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. 

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

In 2018 we were again awarded the Visit England rosette for Quality Assured Visitor Attractions, and our high ratings on TripAdvisor meant that our Certificate of Excellence was extended into 2019. Have 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 send us an email for more information.

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.

The Grace Darling museum has several events for different ages throughout the year.

Please check our Facebook page for details on any upcoming events. 

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 AskGraceDarling@rnli.org.uk.

All our talks and workshops are run by volunteers and cost £1 per person attending.


Adult Groups

We offer introductory talks about Grace Darling in the Lantern Room upstairs. These are dependent on volunteer availability, so please get in touch to arrange this beforehand. Grace Darling. If your group cannot make it to the museum, we do offer outreach talks as well.


School Groups

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

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.

Duration: 30 minutes
Maximum pupil capacity: 18


Booking

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.

Grace Darling

A film-project in partnerships with Beacon Films CIC

 Beacon Films CIC worked with the Grace Darling Museum to create a series of films, including an original music composition, that tell the story of Grace Darling. The films and music have been woven together to create an interactive exhibit that screens in the Grace Darling Museum and went on a UK tour in 2019.

Beacon Films CIC supports filmmakers with learning disabilities, autism and additional needs to make and showcase great productions and develop valuable creative skills.

This project was made possible thanks to National Lottery players with funding from the Heritage Lottery Fund and further support from Spirit of 2012.

Watch the films here:

Grace Darling Project

  • 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)

Visit us 

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

Telephone
01668 214910

Email
askgracedarling@rnli.org.uk

Accessibility
Accessibility Statement

Facebook
Follow us on Facebook

Admission

Free

Opening times

April to September
Open daily
10am-5pm

October to March
Tuesday-Sunday
10am-4pm

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.