Things to Do in County Durham

Locomotion, County Durham: Hours, Address, Locomotion Reviews: 4.5/5

Speciality Museums • Science Museums
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10:30 AM - 4:00 PM
Wednesday
10:30 AM - 4:00 PM
Thursday
10:30 AM - 4:00 PM
Friday
10:30 AM - 4:00 PM
Saturday
10:30 AM - 4:00 PM
Sunday
10:30 AM - 4:00 PM
About
Suggested duration
2-3 hours
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What is Travelers’ Choice?
Tripadvisor gives a Travelers’ Choice award to accommodations, attractions and restaurants that consistently earn great reviews from travelers and are ranked within the top 10% of properties on Tripadvisor.
Detailed Reviews: Reviews order informed by descriptiveness of user-identified themes such as cleanliness, atmosphere, general tips and location information.
Popular mentions

4.5
1,136 reviews
Excellent
637
Very good
349
Average
102
Poor
30
Terrible
18

GlennA946
Whitehaven, UK170 contributions
Apr 2022
Locomotion at Shildon is a must see place for anyone who is interested in the railways. While not as big as the National Rail Museum, it has a large range of locomotives from Stephenson's Locomotion to more recent diesel and electric locomotives, as well as part of the Advanced Passenger Train, a power car from an Inter City 125, and the royal train used by Edward VII. Also there are interactive displays and games to keep children occupied.

The volunteers who give up their spare time are helpful and interesting to talk to. A volunteer showed me around an LMS steam locomotive and told me it needed nine tons of coal and 4000 gallons of water to operate, while another was happy to discuss his passion for the Advanced Passenger Train, the failed high speed train from the eighties that was cancelled on cost grounds.

Other reasons to visit Locomotion are the displays of various train sets through the ages, the shop which sells everything from keyrings to model trains, and the cafe, which is quite reasonably priced. While Soho House is still closed, you can visit the main part of the museum without pre booking, although you are expected to wear a face covering.

Locomotion is free to visit( there is a suggested donation of £ 5), has plenty of free parking in two car parks, and is next to Shildon railway station, with trains every hour to Bishop Auckland and Darlington.
Written April 30, 2022
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

Dan J
King's Lynn, UK37 contributions
Jun 2021 • Couples
Well organised system to ensure orderly and safe entry to the museum. Once inside I was in train need heaven. Not as big as the NRM (National Railway Museum) but it has enough to offer to be an alternative, some truly marvellous things to see in there.

I'm pleased to report observing a routine cleaning of all signs and touch points in the building as well as numerous touch-free hand gel stations dotted around. Nothing could be improved.

I feel guilty that on the day I was unable to donate for the visit but I will be donating ASAP as it's a collection well worth supporting.

I recommend leaving extra time for a walk up the path behind as there's some really nice features of the railway both past and present, the interactive sculpture is worth seeing as much as anything else.

Thanks for everyone who makes these museums happen and keeps them running. It's very much appreciated, me and my fiance had an amazing time and will be back again someday.

Written June 10, 2021
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

Vincent R
1 contribution
Feb 2020
This is an excellent place to take grandchildren on a rainy day in half term or really at any time. The exhibits are really excellent and so varied. The train ride is well worth the small fee of £3 considering that entry to the museum is free even though donations are welcome and can be gift-aided. The only thing which stops me giving a five star rating is the quality of the cafe. As a hot meal, there were only three choices, all of which boiled down to the same thing. Mince pie and chips - but there was only a single mince pie on offer at 12:30! Cheese and onion pastie and chips! Corned beef pastie and chips! No bacon or sausage butties! Surely a wider variety than this can be offered.
The cafe staff were really helpful and pleasant and plainly working within the limits set by the museum. The experience could have been described as "rough and ready" where you "take it or leave it!"
Is it so unreasonable to expect something a little better?
Written February 20, 2020
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

R D F
Kendal60 contributions
Sep 2021
Very disappointing visit, particularly after visiting the excellent Beamish museum. Yes it is free but the online booking seemed to involve an automatic "donation" of £5.

Steam engines have to be some of the most visually exciting machines ever built by man but there they all were on static display, cold and without even the ability to walk in the coaches!

I'm surprised by the generally good reviews for this museum and the fact that it is run by the Science Museum Group who you would think would be experts in exciting and interactive displays.

It is probably a dangerous principle to treat these , relatively modern, machines as priceless, untouchable exhibits.
Written September 24, 2021
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

Ann B
Durham, UK2 contributions
Jul 2021
Afternoon tea was fantastic, the cakes and sandwiches were varied, portions generous and quality excellent. Added a real sense of occasion to our visit.

To see 'The Flying Scotsman' again, after a two year absence was a real pleasure. Numerous expert volunteers were on hand to answer questions from both adults and children with patience and humour.

Inside there was a a great variety of trains and activities to keep children, parents and grandparents interested for three hours. Again all Locomotion staff were approachable, enthusiastic and well informed. Many thanks to the gentleman operating the minature railway for running Thomas and Percy at the request and to the delight of my grandson.

In summary, Locomotion is really a great family day out and never disappoints
Written July 30, 2021
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

Alan R
Castleford, UK151 contributions
Oct 2021
A good selection of railway stock and equipment. Place is clean and tidy and very covid safe. Staff on reception were friendly and pointed us to where everything was located and how the covid secure 1 way system works. The museum is more of a engine shed with trains than a modern museum, it lacks atmosphere, perhaps some railway sounds played through the public address system would help. The only real disappointment was the coffee bar where you can stand for an age without being served, some other visitors got the reception staff to get the coffee bar staff to come out from the back to serve. The sandwiches and coffee were very good and priced reasonably for the type of location. I would have given a better score had the coffee bar been more attentive. I would have passed my comments on directly to the museum however they sent me an email requesting feedback without any contents.
Written October 2, 2021
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

Jen32B
Newcastle, UK614 contributions
Mar 2022 • Family
We booked tickets online the day before for a Friday morning spot. It's about 50 minutes from Newcastle so never been before. My 22 month old loved running up and down the ramps and looking at the trains. I liked there was an indoor play area (it was too wet to use the outside one) plus a picnic area. We used the cafe, the cheese pasties were tasty (super hot so wait before biting into it) and plenty space between tables. We spoke to volunteers whilst in one of the trains who were friendly and knowledgeable. We spent about 3 hrs there which was perfect for us.
Written March 8, 2022
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

hindysemail
County Durham, UK3 contributions
Dec 2019 • Family
This place is amazing! The engines, carriages, etc on display are fantastic. There is a working restoration area you can see into, a shop with lots of souvenirs, although these are expensive, and a cafe with a really nice latte! And it's free!
They have regular working steamed up engines outside and often huge model railways inside.
Truly a local high and a national treasure. A fascinating place to visit!
Written January 14, 2020
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

Ian F
20 contributions
Sep 2021
It was good to see these interesting exhibits again in a bright and airy environment. The museum would also be of interest to non railway enthusiasts as it is a social history as well. The staff were friendly and informative.

It is worth visiting periodically as the exhibits change. I look forward to visit again when Covid restrictions are lifted and hopefully there will be better access to the exhibits.
Written September 19, 2021
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

Ell
Durham, UK13 contributions
Oct 2020 • Couples
Great afternoon. I visited yesterday with my partner, this was an unplanned trip. I didn’t realise how interesting something so close to home would be. I live at Bishop Auckland and I’ve never been to locomotion. Excellent value as the museum is free or you can choose to leave a donation. This filled in a few hours of our afternoon which we thoroughly enjoyed. Would definitely visit again!
Written October 5, 2020
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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Frequently Asked Questions about Locomotion

Locomotion is open:
  • Wed - Sun 10:30 AM - 4:00 PM


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