17 March 2014
I visited the Beamish open air museum with my son during the February half-term holiday, there were also special World War 2 events during the week. It was a sunny day which made a nice change, but as a result it was very popular at the museum. After we parked up we had to join a long queue to get our tickets and there were also long queues for the trams and for the food and sweet shops.
The site covers a large area. Whilst everywhere is within walking distance the are trams and buses that can help get around the site. My son is a big fan of trams and trains so we spent quite a bit of time travelling around the site on the trams. For the half-term week the usual trams had been replaced with former Blackpool trams which were on loan to the museum.
After exploring the site by tram, we went to the pit village planning to visit the fish and chip shop. When we arrived at the fish and chip shop the queue went far outside the door and so bought lunch from the pitman's pantry instead. There was still a long queue, but it wasn't too long. There was not much choice for food as the hot pies were either gone or still cooking. I had a cold pork pie which was delicious, reminded me of some I used to have when I was young.
We didn't go into the mine, but we did look around the rest of the colliery buildings. There is also a school where my son had a go with using a slate and chalk, and an inkwell and pen.
Next we visited the town and railway station. Trains only run on certain days during the summer, but the station building was open. There are lots to visit in the town, including shops, houses and a bank including being able to see the safes under the bank. The sweet shop had another long queue and we didn't wait in the queue on the first time we visited Beamish.
A good thing about Beamish is that each ticket is essentially a season ticket valid for a full year. This meant that the following day after visiting Locomotion railway museum at Shildon we had a few hours spare so visited Beamish again. There were less visitors when we visited on the second day which made it much easier to get around and see parts of the museum. We were able to go to a few more of the things we missed on the previous visit including the sweet shop and the home farm.
With lots to see and do there should be something to please everyone at Beamish. My son enjoyed the trams most, but we also enjoyed visiting the rest of the site as well.