A visit to the Bayeux Tapestry Museum – Your questions answered

 

The Bayeux Tapestry Museum in the beautiful Normandy town of Bayeux, France, is home to the world’s most famous embroidery telling us, in picture form, of the events of 1066 leading up to William Duke of Normandy’s victory over his rival Harold of England. Frequently topping bucket lists the world over, here’s everything visitors need to know about planning a visit to the famous Battle of Hastings comic strip.

Is the Bayeux Tapestry on public display?

The answer to that is ‘yes!’. Despite its age and fragility, incredibly it is possible to view the ancient 70-metre-long artefact in the flesh, thanks to the careful preservation conditions it is stored in.

Where is the Bayeux Tapestry located?

The embroidery is on display in the Bayeux Tapestry Museum which can be found at the Centre Guillaume le Conquérant in a 17th century bishops’ college at the heart of Bayeux, Normandy, France. And Bayeux couldn’t be easier to reach: just 28 miles from the ferry port of Ouistreham or 59 miles from the ferry port of Cherbourg, Bayeux is literally just on the other side of the Channel for UK visitors. From Caen, it’s just 20 miles to Bayeux, and it’s 2 hours 30 mins from Paris to Bayeux by train.

What can I expect when I visit the Bayeux Tapestry Museum?

On arrival at the Bayeux Tapestry, a handheld audio guide will be loaned to you. The audio guide is available in English and there is also a children’s version of the audio-guide, also available in English. Then, just a few people at a time, to ensure everyone’s viewing is unobscured, visitors enter the dark tunnel-like gallery in which the original Bayeux Tapestry is displayed. The commentary immediately begins, guiding you along the length of the artefact and explaining the narrative through the 58 scenes. During the viewing, which lasts 25 minutes, visitors are requested to remain silent.

 

Visitors can then delve deeper into their Bayeux Tapestry experience by going to see the associated museum displays on the first floor. These provide a wealth of fascinating Bayeux Tapestry facts including mysteries surrounding how it was made, and there’s also a timeline showing how it has survived for almost 1,000 years. Don’t miss the opportunity to examine a full reproduction fresco of the Tapestry (this time in daylight and at your own pace!), and then, on the second floor, enter the cinema room to watch a 16-minute film about how William Duke of Normandy became King of England. This William the Conqueror film alternates between French and English showings.

How much does it cost to visit the Bayeux Tapestry?

You can find all ticketing information here. Please buy your tickets on arrival at the museum. (Group bookings only in advance.)

Please note that if you plan to visit more than one of Bayeux’s museums (The Bayeux Tapestry, the Battle of Normandy Museum, the Baron Gérard Art and History Museum) please notify staff at the time of purchase for a combined ticket and reduced ticket price.

How long does it take to visit the Bayeux Tapestry Museum?

For the complete visit (viewing of the original Tapestry + time to experience the additional display galleries + time to view the film), you should allow approximately 1 hour and 30 minutes.

Additional useful information about your visit

The Bayeux Tapestry Museum is accessible to people with reduced mobility (wheelchair loan).

There are several carparks in Bayeux town centre, including car parks in the museum’s immediate vicinity.

Please note that the museum is closed on certain dates over the Christmas period and is also closed throughout January.

Don’t delay! The museum is due to close temporarily in 2024 for renovation and extensive repair of the Tapestry.

What else is there to see and do in Bayeux?

Bayeux itself is a beautifully preserved medieval town, which remarkably and thankfully was not damaged by the events of WW2 in 1944. Innumerable timber-framed buildings can be found in the town centre where you will also find lovely cafes and boutiques. Prolong your exploration of Bayeux by visiting…

Bayeux’s magnificent Notre-Dame cathedral, a stunning Romanesque and Norman-Gothic wonder.

Bayeux’s poignant CWGC British Military Cemetery, the largest WW2 Commonwealth cemetery in France.

The Battle of Normandy Museum.

The Baron Gerard Museum, dedicated to art and history.

You could also time your trip to attend the annual ‘D-Day Festival’ which takes place around the anniversary of D-Day in early June, or the ‘Cathédrale de Guillaume’ (‘William’s Cathedral’), a fabulous festive lightshow depicting the Bayeux Tapestry.

What else is there to see and do near Bayeux?

One of the best things about staying in this part of Calvados is that you’re in for a double whammy on the history front with both the Bayeux Tapestry *and* another of the world’s most famous sites – the Normandy D-Day beaches – on the doorstep. The Bayeux Tapestry Museum is within easy driving distance of all the Normandy D-Day Beaches:

 

Sword Beach around Merville-Franceville (30 miles from Bayeux)

Juno Beach around Courseulles-sur-Mer (13 miles from Bayeux)

Gold Beach around Arromanches les Bains (7 miles from Bayeux)

Omaha Beach around Colleville-sur-Mer (10 miles from Bayeux)

and Utah Beach around Sainte-Mère-Eglise (35 miles from Bayeux by car).

 

To understand the whole story of WW2 in the context of the 20th century, the must-see museum is the Caen Memorial Museum (18 miles from Bayeux).

Feeling inspired? Now visit the Bayeux Tapestry Museum’s website here. Start planning your trip to Calvados here.

 

 

Discover too