Big Pit National Coal Museum

LOCATION

BLAENAVON, TORFAEN

Recommended by
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Our View

The Real Underground Experience, Big Pit is the UK's leading mining museum. It is a real colliery and was the place of work for hundreds of men, women and children for over 200 years. Part of a daily struggle to extract the precious mineral that stoked furnaces and lit household fires across the world.

Big Pit National Coal Museum
BLAENAVON, Torfaen, NP4 9XP

Features

Facilities
  • Parking onsite
  • Cafe
Accessibility
  • Accessible toilets
Opening times
  • Open all year
  • Opening Times: Open all year 9.30-5 (times vary winter) Please call for underground guided tour availability during the winter. Closed 24-26 Dec & 1 Jan

About the area

Discover Torfaen

Like much of this part of south Wales, the county borough of Torfaen has a heavily industrialised past. Its administrative centre, Pontypool, has links to the iron industry dating back to the 15th century. In this region of abandoned mines and long-closed iron and steel works, however, Torfaen boasts the standout example – the Blaenavon UNESCO World Heritage Site.

The town of Blaenavon grew up around an ironworks, opened in 1788, part of which is now a museum. The steel-making and coal-mining industries followed. The ironworks closed in 1900 and the coalmine in 1980, since then it has become a significant tourist attraction. The ironworks is the best preserved blast furnace complex of its period and one of the most important monuments to have survived from the early part of the Industrial Revolution. During its heyday in the early 19th century, it was one of the biggest producers of iron in the world. Today you can view the extensive remains of the blast furnaces, the cast houses and the impressively restored water balance tower. 

The town also has a heritage steam railway, formerly used to run coal up and down the valley, which is now run by volunteers.

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