Great North Museum: Hancock Newcastle wedding venue

Today I am bringing you another unusual and unique wedding venue in Newcastle upon Tyne - The Great North Museum: Hancock. I talked about the art and culture of the Laing Art Gallery last time, but if your tastes lean more towards the natural and ancient world, the Great North Museum (GNM) may appeal to you more.

Great North Museum: Hancock

Great North Museum: Hancock

Despite it's location in the heart of Newcastle city centre, the exterior of the GNM has the look and feel of a country hall. The landscaped grounds will allow you to leave the hustle and bustle of the city behind; you can wander over the manicured lawns, admire the planted borders and the patio garden even has a raised pond.


The museum was established in 1884 and was formerly known as the Hancock Museum. In 2006 it merged with Newcastle University's Hatton Gallery to form the Great North Museum. The museum reopened as the Great North Museum: Hancock in May 2009 following a major extension and refurbishment of the original Victorian building. The museum and most of its collections are owned by the Natural History Society of Northumbria, and it is managed by Tyne & Wear Archives & Museums on behalf of Newcastle University.

Highlights of their collections include a a life-size T-Rex dinosaur replica skeleton, a large-scale interactive model of Hadrian's Wall, major displays showing the wonder and diversity of the animal kingdom, spectacular objects from the Ancient Greeks and mummies from Ancient Egypt, plus a planetarium. Star objects include a full size model of an elephant, a great white shark, a virtual aquarium, live animal displays, a polar bear, a giraffe and moa skeleton.

Great North Museum: Hancock - T-Rex

Great North Museum: Hancock - T-Rex

All of the museum's rooms and galleries are licensed for wedding ceremonies, so you can choose an intimate ceremony around the museum’s T-Rex, an extravagant celebration for hundreds in the Special Exhibition Space, or a summer drinks reception in the Clore suite and patio.

All of the weddings and civil partnerships I have attended at the GNM so far have taken place in the Clore education suite on the ground floor. This is quite a large room that can seat around 100 guests It opens onto a spacious patio with a raised pond and planting, providing an ideal location for drinks receptions. You could spend the entire day here, from the wedding ceremony, on to to wedding breakfast and then through to your evening reception.

On the first floor, the Special Exhibition Space is a large open plan space, measuring almost 500 square metres, and again can be used for civil ceremonies, wedding breakfasts and evening receptions. This space can be partitioned into three separate areas offering you great flexibility and can accommodate up to 500 guests.

The Hancock café is also on the first floor, and with views over the landscaped front garden it can also be hired for more intimate ceremonies or celebrations.

If you really want to impress your guests you could even hire the entire museum for your evening reception. Of course, this would also be dependant upon exhibitions on display in the Special Exhibition Space, , and after normal opening hours, but imagine what a fantastic experience having the entire run of the museum would be!

Great North Museum: Hancock

Great North Museum: Hancock


Many of the museum’s galleries, such as the double height Living Planet gallery make an unforgettable backdrop for photographs. Of course, you also have the landscaped grounds if the weather is good. If the weather is poor then you needn't worry as the building interiors are spacious and offer plenty of scope for exciting images.

Bear in mind that you may be mingling with members of the public both inside and outside the building depending upon the time and day of your ceremony. This is also dependant upon how much of the museum you hire for your ceremony.

As a photographer I would give my right arm to take wedding photographs in a venue as unusual and unique as this!

Great North Museum: Hancock - grounds

Great North Museum: Hancock - grounds


  • Great city centre location, with a country hall 'feel'
  • Stunning potential for photographs both in the gardens and in the galleries
  • Truly unique, especially to lovers of the ancient and natural world


  • No rooms, so you will need to arrange overnight accommodation elsewhere if required


Few areas of Britain can boast the variety of landscapes and wildlife that can be found here in the North East. The Great North Museum will give you and your guests the chance to marvel at some of those wonders. 

From a full sized replica of a T-Rex to the mummies of Egypt, this fascinating venue celebrates life in all its forms.

Quirky and eclectic, amazing and intriguing, this is a unique venue for a Newcastle wedding.


Telephone: 0844 856 1074


Write: Great North Museum, Barras Bridge, Newcastle upon Tyne NE2 4PT


You can read more wedding venue reviews on my Newcastle upon Tyne weddings page.

Photographs provided by Tyne and Wear Archives & Museums