Beamish is an open air Museum taking you back to what life was like in the North East of England during the 1820s, 1900s and 1940s.
The museum is laid out as a town and covers a vast area. You catch a vintage bus or tram into the town centre or walk. We chose to take the bus as it was a little too far for tiny legs and was a great way to start the day. I would definitely recommend wearing comfy shoes and bring a raincoat.
We were very impressed how they were able to recreate such an experience that made you feel as though you had stepped back in time and the ability to make it fun for all ages. The staff are dressed up in traditional clothes and the houses, shops etc are just like you stepped back in time in the North East of England.
There are different parts to the museum: The Colliery, Pit Village, The 1940s Farm, the Town, the Railway Station and then an old farm from the 1800s.
There are plenty of place to eat or you can take your own packed lunches as there are picnic benches located all over the museum grounds.
You could buy fish and chips from Davy’s Fish and Chip Shop cooked in traditional beef dripping but this was very popular and there was a 45 minute to an hour wait so we enjoyed the aroma and went on to make the most of our day.
There is the Farmhouse Cafe but we chose to eat in the Tea Rooms which were located in the Town. It was great as they even do kids packed lunches.
You can choose to sit in the Bandstand and eat your packed lunch. The tearooms were busy but there was lots of seating and the smell of food was enticing.
We had visited in August and although the car park was busy the queues moved quickly. After leaving the entrance hall to the Museum you walk out to where an open top tram or bus will take you into the town.
The children loved the experience and got them asking questions such as why is there a man dressed in uniform on the bus? Helping them to learn about the conductor and what his job was, reeling off a paper ticket.
The setting is beautiful in the middle of a wide open field; the first stop for us was visiting the dentist. The girls loved going in and out of all the houses with excellent attention to detail and very informative staff.
The girls couldn’t get over that for a young lady’s 21st birthday present she would have all her teeth extracted and be given a set of false teeth. They were also shocked to be told that people used to brush their teeth with coal dust. They were stunned at all the equipment and gas masks used long ago and my daughter said I don’t want black teeth, so was a good reminder for little ones about taking care of their teeth.
They also could not believe going into the local pub that there was straw on the floor.
The town was great and gave the children a chance to purchase items from the various shops. The children loved buying broken biscuits from the shop, an old fashioned book about how to be a woman in the 1940s.
The bakers shop was a lovely treat for the girls and there was a large queue to purchase delicious items such as empire biscuits, gingerbread men, scones and various cakes but deliciously worth the wait.
In Barclays bank we pretended to be working at the Beamish branch which the girls really enjoyed!
We also loved buying hard boiled sweets from the sweet shop.
The fairground was the children s favourite, jumping on the old fashioned carousel, chance to try out throwing balls at coconuts, the swing boats were great fun.
The children loved the 1940s farm, air raid shelter, 1900s village piand a trip to the school to write on the slate boards. We ended up purchasing two as they were enthralled by this, an old fashioned iPad they were calling them. It was great fun for them playing school playground games from that era.
If you have a dog, Beamish is also dog friendly.
I thought the entry fee was good value costing £18 per adult to get in (under 5′s are free) but that then gives you access for the year.
There is lots of history but it is made interesting by the recreation of the village, helpful staff and best of all it is hands on. The children were able to get a real taste of what life was like over 100 years ago. Other open air museums we have visited have been rather strict and there is not the same opportunity as Beamish offers.
We had a fabulous day at Beamish and many fantastic memories were made. We would definitely visit again.