Record visitor numbers for Beamish!

January 12th 2017

Beamish welcomed a record-breaking 747,651 visitors during 2016 – up by 11 per cent.


Staff and volunteers are celebrating after breaking the 700,000 visitors milestone for the first time in the museum’s 46 year history.

Visitor numbers in December were up by an amazing 38 per cent on the previous year. Figures have more than doubled since 2008, making Beamish the region’s most popular paid-for visitor attraction.

The news rounds off an amazing year for the County Durham open air museum, which was awarded £10.9million by the Heritage Lottery Fund for its Remaking Beamish project, to feature a 1950s Town, farm and Georgian coaching inn.

Beamish was also named Large Visitor Attraction of the Year for the third year in a row at the North East England Tourism Awards 2016.

Richard Evans, Beamish’s Director, said: “This is a real success story for the North East – and a tribute to the hard work of all our staff and volunteers. We have enjoyed record results since the middle of 2016 – including an incredible 91,000 visitors in December.

“This growth and the income this generates helps not just Beamish but the whole region. More than half of our visitors are tourists – and nearly all of them stay overnight in hotels, bed and breakfasts and guest houses, as well as visiting the other cultural and heritage gems we have in this fantastic region.

“At Beamish this growth will help us create exciting new attractions in the coming years, for visitors to come back again and enjoy. It also helps us employ more staff who bring the history of the North East to life. More than 430 people now work at Beamish – and a further 500 people help us through volunteering.

“We are proud of our record and the impact Beamish has in our communities – and we are looking forward with confidence to the year ahead.”

In 2016, Beamish opened JR & D Edis Photographers and W Smith’s Chemist in its 1900s Town. Other recent additions include St Helen’s Church, from Eston, near Middlesbrough, which was saved from demolition and restored, and Herron’s Bakery.

Work is due to start on the £18million Remaking Beamish project this winter, with more than 30 new exhibits set to be added to the museum over the next four years. The 1950s Town will include a working cinema, community centre, homes, shops and a bowling green and pavilion. The former Spennymoor home of artist Norman Cornish will be replicated, including the studio he donated to Beamish. Aged miners’ homes will provide a pioneering centre for older people including those living with dementia.

Visitors will be able to stay overnight in a Georgian coaching inn and The 1820s Landscape will be expanded to include industry such as Joe the Quilter’s cottage, a blacksmith’s, pottery, candle house and windmill.

An upland farm has been moved stone by stone from Weardale and will tell the story of rural life in the 1950s.

Beamish has a packed programme of events planned for 2017, including the Festival of 50s, Great North Festival of Transport, Georgian Fair, Summer of Fun, Great North Festival of Agriculture and many more. For more information please visit the What’s On section of the website: