Preston Park Museum and Grounds is set in beautiful surroundings, nestled on the banks of the River Tees and near to the beautiful market town of Yarm. From the wonderful collections of artefacts, art works and collectables, to the open air Victorian Street and fabulous grounds, this museum has much to offer.
Built in 1825, Preston Hall was substantially remodelled in the late 19th century by Sir Robert Ropner, turning a modest Georgian home into a grand mansion. The Hall was acquired by Stockton Corporation in 1947 and opened as a public museum in 1953. It has become one of the Tees Valley’s most-visited tourist attractions and was short-listed for 2013’s prestigious Museum of the Year award.
The museum has six exhibition galleries telling the fascinating story of the hall, its occupants and the local area, as well as showcasing a wonderful collection of precious and beautiful artefacts and playing host to visiting exhibitions. At the heart of the museum’s collections are the stunning Spence, Clephan and Ions bequests of objects and artworks, including The Dice Players, a masterpiece by the artist Georges de la Tour. The innovative Community Curated space gives organised groups and local artists the chance to create their own display, and to share information with a wider audience, using their own objects and archives, supported by those from the Preston Park Museum collection.
Outside, Preston Park Museum’s fascinating Victorian Street is a real treat. This recreated period street allows you to step back in time to 1895 and discover what life was like then. Complete with recreated shops (staffed by costumed volunteers) and working traditional craftsmen (including a blacksmith and violin maker), this is one of the museum’s most popular features and has been used as a set for numerous television shows. You can visit the drapers, the chemist and the grocer, and even get dolled up in Victorian costume and get your photograph taken. A visit to the Victorian tearooms is always popular and is a great way to round off your trip down memory lane.
The Walled Kitchen Garden is a restored working garden, producing a wide range of heritage flowers and produce, some of which can be bought at the grocers in the Victorian street. When in full bloom in the summer, it is a stunning sight.
The park grounds are extensive and visitors can enjoy walks throughout its 100 acres, including along the riverside or through the woodland. For the young and young at heart, there is a superb adventure play area and skate park and the Teesside Small Gauge Railway rides are popular with young and old alike. If messing about on the river is your thing, then the River Tees can be explored first-hand by hiring a rowing boat or you can relax on a trip on the Teeside Princess. Finally, there is Butterfly World, where you can enter into the magical world of a tropical rainforest, filled with beautiful and exotic butterflies.There’s something for everyone here, whatever your age. Well worth adding to your ‘to see’ list.
For more information and details of opening times, please visit the museum’s website
www.prestonparkmuseum.co.uk or call 01642 527375