Family Travel Times

Family Travel Times: July 2013

Sunday, 28 July 2013

Beamish: so much more than just a museum!

We all love history in our family. That may explain why we enjoyed our trip to Beamish so much. It's a fantastic place, where history comes alive, in the form of both actors and the kind of exhibits which definitely aren't behind a glass case.

We visited Beamish in 2010 and lots has happened since then, with more planned!
We loved Beamish so much that we have often recommended it. A few weeks ago, I was lucky enough to talk to Richard Evans, the director of Beamish and he told me more about this fantastic place and its plans for the future....

Beamish might be a world-famous open air museum, but it is also much more than that. It is a place which tells the story of the North East, but by making the history, culture and heritage come alive. At Beamish you can ride on an old fashioned steam engine, eat fish and chips cooked on an authentic coal-fired range or visit an Edwardian dentist (although you might not want him to actually work on your teeth).

“It’s a museum for people,” says Richard Evans, Director of Beamish. “We have fantastic objects, but we are able to bring them to life. Socially, culturally and economically, this is a really important place.”

Beamish started life in the post-war period and was proposed in 1958 when the speed of de-industrialisation was quite dizzying for the entire region. It opened to the public in 1971, introducing local people, and those from around the world to everyday life in Georgian, Victorian and Edwardian times.

“The North East has always shared traditions, culture, history and industry,” adds Evans. “Beamish started as a response to that.”

The 300 acre site is situated in the countryside just outside
County Durham. Its latest feature is a 100-year-old band hall from the nearby town of Hetton-le-hole on the edge of Durham. It was taken, brick by brick, to Beamish and the local community raised £10,000 to help bring it there.

In chronological terms, a visit to Beamish begins in the 1820s, with Pockerley Old Hall. The hall actually dates back to 400 years earlier, but in the Georgian era it would have been home to a tenant farmer or miner and there are costumed guides ready to chat to you about life back then. They can explain where the servants would have slept, and the grim reality of life as a servant’s child, working all day and stuck up in a dark, cold attic at night.
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Monday, 15 July 2013

PGL With My School (By Jessica)

My class enjoyed a week of fun at PGL Marchants Hill after a long, stressful week of SATS. This is what I thought...

The Marchants Hill PGL centre is the closest camp to London but is still far from the busy, bustling atmosphere of the City. It is set beautifully on the edge of the Devil's Punchbowl (a National Trust site) and has 45 acres of amazing activities.


One of the chalets
We stayed in Frensham Ponds - one of the old fashioned looking chalets in the middle of the centre. Our room was fairly basic. It had: three bunk beds with a large drawer underneath each one, six coat hangers, a toilet, a sink and a shower. The room was small for six people but there was enough space and we didn't spend much time in it anyway. It was very clean and our only complaint was that it was hard to keep the shower water off the floor. However, this might have been because we were getting changed in there! Luckily, we were on the top floor of the building, but the bottom floor isn't great to sleep in because the ceiling is thin and therefore you can hear everything going on upstairs.

To my surprise, the food at PGL was quite nice. I had to get the vegetarian options each day and I was impressed by the variety and quality of the food. On our first day, I had stuffed peppers for supper, which was a delicious treat. Although I adored lunch and supper, I did not like breakfast as much. The mushrooms were slimy, the hash browns were tasteless and the veggie sausages were simply vile. I dislike porridge and I cannot eat eggs, so I had toast with jam or cereal every single day. They were fine, but it was a bit of a shame to be only able to eat those out of all the different options. On my last day, they served Quorn sausages for breakfast which (obviously) were great. Another annoying thing about meal times was that there is no toilet in the dining room and you cannot leave until you have finished eating.

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Saturday, 6 July 2013

Cadbury World (by Robert )

Cadbury World

Me and my mum, dad and sister were lucky enough to go to Cadbury World. I am going to tell you about this amazing experience by letting you know about the 14 activities/shows and small films which, added together, create the tour of Cadbury World.

Me and my sister with some rather large cocoa beans!
You start by wandering through the Aztec jungle. Then 600 AD comes along and one person sees a new fruit on the trees. The fruit was cocoa beans and soon everyone was trying the new food. At that time few people liked chocolate because it tasted bitter, so one person invented liquid chocolate which was very spicy but nice because they added chili to the recipe.

After that you learn about how chocolate was made nicer when the chili was replaced by cinnamon and sugar. You also see how it was shipped to London and that cocoa beans were often mistaken for sheep droppings.

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