Get involved - activities and what's on at Sandwell Museums
Things to do at our museums
Scroll down the page to find out what activities are available and you can enjoy at our different sites!
Entrance to our sites is FREE unless an admission charge is stated for specific events and no need to book unless it states booking is required.
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.
Follow the links below to the site pages to find out about opening times and facilities - no dogs are allowed apart from assistance dogs and we are unable to accommodate pushchairs inside our buildings.
Festive Fun and Winter Wonder at Sandwell Museums in 2016
Letters to Santa and Christmas count down: Sunday 27 November. 11am-3pm. Join us for a cosy family day and the first glimpse of Oak House starting to be decorated for Christmas as we prepare for Advent. Children can write and decorate their letters to Santa and make some Christmas themed crafts including, Santa Stop here door signs, Santa countdown clocks, baubles , santa wish lists and reindeer food .There will be advent themed quizzes, trails and colouring available plus a few craft stalls to browse. The Oak House elf will also be there to help you with your letters! Everyone welcome. Just pop in! Crafts from 50p to £3 depending on what you make.
Polar Express Christmas Fun Day with Santa in his grotto: Sunday 4 December 11am-3pm. £2.50 per child to visit Santa.
All aboard for the Oak house Polar Express themed fun day. Why not join us in your pyjamas to recreate the magic of this wonderful film. Santa will be stopping off on his journey in his train themed grotto in the Oak House to give all the good children an early present. Booking for Santa is essential so be sure to call the ticket office on 0121 553 0759 but just drop in for other activities. There will also be crafts, quizzes , colouring , trails, and songs from the film and some yummy hot chocolate to keep you warm and cosy served by the ‘Friends of Oak House’. Remember ‘The bell still rings for those who truly believe’. Please note that spaces for Santa's grotto are now SOLD OUT but just drop in for all the other festive activities.
The Night Watch historical music concert Saturday 10 December 7.30pm £6, £5 concessions. Booking essential. A unique evening with the chance to listen to some of the earliest recorded Tudor Songs and dance tunes from the 12th to late 17th century medieval renaissance and early baroque periods as well as readings from Shakespeare. Audience participation is welcome and makes this a must see concert in the welcoming barns visitor centre. The Oak House will also be open from 6.30pm- 7.15pm for a chance to see the beautiful festive decorations by candlelight. The site will be open at 6;30pm and the concert room will be open at 7:15pm not before. Cds from Night watch will be on sale in reception from 6.30pm. Refreshments available from the ‘Friends of oak House’
Santa’s Grotto and disco day: 11 December 11am-3pm. £2.50 per child to visit Santa (you must pre-book to see Santa but just drop in on the day for other activities). Join us for a festive family disco and your last chance to visit Santa in his fairy tale grotto at Oak House this year. We have lot’s of cool tunes , balloons, games , face painting and fun to get you rocking around the Christmas tree. We will also have our crafts of the day, festive flag game , quizzes and trails. Crafts 50p -£3 depending on what you make. Face painting £1 per child. Tea room courtesy of ‘Friends of Oak house’.
Carols with the Salvation Army: Tuesday 13 December (SOLD OUT) and Thursday 22 December 6pm-8pm (concert starts at 7pm, doors to concert room open 6:45pm) £6, £5 concessions. Enjoy a fabulously uplifting and festive evening of Christmas carols with the Salvation Army and see the Oak House beautifully decorated for Christmas. 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 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 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. Please call 0121 553 0759.
1600s Gardening Group - Join our volunteer group and help us to garden the grounds for wildlife and in a 1600s style. 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.
Letters to Lapland – Sunday 27 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. You can see both houses decorated for Christmas and take a peek at Santa’s grotto before he arrives. Haden Hall will also be open. FREE. Please note Santa isn't in his grotto on this day.
Deck the Hall – 12-3pm Haden Hall will be open to the public - Sunday 27, 4, 11, 18 and decorated for Christmas with real greenery. FREE
Christmas afternoon – 11am-3pm Sat 3 December. A relaxing traditional Christmas afternoon with live Christmas museum. A chance for the grown ups to see the Victorian House beautifully decorated for Christmas and younger visitors can enjoy our Christmas trail. You can take a peep at Santa’s fairytale grotto but Santa won’t be here this day.
Santa in his grotto: 4 & 11 December 11am-3pm. Come and visit Santa in his wonderful fairytale grotto, don’t forget to bring your Christmas list! £2.50 per child includes small gift. Book your ticket on arrival at the house. Last ticket to see Santa is sold at 2.30pm (Please be prepared to wait, as Santa likes to give each child his full attention, so your patience will be greatly appreciated)
A Candlelit Christmas: Thursday 8 December 6.30-8.30pm, £3 Admission to both houses £2 concessions (no need to book). 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 singing, see the dining table ready for Christmas dinner and lit by candelabras. You can also help make paperchains for the servant's quarters. Light festive refreshments available in our tearoom, courtesy of “The Friends of Haden Hill Estate”
Christmas fairytale family fun day - Peter Pan theme: Sunday 18 December 11-3pm. Join us for some festive family fun for everyone at our Yuletide event, music; children’s entertainment, kid’s crafts, face painting, meet our pesky pirates, snow and more; there may be a small charge for some activities but entrance is free. Santa will be dropping in to say hello but he says he is very sorry but because he’s very busy, he will only be able to drop in to say hello and won't be in his grotto.
Deck the Halls - Thursday December 1 6pm – 8pm (the grotto will open, for visits to Santa at 5pm) Admission 50p for over 12s
The house will be decorated and the Christmas music will be playing! Come in out of the cold and browse the stalls in search of unique presents, or make your own with our build a gift crafts you can also Visit Father Christmas in his grotto for the first time in 2016 at the Manor House.
Christmas Carols at the Manor House: Friday 2 December 7pm start (doors open at 6.45pm) £6 per person to include refreshments. Booking advised as limited spaces are available. Come and join Ian casey as he sings favourite Christmas carols from years gone by, all whilst sitting in ours Great hall decorated for Christmas and lit by candlelight.
A Frozen Christmas and Santa Saturday: 3 December -three time slots 10:30am-12:15am, 1pm-2.45pm, 3:30pm-5:15pm. Booking essential £12 per child Adults £2.00. Meet Anna, Elsa, Olaf and Sven in a special sing along show; then meet Santa who may have a little Christmas surprise for you to take home. Refreshments will be available. Please note: there will a seating area available at the front for children seats are for adults only.
Christmas Movie. Enjoy your wonderful life this Christmas with our Christmas movie: Wednesday 7 December 7pm start (doors open 6:45pm). No booking required £3 per person to include refreshments. Come and watch the all -time classic Christmas movie in the Great Hall, decorated beautifully for Christmas.
Santa Saturday Saturday 10 December 11am – 3pm (last tickets for santa sold at 2pm) Admission free. Craft dependent on item made 50p - £4.00 Santa visit £3. Come and visit Santa in his grotto and make some Christmas crafts! There may be a long wait for Santa at busy times. We use a number ticket system to avoid queueing.
Hunt for Santa - Sunday 11 December, 11am and 2pm start (Doors open 15 minutes prior to start time) Booking essential Children £12 adults £2.00 – to include gift from Santa, craft activities, Santa hunt, and refreshments. Santa is having a bit of fun this year and has set a hunt for you to find him, come along and find the clues meet some characters until you hopefully find Santa himself!!
Through the Decades - Friday 15 December 7pm start (doors open 6:45pm) £6 per person to include refreshments. Booking advised as limited spaces are available. A journey through Christmas music style. Join Ian Casey for a trip down memory lane. You are sure to be foot tapping and singing along as Christmas is nearly here. Christmas hats welcome!
Family Christmas Disco: Saturday 16 December 7.30pm—10.30pm £6 per person—to include a Christmas lucky bag for children under 12 years. Booking essential, no ticket - no entry Boogie the night away to live music and a disco, whilst dressed in your Christmas party clothes! There will be fun and games and snack bar selling seasonal refreshments..
Supper with Santa: Monday 19 & Tuesday 20 December 3pm or 6pm. £12 per child £2 per adult Booking Essential Meet Santa as he makes a quick visit to the Manor House during his busiest week of the year! You will see a magic show, hear a Christmas story and watch ‘the snowman’ whist drinking hot chocolate and munching on cookies, a unique experience not to be missed!
Christmas Movie Club: Thursday 22 December 12noon start. (doors open at 11.30am). Come and see our brand new family film of the sequal to finding your favourite fish in 3D as you wait for Christmas to arrive! Admission free but there will be a £1.50 charge for hire of 3D All snacks/drinks must be purchased from the Manor House. Call for info about what films are being shown
Nostalgia Rooms: The Queen and Sandwell. An exhibition of 50 photographs showing people in Sandwell celebrating and meeting the Queen in the 50s, 60s and 70s with fabulous photos of coronation celebrations and visits by the Queen in the 1960s and 70s. Photographs provided by Sandwell Community History and Archives Service.
Christmas Family Performances
Major Mustard’s Magical Christmas and meet Santa's elves:
Saturday 3 December. Book onto one of our magical interactive Christmas family shows and you can also join Santa’s elves to prepare for Christmas by writing a letter to Santa, creating some reindeer food for the big night and decorating a Santa Sack for all your presents. Santa will also be making an appearance to say hello after the performance.
There are two sessions..
‘Animals Tales’ for ages 3-7 year old, doors open 11am show at 11.30am and elf activities at 12:30.
‘Magical Mustard Pot’ for ages 4-9 years door open 1:30pm performance at 2pm and elf activities at 3pm
£3 per show and a small charge for each elf activities – pre-booking essential. 0121 556 0683
Treasure Island with the Hobgoblin Theatre Company:
Saturday 10 December. Enjoy our ‘Treasure Island’ family show
There are two session - £5 per person (children under 2 who don’t need their own seat – Free)
Morning Session - Doors open 11am – show at 11:30am, 12:30-1:30 –quizzes, trails and Christmas crafts for a small extra charge.
Afternoon Session - Doors 2pm, Show 2:30pm-3:30pm then quizzes, crafts and you can write a letter to Santa 3:30pm-4:30pm.
Santa will be making an appearance to say hello at the end of the show! Booking essential.0121 556 0683
Wednesbury Music Society. Concert - Wednesday 14 December. Derek Whittey and Choir 7.30pm-9.30pm. Non-members £5.
Tuesdays - Ideal for all, mindfulness 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)
Galton Valley Canal Museum, Smethwick, B66 1BA
2016 museum open days: Saturday 9 July (fun day) 13 August, 10 and 11 September, 8 October, 5 November - 10am to 3pm.
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 information.
Bishop Asbury Cottage open days will next be in May and September 2017.
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, tory below the water line and learn about the skilled engineering that goes into the maintenance of our waterways.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.