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Large group of adults and children looking at the River Don Engine. Large group of adults and children looking at the River Don Engine.

Join our Historic Engineering team and discover the ins and outs of operating the most powerful working steam engine in Europe.

Round out the day with a truly unmissable experience – the hands-on thrill of running the 12,000 horsepower engine.

£250 per person

To ensure the best experience for you, these exclusive, hands-on sessions have a strictly limited capacity. This experience accommodates two people – if you're booking a single place, you'll be joined by another participant.  

9am-2pm, lunch and refreshments included.

Guests must be able to follow instructions, be comfortable working at height and able to climb up and down steep ladders.

About the day

You’ll arrive ready for a 9am start. Our team will introduce you to the site over a cuppa in the workshop and we’ll also kit you out with a boiler suit and safety equipment.

We’ll begin with an introduction to the boiler, how it works and how to start it. We’ll then move to the engine room where we’ll explain the history of the River Don Engine. The Engineer will turn on the steam to warm the engine. We’ll return to the RDE later.

Before that we’ll then move to the Fitzwilliam engine and/or the Stephenson Howe engine and explain the principles of steam engines and we’ll also return to the boiler room to perform essential safety checks and fill out the logbook.

There’ll be a chance to stop for a cuppa and a comfort break and then we’ll start preparing the engine for a public demonstration at noon. 

You’ll have another chance to run the engine before learning how to shut it down for the day.  It’ll then be time for lunch, and you’ll have a chance to have a good look around the museum.


There’s no need to specify a date when you book, we’ll be in touch after the festive period to find a time that suits whoever’s going to be joining us. 

The museum is very accessible, but sadly in order to access the boiler room and run the River Don Engine, you need to be physically able to climb vertical ladders and climb up and down steep stairs onto the engine. If this isn’t possible for you, do talk to us and we’ll be happy to explore an alternative.

Please wear comfortable clothes and robust flat shoes that enable you to move around freely.

There’s no need to bring any special equipment – we’ll supply overalls and safety equipment as needed. If you have your own overalls feel free to bring them.

This experience involves a lot of health and safety procedures and as such, we’re able to offer it to people aged 16 and over.

This River Don Engine experience accommodates a maximum of two people.  That said, your friends and family are welcome to visit the museum during your experience. They will be able to see you from the boiler room viewing area and from the engine room whilst you are working on the River Don Engine. Friends and family are welcome to join the introduction to steam engines too.

You’ll have the chance to choose from the Island Cafe menu, which has a range of delicious options. This experience includes a £15 allowance for lunch for each participant.

For orders made by Thursday 15 December, we'll send you a printed voucher you can give to the recipient. You can still order right up until Thursday 22 Dec though - for orders after the 15th, we'll email you a digital version to print at home or pass on.

Book now

Buy this museum gift experience today in our online shop


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