National Mining Museum Scotland Pithead

{Scotland} The National Mining Museum with Kids

Two weeks ago, we visited the National Mining Museum at the restored Lady Victoria Colliery in Newtongrange. I remember coming here on a day trip as a kid, about 35 years ago! Now it was time to take my own boys there.

National Mining Museum Scotland

Your visit includes a tour of the pithead, recreated underground roadway and coalface, plus two floors of exhibitions. You have the option go round the tour with an ex-miner as a guide, which costs a little bit more but I think was worth it. The tour started with a handling session, where we got to hold some of the gear that miners would have used, so you would miss out on that without the guide. You also have the opportunity your guide any questions. 

National Mining Museum Scotland Pithead

Alternatively, you can explore the tour at your own pace with a 16 stop audio tour. You need to scan a QR code at reception, which lets you download the multimedia guide that takes you round each stop. The downside of this is that you need your own device, which isn’t ideal if you are visiting with children who don’t have their own phones yet. Although I usually prefer going round at my own pace, I’m glad we chose the tour guide option on this occasion (thank you, Jim!). 

When you’re going round the tour, don’t miss the photo opportunity in the Pithead, and see how you would have measured up against a work horse! 

National Mining Museum Scotland Photo Opportunity
National Mining Museum Scotland Work Horse

After the tour, you then have time to explore the two floors of exhibitions: The Story of Coal, which focuses on the history of coal mining; and A Race Apart, which is all about what is was like for miners and their families in Scotland’s coal mining communities.

National Mining Museum Scotland Exhibition

The exhibitions include plenty of interactive elements, from flaps to lift, to dressing up, to crawling through a replica tunnel.Oskar was horrified to learn that at age 12, he would have had to be pulling his weight at the coal mines. 

National Mining Museum Scotland Interactive Exhibits

You can also purchase a family pack at reception, which includes an ‘I Spy’ trail to do as you go round the exhibitions, as well as some colouring sheets and colouring pencils.

National Mining Museum Scotland Activity Pack

In between our tour and the exhibitions, we stopped off at the museum’s cafe, which offers a selection of sandwiches and cakes, including some gluten free options. 

National Mining Museum Scotland Cafe

And, new for 2023, there’s also the Green Zone – a fun, interactive science zone for families. You can explore engineering, energy, and climate change through various hands on activities in the Interactive Hub and Energy Lab and then discover more about biodiversity in the updated Play Park. Sadly we were a week too early, and The Green Zone hadn’t quite opened yet, so I can’t show you any pictures of it. 

National Mining Museum Scotland Green Zone

All in all, we really enjoyed out visit to the National Mining Museum. We stayed a little over four hours, which included the tour, lunch, and exploring the exhibitions. 

National Mining Museum Scotland

How to get there

Location: Lady Victoria Colliery, Newtongrange, Dalkeith EH22 4QN

Take the train from Edinburgh Waverley to Newtongrange, plus a 5 minute walk. Total travel time ca. 30 minutes. ‘Kids for a Quid’ train tickets are available directly from train station ticket offices and valid on most off-peak trains.

Alternatively, you can take a bus from Edinburgh City Centre to the museum, which takes ca. 45 minutes.

Good to know

Opening Hours: Open 7 days a week year round except for Christmas and New year. Opening times vary.

Cost: £8/£9.50 adult, £2.50/£3.50 children age 7-15, under 7s free; £18.90/£21 family ticket (2 adults + 2 children)


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