Region: North East

Disabled Facilities: Yes

Category: Day Trip Destinations

Address: North Road Station, Darlington, DL3 6ST

Contact: 01325 405541



Head of Steam offers a wide range of lifelong learning opportunities – whether you are a school, college, nursery, Sure Start group, holiday club, young person or a member of a community group. Visits to the museum can either be led by your group leader, or we can arrange for a guide to take you on a fascinating tour. Discover the impact that Darlington and it’s people had on the birth of the railways and the impact the railways made on Darlington!


Why is this venue great for School Trips and Educational Visits?

Get hands on in the museum and see the original Locomotion No 1 – driven by George Stephenson himself! The museum is in a railway station dating from 1842, and includes many original features such as the Booking Office and Victorian Gentlemen’s lavatories.


What does a typical school trip or educational visit include?

Most school visits are from Foundation Stage and Key Stage 1&2 studying local history or the Victorians. We offer regular science, design technology or history workshops – these are relevant to the subject matter of the museum – so looking at Forces and Motion, or WW2 for example.

We can also offer creative writing sessions, inspiration for art and design, and are happy to tailor make sessions for specific cross curricular themes. We have loans boxes for you to borrow (
World War One, Seaside Holidays, Journeys and Victorian Toys and Games), and supporting resources that you will be able to download from the website. We welcome home educators - please contact the Museum Access Officer to discuss opportunities on offer.

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What size groups do they cater for?

Any group size up to a maximum of 60 students.


What can they provide you with to support your school trip or educational visit?

A teachers information pack about making a visit to the museum and a heritage trail around Darlington are available to download from our website. A general museum quiz, suitable for Key Stage 1 and another for Key Stage 2 are available on request, and will shortly be available via the web pages.

Most resources are suitable for KS1 & 2, but can be adapted to suit other groups. We are always happy to discuss ideas with teachers, and can tailor make visits and some resources.


Can you take photos, video or audio? Are there any copyright restrictions?

There are no restrictions for educational users. If the photos etc were to be published, we would appreciate credit.


How do you arrange a risk assessment?

In the Teacher’s information pack available from our Learning Zone web page, or on request when booking, there is a hazard identification sheet which will aid teachers making their own risk assessment. There is no charge for school staff making a pre visit risk assessment visit.


What are the contact details for their education officer?

Sarah Gouldsbrough
Learning and Access Officer
Tel: 01325 405541


What does it cost?

There is no admission charge for educational visits. Teachers making a preliminary visit can also enjoy free entry, by arrangement with the Learning and Access Officer.


Is specific clothing required?

No, but this is an old station building and it can get chilly in winter even with the heating on!


Do you have first aid on site?

There is usually one on site but would advise schools to bring their own.


What facilities do they have for school trips and educational visits?

Shop available when museum open to the public –prices range from 30p – goody bags available to –pre book – from £1 - £3. We do not have café facilities at the moment, but staff can buy hot or cold drinks for themselves at Reception.

There are picnic spaces outside, and also space available inside – usually best to advise the museum on booking visit if space is needed for lunches.


Are there disabled facilities?

Accessible designated parking bays near front of the building, level access throughout, two accessible toilets, portable hearing loops.


What are your opening days and hours?

Public opening times are:
1st April to 30th September: Tuesday to Sunday 10am -4pm
1st October to 31st March: Wednesday to Sunday 11am – 3.30pm

Schools are advised to discuss their requirements on booking and are generally welcome to visit Tuesday to Sunday 10am – 3pm throughout the year. Other times can be arranged, to suit train times for example.

Do you have any testimonials from previous customers who have visited you on an educational visit?


Testimonials – A selection from September to November 2011

Quotes from Teachers:

“The follow up work in school has been fabulous. We feel very lucky to have been
able to be part of this experience”

“Thank you for providing us with an unforgettable experience. The children are still
talking about it!”

“The opportunity for children to role play and handle artefacts was invaluable…one
child didn’t want to go home!”

“All of the experiences were excellent and the adults running them were all fantastic.
As a teacher, having enthusiastic and knowledgeable group leaders makes a trip.”

“Another fantastic visit, the children always enjoy this so much and it certainly
enhances their learning.”

“Fantastic Day, well organised, great staff, superb content and delivery”

“The children were constantly engaged and our parent helpers said it was the best trip
they had been on.”

Quotes from children:

“I didn’t have a favourite bit because I loved all of it!”

“It was fun when we pretended to be in the olden days and dressed up.”

“I’ve got one thing to say to STEAM….Excellent!!”

“I loved the exhibits and interesting facts….that has to be the best museum I’ve been

“My favourite part was the evacuation. I had to put a smelly gas mask on. I could
hardly see anything.”

“I learnt that Victorians had a very hard life. This trip was exciting and fun. I give this
trip five gold stars!”


Is there anything else that you feel is important and want to include in your information?

Schools are advised to book in advance with as much notice as possible to ensure they have the widest choice of dates, especially if they wish to work with the Learning and Access Officer.

Age of Children / Pupils: Pre-school 5 – 7 years 8 – 10 years 11 – 13 years 14 – 16 years College University

Type of Visit: Heritage Railways Historical Heritage Science & Technology SEN Themed Attractions

Curriculum Topics Covered: Art and Design Design and Technology English Engineering Geography History Mathematics Science

Months Open: All Year Round January February March April May June July August September October November December