Grace Darling Museum
The RNLI Grace Darling Museum commemorates the life of Victorian Britain’s greatest heroine, who risked her life to rescue nine survivors from the wrecked SS Forfarshire on 7 September 1838.
About the museum
The Grace Darling Museum guides you through Grace’s upbringing and life in the lighthouse, the events of the rescue that propelled her into the limelight and her status as a national heroine. Learn about Grace’s story through her personal items, including letters, family portraits and the famous coble used in the rescue. And find yourself transported back to 1838 with our audio-visual tools and a stunning model of the Longstone lighthouse.
The museum was originally opened on this site in 1938 - and today it’s a stylish and environmentally friendly building that does justice to the displays, events and research that takes place here.
You can also take a virtual tour of the Grace Darling Museum and visit the lighthouse where Grace lived and worked. Golden Gate Farne Island Boat Trips are the only operators allowed to land on Longstone Island and tour Longstone Lighthouse. Visit their website to book your essential visit to this historic location.
The Farne Islands are a National Nature Reserve home to an internationally important breeding colony of thousands of seabirds and grey seals. To sail around the Farne islands, you need to catch a boat from Seahouses harbour. It's recommended that you book your boat trip in advance.
Volunteer with us
Since 1938, volunteers have played a vital role in keeping the legacy of Grace Darling alive, and you can be part of this history. Experience is welcomed but not essential to join our team and become part of the RNLI.
Apply now to become a Museum and Shop Volunteer or Museum Learning Volunteer. If there is something else you feel you could bring to the museum as a volunteer outside of these roles, or you would like an informal chat, please email or call us today. We also welcome applications from people who would like to volunteer remotely from anywhere in the world.
The Accreditation Scheme is the UK industry standard for museums and galleries. These nationally agreed standards help ensure all museums are sustainable, focused and trusted, inspiring the confidence of the public and funding and governing bodies. The scheme is delivered in partnership across the UK by Arts Council England.
The museum, at the heart of Bamburgh village, sits opposite St Aidan's church and is just a short walk from Bamburgh castle.
Buses travel into Bamburgh from Berwick and Alnwick. The bus stop in Bamburgh is a couple of minutes' walk from the museum.
You can park in the large car park opposite Bamburgh castle.
Our nearest rail station is Berwick-upon Tweed.
Please note: there are public toilets near the museum.
Grace Darling was one of the Victorian era’s most celebrated heroines. On 7 September 1838, at the age of 22, she risked her life to rescue the stranded survivors of the wrecked steamship Forfarshire, a feat of bravery which changed her life dramatically.
Her extraordinary act of bravery became internationally known, making front page news and even reaching Queen Victoria. She became the media celebrity of her day and was showered with honours, including the RNLI's Silver Medal for Gallantry.
Tragically, Grace died 4 years later, aged just 26. She is still remembered for her courageous actions, and the bravery she demonstrated that night continues to inspire the values we hold today. The museum was established in 1938 to commemorate her life.
We welcome schools and groups to the museum. We’re a small museum and can get very busy, so booking is essential to ensure your group has a great visit. To book, please phone the museum on 01668 214910 or email [email protected].
Our talks and school workshops are available for a minimum donation of £2 per person attending, payable by cash or card on the day. A receipt can be provided. Cheques are accepted but not preferred. Your donation is appreciated and supports RNLI’s work saving lives at sea.
Our Lantern Room is perfect for small events or meetings. With a capacity of 30 people, this space can be booked for £25 per half-day, and bookings outside of opening hours can be arranged. Whatever you are joining us for, please email us at [email protected] with your ideas and to arrange your booking in advance.
We offer a variety of workshops for primary school groups, run by experienced volunteers. Please see below for details.
Please note: If your class has over 20 children, we will need to split the group.
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.
Duration: 45 minutes
Maximum pupil capacity: 20
Meet the Family
Literacy and history through object handling.
Pupils will ‘meet’ the Darling family to hear about their story and get a chance to ask questions. 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.
Duration: 45 minutes
Maximum pupil capacity: 20
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.
Duration: 30 minutes
Maximum pupil capacity: 18
Bookable lunch space for school groups may be available. This is for a maximum of 30 pupils at a time. Please enquire about this at the time of your booking.
If you’re planning a school visit to the museum, don’t forget to have a look at our Museum Education Pack (PDF 3.22MB). It contains lesson plans you can use prior to your visit to help you make the most of your time with us, worksheets to use at the museum, and suggested follow-up work. Information to help with risk assessments is also available in the pack.
Download PDF 3.22MB
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RNLI Grace Darling Museum
Tuesday – Friday
10am – 4pm
12 midday – 4pm
The museum will be closed on Sunday 26th March.
Grace Darling in 10 objects
Details of 10 different objects on display in the museum.