Days Out in Yorkshire: National Coal Mining Museum, Wakefield

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There aren’t many places that can boast a 140m underground journey to (what feels like) the centre of the Earth for you to explore the cavernous depths of Yorkshire.

What could be better to spark the imagination of young people than a trip into the bowels of our planet, places where few dare to tread and which most of us never see.

But not only can intrepid visitors to the National Coal Mining Museum for England do just that – they can do it all for free.

The UK’s leading museum on the subject, based on the edge of Wakefield, runs tours into their authentic mine, and that includes – if you’re brave enough – striding out over a glass-topped furnace shaft whose bottom is some 450 feet below.

The current exhibition – Pit Profiles – is a fascinating insight into miners’ working lives too, with original portraits combined with personal stories.

The museum’s much more than just a look at mining’s past though. The attraction also boasts a sprawling outdoor nature trail. A great family day out, then, that won’t break the bank.

You might even have chance to catch a few of the local celebs – the museum’s famous ponies.

Pay a visit to the stables to say hello and find out about how they helped make the coal mine tick.

For a more scientific explanation about how coal was mined, check out the museum’s Hope Pit – a fully restored colliery complex on site, totally dedicated to science. You can get hands-on with the interactive models, but don’t worry – you won’t come away with sooty fingers.

FACTFILE

Price: Free entry and underground tours, which may require booking

Opening times: Seven days a week, from 10am to 5pm

Car parking: Ample free car parking on site

Attraction website: www.ncm.org.uk

Address: Caphouse Colliery, New Road, Overton, Wakefield
Sat Nav: WF4 4RH

For more information and deals on great days out see www.yorkshire.com

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