Beamish - The Living museum of the North

angel_jenny By angel_jenny, 4th Mar 2012 | Follow this author | RSS Feed
Posted in Wikinut>Travel>Europe>England>The Northeast

What will you find at Beamish Living museum? Read on to find out and be prepared for a great day out. I have included as much as I remember but there is a lot more for everyone to go and discover. Have fun and remember to check out the gift shop at the end for mementos.

Arriving at Beamish

Located near Stanley in County Durham Beamish is a great day out for the whole family to enjoy.

It may seem a little pricey if you are just visiting the area as a one off, but if you live close enough it is the same price for an annual ticket as for a day ticket so you may as well get one of those. You never know, you may enjoy it so much you want to return time after time.

Looking at the map it doesn't appear to have too much but that's just because it is spaced out. If you are going to visit Beamish for the first time I would recommend visiting between April and November as this is classed as summer period so all exhibits should be open all week 10 -5.

Each area of the Museum tells the story of Georgian, Edwardian or Victorian living. You can see how life in the North East of England has changed over 100 years, from a Georgian Agricultural lifestyle to the Industrial Revolution.

Getting around

It is a great area to walk around and doesn't take too long either. For those that don't fancy a walk or just for the fun of it then there is an old tram that stops at each area and a vintage bus that will take you even further.
There is also an Access Bus to help those who are less able to get around to see all that this special museum has to offer.

A variety of wagons can be seen in and around The Railway Station and if you are lucky you can go up and down the track on an old steam train down there.

Home farm

One of the first tram stops will be by Home farm. This is one of the few areas that were there from the beginning whereas most of the museum has been brought or restored there.

After walking up a bit of a hill you will find stables, a bull pen, cows, pigs and geese. Around the farm there is also a cart shed, old toilet, agricultural vehicles and tools on display and you can see how they would have previously been used.

Pit Village and Dining

There's an Edwardian Fried Fish Shop that shows how the trade developed from Victorian times. You can buy Beef-dripping fried Fish and Chips, from a coal-fired range. I have been told they are very nice but not queued myself as when I went it had just opened and the queues were immense.

There is a Cafe down at the town you can buy food and a few stands with ice-cream and drinks around but I would recommend bringing along a packed lunch and sitting at one of the picnic benches about if you are not going for chips, as it will keep the cost down.

My personal favourite part of the pit village would be the old school house. It brings back memories of when I visited with my school to have a lesson taught to us there and calling the teacher 'ma'am'.
Visitors can sit at a school desk and write on slates or dip a quill in an ink pot and practice your writing or even go try out the hoops in the school yard which is a good laugh.

Other places to view in this area include a row of pit houses and a chapel that you can explore and ask staff about their history.

The Colliery

Here the best thing I'd say is the drift mine. It is an organised tour that lasts about 10 minutes and starts at the lamp cabin. Your tour guide shows you how the lamps progressed through the ages for safety then brings you to the mouth of the mine.

Put on your safety helmet and follow the guide into the mine but watch your head as the cave ceiling gets lower and lower. your eyes will adjust to the dark also. The guide is very informative.

Other places in this area to visit include Colliery Winding Engine, and the Engine shed for viewing.

Edwardian town

The town is the last stop the tram will take you to but there are lots of fun things to see and do here.

I have to say my favourite part of town is the sweet shop. You can go to a room at the back where a man demonstrates how the sweets were made and each time I have been they have been different. Once they have cooled a little he takes majority to the main sweet shop where you can choose from lots of different sweets to buy and then puts remains onto a tray for the visitors to try.

The town is also where you can look around the old courthouse, buy a drink or pickled egg from the pub, look around the bank, printing press and dentist surgery or just sit on the green and listen to music playing in the bandstand.

The dentist, banker and a few shop assistants are all in character and are there to answer any questions you may have about the times. I found it all very interesting.

Different things to see on each visit

Whether you are on a school visit or there with family and friends, why not dress up in Victorian attire before you go. I have done that before and it helped with my imagination of how life would be back then.

Throughout the year there are many events and changes to make it special on each visit such as the steam fair, show of agriculture and Harvest Festival.

During winter time there is often an ice-skating rink which would cost £5 extra for about half an hour but adds to the magical fun.

During summer period there is a steam powered carousel but again for an added small fee.


Beamish, Colliery, Edwardian, Family Fun, Farm, Museum, North East, Pit Village, Places To Visit, Transport

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author avatar angel_jenny
I enjoy writing poetry, short stories, letters and blogs

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author avatar ittech
5th Mar 2012 (#)

Love this also... :)

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author avatar Buzz
5th Mar 2012 (#)

Excellent page, Jenny. Thanks.

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author avatar angel_jenny
5th Mar 2012 (#)

Thanks you two! Unfortunately no star page which I was hoping for with this one of Durham but maybe next time :)

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author avatar Songbird B
23rd Apr 2013 (#)

Thought this was a really great article Jenny and a very informative read as well. Adding links might help achieve Star merit. Nicely done..\0/x

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author avatar angel_jenny
23rd Apr 2013 (#)

Thanks songbird and for the tip :) x

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