Beat the summer blues on Argyll’s doorstep

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Bust youngsters’ boredom blues this summer by exploring what Argyll and Bute’s museums and galleries have on offer.

There’s fun, learning and adventure on your doorstep as Museums Galleries Scotland invites families and staycationners to visit their local museums.

From steam trains to seaplanes, technology to nature, pack a picnic and explore on a budget. With free or low-cost entry for families, free activities and no need to book, these museums are open for everyone to be entertained.

Across Argyll and Bute there are many lesser-explored museums and galleries ready to visit, offering all generations an insight into the area’s local history from highland clans to Harry Potter. Children will be kept busy with hundreds of free activities indoors and outdoors from quizzes to nature trails, there’s even a working blacksmith’s.

Museums Galleries Scotland’s interactive #MuseumsAreGo map makes it easy to find what is available locally, from Lismore to Rothesay and Port Askaig to Helensburgh.

There is free entry for children to these selected museums and galleries and some free activities online and in-person, often with no booking required. Discovering the region’s history, architecture and culture that is on your doorstep on a budget has never been easier.

Children can get hands on, experiment and test their design skills at Dumbarton’s world-famous Denny Ship Model Experiment Tank at the Scottish Maritime Museum. There are scale models, ships in bottles and a design room. In Dunoon there are ship stories too, mixed in with highland clans, the two world wars and spectacular views across the bay at the Castle House Museum. Children can do the fun quiz exploring Dunoon’s local history, and then burn off some energy in the gardens.

From uniforms, to convoys and RAF Flying Boats, discover Oban’s role as a strategic naval base during the Second World War at Oban War and Peace Museum. Other displays tell the story of the first transatlantic telephone cable link and the construction of McCaig’s Tower. There are videos and exhibits about railways, firefighting, lighthouses and fishing.

At weekends at Strachur Smiddy there is a local blacksmith who demonstrates how to make traditional items such as pokers and toasting forks, as well as horseshoes. The museum is a working Smiddy with traditional fire forge, anvil, bellows and a wide range of blacksmithing tools dating back hundreds of years. Children can take a turn on the bellows.

As a special treat for Harry Potter fans, there’s the West Highland Line from Fort William to Glenfinnan, following the route of the Hogwart’s Express over the Glenfinnan Viaduct. Families can stop off at the Glenfinnan Station Museum, see the Signal box, heritage film studio and dining car. The Jacobite steam train passes through too.

Lucy Casot, CEO of Museums Galleries Scotland said: ‘With budgets stretched this year we are pleased that incredible museums and galleries across the country will open their doors for everyone to explore with a range of low-cost activities, trails and experiences. Throughout Scotland there is a museum or gallery on your doorstep, waiting for you to explore history, art and a wide range of activities and events to enjoy. We hope everyone will try something new this summer that is local and accessible for all.’

To find a local museum or gallery near you visit the #MuseumsAreGo map and zoom in to your area.