From learning about new cultures to enjoying a day out, there are many reasons why you should visit museums while exploring a city. The best part of visiting a museum is that you learn lots of interesting facts while having fun with the person you’re with. The North East city of Newcastle is home to some extraordinary natural history and science museums, as well as wonderful collections celebrating the region’s history and future. Take a look at our list of Newcastle’s best museums to discover what the city has to offer.
Discovery Museum is one of Newcastle’s most popular free museums. You can learn about Newcastle’s maritime, scientific, and technological contributions to Britain and the rest of the world as you immerse yourself in the past at Discovery Museum. Upon entering the museum, you’ll be greeted with a historic 34-metre steam-powered ship by Charles Parsons named Turbinia. This ship was once the fastest in the world and is an iconic part of Tyneside’s history.
The three story museum delves into the history of Tyneside’s industrial, maritime and military past with its different exhibitions on display on each floor. You’ll find their gallery on the second floor that tells a fascinating story of those who have resided in Tyneside over the decades and how the growing city shaped their lives.
If you’re wondering where the Discovery Museum is, it’s a short 10-minute walk from our 4-star hotel in Newcastle upon Tyne.
Tyne and Wear Archives
For over 2000 years, there has been a port on the River Tyne, which has served generations since the Romans. It is clear that the port has accumulated quite a bit of history over the centuries due to civilisation taking advantage of it. Thankfully, Tyne and Wear Archives houses historic documents from the 12th to the 21st century that significantly affected the city’s history. Among these documents are building plans, school, hospital, and church records, as well as business records from important Newcastle industries like art, engineering, social history, fashion, science, and technology.
In 2013, it was announced that the Archive’s Shipyards collections were included on the Memory of the World Register by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO). UNESCO included it on the list because it is a major source of information about the many shipyards in the North-East of England that helped to shape the unique identity of the region and made shipbuilding one of the key economic activities on Tyneside and Wearside.
Great North Museum
Another free museum in Newcastle on the list is the Great North Museum, it’s an ideal location for those who are interested in history and archaeology. The first floor contains the Living Planet gallery telling the story of habitats and wildlife. Also, on the ground floor lives a gallery regarding one of Newcastle’s historic landmarks, Hadrian’s Wall. Here you’ll find out how the wall was built with the help of interactive screens and their huge display of artefacts used by the Roman soldiers of that time, including wall markers, weapons and coins.
The Fossil Stories gallery takes its guests through major landscape changes with the use of fossils from plants and animals of that time, including a T-rex replica skeleton. You can then step into the world of Ancient Egypt with their gallery displaying perfectly preserved artefacts.
Life Science Centre
In Newcastle there is a science village called The Centre for Life where scientists, clinicians, educationalists and business people work to promote the advancement of the life sciences. The Life Science Centre is found within the village and it welcomes science enthusiasts, explorers and creative thinkers with its exhibitions, live science shows, an experiment zone and a planetarium.
For the Disney and Pixar fans out there, Life Science Centre has teamed up with Disney and Pixar to celebrate the science behind one of our favourite characters in a cult classic movie with ‘Space Adventures with Lightyear at Life Science Centre’. Explore the science that inspired Buzz Lightyear with their 360° digital planetarium show We are Aliens, narrated by Rupert Grint, which takes visitors on a journey through the Solar System.
This free entry national centre can be found in Ouseburn, which is definitely a place you’re going to want to visit when you’re in Newcastle city centre. Ouseburn is famous for being the city’s cultural quarter with one of the most vibrant creative communities hosted by Newcastle.
Seven Stories displays original illustrations and rough drafts of famous stories, including Elisabeth Beresford’s best known work, The Wombles. Celebrate your love of reading by visiting Seven Stories and be sure to hit their bookshop and cafe as there are often story times and activities happening.
Another notable mention of this museum is it’s WildWoods Gallery. This exhibition is inspired by the magical worlds from our favourite childhood books including Narnia and Hogwarts. Enter through the magical archway to get a glimpse of original artwork and early workings from these famous tales.
This is a must-visit attraction as it not only explores the rich history of Newcastle but is a historical landmark, where the city gained its name many, many centuries ago. Visitors are able to experience what life would have been like in these two astonishingly preserved mediaeval buildings, which include a royal fortress and grim dungeons. It has also hosted several ghost-hunting exhibitions due to its grim history and apparent sightings of The Poppy Girl, who was jailed for owing people money and was beaten and died in the castle prison.
Laing Art Gallery
There is a lot of history to be found in this art gallery in Newcastle. Founded in 1901, this gallery was funded by a Newcastle businessman who made his fortune from his wine and spirit shop. Today, the gallery is home to an international collection of art, from oil paintings, watercolours, ceramics, glassware, and silver. There is a calendar of events at this gallery where different art displays reflect Newcastle’s history.
After a day of exploring the great museums the city has to offer, kick back and enjoy a meal with our restaurant in Newcastle Upon Tyne, Grain & Grill. Located within the hotel, it has a great outdoor seating option in a beautiful outdoor courtyard.
If you’re in need of a hotel room in Newcastle, Maldron Hotel Newcastle offers comfortable 4-star accommodation right in the city centre. Our central location creates the opportunity to explore the city on foot as the museums and galleries listed above are all within walking distance of our hotel.