The Great North Museum

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Things to do


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Family including children under 16

Reasons for trip

I visited this museum along with my daughter and toddler granddaughter.

The museum is set in landscaped gardens lined with seats in Barras Bridge, on the northern Approach to Newcastle Upon Tyne and close to the city centre..

It was an extremely hot, humid day when we visited so the cooler environment of this spacious airy museum was welcome.

The museum is very diverse with collections from The Natural History Society of Northumberland, The Society of Antiquaries of Newcastle University, The Museum of Antiquaries. The Hatton Gallery and the former Hancock Museum (The Great North Museum was once known as the Hancock Museum). as well as many others.

To illustrate just a little of what we saw: Life Size T-Rex Dinosaur Skeleton. Great White Shark, Elephant, Polar Bear, Crocodile. Interactive model of Hadrian's Wall, hundreds of creates displayed in the Living Planet Exhibition. There are cases and cabinets full of crystals and Gems as well as live animal tanks and aquaria. Touch Screen technology provides ease of learning. Children are well catered for, in fact everyone is well catered for!

The exhibitions are contained in a rather grand looking building, inside there are some sweeping staircases but there are also lifts and these lifts are wheelchair accessible.

There are some blue badge disabled car parking spaces beside the museum, other car parking facilities are nearby in Claremont Road. Alternatively it is around a five minute walk from Haymarket where there is a metro stop linking Newcastle Central Station. Haymarket is also where the bus station is. Taxis are available here too – The taxi rank being at the end of Haymarket bus station along the side wall of Marks and Spencers.

The museum entrance can be approached from Barras Bridge or Claremont Road. The Claremont Road entrance has a sloped walkway (suitable for wheelchair users), which is also railed. The Barras Bridge entrance takes you through the garden. There is a sloped walkway to the left of the museum for the less mobile, or at the front of the museum there are steps to climb to the entrance which has automatic doors. You arrive in the Reception/Welcome area which also houses a shop. Admission to the Museum is free although donations are welcome.

As we left the shop/Welcome area, we entered the Living Planet area which contained life size animal displays,. Then it was on to the next room where a spectacular Hadrian's Wall Display was shown. The ground floor also contained Mouse House, a play area for under 5's which my granddaughter enjoyed. Continuing through the museum we saw an exhibition of Anglo Saxon Times, another had an Ice Age to Iron Age room. One of my favourite rooms was the Crystals and Gems room which led on to the Fossil Stories Room.

We stopped next at the café which is called The Street Café where we enjoyed a coffee and biscuit (light meals are available here) and granddaughter enjoyed some fruit juice. Large Glass doors lead from this café to a small garden and university walkway(the museum is next to Newcastle University.

We used the lift to take us to the first floor. The lift was extra large, suitable for a lot of people and wheelchair friendly. It had tactile buttons and a voice announcer.

This floor had a very interesting World Cultures Display another living planet display. Our Granddaughter was fascinated by the dinosaur and crocodiles. There is a planetarium here, dedicated rooms for Ancient Egyptian displays. Roman Empire and Ancient Greek exhibitions. There was a temporary marine life exhibition when we visited, alongside this exhibition there was an area for children where face painting was taking place, there was also a children's craft area and soft play type area. This floor also houses another café – The Hancock Café..

The museum is very welcoming for the disabled with facilities including:

Blue Badge Parking onsite (limited) Sloped pathway to entrance, this area is also railed. automatic doors. disabled friendly/wheelchair accessible lifts with voice announcers and tactile buttons. Disabled friendly/wheelchair accessible toilets on all floors. First floor has a disabled shower. Induction loop The cafe's are wheelchair accessible. Throughout the venue there is plenty of respite seating. The gardens have respite seating.

For those with young grandchildren there are baby changing facilities as well as a family toilet.

We had a lovely afternoon and would visit again.

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