Friday, 30 May 2014

Beamish Museum

After a nice early breakfast we set off on the drive to our destination for today.... the Beamish Museum near Newcastle upon Tyne.  Someone had told me about it when we were going to the Black Country Museum in Birmingham and said if we liked the Black Country then we'd love Beamish.  They were right!

We arrived there about lunchtime and stopped at a motorway service centre for a sandwich as I'd read that the queues to buy food within the museum were usually ridiculously long.  We hoped with it being a weekday that it might not be too busy.  When we reached the carpark we couldn't believe how many cars were in there.

I had bought tickets online the night before so it was quick and easy at the ticket counter.  Most of the other people had probably arrived in the morning so there wasn't a wait to go in.  We loved it from the start.  There's several sections over a very large area of 300 acres..... lots of walking involved.  There are old trams and buses to get around but there was a crowd at every stop.  We just walked.  Map courtesy of the Beamish Museum website.

First there was Pockerly Old Hall which represents how a wealthy farmer would have lived in the 1820's.  This weekend there is a Georgian Fair.  There were stalls selling old style goodies, crafts, rides for kids and even a punch and judy show.  There were rooms in the old hall set out as they would have been.  Most rooms had someone in period costume to talk to.

We enjoyed looking in the shops of The Town which is based on the 1900's era.  It was the best presented series of repro shops we've seen.  Just fantastic.  It was pretty much impossible to buy anything much, especially food, as there were such crowds.  I did buy a book about samplers in one little store and a couple of pieces of fabric for my patchwork quilt.  The sweet shop had a queue snaking out the door.

Then there was a 1940's farm which was lovely.  There were cute little piglets, curious horses, lambs being fed.  There was lovely gardens, especially vegies.

Our final stop was the colliery and pit village.  The houses were interesting.  We kept seeing people eating hot chips in a newspaper cone so while Mick went to look at the coal mining I said I'd wait in the queue to get some.  They smelled good!  After standing for 15 minutes and watching just one family of 4 emerge with their fish and chips I peered around the people who were nearest the door (the queue had about a dozen people outside the door and who knows how many more inside).  There was a sign at the door saying the wait from that point was an hour!!  Sorry Mick, no chips.

It was a thoroughly enjoyable afternoon doing something we love.  We had booked a hotel nearby so now we're having a rest after all that walking.  It was lucky with the weather too.  We had rain a lot of the way as we drove but it stopped by the time we reached the museum and we even had the sun peek out.  What a great day it's been.

Lots of photos to remember today...

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