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  • Writer's pictureMelissa Speed

Preston Park Museum

Updated: Apr 7, 2022

With a collection of roughly 100,000 items, a Victorian Street, gardens and special exhibitions, this family-home-turned-museum is a great place to visit for all.


Don't need accessibility info? Jump to The Visit to find out more about Preston Park Museum.


Location


Preston Park Museum & Grounds

Yarm Road, Eaglescliffe

Stockton-on-Tees, Durham TS18 3RH


Access



Parking on-site is free. There are six designated disabled bays.


The Grounds are pretty disabled-friendly. A wheelchair-friendly path leads to the museum entrance from the car park; there is a speed bump near the entrance but there is a path around it for access. It is a short walk from the car park.

The Museum is very accessible, with a lift to the first and second floor. Exhibits and information are all at wheelchair-friendly heights.



The Victorian Street (pictured above) is mostly accessible. The paving makes for a bumpy trip in a wheelchair but it’s mostly on one level and the shops have good window displays. Getting into the shops involves steps but if someone can help get you up the steps there is room inside some for a wheelchair or crutches (I went in the Police Station, the printers, and the drapers). There is a little step up to a section with another shopfront but if you can’t make it up the step you won’t miss out on the Victorian experience as there are plenty of shops on the main street.

Facilities are available on-site and include accessible toilets. Cafe by car park and a Victorian Tea Rom in the Victorian Street.


The nearest Changing Places toilet is located 4.1 miles away in Teesside Park shopping centre.

The Winter Garden


This will provide your biggest challenge! It is quite beautiful inside so it is worth trying to get in. I had family with me who were able to open both wooden doors and hold them open, but even then it’s a tight squeeze in the wheelchair. Once inside there are several tables and chairs which might need moving a few inches one way or another to allow access if you want to get a closer look at anything. If travelling alone in a wheelchair I recommend contacting the museum in advance to request a member of staff to open the doors.


The Visit


We spent a full afternoon here and thoroughly enjoyed it. The hall (built in 1825), once a family home, looks great as you approach, with the winter garden conservatory being particularly pretty. It’s good to see the property still standing with its new purpose, and its history adds even more interest to the museum.

The Victorian street was fun and engaging, and the volunteer we spoke with was friendly and knowledgeable.



The museum has so many items on display from Anglo-Saxon and Viking artefacts to early mobile phones!




As the museum is located in Stockton-on-Tees, there is a good display about the first public railway (The Stockton and Darlington Railroad) opened by George Stephenson. This area includes the chance for younger visitors (or young at heart) to use a foot pedal to activate a toy train that moves around on a track above the displays.

Kids can also enjoy a dressing-up room complete with a performance area and table activities.

A highlight was the Tippen Delta Invalid Carriage, circa 1960.


The information panel explained how these vehicles were introduced after World War II to provide veterans and disabled people more mobility. Provided by the government, the scheme ended in 1977 as they were said to be unsafe and antisocial, providing little protection and no space for passengers. How far we have come! I’d be lost without my adapted car.


The Winter Garden was a nice feature with a lovely period feel, bringing something of the family home feel of the hall to the museum.

It’s worth noting that the museum also puts on special exhibitions for limited periods for a small additional charge. We visited the Behind the Seams exhibition, which displayed costumes from film and television made by Angels costume house. Highlights for me included the skirt worn by Moira Shearer in The Red Shoes (1948), the replica Coronation gown worn by Claire Foy in The Crown (2016), and Sean Bean’s iconic uniform from Sharpe (1993).



Top Tips


  • Not many places to sit down and scooters are not allowed indoors, so do ask staff to point out chairs for public use


  • Contact the museum in advance if you will be travelling alone and are likely to want to see inside the Winter Garden but might struggle with the doors


  • Admission is not free, but the most expensive ticket is £5 for a standard adult ticket and tickets are valid for one year


  • Special exhibitions have an additional charge so be prepared to buy tickets if you want to visit those


For More on Preston Park


For the history of the hall and parkland: https://prestonparkmuseum.co.uk/history/

For their accessibility information: https://prestonparkmuseum.co.uk/visiting-us/accessibility/


For their visiting information: https://prestonparkmuseum.co.uk/visiting-us/


For their What’s On page: https://prestonparkmuseum.co.uk/events/


Final Notes


It’s worth checking the What’s On section of the website regularly in case you see something of interest, to make the most of the valid-for-twelve-months admission ticket. I’ll certainly be keeping an eye out.


Happy travels!


*Disclaimer: This blog is written as a travel blog with a disability focus and history theme. It is intended to entertain and inform but is in no way a comprehensive guide and I do not attempt to provide a full accessibility guide for any site. Readers planning to visit any sites should check site websites or contact sites directly for up-to-date information on opening times, facilities, accessibility and other required information.



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