National Coal Mining Museum for England

1128 Reviews

Star Travel Rating


Review type

Things to do


Date of travel

October, 2018

Product name

Product country

Product city

Travelled with

Family including children under 16

Reasons for trip

This is somewhere I’ve been wanting to visit for years, and from experience I know the actuality doesn’t always meet expectation. Not here though!

We had a great day out and there was so much we didn’t manage to see everything.

The highlight was definitely the trip down the mine. This was led by an ex miner who not only knew his stuff but was able to put it over in an entertaining way and kept adults and children fully engrossed for nearly 90 minutes – no mean feat. He was very good in engaging everyone during the trip from smearing coal dust on the faces of the children to pretending to set off an explosion.

The tour covered 150 years of coal mining and started in the very early mines where the miners had to crawl to the work face on hands and knees and use a pick axe to get the coal. Originally women had to haul the coal out of the mine (the heaviest and most difficult job), although later pit ponies were used. Children as young as five were responsible for keeping the door in the mine shut. A lonely task especially when the draught blew out your candle.

We then moved onto the use of drills and finally the huge great machines which were used in the 1980s and 90s. Coal was taken out on conveyor belts. I hadn’t realised just how big modern ‘tunnels’ were.

We went to find the three pit ponies, now enjoying retirement at the museum and the pit head baths with their communal showers so you could get your back scrubbed. This also had a small medical centre and dentist.

There is the engine and winding house as well as another smaller colliery a few minutes walk away, where you can go into the old buildings. Don’t miss the water treatment lagoons with their bright orange water which has been pumped out of the depths of the mines.

There are several large exhibition buildings around the site looking at different aspects of mining and the life of the mining families. There is also an excellent adventure playground for the children and an equally good cafe.

Entry to the museum is FREE. You are asked for donations for the car park. When you book the tour you are given a small white metal ‘check’ similar to those used by miners working underground, which you hand in at the start of the tour. You are also given a brass check and are asked to pay £5 deposit for this. At the end of the tour you can return the brass check and get your money back or forfeit your deposit and keep the check. (It is one way the museum can help raise money to continue to run.) It was noticeable that everyone kept their check.

This really does make a good day out for people of all ages. I won’t leave it so long to make a return visit!


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