritage, culture, and nature all within the stunning Garden of England in this art and culture series of round-ups. Seaside delights, aviation history, agricultural displays, town treasures, and lots, lots more. Check out our comprehensive list of all the Museums in Kent, we’ve also broken it down into the four main areas of the county: Museums in Kent – East Kent, Museums in Kent – North Kent, Museums in Kent – South Kent, and Museums in Kent – West Kent.

MUSEUMS IN KENT – EAST KENT
Covering Ashford, Tenterden, Canterbury, Broadstairs, Ramsgate, Margate, Birchington, Herne Bay, Whitstable, Faversham and Sittingbourne.

FLEUR DE LIS MUSEUM
Faversham
Step back in time to trace Faversham’s growth from early settlement to the height of its prosperity, explained in words, illustrations, photographs and sound. Hop growing, fruit growing, charcoal production for explosives, clay field for brick, and the importance of Faversham Creek are highlighted in the Museum through over 40,000 objects, artefacts and images that can be explored to learn more about Faversham’s rich history. The gallery hosts a changing programme of artistic and historical exhibitions, with work by both local artists and showcasing items from the Museum’s collections. Friday and Saturday, 11am to 3pm. Price: Free entry. Read More

THE KENT POLICE MUSEUM
Faversham
An extensive collection that details the history of Kent Police dating back to 1857 where you can try on a police uniform and hear real-life stories. Explore photographs, artefacts, documents and lots more. Time: Open from 30th March 2024, times TBC. Price: free. Read More

WHITSTABLE COMMUNITY MUSEUM & GALLERY
Learn about local stories of diving, fishing, shipwrecks and more. On display is one of the world’s oldest railway locomotives, Invicta, as well as an 1867 fire engine and an 1830 stationary beam engine. This volunteer-run Museum also offers interactive activities for children, including dressing up in Victorian clothes and a Museum Trail, and is proud to say it is bigger than it looks. Time: Term Time Thursday to Saturday, School Holidays
and Bank Holidays: 10.30am-4.30pm. Price: Adult: £3, Child – under 18 years: Free, Concessions – aged 60 years +: £2, Student: £1 Local Residents – CT1 to CT6: Free. Read More

OLD FORGE WAR TIME HOUSE
Sittingbourne
First built in the 1700s as a home and working forge then was later converted into a 1940s living Museum with a 1930s themed tearoom. Hosting events recreating homefront scenes from World War II, with costumed performers and period interiors, visitors can step back in time and experience life at home during the war years as re-enactors take you back to this era. Learn more about rationing, evacuation, and what it was like to sit in an Anderson Shelter with bombs falling. This is a living museum and tearoom  – both open most Saturdays – 10am-4pm, please book in advance. Price: TBC. Read More

THE SEASIDE MUSEUM
Herne Bay
See collections of amusements, piers, pastimes and souvenirs, such as a real Punch & Judy set and displays. The museum’s history dates back to collections started in 1932, mainly thanks to a local doctor and keen archaeologist who founded the Herne Bay Historical Records Society, Tom Bowes. These include the impact of the 1953 floods in the town, and links to the 1943 Dambuster raids. They also run several events at the museum and locally, including workshops and Seashore Safaris. Time: Tuesday to Saturday, 11am-4pm. Price: Adult: £3, Concessions: £2, Children under 16 years accompanied by an adult: Free. Annual passes are available. Read More

WHITSTABLE COMMUNITY MUSEUM & GALLERY
Larger than it looks where you can learn about local stories of diving, fishing, and shipwrecks and more about the town, and neighbouring Chestfield, Seasalter, Swalecliffe and Tankerton. It features one of the world’s oldest railway locomotives, Invicta, an 1867 fire engine and an 1830 stationary beam engine. This volunteer-run Museum also offers interactive activities for children, including dressing up in Victorian clothes and a Museum Trail. Time: Term Time
Thursday to Saturday. School Holidays: Wednesday to Saturday and Bank Holidays, 10.30am-4.30pm. Price: Adult: £3, Concessions – aged 60 years +: £2, Student: £1, Child – under 18 years: Free, local residents – CT1 to CT6: Free. Read More

THE BEANEY HOUSE OF ART & KNOWLEDGE
Canterbury
The Beaney in Canterbury is a building to be admired in its own right. It is an art gallery, library and visitor information centre and houses collections including silverware, mosaics, and sculptures, with displays of children’s favourites Rupert Bear and Bagpuss. It features sculptures of the Magna Carta Barons, created for the Palace of Westminster when rebuilt after the fire of 1834 and given to the museum in 1906. Holds regular exhibitions and activities for children and adults throughout the year. Time: Tuesday to Saturday, 10am-5pm and Sunday. 11am-4pm. Price: Free, donations welcome, and may be a charge for some events. Read More

THE KENT MUSEUM OF FREEMASONRY
Canterbury
The museum has a rare collection of national and international exhibits regarding Freemasonry history. Items on display include books, regalia, and coves all Masonic orders through the ages. Time: various, 10am-4pm – check before visiting as vary month-by-month. Price: Free – donations welcome. Read More

CANTERBURY ROMAN MUSEUM
collections include mosaics, jewellery and silverware, and an example of underfloor heating from that era. The museum’s story began when workmen digging trenches for a new drainage system unearthed a beautifully preserved Roman floor mosaic in 1868. Then in the aftermath of World War II, excavations in cellar shops uncovered an under-floor heating system, wall paintings, a mosaic corridor and the remains of a large Roman Town House. Over time a museum arose to encompass the remains and preserve what is now known to be one of the UK’s only remaining in situ Roman pavement mosaics and a Scheduled Ancient Monument. Time: 10am-5pm. Price: Adult – 16 to 64 years: £10.50, Concessions – students/60 years +/disabled visitors: £8, Child – 5 to 15 years: £5.35. Child – under 5 years: Free, Members: Free, Carers: Free, Canterbury Residents: Free, My Town My City Members: Free. Read More



THE WESTGATE TOWERS MUSEUM & VIEWPOINT
Canterbury
The largest and arguably the finest of the country’s surviving medieval gateways, the Westgate was built during the One Hundred Years’ War to defend Canterbury from foreign incursion he current museum covers four themes including City Wars, Crime & Punishment, Westgate Through History and Magna Carta & The Maquettes, with breathtaking views over the City. Time: Monday to Friday and Sunday, 12Noon-3.45pm – unless closed for an event.Price: Adult: £4, Child – 5-17 years: £2, Child – under 4 years: Free, Student: £3, Concession: £3, Family: £10. Read More

ASHFORD BOROUGH MUSEUM
A varied collection, including a pre-historic collection featuring a 200 million-year-old dinosaur leg bone. Visitors can also explore artefacts from the Neolithic, Romano-Briton, and Anglo-Saxon periods, and the World War I feature, Life in the Trenches. This World War II prisoner-of-war display highlights the military history of the town. Local businesses past and lost, exhibits of medical instruments from the old Ashford and cottage hospitals, the lives and the demise of a smuggler gang, and railway memorabilia including two model railways. Time: April to October, Tuesday to Saturday: 11am-2pm. Price: Free. Read More

BROOK RURAL MUSEUM
Ashford
This museum in the Garden of England houses a wide range of Kent-related agricultural objects, with machinery and artefacts showcasing an impressive collection highlights the history of agriculture in the area. Started in 1931 this museum also shows how agriculture and Kent are inextricably linked. For our listing see here. June to September, 2pm-5pm. Price: Free to residents of Brook and school groups, Adults: £5, Child – 14 years and under: £2, Senior – over 60 years: £4, Group 5+: £3 per person. Read More

C M BOOTH COLLECTION
Rolvenden, Ashford
The Morgan Motor Museum was opened in 1972 and features several Morgan 3 Wheelers, of particular interest to Mr Booth, who started the collection. Eleven are normally on display dates from 1909, when the first Morgan was built, to 1935. time: Monday to Saturday: 10am-5pm – occasional closings so advised to call to check open before visiting. Price: Adult: £5, Child – age 4 to 14 years: £1. Read More

THE LASHENDEN AIR WARFARE MUSEUM
Ashford
One of the longest-established aviation museums in the country started life in 1970 by members of a local Royal Air Forces Association. The museum aims to educate and preserve the aviation and military heritage of the country. Exhibits on display include a Fieseler Fi 103R4 Reichenberg Piloted V1 Flying Bomb, as well as artefacts and displays and the world’s only fully restored and working example of his World War 2 airfield defence fort.  Time: 6th April to October 2024, Saturday, Sunday and Bank Holidays: 10am-5pm. Price: Adult: £3, Child – 5 to 16 years: £1, Child – under 5 years: Free, Over 60 years: £1. Tours of the main aircraft hanger during museum hours: Minimum donation of £2. Read More

WOODCHURCH VILLAGE LIFE MUSEUM
Between Ashford and Tenterden
Housed in an 18th Century oak-framed barn and 17th Century cart shed, on a rural site with a varied collection from wagons to coins. Artefacts from the Stone Age to the present day are all linked by a connection to the village of Woodchurch. Time: Easter to late October, Saturday, Sunday and Bank Holidays: 10am-4pm. Price: Free. Read More.

THE COLONEL STEPHENS RAILWAY MUSEUM
Tenterden
Based at the Kent and East Sussex Railway focuses on the work and life of the engineer, Holman Fred Stephens, who was significantly involved in building 16 light railways. The museum features a range of artefacts and articles about the engineer’s work and family, and locomotives and vehicles. Time: Easter to October on the railway’s operation days. Price: Free – donations welcome. Read More

TENTERDEN & DISTRICT MUSEUM
Tenterden
Housed over two floors and has exhibits and works that showcase the history of the Cinque Ports, the importance of the busy seaport of Small Hythe, and the development of Tenterden around its 13th-Century market area. It also has a Tapestry Room that has 14 panels that depict the town’s history –  from Roman times and exhibits from local potteries, the tannery, and the brewery as well as the emergency services. There are 19th Century hop press and harvesting illustrations displayed,  photographs, old maps, postcards, and even a Horse Drawn Fire Engine. Time: 1st April – or Good Friday if earlier until mid-December – Mondaty to Saturday: 10am to 4pm, Sunday: 1pm-4pm. Price: Adults: £3, Child – under 18 years, and students: Free. Read More

MARGATE MUSEUM
Thanet
Housed in a Grade II listed building over two floors. Formerly the Magistrates Court and police cells, the museum opened in the 1990s presenting a unique collection of Margate´s history including that of the Borough Police from 1857, sea bathing and bathing machines, the 1815 arrival of Paddle Steamers, Cobbs Brewery, and Bank. They have their own Punch & Judy and collections include artworks and historical records under the title ‘original seaside’. The town is considered to be one of the first seaside tourist destinations. The collection also includes exhibits about Margate in wartime, Roman-British History, Dr David Jarvis´s Wooden Jetty of 1824, and Eugenius Birch´s Iron Jetty of 1857. Saturday, Sunday and Bank Holidays 11am to 3pm. Adult: £2Child – under 16 years: Free Seniors £1.50. Read More

CRAB MUSEUM
Margate
discover their secrets, from how these crustaceans maintain the oceans to how they help with important new medicines. Europe’s only museum dedicated to the world of the decapod which is incredibly diverse – all sizes, all types form vulnerable to indestructible and those a million years old. Crabs can teach us about biology, climate change, evolutionary history and much more. Discover the many facets of the crab at this fascinating new museum. Friday to Sunday
11am-5pm, school holidays times may vary. Price: Free entry. Read More

THE WONDER WORKS
Margate
The Wonder Works, formerly the Hornby Hobbies Visitor Centre, charts the history of some classic toys including rare products on display from brands such as their namesake Hornby, Airfix and Corgi. At this reimagined space,  operate and bring model railway layouts to life with the new HM7000 Control System and experience the Grand Prix Du Margate Circuit and Batman’s Gotham City. Time: 10am-4pm.Price: Adult: £5, Child – 5 to 15 years/Senior Citizen: £2.50, Family Ticket – 2 adults + up to 2 children: £12.50. Read More

DICKENS MUSEUM
Broadstairs, Thanet
Housed in a cottage that was Victorian novelist Charles Dickens’ inspiration for the home of  Betsey Trotwood in his novel David Copperfield. Miss Mary Pearson Strong often served tea and cakes in her parlour to the writer and inspired the character of Betsey, according to reminiscences of his son Charley. Items on view include his writing box and a sideboard, with the rooms and items also featured in the novel. 29th March to 3rd November 2024
Wednesday to Sunday. 1 pm to 4.30pm – Last entry 4pm. Price: Adult: £4.50, Child –  under 16 years: £2, Family – 2 adults + 2 children: £10, Student – 16 to 18 yrs or student card: £3.50. Read More

CRAMPTON TOWER
Broadstairs, Thanet
This museum in Thanet pays homage to railway history and Thomas Crampton. He designed a steam-generated rolling machine at the age of 16, and also worked as an assistant to elder Brunel and designed for the first locomotive, Firefly, for the Great Western Railway. Recognised by Napoleon III, his work in trains and railways is showcased here, as is his concern with gas, waterworks, and the submarine telegraph cable. There is a miniature railway that children can ride on, exhibits, and displays for visitors to explore. Time: 29th March to late December 2024 (Date TBC), Friday to Sunday and Bank Holidays: 2pm-4.30pm, Last admission 4pm .Price: Adults: £4, Child – 4-16 years: £2, Family – 2 adults + 2 children: £10. Museum shop: Free entry. Read More

MICRO MUSEUM
Ramsgate
Go back in time and play the games consoles, computer games, and more of yesteryear, with the history of computers with the stories of inventors Ada Lovelace and Charles Baggage as well as others. Learn the history of gaming, sounds, graphics, robotics, and computer languages in this unique museum. Time: Selected dates from March to September. Price: £5, Student: £4, Family (of 4): £15, Child – Under 3 years: Free. Read More

POWELL-COTTON MUSEUM
Birchington, Thanet
The Museum’s collection includes over 20,000 ethnographic objects; 6500 mammal specimens; fine and decorative arts from across Asia; approximately 8,000 archaeological finds from the Thanet coastline and an archive of supportive material including over 30,000 photographs and 40,000 documents. Quex House was built between 1806 and 1813 and expanded in the early 1900s. The gardens are spread over 7 acres and include a Victorian walled garden, woodland walk, Koi pond, and a croquet lawn. It hosts regular events and workshops for all ages. Time: Varies, for more details see our listing. Price: Powell-Cotton Museum Member: Free, Adult: £4, Child- 4 to 16 years: £3, Child – 3 years and under: Free, Concession- over 65 years,/Disabled/Student: £3, Carer: Free, Surestart Adult: £1, Surestart Child:- 6 to 17 years: £1, Surestart Under 5 years: Free. Read More

THE RAF MANSTON HISTORY MUSEUM
Manston, Thanet
The museum houses aircraft, vehicles, and showcases what life would have been like in 1940 under the bombings and rations of World War II, as well as a model railway of how the RAF Manston looked in the 1930s. It charts the history of the Royal Naval Station in 1916 with a base at Westgate Bay for seaplanes and a base for training. World War II saw the first jet fighters arrive at the station and then the longest and widest runway was built to house badly damaged aircraft returning from Europe. It was home in 1950 to the Americans for eight years and then returned to the RAF as a haven for aircraft in trouble and training until they left in 1969 when it was used for civilian aircraft. The RAF returned in 1974 with air and sea rescue helicopters until the RAF left in 1999, though a civil aircraft remained until 2014. Time: Monday to Friday: 10am-3pm, Weekend: 10am-4pm. Price: Adult: £6, Child: £3, Child – under 5 years: Free, Family – 2 adults + up to 4 children: £18, Carer: Free. Some events may incur extra charges. Read More

SPITFIRE AND HURRICANE MEMORIAL MUSEUM
Manston, Thanet
The museum dates back to World War I when, from the outset of the war, nearby St Mildred’s Bay inn Westgate-on-Sea was used as a landing strip for aircraft. In 1915-1916, aircraft started to use the open farmland of Manston as an emergency landing site. Soon the Admiralty established an aerodrome at Manston and was integral in providing air defence. It also is heavily involved in World War II, where it was heavily bombed during the Battle of Britain. The collection has a plethora of historic artefacts from the Second World War including a Supermarine Spitfire and a Hawker Hurricane and you can book a flight on their Spitfire simulator. Time: Tuesday to Sunday, open Bank Holiday Monday: 10am-5pm. Price: Free,  Spitfire Simulator: £30. Read More

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Picture credit: © MARGATE MUSEUM.

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