Start your Preston museum tour at the Harris Museum. The city’s biggest museum, it covers a wide spectrum of interests, including fine art, costume, textile and the region’s rich local history. Their Discovery Room takes you back in time – a long way back – and includes the 13,500-year-old Poulton Elk, which was discovered in 1970. Interestingly, the elk skeleton includes two man-made barbs; clear evidence of our hunter-gatherer past.
Museums in Preston
With sections dedicated to coins and medals, archaeology and photography, the Harris Museum’s flagship room is their Discover Preston gallery, which draws together nearly 45,000 items spanning music sheets, stamps, cigarette cards, ethnography and more. And if you’re hankering for more history, the museum is also home to the Preston library, which includes several book collections from the 18th century. Entry to the museum is free, with the museum and gallery open daily 10am–5pm, and 11am–4pm on Sundays.
The British Commercial Vehicle Museum might sound like a niche affair, but drawing on a rich vein of travel and transport history dating from the 1880s and horse and carts via early steam wagons and vintage fire engines, the museum explains huge leaps in technology. You can climb aboard a vintage lorry or fire engine and even get behind the wheel of the notorious Popemobile; built for Pope John Paul II’s 1982 visit. Weighing in at a mammoth 24 tons, the armour-plated vehicle is truly a one-off. Other noteworthy exhibits include their steam-powered tractor and a 1922 Star Motor Company car with a whopping 12 brake horsepower – outrageously powerful in its day, but now equivalent to a powerful lawn mower. British Commercial Vehicle Museum is out of town, in Broadfield – your best bet is to drive, just 11 minutes from our South (Craven Drive) hotel.
Just 12 miles east of Preston, on the A59, you can delve a little further back in the history books at the Ribchester Roman Museum, with a fascinating look at Roman archaeological finds amongst the Roman fort and baths around the museum. The museum has been recently refurbished and remodelled and proudly displays a replica of the Ribchester helmet, which was found on site – the original is proudly displayed in the British Museum.Part of an active barracks, the Lancashire Infantry Museum in Preston houses one of the largest regimental collections of its kind in the country, guiding you through the regiment’s history from 1689 until the present day. You’ll find it to the north of Deepdale Stadium, six minutes’ drive from our Preston East hotel.