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Sun’s Out, STEM’s Out

We’re officially getting this whole blog thing going and with the Summer break very much among us and some of the hottest days of the year under our sweaty belts, we thought we’d share some of the best things to do out of the house for people that love everything STEM. 

It’s time to say goodbye to the four walls of our bedroom and the familiar screen of Netflix asking “are you still there?” after hours of binge-watching. There’s a whole world out there and – believe it or not – it’s got a lot to offer us. From museums to the streets of Glasgow, there’s endless activities to do for those of us that love STEM.

We’ve included some of the more typical stuff (don’t judge us, but they are too important to not include) alongside some areas of the STEM world that we’ve found in the very depths of the world wide web. If we have foolishly missed any days out that really hit the nail on the head when you visited, sound off in the comments below.

Otherwise, feast your eyes on these below.

The Science Museum

We warned you that we have included some typical days out and this one does kind of goes without saying – but with it being one of the most important places to visit for anyone (and particularly science lovers), we had to include it and even put it right at the top. The very creatively titled Science Museum covers a lot and we could spend a whole week there. And we have. And you could – totally free of charge.

The museum is made up of a number of galleries, some permanent, some temporary. They include Power: The East Hall, which is filled with iconic stream engines, telling the story of the British industrial revolution. There is also Exploring Space, a gallery full to the brim with rockets and the story of the human space exploration. You can also look at human’s technological achievements in Making the Modern World as well as explore the history of aeroplanes and helicopters in Flight. Other galleries such as Media Space, Launchpad and Engineer Your Future are also available. But our personal favourite is the Information Age, taking you on a tech adventure.

Attracting 3.3 million visitors a year, it’s a must-see if you haven’t already. And if you have, then go again.

We The Curious

We The Curious breaks the mould of traditional exhibitions and refers to itself as an “indoor festival”. Gone are the days of walking round an exhibition with a switched-off phone, not being allowed to touch the exhibits and surrounded by silence. We The Curious is playful, and wants you to get involved and laugh out loud along the way.

The science centre is overflowing with fun, interactive permanent and temporary exhibitions. It includes the UK’s first 3D planetarium, a kitchen and greenhouse with presenter-led shows that talk about the science of food and a lab space where visitors can experience current science, including practical lab skills, research and dissections.

It doesn’t stop there – the centre has a Curiosity Zone that deals with sound, light, force and magnets as well as a whole floor dedicated to the human brain. 

We The Curious is from the dreams of every STEM lover, bursting with such an eclectic range of activities and exhibits that it’s almost guaranteed not to disappoint anyone. 

National History Museum

Another place that needs little introduction… If you’re already taking our recommendation and heading to The Science Museum, you may as well pop your head into the National History Museum nearby.

Not only is the building beautiful, giving you all those Hogwarts vibes, but the museum is home to a vast array of collections that have historical and scientific value, including specimens collected by Charles Darwin.

It’s known for its research in taxonomy, as well as its exhibition of dinosaur skeletons – not to mention the iconic Blue Whale skeleton that hovers in Hintze Hall.

Royal Observatory

Located on a hill in Greenwich Park and overlooking the River Thames, the Royal Observatory is not only a lovely place to be in London but is also the perfect space the feed the needs of someone with a keen love of astronomy.

Visit the home of Greenwich Mean Time (GMT), where you can stand on the Prime Meridian of the world (where East meets West) as well as skipping over to the Peter Harrison Planetarium, a space when you can experience “the wonders of the night sky”.

Bletchley Park

Did you watch The Imitation Game and become obsessed with the history of Alan Turing? Yeah, us too. That’s why Bletchley Park should be top of your list for places to visit. Not only is the mansion stunning, but it was home of the all-important World War Two code-breakers that helped shorten the war by two years.

You’ll be able to visit Alan Turing’s office as well as learn more about their code-breaking method through interactive displays and explore the different types of machinery they used.

Science on the Streets

Less about the adventures of a gangster called Science and their dangerous life on the streets – more about a walking tour down the streets of Glasgow.

You may or may not know that Glasgow has an intriguing scientific and industrial history. Whether it’s learning about John Logie Baird (the inventor of the TV) or James Watt (whose development of the steam engine instigated the industrial revolution), Glasgow has a rich STEM history that is often left unacknowledged.

It’s also definitely a tour for those out there that are intrigued with the dark side, as you’ll be told the story of the two Glasgow scientists that attempted to bring back an executed murderer to life using electricity. Frankenstein, eat your heart out.

And it’s absolutely and totally free. 

The Royal Institution: Michael Faraday Museum

If learning the history of inventions is your thing, then the Michael Faraday Museum will absolutely be your thing; a museum that hosts some of the most renowned scientists and inventors our world has seen.

Made up of three floors, you’ll be taken through exhibits that display both the inventions and the people behind them that have shaped our world since in the past 200 years.

RAF Air Defence Radar Museum

Hidden in Norfolk, you can tour what used to be one of the most secret places in England. During the Second World War, this is where they track enemy activities and dispatched missiles and aircraft in defence.

Here, you can see demonstrations as well as listen to anecdotes from people who worked their and made the technology. The Museum has twenty exhibition rooms and “provides a unique window into the history of radar.”

Falkirk Wheel

Residing in Scotland, Falkirk Wheel is a rotating boat lift connecting the Forth and Clyde Canal with the Union Canal. Closed in 1938 and re-opening in 2002, the rotating boat lift was part of a wider plan to regenerate central Scotland’s canals and reconnect Glasgow with Edinburgh. The wheel raises boats by 24 metres, moving them from one waterway to another, and is the only rotating boat lift of its kind in the entire world. It may not sound like the most exciting thing in the world, but trust us; it’s pretty cool. Check out a video here

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So there we have it – our little collection of all-things STEM to get out and see. There’s a lot to do, judging by typical British summertime which is over with the blink of an eye, you better get to it.

Lewis Taplin

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