Get involved - activities and what's on at Sandwell Museums
Important Visitor Information
Scroll down the page to find out what activities are available at our different sites over late autumn, winter and Christmas for all our sites and enjoy our festive fun and winter wonder.
Entrance to our sites is FREE unless an admission charge is stated for specific activities and no need to book unless it states booking is required. To book phone the relevant site or pop in -cash or cheque only.
Please note that staff are not available to take phone calls every day. Please leave a message and we'll get back to you as soon as possible. Please don't phone on Mondays.
Follow the links below to the site pages to find out about opening times, accessibility and facilities
We are unable to accommodate pushchairs inside our buildings due to the size and nature of our sites. Assistance dogs only.
Festive Fun and Winter Wonder
We have loads of great free or affordable activities at our sites for you to get involved with and enjoy this winter whatever your age.
Please note that throughout the summer and until mid October there will be building works taking place at Oak House. The house will still be open during this time but there may be some noise or disruption at times. We are taking visitors over to the house through guided access so please make it known that you would like to go into the house at reception on arrival. If you are visiting specifically for the house we advise you call that day to ensure there isn't a reason why building works have closed the house. We apologise in advance for any inconvenience. However the playground, visitor centre and advertised holiday events and activities are still going ahead as normal and will be unaffected.
From Tuesday 3rd October Oak House is open, Tuesdays Wednesdays, Thursdays and Sundays 1pm-4pm -last admission half and hour before closing. The grounds are open during museum opening times only. The house and grounds are open at other times for advertised events and activites and pre-booked groups only.
Tea room open at all activity days courtesy of Friends of the Oak House.
Christmas Afternoon Tea: Saturday 2 December and Saturday 9 December, 2:00-4:00pm: Join us for a special Christmas afternoon tea in our fabulous festive vinery. Afternoon Tea is made available courtesy of the ‘Friends of the Oak House’. To be seated by 2pm. Booking is essential, to make a booking call the Oak House. £12 each or two for £20.
Letters to Santa & countdown to Christmas crafts: Sunday 3 December, 11:00-3:00: A cosy family day and the first glimpse of Oak House decorated for Christmas. Children can write and decorate their letters to Santa and enjoy Christmas crafts and try our advent themed trails. The Oak House elf will also be there to help you with your letters. Craft activities 50p - £2.50
Santa & Major Mustard magical festive performance: Sunday 10 December, 11:00-3:00: Major Mustard is in trouble! A bad-tempered princess is going to visit him. He has a special present for her which he hopes will cheer her up, but it must be kept safe. All should turn out well as long as everyone can help Major Mustard in keeping one very important secret. Santa will be in his Nutcracker themed grotto in the Oak House to give all the good children an early present. There will be trails and quizzes and yummy treats served by the ‘Friends of the Oak House’. £4.50 per child for show, £1.50 accompanying adult, £2.50 per child to visit Santa or £6.00 per child for show and visit to Santa. Booking essential, call the Oak House.
CANCELLED - We apologise but due to building works we have had to cancel this event - Christmas candle light evening: Thursday 14 December: 6:00pm-9:00pm: An evening by candle light at this beautiful house. See the Oak House decorated for Christmas and beautifully lit, enjoy a hot drink and mince pie in the tea room courtesy of the ‘Friends of the Oak House’ and traditional music in the house performed by Night Watch. Make a Christmas pomander in the kitchen with Hetty Herbal. This evening is sure to get you into the ‘Christmassy spirit’ and take you back 400 years to a Christmas long ago. £2 entry
Night Watch Concert- Drive the cold winter away with early music .Thursday 14 December 7pm-9pm. Enjoy ‘early music’, songs and dance tunes from the 12th century to the end of the 17th century. Expect period music, period instruments, period clothes and period jokes in Drive the cold Winter Away, The Night Watch’s rolling and changing programme for the winter and Christmas season. The site opens 6:30pm, concert room opens at 6:45pm not before. Refreshments will be available courtesy of the Friends of the Oak House. Booking essential. Price: £6.00 Adults, £5.00 Concessions. Booking recommended.
Santa & Nutcracker crafts: Sunday 17 December: 11:00-3:00: Join us for our festive Nutcracker themed family day. We will have Nutcracker themed crafts, trails and quizzes. Enjoy a tasty treat from our tea room courtesy of the ‘Friends of the Oak House’. It’s your last chance to visit Santa in his grotto at Oak House. £2.50 per child, booking is essential.
Salvation Army carol concerts: Tuesday 19 & Thursday 21 December: Enjoy a fabulously uplifting and festive evening of Christmas carols with the Salvation Army. We are offering two dates this year due to overwhelming demand. Admission will be from 6pm for a chance to see the Oak House by candlelight beautifully decorated for Christmas. A drink and mince pie or festive cake is included in the price and other refreshments on sale courtesy of the ‘Friends of the Oak House’ to enjoy before the concert. The concert will begin at 7pm and there will be no interval. Please note the doors to the concert room will not open until 6:45pm. Booking is essential. £6 per adult, £5 concessions.
Gardening Group - Join our volunteer group and help us to garden the grounds for wildlife and in a 1600s style removing inappropriate planting and planting plants, herbs and seeds you may have found around Oak House in the 1600s. Tuesdays 10am-1pm.
Nifty Knitters, knitting group 11am-1pm £1 - Every Friday - Come along bring along your knitting or other craft activity of your choice, get advice off other group members and have a natter. Everyone is welcome.
From 5th October Haden Hill House is open Thursdays and Fridays 12pm-4pm and Sundays 11am-3pm. The Old Hall is open for special open days. The House is only open at other times for organised events and activities and pre-booked groups.
The Queen and Sandwell exhibition - Enjoy some amazing photographs of Sandwell people celebrating and meeting the Queen in the 50s, 60s, and 70s. April - end of May 2017.
Gunpowder, Treason and Plot: Sunday 5 November. 11am-3pm. Find out about why we celebrate bonfire night, with craft activities, quizzes and trails.
Haden Hill House Quizzes & Trails: Sunday 12 & 19 Nov 11am-3pm. How much do you know about Haden Hill House? Take part in our quizzes & trails to test your knowledge.
Letters to Lapland – Sunday 26 November. – 11am-3pm - Write a letter to Santa and decorate it before posting it in our magical post box, one of Santa’s elves will be here to help you, also join in with our Christmas woolcraft decoration making workshop.
You can see the house decorated for Christmas and take a peek at Santa’s grotto before he arrives. Haden Hall will also be open. FREE
Deck the Hall – Haden Old Hall will be open to the public 26 Nov & 2, 3, 10, & 17 Dec decorated for Christmas beautifully with real greenery. guaranteed to get you into that festive feeling. FREE. Haden Hill House will be open on 3 December as below and on 2nd and 10th December but some rooms may not be available at certain times due to the Santa sessions.
Prepare for Christmas – Sunday 3 December 11-3. Start your Christmas preparations by joining us to make your own reindeer food & “Santa Stop here” sign and much more, also enjoy some Christmas music with Andy our music man. You can take a peep at Santa’s fairy-tale grotto but Santa won’t be here this day. It is also an opportunity to see Haden Hill House beautifully decorated for Christmas.
A Candlelit Christmas: Thursday 7 December 6.30-8.30pm. £3 Admission to both houses £2 concessions. Soak up the Christmas atmosphere of both our beautiful houses, dressed for the festive season and bathed in candlelight. See costumed characters and enjoy the live Christmas music and join in the Christmas songs and carols. You can also make paper chains with the servants for the servants' quarters. Light festive refreshments available in our tearoom, courtesy of “The Friends of Haden Hill Estate”
Christmas magic mix up—festive family fun day: Sunday 17 December 11am-3pm. Join our Christmas heroes and villains and the Scrooges try to take the magic out of Christmas and our Christmas characters try to save the festive season. Enjoy loads of festive family entertainment with magic and balloons ,musical fun and much more. Although Santa is busy getting ready for Christmas and won’t be here, Mrs Christmas will be here to help save Christmas cheer!
Secret Santa: Saturday 2 December and Sunday 10 December - There will be 3 timed hour and a quarter sessions per day at 11 to 12:15pm; 12:30 to 1:45pm and 14:00 to 3:15pm. Avoid queuing for Santa’s grotto this Christmas and enjoy one of our secret Santa activity sessions. The sessions include. 1. Visit Santa in his magical grotto and get a little present fromt he man in red.
2. Make a Christmas card with our craft materials or a Christmas craft
3. Enjoy a festive family sing-a-long and play some musical instruments with our music man.
4. You can also see this fabulous house and Haden Old Hall dressed traditionally for Christmas and enjoy our Christmas trail.
£8 per child to include entrance for one adult only per child (if you only have one child both parents will be allowed into Santa's grotto with their child but one adult only in the other sessions due to space -if there is more than one child -one adult per child limit due to space). Pre-booking and payment essential. But shhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh don’t tell anyone else as places are limited. Get your tickets from the house. Please note that there aren't any 'just turn up' santa's grotto session at Haden Hill House this year. All sessions to see santa in his grotto are by pre booking only.
The Manor House is open for advertised events and activities and weekend guided tours. It is not open at other times apart from for pre-booked groups.
Free summer guided tours - please note that FREE guided tours take place between July and September and as part of special events at other times during the year. Access to the whole building is not possible at other times of year when the building is just open for special events and activities. However groups can book private guided tours with the site which attracts a cost.
Friends of the Manor House Museum Psychic Supper: Wednesday 15 November 7pm start Details TBC by end of September
Do it yourself Christmas door swag—make a fantastic fresh Christmas decoration for your front door Thursday 30 November 6.30pm –8.30pm. The sessions are open to anyone aged 12 years and over. Some of the sessions are not recommended during pregnancy, as essential oils and fragrances will be used. Please call us to check. Some of the materials used may contain nuts. Booking is essential as limited spaces are Cost £8 per person this includes the materials to make the craft and refreshments
Step into Christmas at the Manor House Museum: Sunday 3 December 11am – 3pm. There is lots of Christmassy fun to be had today at the Manor House – see the reindeers, enjoy the snow, do a Christmas treasure hunt, visit Santa, craft stalls to shop for your unusual Christmas gifts, craft activities and much more. Admission free. There will be a charge for activities.
Christmas under the old beams - Tuesday 5 December 7:30pm. Start your Christmas off with an evening of traditional
carols performed by the Fantastic Vivat Choir- resident choir of St Paul's Church, Birmingham, and enjoy a warm drink and mince pie underneath the old beams of our Medieval Great Hall beautifully decorated for Christmas. Ticket prices: Adult- £7.00 Concessions- £6.00
The price of the ticket is to include light refreshments which will be served during the interval. Additional refreshments will be available to purchase prior to the start of the performance. Doors open from 7pm with the performance starting at 7:30pm
Call The Manor House Museum on 0121 588 2985 to book your ticket. Please note: The Manor House has no disabled access at present and is unable to accommodate pushchairs - NEW EVENT ADDED!
Santa Saturday & make your gift: Saturday 16 December 11am – 3pm. Visit Santa in his grotto and make some Christmas presents with that ‘personal touch’. There will be a variety of items to make including: ceramic money boxes in various designs, trinket holders, tea light holders, bathbombs, soap, lip balm, body scrub, candles plus much more. Cost dependant on items made (example of some costs bathbombs £3, lip balms £2, moisuriser £3, ceramic money box £2.50 - £3.00)
Do it yourself festive table decoration—make a decoration for your Christmas dinner table.Monday 18 December 6.30pm – 8.30pm The sessions are open to anyone aged 12 years and over. Some of the sessions are not recommended during pregnancy, as essential oils and fragrances will be used. Please call us to check. Some of the materials used may contain nuts. Booking is essential as limited spaces are Cost £8 per person this includes the materials to make the craft and refreshments
From 1st October Wednesbury Museum is open Wednesdays and Thursdays 11am-4pm (last admission is half an hour before closing). The museum is only open at other times for advertised events and activities, community groups and pre-booked groups.
After school club - Let's Play! - Wednesdays 2:45pm-4:45pm. No need to book, just drop in, entry FREE. Drop in and join in our activities, arts and crafts. It's fun and free! Activities provided by Groundwork Wet Midlands
Nostalgia Rooms - Clothes! - see some amazing 50s, 1960s and 70s clothing and shoes in our clothing exhibition as well as some fantastic old photos of Sandwell High Streets in times gone by.Photographs courtesy of Sandwell Community History and Archives Service - until the end of 2017.
Christmas quiz with fish and chip supper – Friday 1 December, 7am-9pm (cost and details to be confirmed) £5 per person to include mini fish and chips or veg pasty and chips. Join in our fabulous festive quiz. Booking essential at the museum. Teams up to 6 people, not suitable for very young children.
The Wonderful Wizard of Oz family theatre - Saturday 9 December – Christmas performance 11:30am and 2:30pm (lasts about an hour) – £5 per person tickets available from the museum NOW. Cash or cheque only please. There will also be craft activities to enjoy after the performance with our Christmas elves for a small cost. Santa may well pop in to say hello too! Pop in Tues, Weds, Thurs or Saturday 4th Nov to get your ticks. Ring the doorbell if the door isn't open.
A Soulful Christmas: Festive live music at the museum: 14 December 7pm. Enjoy our Christmas concert at the museum with soulful tunes you'll know and love with singer Tom Heyes. £3, festive nibbles also available.
You can pop in to get tickets or book by popping in on Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays 9:30am-4:30pm knock on the door or ring the doorbell if the doors aren't open.
Regular Groups and Activities
Tuesdays - Adult Groups - Ideal for all, mindfulness, knitting groups, and jewellery making - call for details
Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays - Adult Community painting groups (no previous experience needed all welcome but there is sometimes a waiting list to join - call for info)
Check back here for more events later in the year or call 0121 556 0683 for details
2017 museum open days: 10am-3pm Entry FREE - Dog Friendly!
- 9 and 10 September - look out for our Heritage Open Days activities, with guided walks up to the Engine House. Visit our Heritage Open Days page for more details.
- 14 October
Housed in the New Smethwick Pumping Station the canal museum tells the story of the Galton Valley canal system and the people that lived and worked on it. Entry to the museum is free and there are light refreshments available.
Call 0121 556 0683 for more information.
Bishop Asbury Cottage will host an open day on Sunday 10 September 2017 2pm-5pm
Alternatively you can book in a group visit for a small charge per person by calling 0121 556 0683.
You can also 'join us' and discover there are 'More to Museums' - find out what regular groups or activities adults can get involved with from gardening or knitting, fund raising, volunteering or dressing up!
General information for visitors
- Entrance to our buildings and activities is free unless a ticket price is stated. However there may be a small charge activities.
- Booking for activities is not normally required but each listing will state if booking is needed.
- We are unable to accommodate pushchairs inside our buildings, due to the size and nature of our sites.
- Where an event is advertised as 'booking essential' we cannot guarantee that there will be any places left on the day of the event. Please call the site to find out.
- We are unable to take bookings via email please phone the relevant site and leave a message. Staff are not available every day to answer the phone but please leave a message and we'll get back to you as soon as possible.
- Please note there are platform lifts to the first floors at Wednesbury Museum and Haden Hill House. Oak House and the Manor House are not accessible.
- Last admission to our sites is 30 minutes before the museum closes.
- Guide dogs only.
- For information about parking and getting to our sites etc please follow the links above to each site.
- Shoes must be worn at ALL times in the Oak House playground.
- Find out about the accessibility of our sites with our - access statement.
- If you would like to find out about our normal opening hours for casual visitors follow the links above to the relevant buildings.
- Our museums are closed for general visitors from December until Easter or 1 April (whichever is first) apart from special activities including Christmas and February half term. Our sites are not open on Good Friday.
- Staff are available at our sites during the closed period and on days we are not open to general visitors as they will be busy dealing with visiting groups, painting, undertaking maintenance, deep cleaning, organising, undertaking back office activities and admin.
- Keep checking this what's on page as we add and update exhibitions and activities for the coming year all the time. Most of our events are free unless an entry price is shown.
- Find out more about each museum and our opening hours.
- Contacting our sites - please note that staff are not available to take phone calls every day, so please leave a message and someone will get back to you as soon as possible.
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