What is it?
It’s a combination of several Tyneside museums, including the former Hancock and the Hatton Gallery. The result is one of the best historical museums in the North East. The SatNav postcode is NE2 4PT. It’s also within quick walking distance to Haymarket Metro station.
Toddlers & Preschool / 5 – 8 / 9 – 12
Babies / 12+, depending on how well-behaved your baby is and how much your school aged child loves history.
Free entry to all of the main exhibits! There may be a charge for special exhibits and parking.
What’s on offer
The Great North Museum: Hancock holds many interesting and collections, including “eclectic” artifacts natural science, geology, Egyptian archaeology and world cultures. It’s perfect for history lovers and those keen to learn about the world around them. There’s also some local history, including an interactive version of Hadrian’s Wall. There’s also a special gallery specifically for children under 5.
Events including dinosaur exhibits, bird-watching sessions and the Great North Planetarium are available. These exhibits are temporary, though some run for longer than others, so please check they’re still on using the museum calendar.
Like most museums, there is a café and you do exit through the gift shop. However, this gift shop isn’t too expensive.
Facilities-wise, the site is generally pushchair friendly. There is level access and a lift available. The Hancock Museum also has numerous accessible family toilets with baby-changing facilities.
It’s the ideal rainy day out. In Newcastle, you definitely need to have a few of these under your belt and considering this museum is free, you’re practically laughing. The Planetarium is amazing despite the extra charge. Other must-see areas include the (slightly scary) replica dinosaur skeletons and Egyptian artifacts. The Romans are interesting too.
The whole museum is excellent given that the exhibits and information plaques by each one are not too high, so little children can read and learn as well as look. Once they’re done learning, there’s plenty of room for them to run around. They’ll certainly be asleep in the back of the car after a day out here.
What to watch out for
- Parking may be difficult, as the museum itself only has a few disabled spaces. The nearby Exhibition Park has some roadside parking spaces, though you can always park in Eldon Gardens car park, which is maybe a five-minute walk away. Charges apply.
- If your child is scared of taxidermy, please be wary of the natural science collections. There are lots of stuffed animals here.
- The café has generally received poor reviews on TripAdvisor, therefore it’s probably best to give it a miss.
- Some families feel that, despite the museum’s renovation over recent years, the exhibits are a bit dated. At worst, you’ll still find that the Great North Museum; Hancock will keep your kids occupied for at least half a day!
- Some families enjoy the Hancock Museum for up to five hours, so it’s a full day out. If you’re going to stay all day and would prefer a picnic to the museum café, just a hop skip and a jump away is a lush green field by the Civic Centre and a picturesque church. Alternatively, Newcastle city centre has plenty of family-friendly eateries just a short walk away. You can always walk back over if necessary!
What the owners say
“The Great North Museum: Hancock incorporates collections from the old Hancock Museum: the Natural History Society of Northumbria (NHSN), Society of Antiquaries of Newcastle upon Tyne (SANT) (Newcastle University’s Museum of Antiquities), the Shefton Museum and the Hatton Gallery.
Highlights include a a life-size T-Rex dinosaur replica skeleton, major displays showing the wonder and diversity of the animal kingdom, spectacular objects from the Ancient Greeks and mummies from Ancient Egypt and a life size elephant.”
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