Go North East stop right at the museum entrance
The Beamish annual pass is honestly superb value for money. I think we've visited Beamish maybe 10 times now and every time we visit there is something new to explore and discover. I have never visited during an 'event' as always suspected they would be very busy. Perhaps we were lucky but that was absolutely not the case during the 'Horses of War' event. We could still see and join in with everything without it being too crowded. The weather on our visit was C-R-A-Z-Y. I was planning on creating a video but it was freezing cold and there were periods of rain, hail, snow and sun! Vlogging just wasn't practical. The nice thing about Beamish though is that you are never far from a cosy house with a warm fire so there were plenty of places to shelter when things took a turn for the worse.
We usually catch the free tram to travel around the various areas of Beamish however as we are trying to lead a healthier lifestyle we decided to walk it. Although the trams are very exciting and tempting, if you've been to Beamish a few times I would highly recommend giving this a try. It was lovely to see Beamish from a different perspective and the paths are accessible and in good condition. Dogs are welcome too if you'd like to bring your four-legged friend. We measured we'd walked 5 miles on our iPhone which is pretty good going!
Walking around Beamish
Every time we visit Beamish we try something different and during our most recent visit we maybe took in around 1/4 of everything there is to do and see. We will be back with our annual pass a few times across summer to explore some of the other areas in greater detail.
We started our day at the bandstand in the town square to enjoy our picnic under cover. It started to hail just as we were biting into our sandwiches! Best of British and all that! We didn't actually get too wet and the bandstand provided cover but in hindsight I think we should have headed to the Tearooms or Tavern in the town for lunch.
We loved watching the cavalry marching past just as we were finishing lunch and this gave us a flavour of things to come. It was still raining at this point so we decided to pop into Florence Smith's house. We found a lovely warm fire in her kitchen and listened to the tales told by the live actors about Florence's life as we warmed our hands and shared some of the scones the ladies had made in her kitchen.
Florence was a music teacher and was left her home on Ravensworth Terrace. There is no way a lady would have been able to buy a house by herself in that era. Her house is the most Edwardian-like in the terrace which explains the dark colours and highly patterned wallpaper. We learned that her front room would be kept for absolute best and most of her time would be spent in the kitchen where there was a fire. Everything had to be on display in this era as the more 'things you had', the more wealthy you seemed. Thank you so much to the actors in this house who really brought Florence's story to life.
Florence's front room - kept for best
There is a lot more to explore in the town such as the bakery, sweet shop, co-op store, dentist and garage but the rain was clearing so we headed over to spot the train that was just departing from the station. Train rides are included in admission and are definitely worth taking during your visit.
We walked past the station and fairground up to the Beamish stores which is a place we didn't know existed before.
The Beamish Stores are a really interesting place to have a nosy around. Here you will find artefacts and collections that are being stored from previous and future exhibitions. I loved the already growing selection of 1950's memorabilia and Heidi couldn't wait to have a turn in the vintage hairdressers.
Walking around we spotted lots of horses pulling carts and ploughing fields. It was really interesting watching them all work and seeing their role in the war brought to life.
The farm is one of our favourite areas of Beamish. The kids love seeing the animals and I love the warmth and comfort of the Farmhouse.
As our visit was in spring there were lots of lovely lambs to admire - they really are the cutest! We had to say hello to the farm's resident pigs, geese and chickens too.
I love all of the quirky and unique details at Beamish, the attention to detail really is fab! During our trip to the farm we stumbled upon this air raid shelter for the first time. The kids couldn't wait to get a closer look and it really brings to life the reality of war when you can actually see it in front of your eyes.
1900's Pit Village
I love wandering around the pit village as I like to think of it as how my home town of Cramlington would once have been.
The Pit Village is where the majority of the 'Horses at War' event was being held and we could say hello to lots of horses who would have had various roles in the war including this friendly fella:-
There was a special re-enactment of a military hospital and base area which we could wander around. All of the actors were in uniform and really brought the war to life. Some were even cooking sausages just as they would have back in the day. The event was very well organised and worth the extra trip to Beamish just to see I think.
There were two lovely ladies in the village who were spreading the word about 'The Brooke' which is a registered charity who help alleviate the suffering of millions of horses, donkeys and mules overseas. It was really interesting to learn of their work and we happily donated our spare change which the charity were really grateful for. The ladies gave the kids some stickers and told them that our help would buy some hay for poorly horses to help them get better.
A trip to the village always includes a trip to school and H, H and J love going back in time and comparing school then to school now.
We had lots of fun in the school playground playing with traditional outdoor toys.
If we weren't watching our weight we would have definitely popped into Davy's Fish and Chip Shop where the Fish and Chips are made using traditional methods and beef dripping! Oh my word the smell was amazing. We'll save this for a summer treat though I think.
Our final stop of the day was the 1900's Colliery. We didn't head down the mine this time but loved watching some of the horses in the yard at work for the special event.
We spent around 3.5 hours at Beamish - we could have spent soooo much longer however the weather just wasn't on our side. Day time events are included with an annual pass and provide extra value and a reason to return to Beamish time and time again. There are lots of events throughout the year and I have my eye on the Georgian Fair (2nd-5th June), Festival of the Fifties (14th-17th July) and the Beamish Leek Show (10th & 11th September).
Time to wait for our bus home
I'd love to hear if you've been to Beamish and which areas and events are your favourite.