Bailiffgate Museum Gallery

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The historical town of Alnwick has a wide range of attractions- castles, gardens spooky pubs, shops, restaurants to name just a few. Before you explore the town, the first stop, in my opinion should be The Bailiffgate Museum and Gallery.

The reason I recommend this museum and gallery as a first stop is it gives so much information on Alnwick's heritage as well as what is happening now which is useful for the visitor..

This information is provided through exhibitions and items, you can touch, hear and see! and staff who genuinely want you to enjoy your visit and give you local information about the town today as well as in the past.

The church of St Mary has been beautifully converted into the museum building which stands in a peaceful area of Alnwick, just steps away from the imposing Alnwick castle, the beautiful church of St Michael (which has seen many Royal visitors) and a short walk from the famous Alnwick Gardens.

We visited in August 2013. The admission fee was £2.50 for adults, £2.00 Concessions. Children go free. In view of the wealth of information provided we thought this represented very good value for money.

The museum and gallery offers something for everyone and for all ages. It has been classed amongst the 25 best places in the country for early years children to visit – the dressing up clothes, fascinating stories and hands on activities providing entertainment.

As well as the permanent exhibitions there are a variety of changing exhibitions throughout the year such as music, crafts, military, writing, poetry. There are also workshops on different days which , the community and visitors can join in.

Seating is available in the museum gallery which I found useful as I have arthritis and sometimes need a seat!. All areas of the museum and gallery are wheelchair accessible. There are lifts to all floors. Guide dogs are welcome. W.C's are standard and full access.

The entrance area is staffed. Staff are delighted to provide local information. There is a desk and a stand full of leaflets for those who prefer written information.

The lower ground floor is devoted to exhibiting the mining heritage of the North East,. The displays are good and the atmosphere gives you the feeling you have stepped back to that time.

The ground floor has a fantastic exhibition on RAF Boulmer, complete with interactive displays. There is a display of local life, including School equipment, housing, shops, – there is an excellent pharmacy display as well as displays of a Printing Shop including Printing machinery we were able to touch and examine. Criminal records, letters and lots of other fascinating pieces of information which illustrate so well past life in Alnwick are all there to see!.

In the middle of the ground floor, there is seating and a large screen – you can choose to watch short films of local history. There is also a table containing, jugs of coffee, tea flasks, bottles of water, juice, biscuits, you can enjoy as much or as little as you want for a donation.

The first floor is where there are different exhibitions throughout the year. When we visited there was a magnificent display of colourful wall hangings by the internationally renowned weaver Eta Ingham Laurie

The Museum and Gallery is open Tuesday – Sunday 10-4 and bank holidays throughout the year. However, it is worth noting that in November 2013 it is closing for two months for necessary repairs.

There is limited car parking outside the Baliffgate Museum and Gallery, car parks can be found a short distance away in the grounds of Alnwick Garden or in the town centre.

A short walk down Narrowgate (the street beside Alnwick Castle, just over the road from the Museum)leads to shops, cafes and the many other attractions in this ancient town

There is a bus service from the bus station in Alnwick to the museum (ask for the Castle or Baliffgate), the bus stop is just footsteps from the museum. This is useful for those who do not want to walk to and from the town, it is only a short walk, however Alnwick is hilly and for those with mobility problems, it is worth noting that this bus service which is just the standard local service, can take you to various places of interest throughout the town.

We had a very enjoyable visit to this fascinating museum and gallery and will return.

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