Grace Darling Museum

The RNLI Grace Darling Museum commemorates the life of Victorian Britain’s greatest heroine, who risked her life to rescue 9 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. 

The Visit England rosette awarded to the Grace Darling Museum in Bamburgh, Northumberland

In 2015, we were re-awarded the Visit England rosette and have been highly rated on Trip Advisor. Take a look at the reviews!

And if that’s not enough, you can also take a virtual tour of the Grace Darling Museum.

Room hire

The museum's Lantern Room is available for private hire. It has excellent facilities and is fully wheelchair accessible. Please ask at the museum for further details.

Looking to volunteer?

We’re always looking for volunteers! 

Apply online or call us on 01668 214910.

An oil portrait of Grace Darling by an unknown artist (attributed to Catherine Sharpe)

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.

17-23 December 2016
Christmas activities: We’ll be crafting lanterns.

All events are free, but donations are very welcome!

We welcome schools and groups to the museum. Booking is essential, even for a general visit.

Come and visit, or take one of our exciting workshops - but please remember to book first. 

All of our talks and workshops are run by volunteers. If you book a talk or workshop, we encourage a donation of £1 per head to support the work of RNLI.


Group visits

Adult Groups

We offer introductory talks of 15 minutes, or a more detailed 45 minute talk on Grace Darling. 

We’re a small museum and can get very busy, especially during the Summer season. Booking is essential - we want to give your group the best visit we can. To book, please phone the museum on 01668 214910 or email us.

Primary schools

We have a number of workshops for primary school groups – see the full list under the activity workshops tab. 

Please note: If your class has over 20 children, we will need to split the group.

Secondary schools

Please ask about our workshops that can be adapted to suit a secondary school audience.

For Key Stage 3 pupils we offer a led Science Trail – find more information under the activity workshops tab.


Outreach and talks outside the museum

We also offer outreach sessions which bring Grace Darling (email askgracedariling@rnli.org.uk for details), and the RNLI into the classroom (donations welcomed). Please email our education team for more information.

You can also organise talks for adult groups outside the museum for adult groups - about Grace Darling or the work of RNLI - by emailing our community team


Booking

The museum gets very busy, so it’s important to book - even for general visits. Please email us or call on 01668 214910.

Bookable lunch space for school groups may be available. This is for a maximum of 30 pupils at a time.


Admission

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 (PDF 3.22MB). It’s got lesson plans you can use before your visit to help you make the most of your time with us, a risk assessment, worksheets to use at the museum and suggested follow-up work.  

We want to make your visit as easy and valuable as possible. If you’d prefer us to post you a copy, do get in touch.


Inspection visits

Teachers are welcome to visit the museum beforehand.  Information to help with risk assessment is available in our Museum Education Pack (PDF 3.22MB) 


Grace Darling teaching resources

Download a digital copy of our Museum Education Pack (PDF 3.22MB)  or contact us for a hard copy.

For more teaching resources on Grace Darling, view our education resources section.

Come and visit us for a fun day out!

We have a number of activity workshops for school groups, which cover history, literacy, science, art, drama and citizenship.

All of our workshops are delivered by volunteers.

Call us on 01668 214910 or email 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 Grace Darling/ the family 

Literacy and History through object handling

Pupils will meet 'Grace Darling' or a member of her 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.

Minimum duration: 45 minutes
Maximum pupil capacity: 20 


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 use the museum displays to re-tell the famous story of Grace Darling with costume and drama.

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

  • Preview of the Grace Darling Museum education pack PCF
    Download PDF 3.22MB 
    Grace Darling Museum education pack
  • Previiew of the Grace Darling Fact Sheet PDF
    Download PDF 1.08MB 
    Grace Darling factsheet
  • Preview of the Grace Darling Fact Sheet for the visually impaired PDF
    Download PDF 179KB
    Grace Darling factsheet (for the visually impaired)
  • Preview of Grace Darling Access Statement PDF
    Download PDF 251KB
    Grace Darling Museum access statement

Visit us 

Museum address
RNLI Grace Darling Museum
Radcliffe Road
Bamburgh
Northumberland
NE69 7AE

Telephone
01668 214910

Email
askgracedarling@rnli.org.uk 

Accessibility
Disabled access

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Opening times

Easter Monday–30 September
Monday–Sunday
10am–5pm
(last admission 4.15pm)

1 October–Easter Sunday

Tuesday–Sunday
(including bank holidays)
10am–4pm
(last admission: 3.30pm)

Admission

Free

How to find us

The museum, at the heart of Bamburgh village, sits opposite St Aidan’s church and is just a short walk from Bamburgh castle. 

By bus
Buses travel into Bamburgh from Berwick and Alnwick. The bus stop in Bamburgh is a couple of minutes’ walk from the museum. 

By car
You can park in the large car park opposite Bamburgh castle.  

By train
Our nearest rail station is Berwick–upon Tweed.

Please note: there are public toilets near the museum.