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. Please note that our sites are open at advertised times below; for general open hours click the link to the site page. We will be updating our events throughout the year for the coming season so keep coming back to see what's on next.
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 avoid calling 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 at Sandwell Museums
Please note - All our visits to Santa's grotto must be booked in advance. Call the relevant site or pop in. Cash or cheque only please.
Our site is open at advertised times, staff are available at other times to take your call but please avoid calling on Mondays.
The Old Shop Exhibition Room - Helen Caddick - A West Bromwich Woman abroad - Begins April and runs until the end of the year, Helen Caddick was from West Bromwich, taught at a local school and travelled all over the world in the 1890s and early 1900s. In this year celebrating 120 years since the Oak House became a museum and commemorating the 100th anniversary of some women getting the vote we celebrate this strong local women who was instrumental in helping to set up the Oak House as a museum in 1898. Learn about Helen and see some of the objects which would have been on display at Oak House when it first opened which she brought back from all over the world.
After School Christmas Craft Activity with SAFL: Wednesday 28 November, 3.30pm-5pm. Sandwell Adult and Family Learning Service will be offering a range of free Christmas themed craft activities after school today at Oak House Museum. Adults please bring identification to enrol. For more information call 0121 557 0837. Free event.
Letters to Santa: Sunday 2 December, 11am-3pm. Join us for a cosy family day and the first glimpse of Oak House decorated for Christmas. Children can write and decorate their letters to Santa and post them in our special post box direct to the North Pole and make some Christmas themed crafts. There will be a Christmas trail and quizzes available. The Oak House elf will also be there to help with your letters. The Oak House tea room will be open courtesy of the Friends of the Oak House.
Scrooge – A Christmas Carol at Oak House: Sunday 9 December, 1pm-4pm. Get in the Christmas spirit by taking a look at the Oak House dressed for Christmas and watching the 1951 classic film Scrooge adapted from the Charles Dickens novel ‘A Christmas Carol’ in the Oak House classroom, staring Alastair Sim. Christmas cocktails and mulled drinks will be available from Cocktails2U and festive treats will be available from the Friends of the Oak House in the tea room. Booking Essential: Call 01215530759. Film tickets £5 each.
Candlelight Evening at Oak House: Wednesday 12 December, 6pm-9pm. Join us for a wonderful evening of history, music and festivities. Enjoy the atmosphere in the Oak House which will be dressed for Christmas and illuminated by candlelight, whilst listening to The Night Watch playing music from the 12th century to the end of the 17th century (mediaeval, renaissance, and early baroque). Enjoy a Victorian Christmas magic lantern show in the Oak House Classroom, experience the sounds and smells that would have been familiar to those at the Oak House in the 17th century with the Blacksmith demonstrating nail making and Mistress Gabrielle demonstrating 17th century cookery in the Oak House kitchen. Christmas themed cocktails will be available from Cocktails2U and the tea room will be open courtesy of the Friends of the Oak House. Pay on the door. £2 entry, £1 children under 12.
Santa in his Grotto and Christmas Crafts: Sunday 16 December, 11am-3pm. Join us for a festive family day. Face painting and glitters by Brush Strokes and Christmas crafts activities upstairs in the barn classroom. Experience the Oak House decorated for Christmas and enjoy a tasty treat from our tea room courtesy of the 'Friends of Oak House'. A visit to Santa in his grotto is £2.50 per child. Booking is essential for the grotto, just drop in for other activities. Call: 0121 55 30759.
Salvation Army Carols Concert: Tuesday 18 and Thursday 20 December, doors open at 6pm. Enjoy a fabulously uplifting and festive evening of Christmas carols with the Salvation Army. Admission will be from 6pm for a chance to see the Oak House beautifully decorated for Christmas. A mulled 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 won't be an interval. Please note the doors to the concert room will not open until 6.45pm. Booking is essential, call: 0121 553 0759. Tickets are £6 per adult, £5 concessions. BOTH SOLD OUT
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.
Our site is now open at advertised times, staff are available at other times to take your call but please avoid calling on Mondays. Visit on Thursdays, Fridays and Sundays until the end of November and then for our Christmas activities below.
Natty Knitters: 10.30am-12.30 join our knitting group every Wednesday where you can enjoy a natter & a cup of tea, bring your own knitting or craft - £1 per person.
Don’t Go into the Cellar Present-“Another Christmas Carol” Thursday 22 November- 6pm and 8pm. Enjoy an audience with Charles Dickens as he regales his audience with this hitherto-unknown festive tale. In the style of the public performances the great Victorian writer gave during the nineteenth century, this one-man stage show is the perfect seasonal treat to whet your appetite for the Yuletide celebrations! Expect chills, laughter and sentiment as Mr Dickens presents, for one night only, Another Christmas Carol! £7 per person. Advanced booking essential. SOLD OUT.
Letters to Lapland: Sunday 25 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 wool craft decoration making workshop. You can see the house decorated for Christmas and take a peek at Santa’s grotto before he arrives.
Deck the Hall: 2, 9 & 16 Dec 11am-3pm. Haden Old Hall will be open to the public decorated beautifully for Christmas with real greenery. It is guaranteed to get you into that festive feeling.
Secret Santa: Sunday 2 December- There will be 3 timed sessions per day at 11am to 12.15pm; 12.30pm to 1.45pm and 2pm to 3:15pm. Avoid queuing for Santa’s grotto this Christmas and enjoy one of our secret Santa sessions. Visit Santa in his magical grotto, make a Santa, Stop here sign and reindeer food and other crafts, enjoy a festive family sing-a-long and play some musical instruments as well as getting to see this fabulous house dressed traditionally for Christmas and enjoying our special Christmas trail. £8 per child, this includes entrance for one adult only per child (2 adults if there is just one child), a gift from Santa, craft activities, a Santa hat and other bits and bobs along the way. Pre-booking & payment in advance is essential. But shhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh don’t tell anyone else as places are limited. Get your tickets from the house.
A Candlelit Christmas: Thursday 6 December 6.30pm-8.30pm. 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 period music & dancing music in Haden Old Hall 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” £4 entry to both houses
Festive Fridays: 7 December and 14 December 11am-2pm, See this beautiful Victorian house decorated for Christmas (including the dining table in the Oak Room set up for Christmas dinner on 7 December). Young pre-school visitors can have a go at our simple Christmas craft and draw a picture of what they want for Christmas and post it in our magical post box to the North Pole. Grown up visitors can make a Christmas decoration to take home and enjoy a cuppa and a mince pie.
Christmas Cracker: Sunday 9 December 11am-3pm. Visit Santa in his grotto & 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. There will be timed sessions available to see Santa, which must be booked in advance. Please contact us for more information. It is also an opportunity to see Haden Hill House and Old Hall beautifully decorated for Christmas. £3 per child to see Santa (includes small gift) just drop in for other activities - small cost for other activities too, individually priced.
Christmas family fun: Sunday 16 December 11-3pm. Join us for some magical Christmas fun and games for all the family, with children’s entertainment, snow in the park, costumed characters, crafts, trails and quizzes. If all you girls & boys (and grownups!) have been the best you can be this year, Santa may drop in to say hello to you if he can, because we all know how busy he is this time of the year! Festive refreshments will be available in our Tea room courtesy of The Friends of Haden Hill Estate. More activities may be added nearer the time
Our site is now open at advertised times, staff are available at other times to take your call but please avoid calling on Mondays.
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.
NB: Seeing the whole building: Access to the whole building is not possible on event and activity days - look out for our free guided tours or self guided tours which will be advertised below if you would like to see as much of the house as possible and learn more about the history. However groups can book private guided tours with the site which attracts a cost.
Deck The Halls: Saturday 1 December 11 am-3pm— Our annual event is back, come along and start your Christmas off the only way you should, visiting Santa in his Grotto and browsing our hand-made craft stalls all within our atmospheric 13th century Manor House which you can help decorate with traditional Christmas decorations. To visit Santa in his grotto you must call the Manor House to book your place. £3.00 for 3s and under £4 for 4s and above. Just drop in for other activities.
Yuletide Magic Fun Day: Sunday 9 December 11am-3pm. Getting into the magical Christmas spirit will be easy this year at the Manor House Museum. You can visit Rudolph and his friends in the grounds or pop inside for a warm and watch a magic show with Ron Popple, create some Christmas crafts or browse some of our handmade craft stalls for any last minute Christmas gifts. We also have a special visit from the man in red himself inside our Grotto. To visit Santa in his grotto you must call the Manor House to book your place. £3.50 for 3s and under £4.50 for 4s and above. Entrance to the event is £1 for children and 50p for adults but free for children with Grotto tickets.
Santa’s After School Workshop: Monday 10 December and Thursday 13 December 3pm-6pm Do you consider yourself a good little elf, or are you on the naughty list? Come along and make some cracking Christmas crafts and gifts for your family and friends… guaranteed to get anyone in the Christmas spirit (or any naughty elf onto the nice list)
Season’s Greetings with Ian Casey Friday 4 December 7pm (doors open 6:30) Join our all-time favourite festive singer Ian Casey for another year of merriment and seasonal tunes! With an evening of Christmas classics, Ian Casey is sure to make you excited for the holiday period! Tickets £6 to include a complimentary tea or coffee and a festive pie.
Supper with Santa– Sunday 16 December 2.30pm and Monday 17 December 5pm. A Christmas miracle has happened, and Santa has arrived at the Manor House Museum for a unique evening of festive fun and he is inviting you to join him! The evening will be jam packed with crafts, magic shows, films and of course a special visit from Santa himself! Not forgetting a sack full of surprises along the way! This is an event not to be missed! Back by popular demand - advance booking necessary. £12 per child to include Santa’s gifts and event keepsakes. Adults £4.00 to include a complimentary tea or coffee and festive pie.
A Wonderful Christmas– Tuesday 18 December 6.30pm. (doors open 6.15pm) As we close up for the end of 2018 we have brought back our traditional Christmas time movie. The classic movie about George Bailey’s Christmas miracle is guaranteed to warm your heart as he realises his life is wonderful. Tickets £4 per person to include a complimentary tea or coffee and a festive pie.
Wednesbury Museum is currently closed to the general public, due to flooding in recent storms. The museum will reopen again at the beginning of April - Sorry for any inconvenience caused.
Check back here for more events later in the year or call 0121 556 0683 for details.
Galton Valley Pumping station is usualy open on the first Saturday of the month 10am-3pm from april -October Entry FREE - Dog Friendly
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.
Manned by our brilliant Friends group. Entrance is FREE - We'll be back in 2019.
Call 0121 556 0683 for more information.
Bishop Asbury Cottage normally hosts several public open days per year FREE. keep checking back here for details
Alternatively you can book in a group visit for a small charge per person by calling 0121 553 0759.
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 for 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.