The National Fishing Heritage Centre is an award winning museum in Grimsby, North-East Lincolnshire. It’s somewhere I remember visiting as a child, but it’s twenty years since I’ve been. We decided that it would be a good place to visit on a rainy day.
The National Fishing Heritage Centre is located in the old docks area of Grimsby and it is well signposted from the main entry routes. The car park is huge. You have to pay and display but you get up to £2 of your parking fees refunded on museum entry.
There are some money saving vouchers available from the link on my resources page.
Under fives are free. Please check out their website for more information on opening times and ticket prices – The National Fishing Heritage centre
The museum is in a very modern building with a cafe, toilets, and education rooms. The exhibition is over two floors but there is a lift and other accessibility facilities, such as an audio tour for the visually impaired. A pram would be hard work so if your child is capable of stairs, I would abandon the pram altogether.
The tour starts on a dockside, where you can see a ship in the dock next to early 20th century shop fronts.
Then you go upstairs to the navigation room, where you can learn how sailors would navigate their ships, and do some hands-on things.
Down some stairs to a typical Grimsby street scene (or any other northern fishing town from the 1930s/1940s) and you can marvel at the old bicycles, and the outside privvy.
After this, you ‘board’ a typical trawler and can look at all the gubbins inside, such as the morse code machine, and the steering wheel.
We found a dressing up room for children and got a bit excited. Then we found only two items which only fit my 10 year old. So we made her do it, for research purposes naturally!
The tour continues through all parts of a trawler, including a frozen deck, the boiler room, and a deck which tips from side to side, which made me feel a bit seasick even though I didn’t move anywhere!
We learned all about life at sea – what and when the sailors would have eaten, and how they spent their spare time in their cabins.
The last part of the exhibition is ‘back home’ where we find out what happened once the sailors got home – or not, as was often the tragic nature of the fishing industry – including a trip or two to the pub, and eating at the fish and chip shop.
There are lots of boards to read on the way around. If you wanted to learn more about the fishing heritage of northern towns, then there is no shortage, and your visit would be a lot longer than the 1-2 hours it would take with children in tow.
It is very interesting, and very well done. The exhibits are looking a bit tired in places, but then it has been there for well over 20 years, and children don’t notice minor details.
Overall, this is a good museum for children with lots of things to look at and prod, and with some educational messages about our heritage.
Visit time – 1-2 hours
There is a tour of an actual trawler but we didn’t do it this time. It isn’t suitable for under 5s. This would be around 45 minutes extra.
For more information, please see National Fishing Heritage Centre