Family Day Out Review: Bekonscot Model Village And Miniature Railway, Beaconsfield
Bekonscot Model Village, Beaconsfield
Value For Money8.0/10
Variety Of Activities8.0/10
Things We Like
- A traditional and unique place to visit to entertain the whole family
- The animated features of the Model Village add extra interactivity for the kids
- On subsequent visits, the scale and attention to detail mean you'll see things you missed first time
- Good sized playground which is an added bonus
- Not-For-Profit organisation so profits go to charity
Things We Dislike
- Narrow, busy paths around Model Village can make it difficult to navigate pushchair
- Lack of indoor activities, e.g. if it's raining outside
- Additional fee required for Bekonscot Light Railway, RC boats etc
What’s It All About?
Regarded as the oldest original Model Village in the world, Bekonscot in Beaconsfield gives a unique view into the past. With nearly two acres of grounds filled with small scale buildings and characters depicting 1930’s England, an impressive Gauge 1 Miniature Railway and other kid-friendly attractions like a playground and ride-on train, it’s a fab – and very different – place to visit for a family day out.
What Do We Think?
We’ve been to Bekonscot a few times over the last couple of years and have always enjoyed it. The main attraction at Bekonscot is the Model Village. This dates back to 1929 and is regarded as the world’s oldest and original Model Village.
Set within 1.5 acres of beautiful gardens and miniature landscapes, the Model Village is made up of six fictional towns which show life in England in the 1930’s. In total, there are over 200 buildings, 3,000 inhabitants and 1,000 animals to look at as you work your way around the winding path.
There’s too much happening in the Model Village to list it all here, but there are a few particular things that we like. Chessnade Zoo in Greenhaily features loads of different animals, including a chimp’s tea party Then there’s Bekonscot Town, which is the oldest part of the Model Village, and gives you the chance to get up close with a fire station, cinema, pubs, shops and more.
From there, you’ll reach the fishing village of Southpool, featuring cliffs, docks, boats and normal fish which look like giants thanks to the surroundings! The hamlet of Hanton is next, which has a working fairground, an on-fire house being seen to by the Fire Brigade and a large church. It’s here where the newest additions to the Model Village have been introduced, including Hanton Underground Station and a water-powered funicular railway.
The last two villages are Splashyng which features a racecourse, morris dancers, cable cars and an animated lady cleaning the windows, and Evenlode & Epwood which has a large coal mine and big top circus. There’s so many different details and intricacies to look at that will keep both parent and child entertained.
Around the Model Village, you’ll also spot the Gauge 1 Miniature Railway which is a 10 scale miles model dating back to 1929. This weaves its way around part of the Village, providing endless fun for young kids as they spot the trains going over bridges, heading through tunnels and stopping off at one of the seven stations.
As you wander around, you’ll also spot the Signal Box and Relay Room which control the miniature railway. Within here, you can get a feel for how complex it is to run the railway at Bekonscot as it’s filled with buttons, levers and lights. If you’re lucky, you might even spot a Signalman controlling the trains rather than it being automated.
There’s more to Bekonscot than just the Model Village and Miniature Trains though. There’s a good sized, outdoor play area consisting of two play frames – one of which is shaped like a boat. There’s also remote-controlled boats, a pirate water game and a few small rides – all of which incur a small charge.
There’s also the Bekonscot Light Railway. For an additional £1 per person (under 2’s are free), you can enjoy a ride on the 7¼ inch narrow gauge railway. This can be found by the entrance and lasts around five minutes, as it takes you through a tunnel, via some gardens and around a pond with remote controlled boats, before returning to the start. It’s a fun little addition, but sadly you spend most of your time around the back and see very little of the actual model village.
In terms of food, they have a Tea Room which serves hot and cold food, snacks and drinks. We’ve eaten there once before and it did the job. There’s also a separate Ice Cream Parlour, which, you’ve guessed it, serves ice-cream and is nice for the warmer months. There’s plenty of seating inside and outside so finding space isn’t an issue – you’re also allowed to bring in food, so a picnic is an option if you don’t wish to buy food whilst there.
A couple of final things to note. Bekonscot is mainly outside (apart from the shop and cafe), so try to choose a nice day to visit otherwise it won’t be as fun. Secondly, although the paths around the Model Village are accessible, they are quite narrow, particularly when you have other people stopping and blocking the path. So, where possible, consider ditching the pushchair and/or bringing a baby carrier. Finally, because the paths are tight and it can get busy, consider visiting when it’s quieter so you don’t feel as rushed.
The thing we’ve always liked about Bekonscot is that every visit feels different. There’s so much to look at that you can’t take everything in at once – particularly when you’re with young kids eager to get to the next bit! As such, you notice little figures doing something you didn’t expect or a shop with a humorous pun, that you missed last time around.
It’s a great place to visit for the family and has the unique distinction of being different to many – and, if you need any more impetus to visit, Bekonscot is a not-for-profit so all money raised goes to charity.
What Does It Look Like?
What Do I Need To Know?
Address: Warwick Road, Beaconsfield, Buckinghamshire, HP9 2PL.
Opening Times: Summer (10th Feb 2018 to 28th Oct 2018) 7 days per week 10am-5.30pm. Winter (3rd Nov 2018 to 2nd Dec 2018) Sat-Sun 10am-5.30pm).
Price: Under 2’s free, child 2-15 years old £6.60 (inc. Gift Aid), Adult £11.00 (inc. Gift Aid). Special prices available after 3.30pm.
Toilets: Yes. Male and Female toilets, with separate baby change area.
Cafe / Restaurant: Yes. Tea Room serves food, drinks and snacks and Ice Cream Parlour serves ice-cream. Seating available both indoors and in large picnic area outside.
Parking: Yes. Limited free parking available opposite the site at St Teresa’s Church Car Park and limited free on street parking. Also paid car parks in the town centre.
Public Transport: Beaconsfield Train Station 0.3 miles away.
Duration: 2 to 4 hours.
Age Range: Babies and Toddlers (0-3), Young Children (4-8), Older Children (9-12).
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