A Winter Visit to Beamish in County Durham

A Winter Visit to Beamish in County Durham – Over Christmas we visited Mr W’s Mum in Newcastle and took the opportunity to visit Beamish while we were nearby.  As a primary school child I visited Beamish and although I couldn’t remember much detail, remember that it was definitely a highlight of my school years.  It has changed a great deal over the years of course, so we were keen to see it.

Beamish Review

Beamish, if you are not aware is a huge open air museum that tells the story of life in the North East in the 1820s, 1900s, 1940s and 1950s.  When I say it is huge, I really mean it.  The whole site is around 350 acres!  The first thing to do when you arrive is to get on a tram or old bus that takes you around the site.  You can stay on as long as you like and get a feel for the layout of the place first before you alight.  There are lots of different areas to explore such as 1820s Pockerley, 1900s Town, 1900s Pit Village, 1900s Colliery, 1940s Farm and Rowley Station.  A new 1950s area is currently being built.  

We alighted the tram at 1900s town.  As you can see from the above photo the Christmas trees were still up and Beamish was celebrating Twelfth Night and First Footing.  There were lots of extra activities associated with this like festive music, ice skating and even a pantomime!  Have a look at what extra is on for when you intend to visit, I can already see they have something planned for February half term and imagine there is something on for every school holiday.

Beamish Review

There are lots of shops to explore in 1900s town.  The sweet shop was of particular interest to my children!  You can buy real sweets in there too!

Beamish Review

We also had a look around a general store:

Beamish Review

As well as the garage, which I was excited to realise was used as a filming set for the Downton Abbey film (I recognised it as Talbot and Branson Motors!).

Talbot and Branson Motors, Downton Abbey Set

There is a steam train that visitors can ride from Rowley Station during weekends and school holidays.

Being from York, I enjoyed seeing a sign for Rowntree’s Cocoa!

We also visited the bank where the bank teller took a great deal of time chatting to us about old coins.  This was ideal for Master T who is a metal detectorist and numismatist (coin collector!).  He loved hearing about all the old coins and was very interested in their worth!

We spent the majority of our time in 1900s town which meant we only saw a very small section of Beamish.  The good news though is that once you have bought your ticket you can revisit as many times as you like over the next year.  This is great as there is still so much for us to see!


We were invited to visit and review – as always, all opinions are my own.


If you are visiting the North East, have a look at our review of Alnwick Castle.



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