Underground Tours

Underground Tours

We are excited to announce that our popular Underground Tours will be returning to the National Coal Mining Museum from Wednesday 21 July.

Every tour ‘darn pit’ is led by an ex-miner with a ‘reyt’ broad accent and loads of experience under his somewhat heavy tool belt. He’ll unhand you of your ‘contraband’, and talk you through 180 years of mining, explaining why he has every right to tell you to ‘shut tha’ trap’ and when you are ‘done and dusted’ you will be free to explore life above ground.

  • 'Meet a Miner' - tours are led by our charismatic miner guides. Hear all about your guide's working life and experiences in the coalmine.

  • Get kitted out with your hard hat and battery lamp then step into the 'cage' to descend 140m underground to discover the harsh realities of coal mining through the centuries.
  • Discover the different ages of mining, from Victorian times when women and children worked underground alongside men, find out about the role of pit ponies and how modern machinery changed coalmining.

For safety, we have the following Covid-19 measures in place:

  • Underground tours are only suitable for children 5 and over.
  • Party sizes will be limited to 6 visitors per tour. Please note, you may be on a tour with people outside of your household/group.
  • It will be mandatory for all individuals going underground to wear a face covering for the duration of the tour (including children and those normally medically exempt) - this is to protect you and our Mine Guides. There will be no exceptions to this rule.
  • Warm clothing and sensible footwear is recommended

Underground Tour: frequently asked questions

When can I go underground?

  • The Museum is open Wednesday - Sunday from 10am to 5pm

  • The first Underground Tour starts at 10:15am, with the last tour leaving at 3:30pm

Can I book in advance?

Can I book a tour on the day of my visit?

  • There are three tours to book in advance online. All the other tours can be booked on the day at reception when you arrive.
  • Please note that during school holidays we advise you to arrive early (we open at 10am) to book your places, as the underground tours are often all fully booked up by midday.

Is there an age limit?

  • Underground Tours are only suitable for children 5 and over.

  • Children under 5 are welcome to experience Santa Underground.
  • All children under fourteen years old must be accompanied by an adult.

How much does the tour cost?

  • If you take our well-loved underground tour, you will get a traditional miners 'check' and be asked for £5 as a deposit. After your tour you can keep the check and donate the £5 to help us keep the mine running or you can ask for your £5 back.

What is the 'mine check' system.

  • In line with health and safety regulations, we are required to keep a register of visitors entering and leaving the underground areas of the Museum site. This is being done by using the traditional system of ‘mine checks’.

  • If you take our well-loved underground tour, you will need to leave a £5 deposit for a traditional miner’s brass check. After your tour, you can choose whether to keep your check as a souvenir and donate the £5 deposit, or request a refund.

  • Dig Deep and Donate! We would love for you to keep your check and donate. Your donations are vital to keeping the Museum running and making our underground tours as enjoyable and memorable as possible.

  • If you are a UK taxpayer, you can also gift aid your donation at no extra cost to yourself, and increase your check donation by £1.25. Find out more about Gift Aid and how it works here

Is the underground tour accessible?

  • The Museum has wheelchairs on site if needed and wheelchairs (non-electric) are able to go down the mine, however it is a slightly shorter tour due to access.

  • If you require a wheelchair or have a wheelchair user in your party, please call our reception on 01924 848806 to notify us of the date and time you'll be visiting to arrange this. 

How long does the tour take?

  • The tour lasts approximately 1 hour and 20 minutes.

What should I wear for the underground tour?

  • As this is a real coal mine, warm clothes (suitable for 12C) and sensible, flat shoes are recommended.

  • Like the coalminers who worked underground, for your health & safety, you will be asked to wear a safety helmet and carry a battery pack with a torch to light the way. Please note that the battery pack required on the tour weighs 2kg and must be worn by all participants.

  • The lights and batteries we use are certified for use underground.

Can I take photos underground?

  • Cameras are not allowed on the underground tour as battery-operated items are banned. Professional photographers can be accomodated out of hours but will be subjected to equipment tesing and there may be an additional charge.
  • The miners were not allowed the following 'contraband' underground for health and safety reasons and visitors must also leave these safely locked in their cars or in the lamproom with the attendant.

    Electronically operated equipment


This experience can be an extremely memorable part of a school visit where children can get an added perspective of:

Key Stage One (KS1)

  •         English – spoken language
  •         History  -local study
  •         Geography - human

Key Stage Two (KS2)

  •         English – spoken language
  •         History  -local study – Victorian
  •         Geography - human

Key Stage Three (KS3)

  •         English – spoken language, vocabulary development
  •         History – Industrial Revolution, Local study
  •         Geography – human economic activity, use of natural resources
  •         Art
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