A Great Day at Yorkshire’s National Mining Museum

You know that Leeds is Destination of the Month right now, well here is a great visit if you are staying in Leeds and want to go out for the day: National Mining Museum.

National mining museum

What is the National Mining Museum?

National Mining Muesem

Well, apart from what the name quite obviously suggests, the National Mining Museum was an active, living, working colliery near Wakefield, one of Yorkshire’s mining towns.

The town of Middlestown was built around the pit and in the 1770s the families of the town were mining families and life revolved around the pit.

The National Mining Museum (known as the Yorkshire Mining Museum until 1995 when it was granted national status) is preserved and maintained as much like an actual colliery as possible: with the great difference that it is not a working pit and coal is no longer mined there.

Who is the National Mining Museum for?

Anybody who visits the National Mining Museum will enjoy it, without a doubt: there is a lot of information for adults, great interactive learning experiences for kids, and a variety of activities for everyone, making the mine as real as possible so all who visit can get a real insight to the grim life that many led in the mining towns.

National Mining Muesem

What to Visit at the National Mining Museum:

Down the Pit

Don’t miss the unique tour of the actual pit when you go down the shaft 140m underground with one of the ex-miner guides who will tell you and show you how it really was down there – and trust me, these Yorkshire lads don’t mince their words!

Kitted out with your helmet and torch, walk through the pit, learning about the hardship and physical endurance the miners faced every day – or night, as the case often was.

Meet Peggy

National Mining Muesem

Meet Peggy, the miner’s wife with children of her own, plus wartime refugees to look after. Peggy is the National Mining Museum’s most real character, who everyone can sympathise with and, like the lads, who says it as it is.

Peggy shows a side of the miner’s life that is often over-looked; that of the miner’s wife.

Join Peggy in her backyard as she tells you what’s happening in her life and interacts with the kids and the whole group, getting everyone involved in her interesting story.

The Showers

The original shower block, where the miners were able to clean off at the end of the day are still their in all their former glory, complete with chalked up signs about the price of soap.

National Mining Muesem


The coal had to be transported out of the pit one way or another and the methods used were the rail track that you can still visit today and, of course the shire horses that would pull cart loads of the rough black diamond.

We also learned about the pit ponies who spent so much time in the pitch darkness that they went blind.

When to Visit the National Mining Museum

It was a freezing cold winter’s day when we went to the National Mining Museum and that was just fine but I would suggest that you visit in summer as there are plenty of things to do outdoors as well as indoors.

Having said that, I have heard so much about the Christmas festivities there and Santa Claus down the pit that I’d also be tempted to go in December. Apparently it’s just magical.

Practical Information:


Address: National Coal Mining Museum for England, Caphouse Colliery New Road, Overton, Wakefield, WF4 4RH
Telephone: 01924 848 806
Website: http://www.ncm.org.uk/
Google map:

View Larger Map

Parking Facilities:

There is ample free car and coach parking for Museum visitors. There are parent and baby spaces and plenty of disabled parking spaces.

Opening Times and Prices:

The National Mining Museum is open 10:00-17:00 every day.

Parking is free, entry is free and even the guided visits are free, including the tour down the mine. You must buy a £2 check for this tour but if you don’t want to leave the £2 as a donation it is refunded to you when you leave.

The fact that such an amazing and well-preserved place is free is absolutely astounding to me, especially in a country that is commonly known as rip-off Britain!

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  1. susan sykes says:

    Loved the mining museum and will definately go for the Christmas grotto. I believe you have to book for that. and there is a charge.

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