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Grace Darling Museum

The Grace Darling Museum in Bamburgh, Northumberland, commemorates the life of Victorian Britain's greatest heroine and the story of the wreck of the steamship SS Forfarshire on 7 September 1838.

How to find us

The Grace Darling Museum
Radcliffe Road
NE69 7AE

Telephone: 01668 214 910

Email: askgracedarling@rnli.org.uk

Nearest rail station: Berwick–upon Tweed

Buses connect to Berwick and Alnwick. The bus stop in Bamburgh is a couple of minutes walk from the museum.

The museum is situated in Bamburgh village, opposite St Aidan’s church and a short walk from the castle. Parking is at the opposite end of the village and public toilets are very near the museum.

The RNLI Grace Darling Museum illustrates Grace’s upbringing and life on the lighthouse, the events of the rescue that propelled her into the limelight and the nature of that subsequent fame. Her story is told through personal items, including letters, family portraits and the famous coble. Atmospheric audio-visual interpretation and a stunning model of the Longstone lighthouse are also on offer.

Originally opened on this site in 1938, today’s museum is in a stylish and environmentally friendly building that does justice to the displays, events and research that takes place here. This year we have been re-awarded the Visit England rosette and have been highly rated on Trip Advisor.

Opening times  

Christmas opening times: The museum will be closed from Monday 22 December to Friday 26 December and ​​from Wednesday 31 December at 1pm to Thursday 1 January at 1pm.

The museum will also be closed for essential maintenance on Saturday 3 January until Tuesday 3 February.

1 October–Easter Sunday

Easter Monday–
30 September​

Tuesday–Sunday and
Bank Holidays

(Last admission 3.30pm)​


(Last admission 4.15pm)​



Room hireThe Lantern Room at the Grace Darling Museum. Photo: RNLI

The museum's Lantern Room is available for private hire. 

It has excellent facilities and is fully wheelchair accessible. 

Please enquire at the museum for further details or to book the room.


Painting entitled Grace Darling by Thomas Brooks, c.1866

​Grace Darling was 22 years old when she risked her life in an open boat to help the survivors of the wrecked SS Forfarshire on 7 September 1838. With her father, she rowed for over a mile through raging seas to reach them. The courage that Grace and her family showed on that day is now legendary.

Grace was the media celebrity of her day. She was celebrated internationally and was showered with honours, including the RNLI's Silver Medal for Gallantry. A museum was established in 1938 to commemorate her life.

Events 2015

Wednesday 18 and Thursday 19 February
Exciting family activities for Spring half term – check out our website for full details.

Saturday 21 March to Sunday 12 April
Hope in the Great War: A family friendly, interactive exhibition commemorating more than 3,000 lives saved by the RNLI between 1914 and 1918.

Saturday 2 May to Monday 4 May
Eddie the Teddy’s Yellow Welly Hunt: Help Eddie the Teddy find his yellow wellies, all proceeds in aid of RNLI Amble’s new Shannon lifeboat appeal.

Wednesday 27 and Thursday 28 May
Exciting family activities for Summer half term – check out our website for full details.

Wednesday 22 July to Monday 31 August
Grace’s People: An exhibition about Grace Darling’s family to help us celebrate her 200th birthday. Are you related to Grace?

Tuesday 27 October to Friday 30 October
Exciting family activities for Autumn half term – check out our website for full details.

Saturday 21 and Sunday 22 November
Grace’s 200th Birthday: Come and help us celebrate – full details of the bicentenary activities on our website.

Saturday 28 and Sunday 29 November
Christmas shopping at the RNLI Grace Darling Museum: Help save lives at sea while you stock up on festive gifts and treats.

All events are free, but donations are very welcome!

Children enjoy a Grace Darling Museum Friday Family Fun session. Photo: RNLI



The RNLI Grace Darling Museum offers a fun learning environment for all ages, with an exciting programme of workshops.

Schools and groups can come for a general visit or book a workshop / talk.

View the full list of our workshops for schools or enquire about talks for adult groups.



Secondary schools

Museum talks are available for pupils aged 1118.

Pupils aged 1418 can take part in an exciting project about the history of saving lives at sea. See our activity workshop – Save Lives at Sea: Campaign! Make an Impact

And for Key Stage 3 pupils there is a led Science Trail.

Some of our workshops can be adapted to suit a secondary school audience. Please enquire.


The museum also offers outreach sessions which bring Grace Darling or the RNLI into the classroom with costumes and objects (donations welcomed). Outreach talks to adult groups are also available.


The museum gets very busy so booking is essential, even for general visits. Please email or call the museum on 01668 214910.

Bookable lunch space for school groups may be available in our Lantern Room, which is also the venue for the museum workshops. This is for a maximum of 30 pupils at a time.


We don't charge for admission, but if you would like to make a donation we suggest £1 per person.

Before your visit  

If you’re planning a school visit to the museum, take a look at our Museum Education Pack. It’s got lesson plans for use before your visit, to make sure your group makes the most of their time with us, a risk assessment, worksheets for use at the museum, and suggested follow-up work. We want to make your visit as easy and valuable as possible for you. If you’d prefer us to post you a copy, do get in touch

Inspection visits

Inspection visits are welcomed for teachers to view the museum beforehand. Information to help with risk assessment is available in our Museum Education Pack. 

Grace Darling teaching resources

Download a digital copy of our Museum Education Pack. For a hard copy of our Museum Education Pack, please contact the museum.  For further teaching resources on Grace Darling, search our downloadable resources section by typing in the keyword: Grace Darling.


Evaluation helps us to improve our service to you. If you have taken up museum workshops, please complete an evaluation form and send it to the Heritage Learning Manager at the museum address

We run activity workshops for school groups. Come along to the museum for a fun day out that covers important lessons aligned with the national curriculum.

Please note: we cater for larger school groups by subdividing them and rotating them through consecutive workshops.

Call us on 01668 214 910 to book.​


You to the rescue 

PSHE, Citizenship, History and Drama through role play

Bringing the story of the rescue to life through costume and drama, pupils become the main characters in the famous story, explore the emotions involved and gain an understanding of help and rescue.

Minimum duration: 45 minutes

Maximum pupil capacity: 20

Meet the family 

Literacy and History through object handling 

Find out about Grace Darling, her family and Victorian life in a lighthouse by exploring objects that tell us about their lives. Designed to inspire speaking, listening and responding.

Minimum duration: 30 minutes

Maximum pupil capacity: 30 

Meet Grace Darling 

Drama, Literacy and History through character in role

Pupils will meet 'Grace Darling' to hear the story in her words and get a chance to hot seat questions.

Minimum duration: 45 minutes 

Maximum pupil capacity: 30

Art attack 

Art, Design, Literacy and Drama through art appreciation

Find out about the dramatic rescue through paintings from the time. Pupils explore emotions, visualise the rescue and use drama to recreate the famous scenes.

Minimum duration: 1 hour 

Maximum pupil capacity: 30

Puppet power 

Art, Design, Literacy and History through puppetry

Recreate the story of Grace Darling with a Victorian shadow puppet show. Pupils make their own puppets and then act out the story.

Minimum duration: 30 minutes

Maximum pupil capacity: 18

What's your story 

Literacy, History and Drama through creative writing

Find out how to create a story and then use the museum displays to retell the famous story of Grace Darling. Re-enact the story with costume and drama.

Minimum duration: 1 hour

Maximum pupil capacity: 30

Victorian values 

History, Citizenship and Literacy through collaborative enquiry 

Understand Victorian values by exploring public reaction and media response to Grace Darling's rescue. By researching evidence, such as newspaper accounts, and handling objects and paintings, pupils will explore the story as they know it and question its accuracy. Concludes with lively debate!

Minimum duration: 1 hour

Maximum pupil capacity: 30

Key Stage 3 Science Trail 

Science through an expert guide

This led trail around the museum explores science in the context of the Grace Darling story. Pupils will learn about geology, the reactivity series, lighthouse engineering, states of matter, energy transfer and forces.

Minimum duration: 1 hour

Maximum pupil capacity: 15

Save Lives at Sea: Campaign! Make an Impact

Citizenship, History, English and Media through source analysis and creative campaigning

This is a full or half-day workshop for pupils aged 14–18 years. Pupils begin to explore the story of the historical campaign to save lives at sea. By investigating a body of evidence made up of archive materials and objects, pupils work together to identify the techniques behind a successful campaign. They will be equipped to plan and deliver a campaign of their own choice back at school. For more details, see our education resource.

This workshop may also be available as outreach in your school.

Minimum duration: 3 hours

Maximum pupil capacity: 30