Making a booking
We ask that all school groups pre-book their visit. Please contact the Main Office for more information or to book a visit. Tel 02920 573650
Once a booking has been made, we will send you confirmation of your booking and direct you to information to help with planning your visit.
Please have the following information available when booking.
- Name of your school / organisation
- Phone number
- Contact email address
- Name of the teacher / group leader
- Number of students
- Age Range
- Number of Staff
- Number of Pupils with Special Educational Needs
Underground tours run daily between 10am and 3.30pm. Last bookable tour is 3pm.
The underground tour is not available during some dates in January due to maintenance work. Please phone or check the website for further details.
Health and safety information
Although Big Pit no longer produces coal, it is still subject to the Coal Mines Act safety legislation. It is against the law to take smoking materials or incendiary substances underground. These include cigarettes, tobacco, matches and lighters, mobile phones, battery-operated watches and key fobs, calculators, radios, personal cassette players and all photographic equipment. This 'contraband' will be collected by our guides before the underground tour and will be kept securely locked away on the surface until the tour ends.
You will find health and safety information to help you complete a risk assessment, as well as other information towards planning your visit, here.
All groups of sixteen years or under must be supervised at all times.
- Ages 5 – 8yrs – 1 adult : 6 children
- Ages 8 – 11yrs – 1 adult : 10 children
- 11yrs + - 1 adult : 17 children
The above are based upon the ratios suggested by the DfES and necessary requirements for the underground tour. Group leaders should assess the risks and consider an appropriate safe supervision level for their group.
There is a group limit of 100 persons allowed on site at any time. Large groups like this will be asked to split up and visit different areas of the museum at different times. There is a limit of 17 persons per guide for the underground tour. This will be organised by a member of museum staff.
A Visitor Coach Park is available for use. It is located adjacent to the drop-off point at the main visitor entrance.
Please note that in the interest of security, large bags and rucksacks cannot be taken underground. There are a small number of lockers in the pit top area, but bags should be left on the coach if possible.
Facilities for visitors with Special Needs
Big Pit National Coal Museum makes every effort to accommodate the requirements of visitors with special needs. Please contact us in advance to clarify what provision can be made.
Schools and group leaders must ensure that suitable arrangements are in place in order that appropriate supervision and assistance is available to pupils with special needs.
Most areas of the site are accessible to all visitors, but due to the steep nature of some areas we recommend that wheelchair users and those with mobility problems are accompanied by an adult helper. There are uneven and gravelled surfaces in places. It is only possible for 4 visitors in wheelchairs to be underground at any one time.
The Mining Galleries includes an AV presentation with various light levels and colours. Museum staff are happy to allow visitors the opportunity to handle and touch a range of exhibits.
AV presentations can be seen throughout the museum. Induction loops are installed in the exhibition areas.
Our Access Guide is available here or by phoning 029 2057 3650.
Clothing and footwear
No specialist clothing is required, but as we are an outdoor industrial site, we advise wearing suitable warm clothing and appropriate footwear.
Coaches may drop and collect groups directly outside the visitor entrance. There is a coach park adjacent to the drop-off point. Please report to the reception desk on arrival and give the total group number to reception staff.
A souvenir underground ticket will be issued for every group member.
For the underground tour, parties are divided into groups of about 17. This will be organised by the guide who collects each group from the waiting room. Please do not split up your party in advance. The guide will also collect ticket stubs before leading the group to the Pit Top area for 'kitting up'.
Food and drink
An eating area is available on a first come, first served basis. This will accommodate up to 70 people for packed lunches. Picnic areas are available outside the Pithead Baths building.
The cafeteria has a special menu which offers a group discount price for school groups, but must be booked in advance of your visit. The cafeteria takes last orders for meals at 4.15pm.
The coffee shop is located on the middle level of the site and sells snacks and drinks. It opens from Easter to the end of August. The original miners' canteen has hot meals and is open all year round.
There are toilets on all three levels of the site. These facilities are marked on the map. Please note that there are no toilets underground, so we recommend using the facilities in the waiting room area before proceeding to Pit Top with the guide.
Baby changing facilities are available on two levels of the site. These are situated in the coffee shop on the middle level and adjacent to the canteen in the Pithead Baths building.
A map will be given on arrival at the front reception desk.
Photography for personal use is allowed in most areas on the surface of the Big Pit site, but there are some restricted areas. Look out for signs indicating where restrictions apply. Underground photography is not allowed by law.
The shop sells a wide range of products such as small toys, books and postcards. Please help with supervision by ensuring that no more than 6 children.
Big Pit retains many elements of a working industrial site and also displays historically important buildings and artefacts. We advise a group ratio of 1 adult to every 10 children. We insist that all children and young people under the age of 16 are supervised at all times, including lunchtime.
During the underground tour, safety of all our visitors is particularly important. Any group that behaves badly will be brought to the surface and the tour ended.
The Museum reserves the right to ask groups or individuals behaving in an offensive or unreasonable manner anywhere on site to leave.
Smoking is not allowed in any of the buildings.
We encourage preview visits for teachers or group leaders wishing to familiarise themselves with Big Pit. Please telephone in advance if you wish to speak to the Learning Officer on the day of your preview visit.
The Big Pit visitor's guidebook contains further details of the Museum. This can be purchased in the reception and gift shop, or ordered by telephone: (029) 2057 3650.
We may have to evacuate visitors from underground by a different route in an emergency e.g. as a result of power failure. If this happens, your guide will give instructions.
First Aid and Medical Needs
If you need First Aid attention, please inform a member of Museum staff who will contact a responsible First Aider.
Group leaders should contact the Learning Officer if any member of the group has any specific medical needs.
An alarm will sound in the event of a fire in one of the surface buildings. On hearing the alarm, your group should evacuate the building or gallery by following the signs to the nearest fire exit. You will receive instructions from a member of staff.
Please tell children that if they are separated from their group they should inform a member of Museum staff, who can find one of the group leaders.