Planning your visit

Welcome back

Following the announcement by the Health Secretary and local authorities that the North East will have tighter restrictions to control the spread of Coronavirus from 18 September, we would like to clarify that our museums and galleries will remain open with social distancing measures in place to ensure the safety of our visitors and staff.

To comply with these new restrictions, we ask that you only book tickets / visit our venues as an individual household (or support bubble) of up to six people.


We are excited to welcome you back and we want to make your visit as safe and enjoyable as possible. This means there will be some changes to the way you visit.

Our museum and gallery openings will be phased:


  • Opening hours may have changed at some venues so please check the venue website before visiting.
  • Please be aware that some areas of the museums and galleries will be closed until it is safe to open them. 
  • We are admitting fewer people into the venues so we can provide enough space for social distancing. This means for some of our venues we would like you to book your visit in advance. Please see each venue website for details about how to book tickets. If you don't book, you may have to queue outside the venue until the number of visitors in the building/grounds has reduced to a safe level.


How to book

To ensure we can maintain social distancing and to help us make your visit safe and enjoyable it is important that as many people as possible book tickets in advance.

  • There will be a small allocation of tickets for people who walk up on the day, for those who are not able to book tickets online. If you do not have a ticket you will need to wait until a member of staff has made sure the number of people in the building is at a safe level before you can be admitted.
  • You’ll need to choose a time-slot.
  • The time-slot is for your arrival time only and the length of time you can stay will be made clear during the booking process and on your ticket. 
  • Only 6 tickets can be booked per party to adhere to the government's social distancing guidance
  • School groups - please contact the venue in advance to book your visit.
  • Every week we will release new bookings for visits the following week.  You can book up to midnight the day before you’d like to visit.
  • Due to limited spaces, we’re asking that you only book once a week to allow others a chance to visit. 

When you arrive

  • To comply with government guidance you will be required to wear a face covering to enter our museums and galleries. (This does not apply to under 11s or people excluded due to health conditions).
  • Please arrive within 10 minutes of the start time of your ticket. You may need to queue for a short time while tickets are checked. Sadly, if you arrive late, we'll not be able to guarantee you immediate entry. Entry will be at the discretion of our staff based on the number of people already in the building.
  • To maintain social distancing, please do not pass your phone or printed tickets to our staff. You may be asked for your name and booking number.   
  • Please have your ticket ready to show our staff either on your phone or a printed copy.
  • In order to help reduce the risk of a local outbreak of coronavirus we are legally required to take contact details of visitors who do not book in advance or use the NHS track and trace app, as well as recording the time of entering our venue. In line with guidance issued by the government, we will keep your details for 21 days. We will only share them with NHS Test and Trace, if asked, in the event of a fellow visitor testing positive for coronavirus. We will also be displaying NHS QR code posters to make it easier for you to check-in. You will need to download the NHS app onto your mobile phone before you can scan the QR code. The app is available on Andriod's Google Play or Apple's App Store - search for NHS Covid-19. If you check-in using the QR code then you do not need to share your details with us. Your cooperation in helping us to keep our visitors, staff and the wider community safe is greatly appreciated.

During your visit

  • To comply with government guidance you will be required to wear a face covering to enter our museums and galleries. (This does not apply to under 11s or people excluded due to health conditions).
  • Please follow government advice around social distancing when you visit and in most venues you will be asked to follow a one-way route. Any children in your group must be supervised at all times.
  • Please read the new signs providing guidance and our staff and volunteers will also be happy to help you adjust to the new way of visiting.
  • Our staff will greet you at a distance. They will be wearing facemasks or visors and we have new screens at our till points.
  • Unfortunately some spaces in our venues are closed until it is safe to open them. Before you visit please see the venue website for information about which spaces are open.
  • You are welcome to bring your own food and drink to our outdoor sites and make use of our picnic areas.  Unfortunately, you can’t bring food and drink into our indoor venues.
  • If possible, please use contactless payment when visiting.
  • We encourage you to use the hand sanitisers around the venue.
  • We have increased cleaning in all public areas of the building and especially in areas of high contact.
  • If you have any of the symptoms of coronavirus, or if you have been in contact with anyone that has the virus in the last 14 days, please don’t visit. 

Your support

Covid19 has had a huge impact on our income. Now more than ever, we believe culture sits firmly at the heart of the North East - please help us keep it there. If you would like to support us you can donate here.

Thank you and stay safe.