- Visit Waterworks Museum where your little ones can enjoy using hands-on exhibits, including in the unique Heritage Water Park, and the museum has a permanent exhibition to Hereford in WWII.
- There are trails and interactive exhibits for kids to enjoy across the museum, including a Heritage Water Park with nine full-size artefacts designed for use by children of every age
- The Waterworks Museum is home to the oldest working triple-expansion steam engine in the UK.
- If you're looking for fun things to do in Hereford, don't miss out on the Play 'n' Learn zone at the Waterworks Museum, along with Open days for you to operate older working water machines.
The Waterworks Museum, Hereford, is a museum based in what was previously a Victorian pumping station, that served Hereford for 120 years. The Waterworks Museum explores the fascinating story of drinking water as it has existed throughout the ages through unique displays and exhibitions that are both informative and fun. Discover how the progress of water supplies went from the first cave dwellers at Symonds Yat, to now in Hereford for the latest filtration and water pumping systems that are used.
The museum has an impressive collection of engines just waiting to be explored; these include the old working triple-expansion steam pumping engine in the UK, which used to pump up to 1 million gallons of liquid every day. The whole family can see and experience all the methods of motive power for water (apart from animal power). There are interesting exhibits of electric motors power, and these can typically be seen working. If you're looking to catch the internal combustion and steam engines, you'll have to attend the Open Days in Steam to see these live in action. Plus, don't miss out on the life-sized exhibits that are available for kids to have a play on, there is a specially designed outdoor Play 'n' Learn Zone just for your little ones to enjoy.
The Waterworks Museum boasts the widest chronological range of working water-pumping gadgets and devices in Britain, home to exhibitions that stretch across time, from 1850 to 2000, whilst housing replicas (that also work). Some of these older, authentic replicas are some of the earliest water-raising devices from the ancient Greek and Roman periods. Immerse yourself in this history and imagine how water was siphoned all those years ago. Practically all the operating, working engines and pumps are among the last few remaining samples on display for the public. The Waterworks Museum is home to a vast and unique collection of working industrial objects and artefacts that deal with the supply of potable water presented in the genuine surroundings and atmosphere of a Victorian waterworks building and grounds. If you're after some more historically inclined days out with a twist, check out Broomy Hill Miniature Railway, and enjoy a ride on one of the numerous trains and model locomotives.
Don't miss out on the unique Noel Meeke Heritage Water Park, which is mostly at younger children, although every visitor is encouraged to have a go at using the historic water devices. It's always a big hit with families! Here visitors can play with and interact with full-size, giant devices and equipment for lifting, moving, pumping and filtering water the way it has been used throughout the generations. This is all done in a safe environment, so children and adults alike can have a fun educational experience. Learn all about the difficulties of obtaining water, how this affected past civilisations, and how this has changed today. These open days are run on the second and last Sundays between April and October, providing kids with the chance to play with some ancient engines in action. And, during the summer months, there are additional activities to enjoy.
Hereford is conveniently located; within easy reach of the Midlands, the Cotswolds, and mid and south Wales. The Waterworks Museum is situated near the banks of the river Wye approximately 1km from the City Centre. So, families love to combine their day out with many other Hereford’s attractions, such as the exquisite Norman Cathedral and its chained library and Mappa Mundi Museum, or the Cider Museum. Another family favourite to visit when in Herefordshire is Berrington Hall, a beloved National Trust estate, boasting stunning landscaped gardens, historical artefacts and more secrets to uncover.
What to know before you go
- When you're feeling peckish, there is a café on site serving food, snacks and drinks. Plus, there are picnic tables perfect for a lovely meal from home as you enjoy the landscape and atmosphere.
- There are toilets, accessible toilets and baby changing facilities.
- Assistance dogs are welcomed throughout the museum.
- The Waterworks Museum is a Victorian water pumping station; therefore floors and external surfaces are not all flat and even, and the upper part of the museum site is on higher ground.
- Wheelchair users can access all parts of the Waterworks Museum, and all signs use lettering that is legible to those with impaired vision.
- The Waterworks Museum is located in Hereford, Broomy Hill.
- If travelling via car, you can get to Waterworks Museum via the M50 as it's the only motorway that runs through the county, on the southern edge. This route links to the M5, which connects south-west England with Birmingham.
- There is free parking on site.
- If travelling by train to the Waterworks Museum, Herefordshire is well connected to the rest of the West Midlands and Wales. The nearest train stations are Hereford, Leominster, Colwall and Ledbury. A journey from Hereford to London Paddington takes three hours. Meanwhile, Birmingham New Street and Manchester Piccadilly can be reached in one hour and a half and two hours and a half respectively. Stations at Knighton and Bucknell are served by Heart of Wales, which links Craven Arms to Llanelli.