Every year Beamish Museum plays host to a series of weekend night time events to showcase traditional a Victorian Christmas as well as heaps of festive spirit – Beamish Christmas Nights.
If there’s one thing I am proud of, it’s being a Beamish lass. Born and raised – in the village that is, not the museum, the whole place has a very special place in my heart as well as my Mam’s who also grew up in Beamish. And that’s proper Beamish, not High Handenhold or No Place – If you’re local, you’ll get me!
With the event selling out months in advance, I thought I’d show you what I got up to when I visited.
When tickets go on sale in the summer for Beamish Christmas Nights, they get snapped up pretty much straight away and for good reason. For only £13 per adult, you are treated to an immersive experience of Christmas past.
With mulled wine and mince pies being handed out on arrival, we wrapped up warm and headed out in to the night. Buses and Trams are operating all night as is the accessible transport for wheelchair users. Most parents with young children in prams and buggies were mostly walking around the site to avoid having having to fold up.
We made a beeline for Pockerley Manor as Mam can remember it being a private residence before its incorporation in to the Museum site. For all we visit regularly, Mam hadn’t been in a rather long time so it was nice to see her reliving her childhood and what better time to do it than in beautifully candlelit surroundings. The path up to the Manor was light with candles to help guide the way inside where we were treated to sweet treats from the period, music and crafts for the kids. We were encouraged to pull up a seat, listen to the music and soak up the ambience…. which I did while Mam wandered off to explore! It was interesting listening to her recant stories of playing the building and Pele tower as a child, my Grandad had even fitted heating to the property while it was still a house!
Moving on, we hopped on a tram to do a full loop of the site to make our way down to the town. Beautifully lit inside, the houses and shop exhibits were all open and suitably festive for the night. There’s expert demos in the Sweet Shop (Read more about that HERE) and Bank as well as performances in the Masonic Hall and Band Stand.
Down in the Village, there’s music in the School, organ grinders as well as carol singers and musicians to keep the festive spirit going. A big word of warning is be very careful in the village. It was so incredibly dark, we had to rely on our phones as torches. Not ideal for prams and people with mobility issues.
There’s even fun to be had at Home Farm too as well as Santa’s Grotto, showground rides and an open air ice rink.
We were quite concerned that we’d never fill 5hrs in the Museum as we truly hadn’t appreciated how much was open and available to us for the evening. There’s not that much info provided on booking and the tickets didn’t explain the plan for the evening either. We had no idea our tickets included wine and mince pies! Maybe we didn’t do enough home work but after visiting the first Halloween event in which only the Town was accessible, we weren’t sure what to expect as there’s really nothing detailed we could find.
For £13, we absolutely loved our visit and it really got us in the Christmas Spirit and it was a nice walk down memory lane with my Mam.
If you are visiting for the last 2016 Beamish Christmas Nights weekend or are thinking about booking up for 2017, these are my top tips to make your visit perfect…..
- Bring a torch. Parts of Beamish were woefully lit, especially up to Pockerely where the candles just weren’t cutting it. I know the museum is not geared up for night time visits but it was shockingly dark. I wish we had been advised to bring torches!
- Be prepared to walk. Several buses went passed too full to board and waiting eats in to your fun time!
- If you want fish + chips, go there first. We never saw the line go down and some people ended up disappointed. The only other food available was a small hot dog stall in the band stand (as well as whatever was on offer in the cafe). There could have been hot drinks or stalls dotted about to alleviate the lines and probably would have made a killing £££.
- Don’t forget to take money. There’s all the usual opportunities to buy as well as a craft market in the band stand.
- Start with what you want to see most. Again, saw some people quite disappointed that they’d mistimed their visit and missed out the entire Beamish Town!