Norfolk is home to several fascinating steam museums that showcase the region’s rich industrial heritage. These museums offer a glimpse into the past, allowing visitors to step back in time and explore the history of steam power and its impact on society.
Join us as we take a closer look at some of the most popular steam museums in Norfolk and discover what makes them such a captivating destination for history buffs and curious visitors alike.
Be sure to sign up for our email newsletter here so that tell you more about interesting things to do in Norfolk.
Note: This post contains affiliate links. As an Amazon Associate, we earn from qualifying purchases. Please see disclosure for more information.
Steam Museums to Visit in Norfolk
From restored steam engines and locomotives to interactive exhibits and demonstrations, Norfolk’s steam museums offer a unique and immersive experience for all ages. Let’s take a detailed look at the different options.
Thursford Collection is more than just a steam museum. In addition to steam engines, you will be able to see organs, fairground rides, and silent movies. George T.H. Cushing MBE, was inspired to create this museum after experiencing the sights and sounds of the fairground as a child.
This museum boasts the world’s largest collection of steam engines and organs, and visitors can experience the thrill of riding on fairground carousels and the gondola, and watch silent movies. Robert Wolfe, one of the world’s leading theatre organists, performs daily on the Mighty Wurlitzer, the centerpiece of the collection.
The Thursford Collection is also home to the Thursford Christmas Spectacular so the museum is not open all year. It best to check the website here to confirm opening dates and the impact of renovation works taking place. Also, keep in mind fairground rides are subject to availability and are not included in the admission price.
Charles Burrell Museum
Discover the world of one of the most notable Industrialists of the golden age of engineering and agriculture, Charles Burrell. Nestled in the charming town of Thetford, you’ll find the Charles Burrell Museum, housed inside the original paint shop of his company, Charles Burrell Works. The museum is run by volunteers, and while admission is free, donations are gratefully received.
You can learn about the story of Burrell Works, once the largest employer in Thetford until its closure in 1928. The museum proudly owns and maintains three working Burrell engines, which can be viewed in full steam during special events.
When you get hungry, the museum also has a small café, called Steamers’ Cafe, run by volunteers. They serve cheese or bacon toasties along homemade cakes and hot and cold drinks. Those who need to follow a gluten-free, vegan, or vegetarian diet will find options.
Forncett Steam Museum
Step back in time and immerse yourself in the steam power of the Industrial Revolution at Forncett Industrial Steam Museum, an award-winning collection of stunning stationary steam engines located in the serene South Norfolk countryside.
The museum is the result of a lifetime of work by Dr Rowan Francis and his team of dedicated volunteers. Visitors can witness 14 magnificent steam engines in action, including the one that used to open Tower Bridge. In addition, a fully operational Victorian machine shop is on display, complete with three lathes, two vertical drills, a shaper, hacksaw, hand-powered planer, threading machine, and steel bar chopper and punch.
For an unforgettable experience, visit on a Steam Day, which occurs on the first Sunday of May to October, where everything is in full operation, and visitors can relish in homemade cakes and hot pork rolls. Alternatively, visit on a Wednesday or Sunday during the year to see the entire collection during their static opening days. Although admission on static opening days is free, donations are appreciated.
Get more information here.
Strumpshaw Hall Steam Museum
Get ready to step back in time and experience the wonders of steam engines, 100-ton working beam engines, a narrow-gauge railway, a 1930s fairground, mechanical organs, and memorabilia at the Strumpshaw Hall Steam Museum.
Founded in 1964, the Strumpshaw Steam Museum is a place where history comes alive. The museum’s roots, however, stretch back much further to 1908, when William Charles Flower Holmes took over the estate and built a generator that produced the first electricity in Strumpshaw. Today, the museum proudly displays an array of steam engines and farm machinery that helped shape our future, preserving the rich family traditions of the Holmes for generations to come.
Take a break from exploring the museum and enjoy a picnic lunch in the paddock, taking in the stunning views on a summer’s day. Before you leave, don’t forget to visit the gift shop for souvenirs and mementos. The newly furnished cafeteria is perfect for relaxing with a cup of tea or coffee, soft drinks, cakes, and pastries. If you like, you can bring your dog on a lead in the museum.
The museum is only open on Sundays and bank holidays, and there is a small admission charge, but parking is free. If you’re looking for an extended stay, consider booking our campsite set in the beautiful Strumpshaw Hall grounds, with plenty of room for all types of caravans, motorhomes, and tents, available to book all year round.
Get more information here.
More Steam Attractions in Norfolk
If you enjoyed these steam museums, you should also visit the steam railways in Norfolk which are sure to delight steam and train enthusiasts of all ages.
Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links. This means we will receive a small commission for some purchases made using links in our blog with no additional cost to you. Please be assured we would not promote any product unless we believe that our readers will also benefit. The commission does not influence the editorial content of this site.