Bailiffgate Museum Review (Alnwick)

Thanks to Bethanie from Girl About Northumberland for this review of Bailiffgate Museum in Alnwick. Image credits: Girl About Northumberland + Stacey Herberson (taken from a previous North East Family Fun review of the museum). Over to Bethanie: 

Bailiffgate Museum Review (Alnwick)

Did you know that Alnwick has its very own museum? Located just down the road from Alnwick Castle, Bailiffgate Museum shares the history of Alnwick and its District areas.

Spread over three floors, the museum hosts permanent exhibits that showcase 10,000 years of fascinating history. On the top floor, you will find a seasonal exhibit which may be worth planning ahead, if there is something in particular you wanted to see.  

Bailiffgate Museum was winner of “Best Small Museum” awarded by Family Friendly Museum awards 2021. 

Bailiffgate Museum Review (Alnwick) - award winning

Planning your visit to Bailiffgate Museum. 

Whilst the museum is really interesting, with plenty of hands-on things for children to do, it is small. We spent just over an hour here so I would combine it with a trip into Alnwick town centre to visit one of the town’s many cafes or why not pop along to Barter Books to make the most of your visit? 

Set in an old church, the building itself is beautiful. If you make it up to the second floor, you will see the stain glass windows on the ceiling which are really special. 

Access is via stone steps to the front of the building, however there is also a lift access to the left hand side. We didn’t take the pushchair with us this time and chose to just carry our one year old around, much to her delight. 

Upon entering the museum, you are welcomed at the reception desk which is also where the small gift shop is located. The shop sells local books and guides, soft toys, and Northumberland souvenirs. It also stocks a range of old-fashioned toys, which our children actually found fascinating and made me feel quite old. 

From here, you navigate your way around the first floor, passing through the Anglo Saxons, right up to the modern day. It showcases a collection of artefacts and collectables from Alnwick’s history and it is fascinating to see a town with so much history.

Our children loved the old fashioned classroom, which was equipped with desks, a colouring table and chairs. There is also a dressing up box and jigsaws for the toddlers. 

Bailiffgate Museum Review (Alnwick) - Victorian Classroom

Bailiffgate Museum Review (Alnwick)  - toddler dress up and puzzles

Around the corner from the classroom is an RAF traffic control set up. My son had great fun here pushing various buttons and pretending he was in charge. Not sure if he will be given a job just yet though. 

After exploring the first floor, head down the staircase to the ground floor where you will find a small exhibit on the mining history of the area. There is a small tunnel which children can crawl through, once they have put on one of the mining hard hats. 

Bailiffgate Museum Review (Alnwick) - coal exhibitions

Look out for the man in the bath. That always gets a giggle from the kids. 

On the top floor you will find the gallery. This is where the various exhibitions are shown. Entry to this is included in the cost of your entry ticket. At the time of our visit the exhibit is “Bringing to Light” a study of the geological land combined with artwork, which is on until March 27th 2022. From April 2nd, there will be a “Beside the Seaside” exhibition which is aimed more at families. So perhaps a good time to visit then. 

Keep up to date with all the museums goings on, via their website:

Points of interest. 

Around the museum there are several hidden mice. Some are knitted and dressed according to theme, but there are also some mice hiding next to mice holes with facts for children to read. This is good fun and my daughters absolutely LOVED discovering the secret mouse classroom. (This can be found in the Victorian classroom next to where the teacher is standing!) 

Getting there. 

Parking is free within Alnwick but if you park in the town’s main car parks you will need to display a parking disk. These can be purchased for the cost of £1 from the disk stand or local shops. 

When we visited Bailiffgate, we parked just down the road from Hulne Park. You can park here for free also and don’t require a parking disk. The museum is less than a five minute walk from here. 

For the sat nav, use postcode NE66 1LX

There is a bus station about a ten-minute walk away, with buses coming from Berwick, Newcastle, Morpeth and other surrounding villages such as Widdrington and Amble. Check the Arriva bus timetable to help plan your visit.

Opening times and ticket prices. 

Please be aware that seasonal opening times apply so be sure to check before you visit. 

You can book a time slot to visit via their website, however we just turned up and this is fine to do also. 

Winter opening hours (from 3rd October 2021):

Tuesday – Friday 10am – 4pm

Saturday – Sunday 11am to 3pm

Summer opening hours:

Open Tuesday – Sunday and Bank Holiday Mondays 10 am – 4pm. 

Ticket prices:

Adult ticket - £5

Concessions - £4

5-16 year olds – £1

Under 5’s: FREE 

There are accessible toilets as well as a baby change area. Guide dogs welcomed. 

Why not visit Lilidorei at Alnwick Garden while you are there? 


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