Beamish Museum

Things to do in Durham | Beamish Museum

Beamish Museum is an all-singing and dancing experience that literally brings history to life by placing you in a replica town around the industrial revolution. Featuring original and replica buildings, working vehicles, farm equipment and a vast array of artefacts, it brings the late Victorian and Edwardian era to life in dramatic fashion, with a dedicated focus on the 1820s, 1910s and 1940s.

Set across 300 acres of sprawling north east countryside, about 15 minutes’ drive from our Durham North hotel, the museum is home to a recreated garage, bakery, sweet shop, bank, coal yard, train station and more, giving you live hands-on history lessons. These aren’t simply replica buildings, though – every brick and building has literally been brought from the surrounding area and re-purposed in the museum.

Beamish Museum

What’s more, there are dozens of actors and staff across the site who ‘live’ in the period, making full use of the extensive vintage wardrobes and props to help create a genuine historical feel. You can talk to them, ask them questions and almost literally, take a trip back in time. They’ve gone to town with the transport as well – simply hop on a vintage tram or 1920s bus to get around the museum, with several replica steam trains chugging along on the nearby tracks.

The museum recently won some extra funding and is planning to add to its exhibits with a 1950s village, replete with a cinema, shops, semi-detached houses and – a genuinely big deal at the time – a fully operational fish and chip shop.

As well as the amazing entertainment and walk-through history on offer, the museum runs regular events throughout the year, including the Great North Festival of Transport, a Georgian fair, a Christmas market and the Great North Festival of Agriculture.

A firm family favourite, it’s a fascinating insight into life in the north east. Your ticket is valid for repeat visits up to a year, making it excellent value for money. The museum is open daily from 10am to 4pm, with later operating hours during the summer when it closes at 5pm.

Looking for a hotel in Durham?

Choose from any one of our three main Durham hotels plus our nearby hotels at Newton Aycliffe and Newcastle (Washington) as an ideal base for exploring the fabulous medieval treasures of Durham, an ancient university city that boasts a vibrant cultural scene.