Friday 15 July 2022

The Great North Museum - Hancock


Newcastle-upon-Tyne is home to some great museums, some of which are FREE to visit. One of these museums is the Great North Museum - or the Hancock museum as us locals may refer to it. Located close to the city centre just a few minutes walk from Haymarket bus and Metro station's and Northumberland street. Visiting the museum is free (however donations are very welcome), making it perfect for a low cost family day out in Newcastle. 

The Great North Museum has been in Newcastle for a long time and I remember visiting myself as a child on school trips and with my parents back in the 90's, when it was known as the Hancock Museum. About ten or so years ago it had a bit of a makeover and is now known as the Great North Museum: Hancock. 

Great North Hancock Museum review

What Is It Like? 

The building of the museum is lovely, it is rather grand with huge staircases and high ceilings. When you enter there is a welcome desk and a gift shop and once you go through the doors to the museum you will see the spectacular Living Planet exhibition which has an amazing collection of life-size animals. The Living Planet exhibition starts on the ground floor and goes all the way up to the balcony. There was a life-size elephant, a dodo, polar bear, shark's and birds to name just a few. It is lovely and my children loved spotting all the animals. 

life size elephant on display great north museum

There is a Ice Age to Iron Age section with lots of artefacts on display downstairs. Also downstairs there is a small under 5 area called Mouse House where children can climb through a mouse hole and there is some activities for them to try out. There is also interactive spinners dotted around the museum which my son found interesting. 

ice age animal great north museum

There is a Hadrian's Wall section on the ground floor with a  model of the wall running through, which gives you an idea of just how big it is. There is lots of information about the wall and also artefacts to look at. 

great white shark at great north museum hancock newcastle

You can also see a full-size T-Rex skeleton model there is also some other smaller dino models in this area and lots of fossils to look at. 

T-Rex skeleton great north museum

Upstairs there is a Ancient Greeks gallery, my daughter has been learning about this at school so she loved looking at all the items in this section. Coins, vases, pots and figurines. There is also a Ancient Egyptian gallery with an actual mummified mummy on display. 

animal display at great north museum hancock newcastle

There is a world culture section and a natural Northumbria section filled with lots of local wildlife from tiny mice to rabbits, foxes and birds. There is also a Planetrium which runs at different times throughout the day, however there is a charge for this (£2.95 - £3.75pp). There is also lots of events on during the summer too. 


There is a onsite cafe called the Hancock serving hot and cold drinks, cakes and sandwiches and children lunch boxes. During school holiday's there is also a pack lunch area if you have your own food or there is a big lawn at the front and lots of bench's outside too. 

dino sea creature model

There is a small onsite gift shop selling a range of pocket-money type toys and books. There is toilets, baby change facilities and also an accessible toilet. There is lifts and the museum is wheelchair and pushchair accessible. 

What We Thought

It had been years since I last visited The Great North Museum and the first time I had taking my younger two children. My children are aged 7 and 9 and they enjoyed the visit, there was a lot of things they were learning about at school such as ancient Greeks and Egyptians. There was also interactive displays that they enjoyed. They really liked the animal and T-Rex displays too. 

We were only there for about an hour but we could have easily stayed a lot longer if we wanted. They have actually asked if we can go back one day in the holiday's.  If you are looking for a very low cost day out this summer as a family in Newcastle then I would recommend a visit as it was canny.  

At the moment Great North Museum: Hancock is open 7 days a week, 10-5 Monday to Friday, 10-4 Saturdays and 11-4 Sunday's. There is no need to book, just turn up on the day. However do check opening times and if you need to pre-book any events before visiting as sometimes these things can change. 

great north museum hancock newcastle review

You can find out more about what is on at the Great North Museum : Hancock on the website which also includes events, opening times and a full list of what exhibitions are available. 



  1. Ahh! We love this museum. It is a great way to kill a few hours too. There is so much to see. The shark is one of my main memories from our last visit. It's quite a sight to see. x

    1. It is so good for being free isnt it? so much to see and do. I am scared of the shark (I have a shark phobia haha) x


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