School & group visit practicalities
Making a booking
How do I make a booking?
Have a look through our learning pages. When you have found what you would like to do, please complete our booking enquiry form. This is linked on various pages and also available here: Make a booking enquiry.
How far in advance can I book?
You can book a visit one half term prior to the term you want to book. We recommend you book as early as possible as our workshops book up quickly.
For a visit in the ...
...After May half-term of the previous school year.
...After October half-term
...After February half-term
What happens after I make a booking enquiry?
We aim to respond within 3 working days. If you've asked for further information, we'll provide that via email or call.
Once your booking is confirmed, we will email you a confirmation pack which contains the timetable, map and all the information you need to prepare for your visit. You will also receive a hazard ID form to inform your risk assessment.
What can I book as part of my visit?
You can book one workshop per class, as many planetarium showings as you’d like (these incur a charge), and as many bookable resources as you have time for (subject to availability). You can book a lunch/snack space, as we ask you not to eat and drink in the galleries themselves.
Do I have to book if I’m leading my group's learning throughout, rather than booking a workshop?
This means we can:
- advise you of any events in the building or temporary gallery closures.
- provide you with our hazard ID document to support you with your risk assessment.
- support with your plans for self-led time, e.g. links to our printable activities, and support for any specific needs or accessibility requirements.
- Book you a lunch/snack space, somewhere to store your belongings, and someone to greet you on arrival.
A minimum of 3 working days notice is required to process a booking. Please book as far in advance as you can.
If you have not booked in advance, we cannot guarantee there will be anywhere to store belongings or eat lunch (we ask you not to eat and drink in the galleries themselves). Large, non-booked groups may also impact on the experience of other booked groups, who may find it harder to see all the exhibits and take part in their planned learning activities in the galleries.
Do you have workshops for SEND groups?
We aim to make our workshop programme accessible to all. For that reason, we do not offer separate SEND workshops, but will work with you to make our existing workshops appropriate for your group, or develop bespoke experiences for you from scratch. Read more about our approach here. You can get in touch via email@example.com to discuss what you need.
Charges and voluntary donations
How much is a visit to the museum?
Museum entry is free – but we welcome donations! We recommend £1.50 per person.
What does a workshop cost?
Workshops are free.
What do the bookable resources cost?
Bookable resources are free.
How much is the planetarium?
Planetarium visits are the one aspect of schools engagement for which we charge. The cost is from £37 for a showing and we can fit up to 31 people (including accompanying adults) in the planetarium at one time. You can find out more about the shows and prices here.
How do I make a donation?
We recommend a donation of £1.50 per person for school visits. You can donate online here, or bring cash or a card on the day of your visit.
Please note that due to our finance system, we unfortunately cannot accept cheques. We will invoice for planetarium visits but cannot do so for donations as they are voluntary.
Group sizes and recommended adult:child ratios
What is the minimum number of pupils I can bring for a workshop?
Generally our minimum group size is 8, although we may make exceptions for SEN groups or KS5.
What is the maximum number of pupils I can bring for a workshop?
Our maximum group size for workshops is around 30.
What is the maximum number of pupils I can bring for a secondary school enrichment day?
You can bring a maximum of 180 pupils.
What is the maximum number of people who can go to the planetarium?
A maximum of 31 people (including accompanying adults) can fit into the Planetarium for one showing due to fire regulations.
What are the recommended adult to child ratios?
Please note that whatever the age of the school party, you are responsible for the behaviour of the group at all times.
We recommend the following minimum staffing levels for your visit:
Your knowledge of your own pupils will obviously help to inform the levels of staffing required, but please consider practical questions such as child supervision, support for students during their learning activities and toileting issues as well as students who require individual support. Please note that the Great North Museum: Hancock is a public building so we cannot guarantee who other visitors will be during your visit. Safeguarding should form part of your planning process.
Travel and parking
What time does the museum open?
On weekdays, the museum opens at 10am and closes at 5pm. If you would like to come at the weekend for a pre-visit, we are open 10am – 4pm on Saturdays and 11am – 4pm on Sundays.
Is parking available?
Our on-site parking is for blue badge holders only. We can sometimes accommodate school minibuses, but for non-blue badge holders, this will depend on other activities on a particular day and you MUST book in advance as we only have a single space which may not be available.
There is paid street parking close to the museum and a carpark further up Claremont Road.
Where is the coach drop-off point?
There is a coach drop-off point on Claremont Road, right beside the museum. A set of steps and a ramp lead up from the layby to the Schools Entrance. Please note that this is a drop-off layby, not a parking space, so your bus driver will need to find somewhere else to park.
Can we get to the museum via the metro?
We are close to Haymarket Metro Station and bus station.
Is there a lunch space as part of my booking?
We will provide you with a picnic-style lunch space as part of your booking. If you have anyone in your group who cannot sit on the floor, please request a table and chair for them when you book. You might consider bringing picnic blankets to sit on if you do not want to sit directly on the floor.
You are very welcome to eat on the front lawn if the weather is good, but we would not recommend relying on the weather – it is much safer to book a lunch space and then not use it.
If you are bringing school lunches for many or all of your group, you may want to label them with names before you arrive at the museum so that at lunch time, you can hand meals out quickly.
How long do we have for lunch?
Lunch spaces are provided for 30 minutes. We ask groups to arrive and leave promptly to ensure all groups can use the space during their allotted time. If you have a SEN group who will need longer than this for their lunch, please let us know and we will adapt your booking accordingly.
Do you have a gift shop?
Yes, our gift shop has a wide range of items related to the museum collections from pocket money prices upwards. We can arrange pre-booked goody bags for your class if that would be easier for you. We do ask that when taking a class to the gift shop you split them into smaller groups so that the limited space does not become too crowded.
Cancelling or changing your booking
How do I cancel my booking?
Please email firstname.lastname@example.org as soon as possible to let us know about a cancellation. If a school or group cancels a planetarium booking fewer than 14 days before the booked date, they will be required to pay 50% of the total cost. No cancellation charge will apply to cancelled self-led visits or those including a non-charging workshop. If the Museum has to cancel the workshop, we will endeavour to give the school or group 14 days notice. In the unlikely event of this happening, the school or group will not be charged.
How do I change my booking?
Please email email@example.com as soon as possible to request a change of date or activity. We aim to respond within 3 working days.
Do you have a risk assessment?
We do not produce a risk assessment for schools as the risks relate to the group as well as to the venue, but we have a Hazard ID Sheet which you can use to write your own risk assessment.
We are accredited as part of the Learning Outside the Classroom scheme and you can download our certificate here.
What if a safeguarding issue occurs during my visit?
If you are not in a workshop or you can’t find a member of the learning staff to speak to, please go to the welcome desk as soon as possible so they can contact us. All members of the learning team undergo enhanced DBS checks.
Can you fill in my health and safety form for educational visit providers?
We hold a Council for Learning Outside the Classroom Quality Badge which you can download here. DfE recommends that you look for this certificate and most local authorities will accept it instead of their provider checks.
Other frequently asked questions
Where can I find information about accessibility in the museum?
Because individual access needs vary so widely, please do get in touch with the learning team before your visit so that we can ensure those needs are met.
Our school would like to have a workshop on a topic not offered on your website – is that something you can accommodate?
We are always looking to develop our programme and we may be able to work with you to develop something appropriate. Bespoke workshop requests are subject to availability and we typically need 6 weeks notice to prepare and organise for items from our stores to be transported to the museum. Please get in touch!
We’d like to work with the museum on a longer-term basis or a project – is that something that you can accommodate?
We are keen to collaborate with schools on specific projects, subject to availability. Please give as much advance notice as you can.