This weekend was a surprise trip to Beamish Open Air Museum in Durham for PG’s Grandad’s birthday. I say this weekend, it was actually two weekends ago now I’m just as slow as a snail at writing these posts it seems (sorry). Having been planned for a while we had been excited about this trip for quite some time. Me and Wifey went as kids but haven’t been for a long time. PG was sure to get a lot out of the trip, and we were looking forward to watching her enjoy her trip round the museum.
Beamish is a world famous open air museum, telling the story of life in North East England during the 1820s, 1900s & 1940s.
It’s a two hour drive for us to get there so we set off, car laden with stuff as we were staying overnight at Park Farm Hotel. Whenever we go on a long road trip we make extra effort to make sure we are travelling over PG’s nap time. This (usually) means she is in the land of nod for most of it, and the rest can be filled watching Monsters Inc (again) or Toy Story (again) which she absolutely loves.
If you’ve been following recent posts, I’m still not allowed to drive on medical grounds so I had to endure yet another long journey as a passenger. Nothing against your driving Wifey, just get me back in the driver’s seat!!
The journey to Beamish was largely uneventful, give or take the usual few nutters on Britain’s roads, and the fact I was so desperate for a pee that I genuinely had to stop listening to Wifey in case she said anything that made me laugh. It was a very close call and in hindsight I should have found a bush as once we got there the queue, naturally, was very long so I had to wait for even longer! Gah!
We had prepaid tickets but there was still a ridiculous queue. It was a bank holiday so we expected it to be busier than normal, but it was BUSY. Thankfully toilets were not too far from the entrance. Sweet relief.
Beamish is another of those attractions who are giving their tickets as 12-month validity period. This is great as even though it’s a couple of hours away, we can go back. We are building up our collection of 12-month passes to various places. It means you can have subsequent fun days out without breaking the bank, and places like this are ideal for PG as she grows up. Even at 16 months she loved this place. Year passes start at £11 for kiddies (5+) and £19 for adults. Family tickets can also be purchased and under 5s go free (hurray!). For us it was cheaper to join Friends of Beamish as you’ll also get a free guide book (worth £5) when you get there, so check this out before you go.
Enjoying Your Stay
Beamish is a big old place, and each section is away from the last and accessed via a host of open top vintage buses and trams, which PG was thrilled with. It’s that big we didn’t even see it all, so it’s good that we can go back. I think trying to cram the whole place into a single day would be a bit of a rush.
You will journey through time from the 1820s Pockerley town, where you can see Pockerly Old Hall, dating back to the 1440s, and take a ride on the Waggonway to learn all about early British railways, through to a 1900 town, colliery and pit village, then steam ahead to the 1940s farm. There really is loads to see.
PG enjoyed running around the 1900s town, looking at all the old shops and houses, visiting Barclays Bank, and buying some traditional sweets from the sweet shop. Watching the trams and buses go by was a firm favorite. Seeing her excitement as she grows up and takes things in that are going on around her is so rewarding for any parent.
It was very busy here in the 1900s town, but that didn’t stop her barging passed the old ladies who were walking way too slowly for her!
There’s also a bakery which oddly had run out of bread (yes really) so a couple of us had some sweet stuff. It was a busy day so perhaps we can let them off this time. We didn’t really knead any bread as we had sweets from the sweet shop (ba dum tschhh) so we stayed happy. We paid a visit to the tearoom for lunch which is fairly reasonably priced, but HEAVING. Go early to avoid a queue, particularly on typically busy bank holiday weekends. After lunch it was time for the traditional funfair. This isn’t huge (nor is it cheap) but PG enjoyed a ride on the merry-go-round train, played on the ‘beach’ and sat in a mini deck chair, before trying her hand at Beat the Buzzer (yes, she was sh*t at it but you’ve got to give the little ‘uns a turn!!)
A fun day was had which was topped of with a visit to the coal fired chippy. Epic chips consumed here after encountering the longest queue for a chip shop you’ve ever had to stand in, but well worth it. After munching chips we had time for a quick trip inside the old school, where PG spent a good half hour trundling hoops, a traditional Victorian playground game. This, friends, is incredibly noisy when there’s a billion kids running round doing exactly the same thing.
We didn’t see all of the museum, but we’ll definitely go back in a month or so to see more. Each time we visit PG will experience new things and she just loves being outside, so somewhere like this is absolutely perfect. Definitely worth a visit.
I’ll leave you with some pictures from our day!