I recently had a brilliant day out at Preston Park Museum and Grounds and it left me asking myself the question… ‘why on Earth have I never been here before’?
The Stockton based attraction is about an hour’s drive my home in Newcastle. I’d probably overlooked it for this reason. However, now that I’ve been and seen it for myself I’m happy to shout about the fact that it is well worth a visit!
I was invited down to Preston Park Museum and Grounds to check out the ‘Behind the Seams’ exhibition which opened on the 12th October. I’d heard great things about this exhibition when it was first showcased here back in 2018, so I knew I was in for a treat.
‘Behind the Seams’ is a chance to get up close to a fabulous range of iconic costumes from well loved TV shows and popular movies. The current exhibition is taking place in Preston Hall until 19th February 2022 – and this time around there’s a largely new collection on display. It includes outfits from The Crown, Fantastic Beasts, Rocket Man, It’s a Sin, James Bond and loads more!
The beautiful Georgian building with its Victorian extensions provides the perfect setting for these breath-taking displays, especially the detailed period costumes.
Angels Costumes is the company behind each of the unique creations on display. I found it really interesting to learn more about the history of Angels Costumes whilst visiting the exhibition. Imagine working somewhere that produces such amazing pieces of work! It’s no wonder Angels Costumes has been called ‘the world’s greatest costume house’. The company has supplied costumes to 37 Academy Award winning films and in 2016 they received a BAFTA for Outstanding British Contribution to Cinema.
I could have honestly stood and stared and the stunning dress from The Crown all day long. I’ve never even seen The Crown but the detail on this dress blew my mind! Although the waist on it is about the same size as my wrist, I would have jumped at the chance to squeeze in to it and swoosh around Preston Hall like a princess. The costumes from Mrs Henderson Presents and Shakespeare in Love where also pretty spectacular.
I had planned on spending an hour or so at Preston Park Museum and Grounds but it’s easily somewhere you can enjoy a full day out. As well as the galleries, where you can learn more about the history of the hall and the nearby River Tees, there’s also a replica Victorian Street to explore.
Stepping out of Preston Hall on to the Victorian Street is like stepping back in time. You can wander in to a real toy shop, a police station, a blacksmiths, grocers, printers, drapers, chemist and violin makers! No visit is complete without popping in to the sweet shop where you can have your favourite sweets weighed out in to paper bags. It’s chocolate limes for me!
There’s also ‘Watson & Brigham’, a quaint Victorian tea room serving up hot and cold drinks as well huge cheese and fruit scones and mouth-watering tray bakes.
In warmer months Preston Park is a great place to take a picnic. There are designated areas in the park and the Orchard.
The grounds are huge with plenty of woodland walks and riverside trails. For little ones there is a massive adventure play park with an impressive tree-top climbing frame. Oh, and I spotted a skatepark too.
I had a good old mooch around the gift shop (I LOVE a museum gift shop). It was packed with some of my favourite brands like Orla Kiely and Sass & Belle. There was plenty of locally made gifts and homewares too.
A few yards away from Preston Park Museum and Grounds you’ll also find Butterfly World (closed during winter months). This is a separate attraction and I’ve never been myself but I think if I was to revisit Stockton with my nieces and nephews next year I would add this to our itinerary. It’s home to meerkats and reptiles as well as butterflies and tropical plants.
Keep an eye out for seasonal events too, like Santa’s grotto, Victorian Christmas weekends, reindeer visits and more.
I hope this post has inspired you to visit Preston park Museum and Grounds. I would highly recommend a visit while the ‘Behind the Seams’ exhibition is on. Especially if you have tv and film fans in the family. As always, I’d encourage you to visit the attraction’s own website to help you plan your trip but here’s some of the essential info you might need…
Have you ever been to Preston Park Museum and Grounds? I’d love to hear what your favourite part is. Leave a comment below and help me shout about this brilliant North East attraction.