Durham - Beamish Open Air Museum Review

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  • Value For Money

bossy.'s review of Durham - Beamish Open Air Museum


“Beamish is a large open-air museum in Durham depicting...”

Written on: 30/08/2002 by bossy. (1 review written)

Good Points
Genuine living history - plenty to keep the kids attention
Once inside, you don't have to spend any more money if you take your own refreshments.

Bad Points
lots of walking - but it tires the kids out.

General Comments
Beamish is a large open-air museum in Durham depicting life in the late 19th and earthly 20th centuries. It has a town, village, farm, fair, railway station, manor house and trams to link to each part of the site.

The entrance fee is reasonable, but if you live in the area you can pay a tiny bit more and return as many times as you like for no extra fee. You can even bring 2 guests. But you can't buy this membership on a bank holiday.

The buildings are genuine, dismantled from other areas and rebuilt on the site to create this attraction. All 'exhibits' are genuine for the period. Even the staff wear period costume and do their jobs as they would have been done at the time.

In the mining village you get to go inside a real mine, but only in very small groups for safety reasons. - but this was so busy that we didn't get time. There are also lifts and other machinery which would have been used n the mining process - the kids liked this bit. There is even a real pit pony, but he's well looked after and very friendly. In the school you can have real lessons using slates and charcoal with an old-fashioned schoolmaster and play with old toys. There is also a church and old houses to look around, ice cream for the kids and a beer tent for the parents.

In the town there is a real pub and a real sweet shop, but these were both very busy. We also watched performances in the town square at the bandstand. Although you can buy food in the pub, it's better to take your own picnic. There is a picnic area, but you can stop in several places. There is a dentist's house to look around -the kids were fascinated with this bit. We had a modern day dentist stood in line with us, and she commented how many of the tools were still used today - scary thought.

There is a blacksmith on the farm who makes the old fashioned metal hoops that's the kids played with in the school playground - these are available for sale for anyone who managed to get the hang of it or wanted to practice at home

Some of the site is very hilly, but most of it is accessible for wheelchairs and buggies - it's just hard work pushing them up to the manor. Trams and buses come round approximately every 20 minutes, but they get very busy at peak times. It didn't help that we went on a Bank holiday, so we sometimes had to wait for the next one or stand. The staff are very friendly, so if you need help, the will give you a hand. It is possible to walk around the whole site, but we weren't up for that J. Besides, riding the tram is part of the fun.

There is a gift shop on the way out for those who need to shop ..

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