This award-winning museum transports the visitor back to the Victorian industrial age; a time when Somerset had 75 coal mines covering an area of 240 square miles.
The mines brought with them canals, tramways and railways, and surrounding villages and towns grew to accommodate the miners and their families together with all the people needed to support the collieries and the transportation of coal to places such as Bath and London.
Visitors can explore the reconstructed coalmine and through the candlelit darkness see for themselves how dangerous and difficult it was for men and boys as young as five years old working in Somerset’s famously narrow coal seams, sometimes just two feet high. They can hear the sounds of their picks and shovels; see the carting boy crawling through the tunnel dragging his put of coal. Why is he wearing only trousers and no boots? They can learn about how coal was formed and see the fossils which abound in the mine workings. They can see how the miner’s wife managed daily life in the miner’s cottage, with as many as fourteen children to raise, and only a tin bath in front of the coal range for her husband and sons to wash in after a day down the mine. Then go into her laundry room and outside privy, where a bucket under a wooden shelf with a hole in it provided the only toilet for several families to share! Where was the bucket emptied?
The old Co-op shop is worth a visit to learn how the co-operative society was set up by the people of Radstock to provide them with affordable food. Gaze upon the array of old packaging - are there any recognisable brands which are still being sold today? In the blacksmith’s shop the forge glows red hot; the blacksmith would heat his metal to make tools for the local farmers, repair the miners’ picks and shovels, shoe horses and repair colliery machinery.
The Victorian schoolroom shows how regimented schooling was; compare it with today’s classrooms. Imagine having only a slate to write on or worse, being caned! Why did Victorian girls wear aprons to school?
A birds eye view of central Radstock in the days of steam is well illustrated in a detailed model which shows where the Somerset and Dorset and Great Western Railways converged and where coal was loaded into wagons and taken by steam locomotives far and wide. this is well supported by a collection of railway exhibits.
There is always something new, as the temporary exhibitions in the mezzanine gallery change every 3 months and cover a huge range of subjects.
When their trip around the museum is complete visitors can browse in the well stocked shop which sells a wide range of relevant books (both new and second hand) and gifts. Then they can relax in the cafe with a hot or cold drink and a tempting piece of flapjack, or perhaps a muffin.
Free parking in adjacent public car parks, including accessible parking. Accessible toilets and ramp/level access throughout, and a lift to upper floor. Free admission for dedicated assistants/carers. Assistance dogs are permitted.
Baby changing facilities, highchairs available. There is also a dressing up area and children's trails.
Book Tickets Online
|16 to 18 year old and Students (with student ID card)
|£3.50 per ticket
|£6.00 per ticket
|Children aged 5 and under
|Children aged 6 to 15 years
|£2.50 per ticket
|Family (2 Adults + 2 paying Children)
|£13.00 per ticket
|£5.00 per ticket
Please note – all of the above are annual tickets.
50p discount for B&NES Discovery Card holders on individual tickets only (not applicable to Family tickets or group prices)
Pre-booked groups – paying in one lump sum on arrival or in advance: £3.50 per head – minimum number 15.
Please note group tickets are not annual tickets but are for single entry.
- Gift Shop
- Accessible to Wheelchair Users
- All Areas Accessible to Disabled Visitors
- Assistance Dogs
- Facilities for Disabled Visitors
- Guide Dogs Permitted
- Parking Areas for Disabled Visitors
- Ramp/Level Access
- Toilets for Disabled Visitors
- On-Site café/restaurant
Children & Infants
- Accept children all ages
- Printed Material in Foreign Languages
- Tea / Coffee Shop
- In town/city centre
- Indoor Attraction
- No Smoking Attraction
Parking & Transport
- Coach Parking
- On Bus Route
- Parking (free)
- JCB accepted
- Maestro accepted
- MasterCard accepted
- Special group rates
- Family Fun
- Marketed towards children
- Marketed towards families
- Marketed towards senior citizens
- Marketed towards student/youth
Tours and Demonstrations
- Educational Visits Accepted
- Guided Tours Available for Groups - Outside of normal hours by appointment only
Travel & Trade
- Wi-fi available
- Groups Accepted
|2024 Opening (1 Feb 2024 - 30 Nov 2024)
|Tuesday - Friday
* Afternoons Tuesday to Sunday from 2 pm until 5 pm. Saturdays from 11 am until 5 pm.
Bank Holiday Mondays from 2 pm until 5 pm; closed all other Mondays.
Last admission time is 4.30 pm.
The Museum is closed during December and January.