Woodhorn Museum and Northumberland Archives

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, 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.)

Woodhorn Museum and Northumberland Archives will be closed for the entire week beginning Wednesday 1st March and re open the following Wednesday 8th March.

This will allow us to process a large, recently purchased collection. We apologise for any inconvenience.

Full details of opening times on www.experiencewoodhorn.com

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.
Poster of Wonderfolk


  • 24 July — 4 September 2017 , , , *on now

Unearth the Wonderfolk at Woodhorn Museum this summer
Join us on an exciting and interactive quest to unearth the lost world of the Wonderfolk.

Deep beneath the trees and fallen leaves exists a forgotten land inhabited by magical and mythical creatures.

Professor Parkyr, a world expert in unexplained underground lifeforms, has been recruited to Woodhorn to investigate the existence of the Wonderfolk. From initial findings, the Professor has discovered a higher than normal level of activity below the ground and has unearthed some very surprising findings.

The Professor needs helpers to aid with searching for the Wonderfolk. Apparently they are friendly and may be hidden underground among the coal seams.

Come and visit the Museum of the Wonderfolk and meet the Professor. Take part in a make and take activity to create a blending in hat and pick up your magical lantern* - your mission is to track down and uncover the stories and secrets of the Wonderfolk.

Everyone is welcome to join in this family activity, but it is particularly suitable for children over the age of five.
* The entire experience (indoors and out) lasts about an hour-and-a-half, with the quest (lantern tour) lasting approx. 30-40 mins.
At busy times, if you have not booked as party of 10, you may be asked to join another group.

Date: Monday 24 July - Sunday 3 September 2017 (daily)
Times: 10.30am – 5pm (last quests begins at 3.30pm)
Call 0800 411 8881 or book online, to avoid disappointment.

Book online for tours 24 July - 22 August, click here.

Book online for tours 23 August - 3 September, click here.

Duration: 1 ½ hour experience

Cost: £2 per person (£2.86 including booking fee) (Children under-five are free), plus £3.50 all-day parking at Woodhorn Museum

For exciting Wonderfolk updates and great competitions, like our Facebook event page.

Suitable for

  • Any age


£2 per person (under 5's go free)



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.
A picture of a fossil stamped into clay

Coal Wonders

  • 24 July — 4 September 2017 *on now
  • 9 — 10 September 2017 11am-3:30pm
  • 16 — 17 September 2017 11am-3:30pm
  • 23 — 24 September 2017 11am-3:30pm
  • 30 September — 1 October 2017

id you know that miners often found fossils in coal mines?

Coal was formed by the petrification of peat swamps, and that peat was made from decaying plants. Sometimes these plants left their imprints.

Scientists have learned a lot about ancient species of plants from these fossils, and they continue to make new and exciting discoveries.

This summer you can craft your own coal wonder at Woodhorn Museum, by imprinting your own leafy design into clay.

All donations welcome.

Suitable for

  • Any age
  • Family friendly
  • Especially for children


All donations welcome



Children looking at winding gear

Dig Deeper! Guided Colliery Tour

  • 24 July — 4 September 2017 , *on now

Discover more about Woodhorn Museum’s industrial heritage on these guided tours of our historic colliery site.

Explore the colliery buildings and learn more about how Woodhorn Colliery operated during its working life.

Climb up to the winding room of the last Victorian engine house in Northumberland and see a demonstration of the winding gear (only available on these guided tours!).

We’re always interested in hearing your stories too, so come along & share your own knowledge about our coalmining past.

Dig Deeper! Useful Information
- Please meet at the museum Welcome Desk at least 5 minutes before the tour is due to start

- Tours last approximately 30 minutes

- Tour numbers are limited to 12 per session on a first come first served basis

- Tours are free, but as a charity, we welcome your support and have a suggested donation of £2 per person

- This tour takes place in heritage colliery buildings and although it is suitable for children & adults, we do ask that visitors take care and that children are supervised at all times.

- Access to the winding gear demonstration part of this tour involves climbing steep stairs. We apologise for any inconvenience this causes, and those unable to climb stairs are welcome to observe the winding gear turning from the lower level of the winding house.

If you would like to have a chat about whether this tour is suitable for you or your family/group members, please ask a member of staff or contact us on 01670 624455 or by e-mailing visitorservices@woodhorn.org.uk

If you would prefer to book a private and/or bespoke tour of the museum, please get in touch on 01670 624455 or by e-mail visitorservices@woodhorn.org.uk

Suitable for

  • Any age


Free but donations are welcome.



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

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.