Welcome Back!

We are open and looking forward to welcoming visitors!

We have had to make some changes to keep our staff and visitors safe.

For now all visitors including Annual Pass holders, Friends of the Museum and partner organisations will need to book a ticket on our Eventbrite page [external link].  Every Friday we'll release new bookings for visits the following week.

This is because we need to limit numbers and keep contact details to comply with the Test and Trace measures in place. You will need to show your booking confirmation and pay or show your pass or membership card on arrival at the museum. If possible, you should pay by contactless. If you are unable to book online, please phone the museum on 01325 405060 and we will help.

Head of Steam – Darlington Railway Museum is committed to providing a safe place to visit. We are adopting new approaches in order to adhere to government guidelines so, whilst we may look a little bit different, we are excited to be able to welcome you back to the Museum.

For your safety we have:

  • Provided hand sanitiser stations on arrival and around the Museum
  • Limited visitor numbers to keep you safe
  • Displayed signage at all entrances advising of measures in place to keep our visitors, volunteers and staff safe
  • Installed safety screens and contactless payments Reception
  • Implemented social distancing measures such as ‘one-way’ systems and floor markers for your protection
  • Adapted or suspended certain activities to keep every experience safe
  • Restricted the numbers allowed in toilets at any one time, to assist with social distancing
  • Introduced enhanced cleaning regimes throughout the building
  • Provided training for staff on the new procedures we have put in place to keep everyone safe
  • Introduced takeaway only food and drinks
  • Ensured we are fully compliant with Government “Staying COVID-19 Secure in 2020” guidance

In return we ask you to:

  • Observe the ‘Hands. Face. Space’ campaign urges the public to continue to wash their hands, cover their face and make space to control infection rates and avoid a second peak
  • Stay at home if you, or anyone you have been in contact with, have experienced symptoms of coronavirus in the last 14 days
  • Maintain a social distance by staying the recommended distance apart from anyone outside your household
  • Wearing a mask whilst in the gift shop and museum
  • Use the hand sanitising stations provided to protect yourself and others
  • Catch any coughs and sneezes and dispose of tissues in the bins provided
  • Please keep to the queue lines and floor markings, the routes signed and follow any additional instructions provided on signage
  • Be responsible for and supervise any children in your group at all times and ensure they follow social distancing guidelines
  • Please pay attention to instructions provided by our staff. We may put temporary measures in place to safeguard you

What to expect from your visit


Tickets to the Museum will be limited each day to help keep all visitors and staff safe.

All visitors will be required to book tickets online.  

Every Friday we'll release new bookings for visits the following week.

All visitors will need to choose a timed arrival slot. Once you are in the Museum, you can stay as long as you like during opening hours.

Annual Pass holders must also book a ticket with a timed arrival slot. These tickets will be free of charge but you must bring your Annual Pass with you on the day.


We have introduced timed arrival slots, please keep to these to reduce queuing times at the entrance.

Information will be displayed about measures in place to keep our visitors safe.

Hand sanitiser stations provided on arrival and around the Museum for your use.

The wheelchair are walker with seat are still available and will be sanitised after each use.

Social Distancing Measures

Contactless payment systems in place and safety screens provided at Reception.

There will be floor markers throughout the building to help us all adhere to social distancing.

Our staff are encouraged to remind all visitors and colleagues to socially distance.

Hygiene and Cleaning Regimes

Hand sanitiser stations provided on arrival and around the Museum for your use.

Cleaning regimes increased with regular sanitisation of high contact areas including interactives and toilets.


Our toilets will be open with increased cleaning regimes in place.

Hand sanitising stations are available at the entrance to the toilets.

Around the Museum

We have adapted or suspended certain activities and created defined routes in some areas.

Please keep an eye out for the directional signs and follow the instructions provided.

The play room, Cab of 901 and the Third Class Carriage are temporarily closed.


For the moment we have had to adapt certain activities. These include closing the reading den. We have some activities ready that don’t involve sharing clipboards and pencils.

We’ve got some of your favourite trails and activities to download and print off at home to bring and complete as you explore the museum. 


Our refreshments will be takeaway and served in disposables, we have outdoor seating available.

The tables and chairs have been arranged to allow for social distancing so we ask you not to rearrange them. They will be sanitised frequently.

Picnic tables are available in the grounds of the Museum.

Contactless payment systems are in place in the Gift Shop.

The Gift Shop will be open with the appropriate social distancing measures, you may have to ask staff for some items.

First Aid

Please be particularly safety conscious and be aware that it is exceedingly difficult to treat you whilst maintaining social distancing. Staff will of course help you wherever possible and will wear the necessary protective equipment for your and their safety.


While we're able to open the Museum, we are unable to hold our regular activities (including Station Scamps, Dementia Café and Railway Workers coffee Mornings), talks, events, holiday activities and workshops.

The Ken Hoole Study Centre

The Ken Hoole Study Centre will remain closed to visitors for the time being.


Due to the measures in place we are unable to welcome back our volunteers at the moment.

We have updated our visual story [pdf document] for people on the autistic spectrum, and SEND families who may find it useful. It features our COVID secure measures from booking online, to visiting, along with changes to our usual layout.