Region: North East

Disabled Facilities: Yes

Category: Day Trip Destinations

Address: Beamish, , County Durham DH9 ORG

Contact: 0191 3704011



Well known for history, Beamish Museum is a fantastic resource for inspiring learning across the curriculum and the museum offers a wide range of activities, from early years to GCSE and beyond.

A visit to Beamish is the perfect way to engage students in a unique setting. Enquiry- based activities and immersive learning give pupils the opportunity to ask and reflect, enquire and learn, know and understand.

Costumed staff are at the very heart of Beamish and the opportunity to question, interpret, interact and empathise makes the learning at Beamish truly memorable.

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Why you are you a great place for educational visits?

Beamish is unique.  Objects aren’t locked away in glass cases and there are no ‘do not touch’ signs.  Buildings from throughout the north east have been brought to Beamish, rebuilt and furnished as they once were.  Costumed staff bring these buildings to life, telling the story of the people of North East England in the early 1800s, early 1900s and 1940s.

For primary school pupils, a whole variety of curriculum themes can be explored: History Local History and Chronology, English, Science, Technology, Engineering, Art and Creativity.  Beamish offers KS3 students a wide range of engaging activities focused on enquiry, immersion, history and chronology.

What does a typical educational visit include?

Many schools undertake a self-guided visit to Beamish, usually split into smaller groups of children. Some are following up a topic begun in the classroom and have specific themes they explore during the visit; others are using a visit to introduce a new area of work.

There are four main areas at Beamish.  

1820s Pockerley – Explore the new house at Pockerley Old Hall, compare it with the old house next door and stroll round the pretty terraced gardens. Take a steam train ride through the Georgian landscape on The Waggonway and visit the beautiful St Helen’s Church.

1900s Town - Find out who lives in Ravensworth Terrace, explore the Masonic Hall, savour the tasty hand-made bread in the bakery, pop into the chemist’s shop and photographers’ studio. Dare you pay a visit to Mr. Jones, the dentist?

1900s Pit Village – See what’s cooking in the pit cottages, catch a lesson in the village school and meet the pit ponies. Explore The Colliery Yard and go underground at the drift mine to see how coal was worked.

1940s Farm – Meet Land Girls and the Home Guard and explore life on the Home Front during the Second World War, from “make do and mend” and cooking with rations to evacuees, a pill box and an air raid shelter.

Increasingly, schools book one of the many educational activities on offer, these are delivered in period areas by experienced costumed staff.  Activities last between 1 and 1½ hours and can be tailored to the needs of individual groups.

A selection is below, full details of these and other activities, along with costs, are available at



Taking inspiration from the Georgian garden and manor house, children create their own experiments to see how water can be moved, mixed, splashed, painted and contained..

Transport Through Time

Step back 100 years… ring the tram driver’s bell, sit in the car and take a look at the bicycle. Then travel back to 200 years ago to meet the pack horse and early steam engines. How has transport changed over time?


Meet the Nightingale Nurse

Practise the skills needed to join Miss Nightingale's team and find out what difference her techniques made to soldiers’ lives. Help to pack the bag as the daughter of the house leaves for Scutari.

A Parcel from Home – First World War

Put together a parcel for a soldier on the Front. Go shopping for treats and draw a picture or write a letter with news from home, before wrapping it up in brown paper and string for the post.

We ARE Amused

Have a go with traditional toys in the pit cottage.  Flip the Jacob’s Ladders, catch the ball in the cup, play with the Noah’s Ark and make an optical toy to take home. See how children’s entertainment has changed over time.

Once Upon A Time

Visit a fairy-tale world full of elements from nursery rhymes and traditional tales. Supports understanding of the genre by bringing the settings, characters and objects to life. Turn the spinning wheel, count the master’s money and keep the storyteller’s secret.


Worth 50 Horses - Early Industrialisation

It is the cusp of the industrial revolution. Children interview those for and against the new steam trains.  Would the children risk their money and invest in the latest technology? Let’s hold a debate. Railway mania, boom or bust?

Murder Mystery

Can the children use their thinking skills to solve the crime? As detectives they will ask the folk in costume what happened and report back. Can they figure it out? The dead body can’t tell them everything!

Evacuees – Second World War

Experience life as a 1940s evacuated class. Take refuge in the countryside. Be part of the Home Front in our wartime farm with blackouts, air raid shelters, rationing and Home Guard. Hitler will send no warning. 

Stand and Deliver

Arriving at Pockerley Old Hall just as the post is delivered, children are swept into a story of highway robbery.   Once they have unravelled the evidence they will  task themselves with putting pen to paper back in the classroom, inspiring the writing of newspaper articles, wanted posters and letters.

Just One Spark

How does the miners’ safety lamp actually work? See exciting demonstrations to discover how methane and coal dust explosions took place and their destructive power.  Find out how Sir Humphrey Davy, Dr William Clanny and George Stephenson found the solution. An explosion of the mind.

A Spoonful of Sugar

Children use their scientific testing skills to choose the correct medicine for a customer with stomach ache. Acting as the chemist’s assistants, the children test and determine the effectiveness of a number of possible solutions.


Georgian Medicine

The Squire lies dead in his bed and no one knows why!  Students are tasked to find out what has happened. Debate takes place between the physician, the quack doctor and the wise woman who are all present at Pockerley Old Hall, each with their own take on what has happened.

Worth 50 Horses

It is 1835, the cusp of industrialisation and the beginning of the spread of the railways. Is this the start of a new world with the opportunity to make your fortune or the ruination of everyday life? Would you risk your money and invest in the latest technology?

Who’s Going to Mind the Bairn? Teenage Pregnancy

Students are confronted with an abandoned baby at the chapel.  They must discover what has happened and ultimately decide who should look after the baby. Understanding the choices that were available in the past will affect the choices that you make today.

Welcome to the Workhouse

Students become immersed in a workhouse, discovering the life and times of pauper children at the beginning of the 20th century.  They get a sense of what it might have felt like to be sent to the workhouse.


Students rally through The Town carrying banners and placards, chanting to encourage onlookers to join their cause. Pre-prepared characters debate whether women should get the vote. See all sides of the argument and recognise how attitudes have dated.

Mind Our Business

Find out how the cogs of a multi-million pound tourist attraction turn. This activity is focused on the needs of the group, themes can include customer service, finance, structure of organisation, marketing, guiding principles and ethos. The information offered is first-hand and up-to-date.

What group sizes do you cater for?

Minimum group size for educational rates – 10 pupils. Beamish is a very large open air museum and can accept whole school bookings.

Do you provide projects, teacher’s packs, work sheets or any useful information?

CPD & Training - Throughout the year the museum organizes development days exploring aspects of the wider curriculum, supporting teacher needs.  These are for teachers from all key stages, full details are available on the website –

Online Resources - The Beamish website, gives details of all the activities on offer.  A wide range of supporting teaching resources, linked to activities, can be downloaded.  Further information, including hazard identifications to support teacher risk assessments, how to book and outreach is included.

Loan Boxes – A limited number of loan boxes is available for teachers to use in the classroom. Boxes are themed, e.g. Childhood, Washday, School Days, Shopping. Telephone 0191 370 4012 for details.

Complimentary tickets – complimentary tickets are available to teachers who have booked a visit to assist with planning.

Are you happy for children to take photos, video or audio?

Children are welcome to take photographs, audio and video both indoors and outdoors.

What is your process for booking pre arranged risk assessments?

Hazard identifications for school visits can be downloaded from the museum’s website to support teacher risk assessments. Complimentary tickets are available once a visit is booked to undertake risk assessment.

Does your venue have an education officer?

Beamish has an innovative Learning Team, led by Simon Woolley, Head of Learning, tel. 0191 370 4011, email

What is the cost of the visit?

Educational visit (until 31st January 2018) £6 per child (standard child rate £11). One adult admitted free of charge to every five pupils.

Cost of educational activities varies from £35 to £60. Full details on the website -

Is specific clothing required for the trip?

Specific clothing not required.  Beamish is a large open air site – sensible shoes should be worn, waterproof jackets advisable on wet days.

Do you have first aid on site or will the group need to bring a qualified first aider?

Beamish has a number of qualified first-aiders, it is not necessary for schools to bring their own.

Please list facilities available.

Several catering outlets – tea room in The Town is a self-service restaurant and there is a coffee shop in the Entrance. Take-away snacks are available at The 1940s Farm and Pit Village, ice creams are available at The Town kiosk.

There are many open spaces, some with picnic tables, around the museum which can be used for picnics.  A number of free indoor lunch spaces are available, these must be booked in advance.

The Jubilee Sweetshop in The Town sells a wide range of sweets, many of them hand-made on the premises. Traditional bread, cakes and biscuits are made and sold in Herron’s Bakery in The Town.

Gifts and souvenirs are available in the stationer’s shop and Co-op shops in The Town. The Gift Shop at the Entrance sells a wide range of books, postcards, souvenirs and gifts.

What are your disabled facilities?

Beamish is a large open air museum with many historic buildings, some of which are not completely accessible to visitors. It is a hands-on museum. Many sounds, smells, tastes and textures can be experienced; and objects, surfaces and textiles handled making for a multi-sensory experience.

To create an authentic feel, there are a variety of ground surfaces, some of which are uneven by nature. There are steep slopes in places, and some buildings and exhibits have stepped access.

If a disabled visitor requires another person, as their companion or carer to enable them to access the museum, then this person is admitted free of charge.

A comprehensive guide to accessibility at Beamish can be downloaded from the website -

Accessible toilets are available at the Entrance Building (with Invacare Reliant 350 Stand Assist); The Town; Pockerley Old Hall; Pockerley Waggonway; 1940s Farm; Pit Village; Colliery and Fairground.

What are your opening days and hours?

Beamish is open all year (except Mondays & Fridays in January to mid-February). April to October 10am to 5pm, November to March 10am to 4pm. Closed Christmas Day, Boxing Day and New Year’s Day.

Do you have any testimonials from previous schools we can include?

Hartlepool Sixth Form College - Year 12/13 teacher

‘A very good day out, all students provided good comments and enjoyed their day.’

Welland Park Academy - Year 7 teacher

‘The lessons were excellent, thoroughly enjoyed by all. We had a fantastic day a usual, even the weather held off! Your staff were very welcoming and answered all our children’s questions.’

Bishop Barrington School - Year 10 teacher

‘The staff that we spoke to on the day were extremely helpful and knowledgeable which made all 3 days run smoothly. Thank you!’

Excelsior Academy - Year 8 teacher

‘To work in groups as detectives to figure out what happened on a specific date in the past, using the clues they collected. Great day. Very well organised  and kept to a good timetable. Students loved it.’

Southmoor Academy - Year 8 teacher

‘The activity was very enjoyable and utilised skills that the students will be using when they start their GCSE course next year.  All staff and ‘characters’ were  very helpful and friendly. The pupils had a fantastic time and we hope to visit again next year. Also – the pupils highly recommended the activity and felt it was pitched at the ‘right’ age.’

Durham Gilesgate Primary School - Year 1 teacher

‘Excellent trip! Children and staff thoroughly enjoyed and the children came back to school talking lots about what they had learnt!’

Atkinson Road Primary - KS 2 teacher

‘All sessions were interactive and interesting. The staff around Beamish have been very helpful and understanding towards our non-English speaking classes. Once they have known they have adapted the sessions accordingly. As we have been coming each week the children have benefited greatly from the interaction with the staff.’

East Stanley Primary - Year 1 teacher

‘Really good activity, children got the chance to play with lots of old toys and make a toy. Well delivered, engaging. Really enjoyable activity.’

Tanfield Lea Community Primary - Year 5/6 teacher

‘The children had a great day and learned a lot from the experiences. They enjoyed baking carrot cookies and making blackout blinds.

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

Type of Visit: Historical Heritage Museums Outdoor Education Picnic Areas Themed Attractions

Curriculum Topics Covered: Business Studies Citizenship Drama English Engineering History Mathematics PSHE Science

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