A great new day was ahead and whilst staying in Lumley Castle it was time to take in something to do in the area. Well, not far from Chester-le-Street, County Durham was a huge and well reviewed open air museum I had not yet had the pleasure of, Beamish Museum!
I have always heard many great things about Beamish Museum but had never got round to it, it was about time I did! Today was the day. The idea was further concreted into my plans via the website of Super Break, a trove of ideas and days out I can honestly say!
What a huge place it is! 350 acres of life at the climax of Britain’s industrialisation in the North East of England. So much to see, so much to learn, and plenty of walking to be done too! Although to see each area you do not have to walk. There are period buses and trams etc doing the rounds at very regular intervals. A day out for all I immediately thought.
The farm? The town? The old coal pit? The railway station? The……? Crikey where should we head first? Each area was exactly as you can expect from the period. Minute details all taken care of. The farm was a good place to start. Cottages of the age to explore inside with animals and machinery to see outside. I do feel you get a sense of the times whilst looking around.
Heading into the town you felt like stepping back in time for real. The cobbled streets with old cars and trams. The bakers where you buy bread for real, a pub that really is used as a pub to quench your thirst, the period shop and a favourite I could see, the sweet shop 🙂
For a family day out and for a child’s learning with interaction you cannot go wrong with a day at Beamish Museum. It really is vast and expansive. Some people I know take more than one day to see it all!
The idea for Beamish Museum was that of Frank Atkinson, at the time the director of Bowes Museum. he was seeing the disappearance of the industrial age and tirelessly sought to collect items and machinery from the time. He basically collected ‘anything’ from the early 20th Century and earlier.
If you ever walked round you could think it was a real town that had been preserved in time, but no! All these items and building were moved here over time. The land was selected and the museum opened in 1972 with just the railway station and basic colliery. Over the next few years the miners cottages were rebuilt in situ, the trams had a demonstration line which today is the longest preserved tramway in the country. The 80s brought the town, Co-op, the pub, the farm and more. Even right up until recently you have a rebuilt church, a working chippy and…. ahhh too much to list you must see for yourself 🙂
There is also plenty of open countryside within that really does give the sense of realism and space. The view from the homestead is spectacular and the scene broken up occasionally by a working steam elephant powering up the hill.
The staff are so very knowledgeable too! They open your eyes further if you wish to ask questions. In one row of terraced houses it all got a bit dark and real. Tales and visuals of going to the dentist, all the kit on display.
Plus, toys and dolls of the time certainly were not as cheerful and colourful as today were they?
All in all it was terrific day. I learnt a lot, I saw a lot, I had walked a lot, what could be better?