10 great Yorkshire museums

Be it due to a rainy day, or just the desire for an injection of historical knowledge, museums are fantastic places to visit with all the family. The area’s rich history has resulted in the creation of an incredible number of Yorkshire museums, so here are a few which we think are great places to start…

1. National Railway Museum, York.

National Railway Museum in York

Those who think train spotters have got it all wrong will find their opinion challenged here when they see the museum’s collection of over a million railway-related items, including some of the world’s most iconic trains. There’s plenty of interactive activities and an outdoor playground to keep children amused too. 

2. Ripon Museums

Ripon Workhouse Museum

This collection of museums, all within walking distance of the city centre, follows a law and order theme and comprises the Ripon Union Workhouse, the Ripon Prison & Police Museum, and the Ripon Courthouse Museum.

3. Yorkshire Air Museum & Allied Forces Memorial, Elvington (near York)

Yorkshire Air Museum in Elvington

As the UK’s largest independent museum, the Yorkshire Air Museum is set amidst 20 acres of lovely parkland. A former WWII RAF Bomber Command Station.

4. Jorvik Viking Centre, York.

The Jorvik Viking Centre, York

Explore what Jorvik, the Viking city unearthed at this very site, was like 1,000 years ago by experiencing the sights, smells and sounds of the ancient city.

5. Captain Cook Memorial Museum, Whitby.

Captain Cook Memorial Museum in Whitby

The intrepid explorer is rumoured to have begun his career in the very house that is now the Captain Cook Memorial Museum, lodging and studying whilst doing his apprenticeship. It’s a great place to learn about Captain James Cook, his life, and his connection to the fascinating town of Whitby.

6. Dales Countryside Museum, Hawes.

Dales Countryside Museum in Hawes

A superb museum where you can learn about life in the Yorkshire Dales, both past and present. Exhibitions include Treasured Possessions and the Local Food Project, which offers the opportunity to taste local foods, and learn about gathering, preparing, storing and cooking fresh local produce.

7. York Castle Museum, York.

York Castle Museum

Walk down a Victorian street, admire the Georgian and Jacobean dining rooms and the 1850s Moorland cottage. The York Castle Museum manages to set the scene in a way that most museums are unable to achieve. It’s a great day out for all the family.

8. Mouseman Visitor Centre, Kilburn (near North York Moors National Park).

Mouseman Visitor Centre, Kilburn

Discover the story of the world-famous craftsman known as The Mouseman of Kilburn, Robert Thompson, and view early examples of his signature carved mouse.

9. Barley Hall, York.

Barley Hall, York

Experience Medieval England in this beautifully restored townhouse, where you can really make yourself at home. The house has been restored to look as it may have done in 1483, when it belonged to William Snawsell.

10. Gayle Mill, Hawes.

Gayle Mill, Hawes

Having experienced a rather impressive amount of TV coverage, a trip to Gayle Mill will reveal how fascinating this museum really is. The Mill generates its own electricity, produces timber products, operates as a training venue, and much more.