Black Country Living Museum

The Black Country Living Museum is located in the West Midlands between Dudley and Tipton, making it an accessible day out from most parts of the country.  The museum, covering 26 acres, takes the form of a historic canal side village and underground coal mine as it would have looked over the last two centuries.

Photo by Elliott Brown
Photo by Elliott Brown

Explore The Village

The village is packed with things to do and see. Over 50 houses, shops and workshops have been carefully recreated to provide visitors with an authentic look at life in an industrial village in days gone by. The homes and workplaces are staffed with costumed guides who explain what life was really like, and you can see demonstrations of skills at the forge, the bakery and the rolling mill, as well as finding out how sweets were made and how glass was cut.

Head back in time to the age of silent movies in the Limelight Cinema, and then take a ride through the village on an old tram or bus, or set sail along the canal in a narrow boat.

Within the village grounds is a cheerful, working fairground which depicts a typical travelling fair of the day. You can enjoy rides including swing boats and a helter-skelter, take a whirl on the high speed ride of the day—the Speedway Ark, and then slow down the pace and try your hand at hooking a duck, or throwing a coconut in the coconut shy.

If you’re curious to see how classrooms have changed over the years, take a seat in a class at St James’ school, which was built in 1842 and moved to the museum in 1991.

Head Down Into The Mine

The coal in the Black Country lay in seams up to 10 metres thick, much thicker than anywhere else in England, and you can catch a glimpse of life underground at the coal face when you take a guided tour of the ‘Into the Thick’ exhibition at the museum. Descend into the drift mine through a sloping tunnel, and emerge into a maze of roadways and working areas, while advanced audio-visuals all around you bring the mine to life.

Enjoy Traditional British Fare

A day out at the Black Country Living Museum gives you the chance to indulge in fish and chips cooked in beef dripping, from Hobb’s Fish and Chip shop, taste old fashioned dinners like faggots and mushy peas at the Workers Institute Café, or enjoy lighter bites like sandwiches and cakes at the Rolfe Street Café.

Those who yearn to sample a pint of traditional ale, should be sure to stop by the Bottle & Glass Inn, where they also serve over 30 varieties of whiskey and gin.

Take Part In Seasonal Events

All year long, the calendar at the museum is filled with interesting and exciting events. October brings creepy Halloween Nights, April is the time for the Easter Egg Hunt, May sees night-time street theatre, and the summer months are full of games and crafts for children. Check with the website to see what’s on when, as the schedule changes regularly.

The Black Country Living Museum is a fun and educational day out, and it’s also one of the most generously priced attractions that you’ll find, because when you buy a ticket to the museum, you can visit as many times as you want to for the next 12 months!