Norsk Oljemuseum

Top choice in Stavanger

Admittedly, the prospect of an 'oil museum' doesn't sound like the most promising option for an afternoon out, but this state-of-the-art place exploring the history of North Sea oil exploration is well worth visiting. The volume of information is staggering: highlights include the world's largest drill bit, simulated rigs and a vast hall of oil-platform models. There's also an exhibit on how oil is created and thought-provoking displays on climate change and Norway's Sovereign Wealth Fund (amassed almost entirely from oil profits).

The museum nicely balances the technical side of oil exploration and extraction, while honouring those whose working lives have been spent in the industry. The latter is done through fascinating archival material that highlights significant moments in the history of Norwegian oil, including coverage of the Alexander L Kielland drilling-rig tragedy in 1980, when 123 oil workers were killed, and the 1972 decision by Norway's parliament that Statoil should be based in Stavanger. Don't miss the moving and darkly humorous short film Oljeunge (Oil Kid), shown in the theatre.

You will spend longer here than you planned, especially if you have kids.