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Beamish Living Museum

Updated on September 12, 2018
ethel smith profile image

Eileen loves to travel as much as possible both at home in the U.K. and abroad with local places of interest high on her to visit list.

Beamish Street


A living museum set in 350 acres of English countryside

Beamish Museum is in the North of England. It is located in the county of Durham, near to Beamish village and the city of Durham is only around twelve miles away. In fact Beamish museum is only about eight miles to the south west of Newcastle-upon-Tyne. Beamish Open Air Museum is signposted from the A1 by a brown tourist sign.

This wonderful museum has grown and added to its attractions since it opened in 1970..

Set in around 300 to 350 acres of beautiful countryside there is little wonder that Beamish is now world famous.

We first visited quite some years ago with family members.It is testament to Beamish that we still have vivid memories of that day, may years later.

We had left our home town early in the morning for the fairly long car journey. The sun was shining, it was August, and, as they say, all was right with the world.

From the moment we entered Beamish the heavens opened and the rain bucketed it down all day.

We only saw a return of the sun when we arrived back home.

Did this weather spoil our visit?

Not one iota.

The company was fun and we all had the right spirit for travel in the U.K. Despite the fact that plenty of Beamish is outdoors a great time was had by all.

Want to know more about Beamish? Well read on

  • Apart from driving to Beamish Museum it is possible to arrive by public transport.
  • There are regular bus and train services linking to Durham and Beamish.
  • Alternatively visit via an organized coach visit.
  • For those who prefer to fly in Newcastle International airport is close by.

Beamish has plenty of separate attractions

Entry begins through the museum shop and your day finishes here. How you choose to spend your time at Beamish in between is up to you.

There is a tram service that operates around the Beamish museum and it is fun travelling on what are essentially museum pieces. This is included in your ticket price for Beamish.

The vehicles have been renovated with loving care and most are probably more resplendent than during their working life. Traveling on these trams though makes you realize just how uncomfortable they must have been.

Either decide on a planned itinerary or wander about as you like.

Beamish is not only unusual for its open air venue but also for its hands on approach. It is possible to dress up and become truly involved.

Remember to check out available options when you book your visit.

What To Do

If the weather is kind the countryside is beautiful and it would be a great place for a picnic.

You do not have to take the trams and can enjoy a pleasant walk, perhaps to the fairground, but Beamish covers a large area.

The fairground is small and the rides again are from yesteryear. The price of these rides is not included in your entrance fee so watch out.

If it is not clement there is a cafe in Beamish's main street but it is rather pricey though and usually packed to the rafters with visitors.

This street has shops, a pub, houses and various establishments all recreated to look every inch as if it was the early 1900s.

You can visit an old sweet shop that sells old fashioned sweets, or as they are called in America, candies.

The shop still uses a canister that flies around the shop to carry receipts at high speed. This canister system reminds me of one that was similar in a local shop in the 1950s. The sweets sold here are far too tempting and the overall smell of the place is fabulous.

The Dentist's surgery shows a frightening picture of dental treatment from days gone by and perhaps a glimpse into the future if you eat too many sweets or too much candy.

Nearby there is a period Bank and old garage come workshop with vintage cars.

No matter which attraction you visit at Beamish Museum every effort will have been made to recreate the period of the day.

When we visited one of the houses had a woman baking in the kitchen. She was using the equipment of days gone by and following traditional methods and recipes. To complete the period feel she was dressed in clothing from way back when.

Beamish open air museum has displays and attractions from various time periods from the 1800s onwards.

There is plenty of history to see regarding the life of miners in days gone by. There are even some renovated houses that miners and their families lived in.

A little Beamish Museum History

Beamish was first proposed back in 1958 and finally opened in 1970.

Beamish Hall was one of the original buildings on the site. The other buildings have all either been purposely designed and created for Beamish Museum or actual establishments that have been transported to the site

As the way of life of those from Beamish and the surrounding areas began to change it was feared that much of their history, traditions and dialect would be lost. Beamish Museum aims to preserve and recreate this bygone era.

Although 1913 is the period of time relating to much of Beamish some of the displays span other periods from the early 1880s to the early 1900s.

When we last visited the mine was manned by ex-miners who were able to share their hands on knowledge with visitors.

A Visit To Beamish

General Advice

  • School parties often visit Beamish. Bear in mind also that during any school holidays Beamish will be busier than ever.
  • You can book a visit to Beamish online which could be useful if you want to stay in the area. There are many hotels and bed and breakfast establishments available. This could be a perfect base for you to tour the North of England.
  • Cars are not allowed in the Beamish grounds.
  • Prices vary at different times of the year. Buy a yearly, unlimited entry ticket for both summer and winter, for good value. Of course you will need to know that you are able to visit a few times in the year.
  • There are special deals and concessions for students, seniors, children and families.
  • Children under the age five are admitted free.
  • During the summer months Beamish museum is open from 10am until 5 pm, seven days a week. The last entry time is 3pm.
  • Check before you visit for the timings of any special displays such as traditional sweet making.
  • There are special events throughout the year such as the Beamish Georgian Fair and Beamish Steam Fair.

Special offers for groups and parties, as per the Beamish website, are at time of writing:

  • Discounted day admission if you book in advance for groups of 15 or more
  • Free visitor map on entry
  • Free admission for coach driver and group organizer
  • Free coach parking on hard standing
  • Free special events throughout the summer season
  • Coach driver hospitality
  • Free promotional leaflets

Prices at time of writing:-

All Year

Group Rate Adult £13.00

Group Rate Child £6.00

Group Rate Senior/Student £11.50

If you would like to find out more contact Beamish Museum-

Beamish Museum Limited
Regional Resource Centre
County Durham

Telephone – 0191 370 4000
Fax Number – 0191 370 4001
Email –

Beamish offers timeless entertainment and is hugely popular no matter what the age or nationality of any visitor.


Special events and attractions may not be included in the basic price of your ticket.

© 2018 Ethel Smith


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