Woodhorn Museum and Northumberland Archives

Woodhorn Museum and Northumberland Archives
QE II Country Park
NE63 9YF






01670 624455


01670 626121

All information is drawn from or provided by the venues themselves and every effort is made to ensure it is correct. Please remember to double check opening hours with the venue concerned before making a special visit.
A view along the main entrance path at Woodhorn with the old colliery buildings in the background
baby changing facilities icon Food icon Guided tours icon Shop icon Library icon Study area icon Wheelchair access icon

Woodhorn is a vibrant, exciting place to visit all year round with a great programme of activities and exhibitions for the whole family.

Inspired by monster coal cutting machines once used deep underground, the stunning Cutter building and original listed colliery structures house fascinating, hands-on exhibitions and displays. Take an emotional journey through Coal Town and discover a proud mining community; explore the colliery buildings and imagine what it would have been like to work underground; hum along to the brass band at the Miners’ Picnic, see the colourful banners and even design your own. Marvel at the original paintings of the Ashington Group – miners from the 1930s whose story has inspired remarkable play, Pitmen Painters, by Billy Elliot writer, Lee Hall.

Woodhorn is home to Northumberland’s public archive too.

Venue Type:

Museum, Industrial heritage site, Gallery, Archive

Opening hours

Open: Wednesday through to Sunday (+ Mon & Tues in Northumberland School Hols)
October until March, 10am - 4pm
April until September 10 am until 5pm
(Archives Open 10am - 4pm Wed-Sat.)

Admission charges

Free admission
All day parking £3.50

Getting there

Just off A189 Spine Road and C1 National/Coast and Castles Cycle Route east of Ashington.
Nearest public transport Ashington Bus Station - 15 minute walk

Additional info

Access: Most of the buildings at Woodhorn are accessible but as you might expect with the old listed colliery buildings, access to some is restricted. See our main website for a full access statement. Visitors are welcome to borrow one of three wheelchairs or a motorised scooter during their visit, and staff are happy to discuss any special requirements in advance of a visit.

Assistance dogs are welcome at Woodhorn, but family pets are not allowed in the fenced museum area. It would be best to leave your dog at home if possible as Woodhorn's car park does not offer any shade.

The Pitmen Painters were a group of mostly miners from Northumberland who founded the Ashington Art Group in the 1930s and who took as their subject everyday life in their mining community. Woodhorn museum holds the main Ashington Group collection of their work.

Collection details

Archives, Costume and Textiles, Fine Art, Industry, Natural Sciences, Science and Technology, Social History

Key artists and exhibits

  • Pitmen Painters - Northumberland miners who founded the Ashington Art Group
  • Mining history
  • Oliver Kilbourn
Exhibition details are listed below, you may need to scroll down to see them all.

Retronaut: The Photographic Time Machine

  • 27 September 2014 — 22 February 2015 *on now

Retronaut aims to unearth pictures that seem not to belong to the time when they were created, that dissolve away the years like tarnish on a ring, that take our collective map of the past and tear tiny holes in it, holes through which we glimpse the real past lying underneath our map.

These are pictures that show not so much the past as they show “now” – but another version of now.

This exhibition offers a small glimpse into the vast photographic collections held by the Northumberland Archives. You can discover more of these collections through the Museums & Archives Northumberland Flickr stream, online catalogue search facility or through the searchroom at Woodhorn.

Find out more about Retronaut at www.retronaut.com

You can visit the museum shop to order a copy of any print from this exhibition and to browse & buy exhibition related gifts including Retronaut’s new publication Retronaut: The Photographic Time Machine.

This exhibition was made possible thanks to support from the Esmee Fairbairn Foundation Collections Fund led by the Museum Association, and the Arts Council.


Parking charge of £3.50 applies, but admission to Woodhorn and the exhibition is free.



Lawrence Weiner ARTIST ROOMS

Straight Down to Below: Lawrence Weiner ARTIST ROOMS

  • 25 October 2014 — 19 April 2015 *on now

Woodhorn presents Lawrence Weiner's cycle of wall texts as part of ARTIST ROOMS.
Text is integral to the Woodhorn Museum site, from the rousing slogans on the iconic mining banners to the industry-specific signage in the colliery buildings. Lawrence Weiner's cycle of wall texts resonate with new readings within this historic colliery setting. The statements could read in relation to the physical processes of mining or the social histories of coal mining communities. The contrast between statement and action within Weiner's work gains added significance in a place once heaving with heavy industry yet today a carefully preserved and static heritage site, museum and archive.
ARTIST ROOMS On Tour is supported by the National Lottery through Arts Council England and by the Arts Fund, making available the ARTIST ROOMS collection of international modern and contemporary art to galleries throughout the UK. ARTIST ROOMS is jointly owned by Tate and the National Galleries of Scotland and was established through The d'Offay Donation in 2008, with the assistance of the National Heritage Memorial Fund, the Art Fund, and the Scottish and British Governments.
Find out more about ARTIST ROOMS on the Tate website and the National Galleries of Scotland website

Image Credit: Lawrence Weiner, Straight Down To Below, 1988 © Lawrence Weiner

ARTIST ROOMS National Galleries of Scotland and Tate. Acquired jointly through The d'Offay Donation with assistance from the National Heritage Memorial Fund and the Art Fund 2008.

Suitable for

  • Any age


Free, but parking charge of £3.50 applies



Jack Harrison

Jack Harrison - The Bright Side

  • 29 November 2014 — 19 April 2015 *on now

A colourful reflection of work by one of the Pitmen Painters.

According to the family, Jack had a desire to portray life as a colourful, even brilliant, kind of experience to counteract and diminish all his years of toil and labour in the backness of the mines.

This exhibition, which coincides with the 80th anniversary of the formation of the Ashington Group, brings together paintings from his family's own collection, work belonging to Northumbria Healthcare NHS Foundations Trust as well as Woodhorn's archive.

Suitable for

  • Any age


Parking Charge of £3.50 applies

Brick Planet

Brick Planet

  • 14 February — 22 March 2015
  • 1 April — 31 May 2015

Woodhorn is about to get even more awesome!

Explore the incredible Brick Planet exhibition and marvel at miniature wonders from around the world recreated in LEGO® bricks.

Be inspired by amazing models created by LEGO® brick artist Warren Elsmore and then have a go yourself in our hands-on creation station!

See amazing scale models of architectural land marks from around the globe including Egypt’s pyramids, the Great Wall of China and the iconic St Pancras Station. Be awe-inspired by the natural world in miniature too from the African savannah to Niagara Falls.
Take pride in the North East’s own historic landmarks including the Tyne Bridge, Angel of the North and Bamburgh Castle, all specially commissioned for this exhibition and never seen before!

Admission and parking charge payable

Suitable for

  • Any age


Adult £4.50, Child (5 – 16) £3.50, Concession £4.00, Family 2 adults and up to 3 children £15.50, Family 1 adult and up to 3 children £11.50, Under 5 free

Norman Cornish Art Exhibition

  • 25 April — 1 September 2015

More details to come

Events details are listed below. You may need to scroll down or click on headers to see them all. For events that don't have a specific date see the 'Resources' tab above.
Vintage Car Rally

Vintage Car Rally

  • 12 July 2015 11am-3pm

Enjoy a grand day out at Woodhorn's Vintage Car Rally.
The North East Club for Pre War Automobiles will be on site with their amazing array of over 50 classic cars. Enjoy viewing the cars, taking your picture with them and meeting the owners!

Suitable for

  • Any age


All-day parking Charge of £3.50



Winding House Demonstrations

Winding House Demonstrations

  • 31 January — 1 February 2015 *on now
  • 7 — 8 February 2015
  • 14 — 15 February 2015
  • 21 — 22 February 2015
  • 28 February — 1 March 2015
  • 7 — 8 March 2015
  • 14 — 15 March 2015
  • 21 — 22 March 2015
  • 28 — 29 March 2015
  • From 4 April 2015

Free demonstrations of the winding gear take place every Saturday and Sunday at 11.30am and 3pm. There is a maximum number of 10 visitors for each demo, so book at the welcome desk to avoid dispointment.

The Winding House is an historic building that is not fully accessible. Access to the winding gear demonstration involves climbing steep stairs. Children must be supervised at all times. We apologise for any inconvenience this causes.

Suitable for

  • Any age

Thank Folk It's Friday

  • 27 February 2015 2-3pm
  • 27 March 2015 2-3pm
  • 24 April 2015 2-3pm
  • 29 May 2015 2-3pm
  • 26 June 2015 2-3pm
  • 31 July 2015 2-3pm
  • 28 August 2015 2-3pm
  • 25 September 2015 2-3pm
  • 30 October 2015 2-3pm
  • 27 November 2015 2-3pm

Thank Folk it's Friday is a free programme of Folk music held in the Woodhorn Cafe on the final Friday of each month from 2pm.

TFIF line up for 2015 includes...
30th January - Michael Kelly
27th February - JIVA
27th March - Greenheart Junction
24th April - Jim and Marilyn Gibson
29th May- Pipers Fancy
26th Jun- Andrew Lobb
31st Jul- Valerie Fairless
28th Aug- Ann Wilkinson
25th Sep- Beeswing
30th Oct- Fools Gold
27th Nov- Chris Kelly

Suitable for

  • Any age
  • Family friendly



Birds of Prey

Birds of Prey Display

  • 6 April 2015 11am-3pm
  • 31 August 2015 11am-3pm
  • 28 October 2015 11am-3pm

See beautiful birds of prey on display from 11am to 3pm and catch one of the spectacular flying displays by the team at Ridgeside Falconry with flying demonstrations at 12pm and 2pm.

Suitable for

  • Any age


All-day parking charge of £3.50 applies.



Northumberland Miners Picnic

  • 13 June 2015 10am-4pm

A great family day out

Suitable for

  • Family friendly

Summer Craft Fair

  • 31 August 2015 10am-5pm

More details to come

Suitable for

  • Family friendly

Christmas Craft Fair and Winter Weekend 2015

  • 5 — 6 December 2015 10am-4pm

More details to come

Getting there

Just off A189 Spine Road and C1 National/Coast and Castles Cycle Route east of Ashington.
Nearest public transport Ashington Bus Station - 15 minute walk