Groups thinking about a trip to a museum still tend to automatically gravitate towards London and the famous collections. Britain has an incredible array of specialised and regional museums however, with no compromise on facilities or the status of the pieces they house and display

The Tate Liverpool is the most visited gallery of modern and contemporary art outside of London. Covering four floors of modern and contemporary art in one of the Albert Dock’s former warehouses, the gallery shows work from both the Tate Collection and special exhibitions bringing together painting, photography, sculpture and installations.

Tate Liverpool’s anticipated 2014 summer exhibition is ‘Mondrian and his Studios: Abstraction into the World’, which will run from 6 June to 5 October 2014. Commemorating the 70th anniversary of the artist’s death, the exhibition will provide new insight into the artist’s practice and his relationship with architecture. It will consider the relationship between Mondrian’s artworks and the space around them, and focusing on this connection between painting and architecture, a major highlight of the exhibition will be a life-size reconstruction of his Paris studio.

Paintings and drawings from Mondrian’s 1914 series Pier and Ocean will be presented alongside the stunning views of the former Cunard liner piers seen from Tate Liverpool’s fourth floor riverside galleries. A number of paintings on display will showcase his distinctive abstract style which embraced primary colours and straight lines.

Tate Liverpool agaonVisitors to Tate Liverpool can enjoy daily guided tours and special events as part of their visit. Visitors can also take time out from the gallery in the onsite Tate Café, which boasts lovely views of the historic Albert Dock. Groups of 10 or more should book their visit in advance and Tate Liverpool would appreciate being informed if GTOs want to lecture to their group on the way round. They also run a comprehensive programme of tours and talks themselves, for groups large or small. A private group tour is an excellent way to make the most of a visit to Tate Liverpool.

Info: 0151 702 7400

The Sainsbury Centre for Visual Arts is a grade II listed art gallery and museum designed by Norman Foster situated in the parkland of the University of East Anglia’s campus. Housing world-class collections, it 2. Sainsbury Centre - East End, Pete Hugginscontains work from Francis Bacon portraits to Picasso drawings, a Degas sculpture, 1500-year-old Mayan figurines and antique Japanese scrolls. Admission to the permanent collections is free. The Modern Life Café serves breakfasts, lunches, tea and coffee and the award-winning shop carries a range of high-quality and unique books, cards and gifts. Groups should book in advance using the details below.

Info: 01603 591033

Dr Jenner’s House is exactly that – the former home of Dr Edward Jenner and the birthplace of vaccination. Dr Jenner was born in Berkeley in 1749 and after training to be a surgeon with John Hunter in London, he returned to his home town of Berkeley, purchasing The Chantry in 1785 and living there until his death in 1823. Dr Jenner had a plethora of interests including geology, music, poetry and natural sciences and was made a Fellow of The Royal Society for his work on the nesting habits of cuckoos. However, he is most famous for his pioneering experiment that created vaccination and changed medical science forever, paving the way for the eventual eradication of the deadly disease smallpox in 1980; smallpox is the only human disease ever to have been completely eradicated.

Owned by The Jenner Trust, an independent charity, Dr Jenner’s House and Garden is open to the public from 5 April to 5 October 2014 and year-round to groups (and individuals by appointment). It is a beautiful Queen Anne style Grade II listed building in Berkeley, Gloucestershire.

A visit to Dr Jenner’s home includes seeing his elegant dining room, a period re-creation of his study, and displays of artefacts and memorabilia that tell the story of Jenner’s life and work. Fascinating exhibitions illustrate the journey to the final eradication of smallpox and ‘Immunology Works’ follows the developments in medical treatments and technology to fight infectious diseases.

Set in just under an acre of grounds, visitors to Dr Jenner’s House also have the opportunity to explore a woodland garden that, amongst historical plants, trees and flowers, is home to Dr Jenner’s ‘Temple of Vaccinia’. This rustic thatched hut is where he provided vaccinations to the poor of the district free of charge and it is considered by many to be the birthplace of public health. There is also a vinery where Dr Jenner planted vine cuttings taken from Hampton Court Palace. The original vines that Jenner planted can still be seen today; they are over 200 years old and still provide delicious ‘Black Hamburg’ grapes in the summer months. There is a car park at the house with free parking and a designated disabled parking space, along with a gift shop.

Groups (minimum of ten people) receive a ticket discount and can be catered for by prior arrangement. Coach drivers get free admission and refreshments.

Info: 01453 810 631

Canal Museum Stoke BruerneThe Canal Museum at Stoke Bruerne is celebrating its 50th anniversary year. Telling the story of 200 years of inland waterway history and how boat people lived, the museum is housed in a restored corn mill. There are two floors of working models, videos, images and 3D displays that portray every aspect of life and work afloat. The fascinating insight into a transport system so fundamental to Britain’s Industrial Revolution is complemented by the ‘living canal’ outside, with its locks, boats and Blisworth Tunnel. Admission to the museum includes an audio tour which brings to life the characters and events that shaped the history of the picturesque village of Stoke Bruerne and the canal alongside. The museum shop is full of interesting items and stocks quality souvenirs, painted canalware and a large selection of gifts. The Waterside Cafe offers an extensive range of refreshments including tea, coffee, homemade cakes and sandwiches. Group rates are available and coaches get free parking with a free hot drink and cake for the driver and GTO.

Info: 01604 862229

The Geffrye Museum explores the English home from 1600 to 2000, focusing on the living rooms of the urban middle classes in England, particularly London. A chronological sequence of period rooms show how such homes have been used and furnished over the centuries, reflecting the changes in society and patterns of behaviour as well as style, fashion and taste.

Geffrye A drawing room in 1830The museum is set in the former almshouses of the Ironmongers’ Company; elegant, 18th-century buildings in Shoreditch, East London. It is surrounded by attractive gardens, including an award-winning herb garden and a series of period gardens which chart the changing style of town gardens.

Special exhibitions and events are run throughout the year. 2014 marks two significant anniversaries for the Geffrye Museum: the tri-centenary of the opening of the almshouses for London’s poor and elderly, and the centenary of the conversion of the almshouses to the museum. To celebrate, there will be a full programme of exhibitions and events for all ages, starting with a special exhibition in the spring exploring the best in cutting-edge, contemporary domestic design, from furniture and textiles to lighting and technology, providing a glimpse into what our homes may look like in years to come.

Throughout the summer, celebrations will focus on the Geffrye’s gardens and buildings, including special tours of the restored historic almshouse, a designer-makers’ fair, tea-themed events during Chelsea Fringe, live musical and theatrical performances and behind-the-scenes tours of the museum’s collections and archives.

In September, the annual ‘Ceramics in the City’ fair returns, showcasing the work of 50 potters from across the UK. As autumn closes in, events will include candlelight performances and talks, a banquet through the ages, tours of the almshouses with historic lighting and fires and the much-loved ‘Christmas Past’ exhibition, where the period rooms are adorned with authentic festive decorations to reflect 400 years of seasonal traditions in English homes.

Admission to the Geffrye Museum is free and groups can book a visit. A programme of talks and lectures is offered with details and topics listed on the website. Facilities include a restaurant overlooking the gardens and a gift shop.

Info: 020 7739 9893

Castle House, base of The Munnings Collection, is the former home of artist Sir Alfred Munnings (1878-1959). The house, grounds, studio and garden café are set in forty acres of beautiful countryside in the Dedham Vale on the borders of Essex and Suffolk. Described by Munnings as ‘the house of my dreams’, this elegant Tudor and Georgian building is now home to the largest collection of paintings by the artist, who was president of the Royal Academy from 1944 to 1949.

Munnings always wished that his pictures and estate should be left to the nation and after his death Lady Munnings worked towards the setting up of Castle House as an art museum. The house has well-proportioned rooms, has been restored structurally and the original Munnings furniture has also been restored, enabling the essential character of the house as lived in by the Munnings to be retained. Two more galleries have been added and the pictures are displayed in pleasant and attractive surroundings.

A considerable number of pictures have been purchased by the trustees in order to make the collection representative of Munnings’s life span of work and to augment it, with other pictures being borrowed from time to time from other museums and private collections.

For groups who visit within usual opening hours, a reduced ticket price is available if pre-booked. Groups are also able to book visits at other times. Curatorial talks and ‘behind the scenes’ elements can be built into out of hours visits at an additional cost. A group visit enquiry form is available on the website for GTOs to complete.

Info: 01206 322127
The Beaney Art Museum and Library is situated in the heart of the historic city of Canterbury. Following a £14 million restoration project, the Beaney was recently revitalised and re-opened its doors to the public in September 2012. The building takes its name from its benefactor, Dr James George Beaney, who died in 1891 and left money in his will to the city of Canterbury. The city council had the Beaney Institute (as it was formerly known) designed and built using this funding along with some of its own resources, and it was officially opened in September 1899.The Beaney has state-of-the-art exhibition galleries, a brand new and extended library, excellent educational facilities and a varied programme of interactive events for all ages. The permanent collections include everything from Ancient Egyptian and Greek artefacts, to Anglo-Saxon archaeological finds from the local Kent area to a nationally important collection of Thomas Sidney Cooper paintings.

The Beaney House of Art and Knowledge in Canterbury has been selected by the National Gallery as the first venue to host the first painting in their three year ‘Masterpiece Tour’. Edouard Manet’s ‘The Execution of Maximilian’, painted around 1867-68, depicts the fatal moment when the Austrian Archduke Ferdinand Maximilian was captured by Mexican revolutionaries and executed alongside two of his generals in 1867. The Masterpiece Tour is part of the National Gallery’s aim to promote the understanding, knowledge and appreciation of Old Master paintings to as wide an audience as possible, and the Manet painting will be arriving at the Beaney in January 2014.

The exhibition and supporting programme at the Beaney will focus on the way in which artists, including photographers, have selected and arranged their compositions to create iconic images that come to define events involving political killing. A comprehensive supporting programme of activities and events is being developed in partnership with universities, colleges and the local community.

The exhibition will be on view from 17 January to 16 March 2014 and entry is free. The Beaney has a café on the ground floor – ‘The Kitchen’ serves organic coffee, toasted flatbreads, sandwiches and cakes from a local bakery. They are also able to offer refreshments and catering for a variety of events in their education room; ideal for group visits.

Info: 01227 378100