The Beacon Museum

The Beacon Museum
West Strand
CA28 7LY




01946 592302


01946 598150

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.
beacon museum whitehaven harbour
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The Beacon Museum, situated on Whitehaven’s beautiful Georgian harbourside, tells the story of the rich history of this fascinating corner of the Western Lake District.

NEW for 2014, The Beacon Museum has launched a fantastic interactive exhibition which tells the story of the nuclear industry in West Cumbria, past, present and future.

Beginning at the top of the museum, visitors can expect to enjoy the best view in town in our viewing gallery, looking out across the Solway. That floor also features an interactive POP Gallery exploring leisure and culture in 1950s, 60s, 70s and 80s.
Downstairs the story of West Cumbria begins with the hands-on history of the area from Norse Settlers to twentieth century industries.

Our new second floor exhibition tells the story of how West Cumbria supported the war effort and, afterwards, how new technology was pioneered right here to give the UK a nuclear deterrent. The exciting, interactive new exhibition charts, warts and all, how that early weapons programme grew into a nuclear industry which has supported Cumbria’s economy for the past 60 years, and looks at what the future might be for energy.

Whatever your age, The Beacon Museum is a great place to learn and have fun. After your visit, be sure to take a look in our gift shop before relaxing in The Wellington Bistro for lunch or a cuppa.

Also don't miss the gift shop, which stocks a whole range of locally sourced gifts.

We also have the family-run Wellington Bistro and Café on our ground floor.

With rotating exhibitions in our Harbour Gallery and events scheduled throughout the year and school holidays, it’s the perfect time to visit The Beacon. Visit for more details.

Venue Type:

Museum, Archaeological site, Science centre, Ship or maritime heritage site

Opening hours

Tuesday to Sunday, 10am to 4.30pm. Last admission 3.45pm. Closed Mondays except for school and bank holiday Mondays.
Closed 24th to 26th December inclusive.

Admission charges

Adult £5.50, Concession £4, Child £2 (under 5s free), Family (2 adults and up to 3 children) £10.


  • Museums Association

Collection details

Archaeology, Archives, Costume and Textiles, Decorative and Applied Art, Fine Art, Land Transport, Maritime, Natural Sciences, Social History, Weapons and War

Exhibition details are listed below, you may need to scroll down to see them all.
the beacon museum christmas show keith bartley

The Christmas Show by Cumbria Artists

  • 8 November 2014 — 5 January 2015 *on now

The Harbour Gallery at Whitehaven’s Beacon Museum is bursting with talent this festive period as it features artwork and gifts from over a dozen Cumbria Artists.

The exhibition took a break in 2013 but returns this Christmas to give visitors the opportunity to see the artistic talent that exists here in Cumbria, and perhaps take a piece home.

At time of going to print, the full list of artists is being confirmed, but among those featuring in the exhibition are paintings by Jakki Barratt of Gosforth, Chris Robson of St Bees and Graham Jones of Sandwith. Also featuring will be glasswork by Roxanne Denny of Cockermouth, jewellery by Sally Moon of Carlisle and sculpture by James Reynolds of Penrith.*

The Christmas Show is free to view in the museum’s Harbour Gallery and opens to the public from 8th November. The exhibition is open throughout the Christmas period, with the exception of Christmas Day and Boxing Day. The exhibition will close at 12.30 on Christmas Eve.

*Artists may be subject to change

Suitable for

  • Any age


World War One

  • 11 January — 15 March 2015

Our commemoration of WW1, this exhibition will uncover the personal stories of bravery using artefacts from the period and reveals how the war left everlasting memories amongst the local communities.

Suitable for

  • Any age