Back to black: 4 must-see experiences at the Black Country Living Museum

Monday, 22 April 2024

Immerse all of your senses in this surreal, open-air museum which is frozen in time. Step into the shoes of miners, craftsmen and school children of the Black Country at this fascinating, family-friendly experience.

Roam the streets of the Black Country Living Museum, where everything looks as it did 300 years ago with in-character craftsmen, replica buildings and traditional workshops. See what the challenging work, living conditions and day-to-day lives were like for those at the heart of the Industrial Revolution. And keep an eye out for the Peaky Blinders Black Country Museum filming locations on your way around.

Plumes of smoke filled the air, furnaces glowed red in the Black Country – which was made up of a collection of towns and villages in the West Midlands. In this busy, dangerous and noisy time, fierce workers churned out an array of handcrafted goods which were indispensable for the economy. They made everything from anchors for the Titanic, glass for the Crystal Palace, chains, kitchenware and leather goods.

Spanning 26 acres, this authentic Victorian museum leaves lots of space to roam. Visitors of any age are welcome, but to venture into the mine children must be over the age of five. New attractions are frequently introduced at Black Country Living Museum – like the recent addition of the 1940s village .

Travel by train to Tipton station and get 2FOR1 entry at Black Country Living Museum.

Spend a day in the Victorian era and discover what life was like at the heart of Britain's great Industrial Revolution. While you’re there, check out these four must-see experiences.

Brave the depths of the mine

With only the dim glow of flickering lanterns, sooty-faced miners as young as 10 worked around 12 hours a day some 50 feet underground. Hacking away at the coal with a pickaxe and hauling heavily loaded carts, these jobs were dangerous as well as mentally and physically gruelling.

Explore the maze of roadways and working areas in the recreated coal pit for a feel of the harsh realities of mining in the mid-19th century. Learn how the mines were run and how timber props were used to support the roofs. Hear the terrifying rumbles of a nearby mine collapse and the tapping of pickaxes from the audio-visual displays.

Be on your best behaviour for a Victorian school lesson

Sit up straight, don’t make a sound and you might escape the cane. Take a seat at a wooden desk for a lesson in a strict Victorian school. Classes are run throughout the day by a stern in-character teacher. Students will have the cleanliness of their hands inspected and expected to perfect Victorian handwriting on a slate board.

During this fun, interactive experience you’ll learn about the teaching methods, expectations and disciplines of education in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Take part, ask questions and get stuck into this unforgettable experience. You might also recognise the school as one of the key Peaky Blinders museum film locations.

Browse the high street

Stroll around the cobblestone high street past costumed actors, authentic shops, recreated houses and traditional workshops. Each building has been decorated inside and out to look as it did in the Black Country. Pop into the bakers, where traditional cakes are served fresh out of the oven. Eye up the kali and bonbons in the sweet shop or stop for a bite to eat at the fish and chippy.

Nosey through the replica homes and see the living conditions of different social classes during the industrial era. Call into the chemist and learn about the herbal remedies, medical equipment and beauty products that were used. Browse the treasure trove of tools and everyday necessities at the hardware shop.

Learn an old craft

Discover the age-old skills and techniques that once formed the backbone of the industrial trade in the Black Country. During the hands-on workshops , expert instructors will guide you on how to create a masterpiece which you can take home afterwards.

Unleash your creativity and craftsmanship at a woodwork course and create your own showpiece using original methods of bark peeling, woodcarving, sanding and drilling. Bring to life a piece of art inspired by the 1950s and 60’s at the drypoint printing workshop. Weave patterns with soft threads into an elegant, textured leaf at a macrame-making session. Or try a special Black Country Museum Christmas workshop in winter.

Children over the age of 8 are welcome, but those under 15 are required to be accompanied by a paying adult. Make sure you don’t miss out by booking online in advance – tickets cost £8 per person.

Handy tip: When you travel with West Midlands Railway, you can get exclusive 2FOR1 deals, 1/3 OFF savings and many other great discounts available at top attractions in and around Great Britain.

You can purchase your ticket via the West Midlands app.