Meet a Miner
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.
Led by our lively former-miner guides, our 'Meet a Miner' tour will take you on a journey through time to discover the different ages of mining, from Victorian times where women and children worked underground alongside men, through to pit ponies and modern machinery. Hear all about your guide's working life and experiences in the mines. What’s more, the displays on this underground tour were recently updated as part of our Making Sense of Mining development project - see if you can guess which display is modelled on your guide!
You can book in for an underground tour at Reception on arrival. We run up to 31 tours every day on busy days.
We also have two tours reserved each day for online booking (up to the day before visiting). If you have not booked online, but are visiting during school holidays we advise you to arrive early at reception to book your places, as the tours are often all fully booked up by midday.
- Please note we only reserve two tours each day for pre-booking. If the pre-booked tours are fully booked there may still be availability to walk-in and book a tour on arrival.
- During school holidays we advise you to arrive as near to 10am as possible to avoid disappointment.
- We regret that under 5s are not able to go underground.
- 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 notify us of the date and time you'll be visiting to arrange this.
The tour lasts approximately 1 hour and 15 minutes. As this is a real coal mine, warm clothes and sensible, flat shoes are recommended. All children (under fourteen years old) must be accompanied by an adult. Children under 5 years of age are not permitted on the underground tour.
Contraband items, including cigarettes, lighters and battery or electronically operated equipment, must be left with an attendant in the lamp room during the underground tour. Please note that the battery pack required on the tour weighs 2kg and must be worn by all participants.
The last underground tour is at 3.15pm. From the 31 October 2016 to the start of February half-term 2017 the last underground tour will be at 2.30pm (excluding Santa days). You can book in for a tour at Reception on arrival but please note that during school holidays we advise you to arrive early to book your places, as the tours are often all fully booked up by midday. Alternatively, you can book in advance - see below.
- If you are a teacher and are planning on bringing your class, please click here to find out more about our underground tours for schools.
Go Mining! interactive tour
Families are invited to get ‘hands-on’ as they discover even more about the lives of coal miners on our new Go Mining! interactive tour. Experience genuine sights, sounds and smells of a working coal-mine, find out how horses were once kept underground; feed, muck-out and learn how to put their bridles on in the new underground stable area and much more! Read more.
Led by ex-miners, these hugely popular tours will give you a vivid insight into the dangers and hardships faced by the men, women and children who toiled underground. Take a tour and, before you go underground, stride out over the Lamp Room’s new glass-topped Furnace Shaft and peer down 140m - right to the bottom of the mine! Visitors going below ground can also gaze from the bottom up as they start their underground tour experience. Read more.
Not going underground? Our new furnace shaft is still available to view, please ask at reception on the day for details.
Both of our underground tours are subject to availability, please ask at reception on the day or call 01924 848 806 for tour dates and times.
Underground Visit Policy
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 £3 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 £3 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 75 pence. Find out more about Gift Aid and how it works here
If you have any questions, please do ask a member of staff on the day of your visit.
We take advanced bookings* for a limited number of our underground tours each day. These can be booked online (see the link above) or by telephone (01924 848 806, Monday to Friday 10am to 4pm), at least one day in advance of the date of the booking. Please note that for the rest of our underground tours, visitors book on arrival at the Museum and this is subject to availability.
To secure a booking for a group during school holidays, we recommend that you take advantage of our group booking service*. Bookings should be made by telephone (01924 848806) as far in advance of the visit date as possible.
*Subject to a booking fee.