Review Beamish Museum The Great North Festival of Transport 24th March – 15th April & The Great North Steam Fair 5th – 8th April
My family and I (2.5 years old and 4 months old) visited Beamish on Saturday the 7th April. It rained all day but we still had an excellent day out.
Beamish is a world famous open-air museum, telling the story of life in North East England during the 1820s, 1900s and 1940s.
The site is set on 300 Acres and is split down into different areas which can be seen on the map below;
How to get around
There is a road which runs around the site, you can walk or get on the free buses and trams which run every 20 minutes. (Please note: Pushchairs must be folded down to go on). From these stops you can walk into the different areas.
My dad took my toddler on the trams, while my husband and I walked with baby in the pushchair. We were at Beamish for around 3 hours and walked 12,000 steps!
The access for pushchairs could be improved and signage would be helpful. Several times we ended up at steps that luckily we could just carry the pushchair up or down. Be mindful of this and ask staff for the best way to get around.
As soon as you step on site you are transported back in time. Everywhere you look there are people in costume, old cars, bikes, horses pulling carts and steam trains.
It is a working site so you get to watch life as it was, whether you step into the school or the pit village you can watch people living life from those eras.
You can also ride on the steam train from the railway station, however I didn’t get chance to find out when this departs or where it goes.
Here are some of the things we saw;
- A team using a steam engine to cut a plank from a tree (much more impressive than it sounds!)
- A lady making a rag rug
- A family baking biscuits in their home range fire stove
- Soldiers marching
- Tons of working old cars, old bikes, buses, trucks and even a penny-farthing
- Loads of steam powered machines
Things my Toddler loved;
- Stroking the horses
- Seeing the Sheep and Lambs at the farm
- Sitting on an old Fire Engine in the Town and ringing the bell
- Jumping in puddles
- Riding on the tram
- Riding on the train carousel
- Finding toilets in outbuildings of the pit village!
There are loads of traditional eateries; from Fish and Chips cooked in coal-fired ranges using beef dripping, to a 1900s Tea Room selling scones with jam and cream.
There is also; a local pub, a co-op, a bakery, a sweet shop, coffee shops and Stinkers’ Bait Cabin.
There is a lot of open space and benches if you would rather take a picnic.
We had the Fish & Chips which were very tasty and reasonably priced at £5.95. Unfortunately, despite getting there early there was a long wait in the rain.
Toilets are located around the site and are shown on the map. We found the toilets difficult to locate and the only ones we did visit in the Fish and Chip shop weren’t in a very good or clean condition.
Beamish is set on a huge site, you need to allow the full day to visit.
We only saw a small amount due to the torrential rain and will definitely be back to see everything else.
Beamish is suitable for any age but I think that those over 5 would benefit the most from it.
While we visited it was The Great North Festival of Transport & The Great North Steam Fair. I asked about this at reception and the lady just said, ‘there is steam everywhere’. We weren’t given any additional information about these events. I can therefore only presume that the number of vehicles we saw driving around and the number of steam powered engines were unique to the festival and not always on. Despite that, according to their website they often have special events on including evening entertainment.
Beamish have recently had a huge investment from the Heritage Lottery Fund and have started to build a 1950s village. We will definitely be back to visit again.
Beamish is located 12 miles from Durham City, 8 miles from Newcastle.
Postcode for Sat Nav is DH9 0RG
Beamish offer an Unlimited Pass which allows as many visits as you like in a year.
An adult is £19 and a Child (5-16 years) is £11. They also offer Family, Student and Senior tickets.
Tickets can be purchased online before your visit to save time on the day: https://beamish.digitickets.co.uk/category/10377
You can also plan ahead and check out a map of the site here: http://www.beamish.org.uk/plan-your-visit/interactive-map/
NB: Alicia and her family received tickets to Beamish Museum in order to review but all views and opinions are her own.