Out and About: Bekonscot Model Village, Beaconsfield.
3 year old M has been to Bekonscot more times than I can count – but somehow I’d never been with him. He’s lucky enough to have grandparents who love to take him out and about while I’m at work and they quickly realized this one was a winner with him.
I couldn’t understand the attraction myself, so when he’d come back all pumped up about the tiny little cable cars and houses, I’d be really glad he’d had a nice day but just do my best ‘wowww’ and leave it at that. I mean, a model village? What’s the point? Full of trainspotters surely…
But when he bounded into bed one morning recently and enthusiastically asked to go there (“please, please, pleeeeeeease?”) on our Mummy and M day, I said yes. Let’s see what all this fuss is about then…
When you rock up and have to park in a church car park opposite a little metal sign for the Model Village, sandwiched between some houses on a residential street, it’s impossible to believe it’s going to be any cop. “Come on Mummeeeee, come on!” he’s shouting
as I’m looking around me wondering whether this is definitely the main entrance or not. But sure enough, once we’d got our tickets from the office in a train carriage (cute), we rounded a corner, and – wham. A really magical place unfolds as you’re transported back to the 1930s in miniature.
It’s the world’s oldest and original model village – opened for the first time 1929. There really is every scene you can imagine there with such incredible detail that
it’s actually infuriating visiting with a 3 year old who wants
to race round at 100mph. From a beautiful harbour to a circus, a horseracing track to cobbled high streets and houses ‘on fire’, I was amazed at how interested I was looking at the little people’s fashion, transport and workplaces. It’s like a snapshot of British history set out in a really eccentric way – and it doesn’t take itself too seriously either. Hats off to the people who named the teeny tiny shops and businesses – some cracking ones in there, including U.R.A PEACH the greengrocer, LEE.KEY plumbers and my favourite:
My kind of humour.
And all the children there were going seriously nuts for it. Maybe it’s because they feel like the big ones for once, as they tower over the buildings and train tracks. It’s hard to explain why it’s so appealing for grown-ups too but there’s something very charming about it. It feels like a family run, secret place tucked behind a normal road, so I
also think it makes a difference from the big commercialised attractions that we all go to to appease the small ones, but actually hate going to.
With a great playground, a decent café and lovely outdoor area for picnicking – it’s a real hidden gem for families in the South. And not a trainspotter in sight.
Couple of tips:
- It’s quite tight going round the little paths with the buggy if it’s busy, but still doable. If you can bring baby in a sling though it’s probably better.
- Don’t miss the control centre hut near the train tracks which has a screen showing a live feed from a camera on the front of a model train. Going past all the giant people. Very cool!
- Go round twice if you have time – you’ll see so much more on your second circuit.
- The little ride-on train is a lovely experience, £1 per person and right by the entrance.
- Great baby changing facilities separate to the normal loos.
- All the info at www.bekonscot.co.uk
This review was conducted independently and all opinions are my own.