- Discover the history of Anglo-Saxon England with a visit to the Bede Museum in Jarrow.
- Explore the museum, which is home to rare artefacts and historical memories from the time of Bede.
- Meet the animals on the Anglo-Saxon farm, where there are rare breeds that would have been around over a thousand years ago.
- Find out more about how people used to live by visiting the recreated Anglo-Saxon village on site.
At Jarrow Hall in Tyne and Wear, you can learn more about what life would have been like in this area of the world over 1m300 years ago. This was the time when the Venerable Bede lived at the monastery in Jarrow, and it was where he wrote his book, the Ecclesiastical History of the English People, which has since become one of the most important resources for historians studying Anglo-Saxon times.
There’s plenty to see and do at the museum, which also has a farm and Anglo-Saxon village attached. Inside the museum, impressive exhibitions show what life would’ve been like in Bede’s time, and how the Anglo-Saxon monk would have worked. Bede is often seen as 'the father of English history', and many of the features of the museum are there thanks to the knowledge passed down in Bede’s works.
The Anglo-Saxons were a group of Germanic tribes who colonised England and some other areas of Britain in the 5th century CE. They were the dominant group in Britain from then until 1066, when the last Anglo Saxon king was defeated by William the Conqueror at the Battle of Hastings. It’s thanks to monks like Bede, who were some of the only people who could write at the time, that we know so much about this period in history.
The museum is a treasure trove of Anglo-Saxon artefacts. There is the largest collection of stained glass artwork from the 7th and 8th centuries in Europe, as well as incredible stonework and other artefacts from the time. The museum also holds a realistic rendition of the Codex Amiatinus, the oldest Latin Bible in existence, and has an interesting exhibit charting the history of this amazing book.
The first floor of the museum has areas dedicated to their younger visitors. There are soft play areas for toddlers to play in and enjoy, as well as a dressing-up box with Anglo-Saxon clothes and books about the era to read.
The site is also home to the fantastic Anglo-Saxon farm and village. This living museum has rare breeds of farmyard animals that would’ve been more common in Bede’s time. The animals are always a hit with younger visitors and are not used for their bodies, meaning they live out happy lives on the farm and die of old age.
The Anglo-Saxon village at Jarrow Hall is a must-see for any visit. This village has been recreated based on structures found in archaeological digs in Northumbria. The village features a large Anglo-Saxon hall, where the people of the village would have gathered for meetings and feasts, a workshop used by monks like Bede for praying and reading, and an Anglo-Saxon house that would have been used for sleeping, working, and storing food.
Just outside the main museum area, there’s a really great play area for kids to explore and have fun. There are tons of interesting climbing frames, slides, and swings for all ages. It’s a lovely place to spend some time and relax while the kids have fun.
There’s plenty more great things to do in this area of northeast England, including Beamish in County Durham, another living museum; though this one focuses on the 19th and 20th centuries instead of the Anglo-Saxon era.
What to know before you go
- The museum is open from 10am - 4pm every Tuesday-Sunday.
- The on-site café is located in the regal surroundings of the beautiful Jarrow Hall. Here you’ll find the Hive Coffee Company, a locally-owned independent café that serves sandwiches, hot food, snacks, cakes, and drinks.
- The site is mostly accessible for wheelchair users and parents with buggies, although the upper walkway of the farm may be difficult to use.
- The Bede Museum is completely dog friendly, so feel free to bring along your furry friends.
- Jarrow Hall Anglo Saxon Farm, Village, and Bede Museum is a 20-minute drive from Newcastle.
- There’s a large free car park just across the road from the main museum entrance, on Church Bank. There’s also limited parking inside the main area, which includes Blue Badge spaces.
- The museum is also accessible by public transport. On the Tyne and Wear Metro service, the museum is around a 20-minute walk from both Jarrow and Bede stations. You can also reach the museum using the 97 bus service.