A special invitation has been issued offering families the chance to enjoy a free taste of the half term fun on offer at the Head of Steam – Darlington Railway Museum.

During the October half term holiday, the museum will be throwing opening its doors for free to give visitors – old and new – a chance to explore the museum, view its latest exhibitions and join in a host of fun events.

While the museum is usually closed Monday and Tuesday during its autumn/winter season, it will be open all week during the half term, 11am until 3.30pm every day between 23 and 29 October.

The museum has teamed up with Local Motion, Darlington Hippodrome, Wheel Education and a host of other partners to put together a fun-packed programme of events the whole family can enjoy.

Events will include a special family cycle ride and a railway-themed walk, which both stop at Head of Steam and each day there will be different fun events.

On Monday Jays Animal Encounters gives visitors the chance to meet some very special little critters, while Tuesday offers a drop-in story and craft session with staff from Darlington Libraries.

That History Bloke – Richard Stevenson, will be leading games, crafts and dressing up from the Victorian era on Wednesday; while the Romans will be the topic of activities with Roy Lawson aka Roman soldier Rufus Aelius Victor on Thursday.

Elizabeth Baker of Tillytoo Tales will be revealing some of the many stories of heroism and sacrifice from World War One on Friday. All these activities take place from 11am until 1pm.

Visitors can also join in a series of special autumn craft sessions each day, 1-3pm, and from 11am until 3pm on Saturday and Sunday (28 and 29 October).

Staff from soon to be unveiled Darlington Hippodrome will be on hand to talk about its amazing transformation and the exciting opening line-up of shows, which includes this year’s panto “Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs”.

Nick Wallis, Darlington Borough Council’s Cabinet member for leisure and the local environment, said:

“More than 33,000 visits to the museum were recorded last year; many of them were repeat visitors making the most of their annual family passes, which offer terrific value for money.

“This half term we’re extending an open invitation to all to come along for free to find out more about your local museum, and Darlington’s unique position as the birthplace of the passenger railway.

“Our staff and the team of dedicated volunteers, work hard to ensure there is an interesting and varied programme of exhibitions as well as fun events, offering something for all ages.

“This week’s events are free and we’re keen to welcome as many visitors as possible to join in the fun. Visitors can also take advantage of a special discount on our Annual Family Pass giving you unlimited access for a whole year for just £10.”

The Annual Family Pass, which is normally £15, gives unlimited access to the museum for two adults and up to four children for a whole year. It includes entry to most events, or discounts on others such as the ever popular Santa at the Station.

For full details and for more information about Head of Steam – Darlington Railway Museum visit the website atwww.head-of-steam.co.uk you can also follow us on Twitter @HeadofSteamMus or Facebook atwww.facebook.com\headofsteammuseum or telephone 01325 405060 or emailheadofsteam@darlington.gov.uk