Preston Park Museum and Grounds
- | 01642 527375
- | www.prestonparkmuseum.co.uk
- Free entry with National Art Pass.
- View venue & entry details
This splendid 19th-century mansion and its grounds offers a fascinating journey back in time to the building’s heyday as a residence.
Preston Hall, which stands in 100 acres of parkland, was originally opened as a museum and park by Stockton-on-Tees Borough Council in 1953. Following refurbishment in 2012, it is able to display a wide range of the 90,000-plus items in the Stockton Museum Services’ collection and concentrates on six themes: a Victorian winter garden; the Hall and its people; collectors and collecting; the River Tees; Clocking Off, an investigation of working life; and 1895 – The Victorian Street, a major recreation of Victorian society.
Themed galleries in Preston Hall explore the history of the Grade II Listed building and the surrounding borough. One of the many treasures on display is Georges de la Tour’s The Dice Players (c. 1650). The restoration work went as far as a fully reconstruction of the original Victorian kitchen garden and orchard, with staff and volunteers recreating authentic plant and vegetable varieties.
Similar attention to period detail has gone into Preston Park’s impressive Victorian street, which boasts fully restored shops, including a printer, a forge, a draper, grocer and a Victorian tea room.
Aside from the fully-functioning Victorian tea room on the Victorian street, there is a modern café at the site.
Outdoors, visitors can stroll along the banks of the River Tees or make use of the adventure play area, the Quarry Wood Nature Reserve, Butterfly world and, on Sundays in summer, a miniature steam railway.