Blimey, last weekend was a scorcher in Geordieland! Unsurprisingly, many people flocked to nearby beaches to soak up the sun as temperatures soared to 27C, but I had other plans… I’d been lucky enough to get an invite to Beamish to help local bus company Go North East celebrate their centenary!
I’d organised for my mum and dad to visit and bring my gorgeous niece and nephew too, so it was the perfect destination for a family day out and the weather was definitely an added bonus.
Beamish stands in 300 acres of beautiful County Durham countryside and quite frankly, it feels nothing like a museum! There are no glass cabinets keeping precious artefacts out of reach, instead you’ll find houses, shops, farm buildings and cheerful characters happy to tell you enchanting stories of what North East life was like in Georgian, Victorian and Edwardian times.
We weren’t quite sure where to head first so we hopped on a vintage open top bus and ended up in ‘The Town’. Mum got completely freaked out by the eye watering equipment she found in the pre-war dentist’s, Dad loved the Edwardian garage and all it’s fascinating vehicles and the twins had a right old boogie when the brass band started playing on the beautiful bandstand in the park. We could have easily spent all day in this section of Beamish alone! There was also a bank, a proper English pub, the mysterious Masonic Hall, a tempting traditional sweet shop and loads more besides!
We couldn’t ignore our rumbling tummies so we headed for the Events Field where Go North East treated us to a lovely family picnic and an impressive display of buses, old and new!
In the afternoon we discovered how pit communities lived in the early 1900s, we had a nosey in the colliery houses, snooped in the school and listened to a lovely choir sing their hearts out in the village chapel, it really was like stepping back in time.
There was so much to see and do at Beamish there was no way we could fit it all in to one day, especially not with two toddlers in tow! We missed the chance to ride the steam train and we didn’t even make it to Pockerly Old Hall or the Waggonway so I’ll certainly be back. Next time I’ll also make sure I save room for Davy’s Fried Fish and Chip Shop where they make mouth-watering chips using beef dripping in coal-fired ranges, a real taste of the past!
Fear not though, one of the great things about Beamish is that the admission fee gets you unlimited entry for 12 months including activities and use of the vintage trams, buses and steam locomotive rides. See HERE for details.
Have you been to Beamish, what were your highlights? Let me know so I don’t miss out on my next visit!
By Rachel Kershaw