Visit the last deep coalmine in England this half term

A unique events and exhibitions programme is on offer for visitors to the National Coal Mining Museum in Wakefield this February Half Term and beyond. There’s lots to see and do for families and for anyone with an interest in learning more about England’s industrial heritage.

Visitors can learn about the history of coalmining, get creative with unique arts activities and marvel at one of the world’s largest cameras in the Big Big Camera Exhibition.

Shaun McLoughlin, Head of Engagement at the Museum comments “We’ve had a fantastic year at the Museum with more visitors than ever enjoying our warm Yorkshire welcome. The Museum is well known for its Underground Tours and as Caphouse Colliery is now the last deep coalmine in England with tours led by the last generation of coalminers it really is an immersive experience that gives visitors a unique and memorable insight into the hard life of a coalminer. We’re very proud of the reputation we have as one of Yorkshire’s iconic visitor attractions. Visitors tell us what they enjoy the most is learning about life in coalmining communities and they are impressed by the humour and warmth from the miner guides who bring their personal experiences into the tour. It’s a great day out for all the family. ”

The Museum has announced it’s upcoming programme of original events and exhibitions starting on Saturday 1st February.

Big Big Camera Exhibition open until 28th Feb.
An exhibition featuring large-scale prints taken by acclaimed photographer Ian Beesley using one of the world’s largest cameras - a 19th century Hunter Penrose industrial camera from Gallery Oldham. This exhibition includes photographs taken of miners at the Museum as well as a selection of poems by Barnsley Bard Ian McMillan.

From 1st Feb the Big Big Camera itself will also be on display.

Half Term @ Pit selected dates from Tues 13th Feb to Sun 25th Feb
Alongside the main Museum attractions will be the following activities with a coalmining twist. ‘Exploring Light and Dark’ family friendly art activities linked to Ian Beesley’s Big Big Camera exhibition.

Sun 18th March ‘Map Your Memories’ with Edgeland Arts.
Share your stories of hidden Wakefield by discovering archive coalmining maps from the Museum collection. Help us create a new map representing memories and stories of place in the past and present. A fascinating event aimed at local history groups, community groups and those with coalmining memories to share.

The Museum’s living history characters will also be on hand to bring stories of coalmining alive. Fred at the Pithead baths talks to visitors about how miners cleaned up at the end of the shift and Peggy Thorpe talks about life in a pit village.

Shaun comments “There’s plenty to see and do at the Museum including our free Adventure Playground which has been a big hit with visitors since it opened last Summer. As we already offer free parking and free admission to the Museum we believe it makes us an even better value attraction for visitors, especially over the school holidays when entertaining the kids on a budget can be a challenge. There’s something to enjoy whatever the weather!

Coming up :

From 10th March : British Science Week 2018 @ Pit
26th & 27th April : Trapped a powerful underground experience based on the story of the trapped Chilean miners
6th June 2018 : We are 30! In 1998 we opened as the Yorkshire Mining Museum so please keep an eye out for how we’re going to mark this milestone birthday with our visitors and supporters.


For press information, photography and interview requests please contact Sarah Firth at the National Coal Mining Museum for England on 01924 848806; email:

Editor’s notes
• The Museum is free admission
• The Underground Tour costs £4 per person
• Train runs to Hope Pit over half term (selected dates, small fee applies)
• ‘Little Diggers’ Indoor play area for children under five
• NEW Adventure Playground
• Meet the ponies in the stableyard
• Free car and coach parking
• Opening hours: 10.00 am – 5.00 pm daily except for 24-26 December and 1 January
• Children must be accompanied by an adult at all times
• Please arrive early to book onto an underground tour, as at busy periods tours are often fully booked by midday
• Temperature underground is 12C; we strongly recommend warm practical clothing and sensible flat shoes. Unfortunately, children under five years old are not permitted on the underground tour
• Under 5’s are not allowed on the underground tour
• Disabled facilities include level parking, ramp and disabled toilets with accessible underground tours which can be arranged by prior arrangement

Sign up