It’s not every day that my kids and I journey down 300 feet into the depths of a real-life coal mine.
Yet, that’s exactly what we did on a recent school inset day when we visited Big Pit, a coal mine in Blaenavon, Wales, about an hour’s drive from Bristol!
Visiting Big Pit is a day trip like no other – its brilliant fun and a great learning opportunity for children and adults and there’s also a museum to visit.
Plus, as part of the Museum of Wales, it is completely free!
Big Pit was a real working coal mine from 1880 until 1980 which was re-opened in 1983 under the National Museum of Wales.
Big Pit National Coal Museum is open 9.30am – 5pm daily with underground tours taking place from 10am – 3.30pm.
Before you are taken down into the coal mine everyone is given a helmet, cap lamp, belt and battery to wear, just like a real-life coal miner!
Your group is assigned a guide to accompany you – our guide was Peter, a former coal miner whose father and grandfather had also been coal miners.
Once you are all kitted out ready for your trip down into the coal mine, you get into a lift called a ‘cage’ which takes you down 300 feet into the coal mine!
Once down below in Big Pit you are taken on a tour of the coal faces, engine houses and stables – yes, there were once horses in the mine, and once they made that trip down into Big Pit, they never saw light of day again.
Whilst on the tour, Peter got to experience just how dark a coal mine really is by all turning off our cap-lamps simultaneously – brilliant fun and yes, it is absolute pitch-heavy blackness.
I have to say that Peter made our trip underground as brilliant as it was, he obviously loves his job and was both knowledgeable in explaining the working of a mine and the history of mining, while keeping us laughing throughout the 50 minute trip!
Big Pit is a brilliant day out with kids, however, I would recommend not taking very young children down as they may find it a little scary.
But my 5-year-old and 7-year-old and their friends loved it!
Big Pit in Blaenavon makes a brilliant day out with kids. It is a great way to learn about the history of coal mining and what life was like for people who once spent their days working down there.
Plus it is free and fantastic fun!
To find out more about Big Pit, please visit https://museum.wales/bigpit/.
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