Reviewed by Lucy Lowndes
We visited the Crich Tramway Village in Derbyshire today (24 May 2014). Our party consisted of 2 adults and 4 children (age 9, 8, 6 and 20 months).
The museum was very easy to find and is well signposted from the main road. We pulled up into the incredibly large free car park and were shown where to park.
At the ticket desk the staff were friendly and helpful, as well as our tickets we were also handed a village map and guide leaflet and an old coin each to use as our fare for the trams (the adults had old one pennies and the children had half pennies). Once we had left the ticket office we walked down the slope and into the village. Because we went during half term there was a special ‘Beside the seaside’ event going on. The village had been transformed into a seaside resort with a beach area, donkey rides, punch and Judy, magic shows and variety acts. There was also Howard’s funfair there with their big wheel, car rides, gallopers, steam engine, and Gavioli organ – having the funfair there with the traditional music really made it feel like you were actually at the seaside!!
Before we started to explore we spent a few minutes examining the map. We decided to start by getting on a tram so we could see the entire village at once. The trams run every 10-15 minutes so we didn’t have to wait long before one came along. We were not allowed to take the pushchair onto the tram so we left that in the undercover tram stop. Once seated on the tram we set off up through the village. The conductor then came round to collect our ‘fares’ from us. We were all handed a traditional, old fashioned, ticket in return for the money. The tram went up through the village and stops at the bandstand if you would like to get off here. It then carries on out into the woodland, a few minutes more into the journey the tram stops at again at the glory mine and woodland walk area. If you do not wish to get off here you can continue to the end of the track to do the return journey. Before the return journey started the tram driver told us some information about the tram that we were on. I must mention that the views over the Derbyshire countryside are stunning from the tram! The tram journey there and back took about 20 minutes.
Once we had got off the tram, we headed for the George Stephenson Discovery and Learning Centre. In here there is lots of information about George Stevenson and the first trams. There is also a children’s table with a train track on and colouring sheets to do. There was also a check list for the children to take with them around the room and find the items on it. From the discovery centre there was a viewing area overlooking the workshop where you can see the trams being restored as well as displays of the previous restorations.
After leaving the discovery centre we went back down to the tram stop to catch another tram (you can catch unlimited trams throughout your visit!!) This one that we went on was a double-decker with an outside balcony!! We sat up stairs and the view over the Derbyshire countryside was even better!
Once we had done the return journey again, it had started to rain quite hard and we had taken a picnic with us, so we found a member of staff and asked them if there was any indoor picnic areas. He showed us to the indoor soft play area where there were 3 picnic tables. These were unfortunately all occupied but there were a few spare chairs dotted around the room so we managed to all get a chair and we sat in a circle and ate our picnic. The children then had a play on the play frame. The play area isn’t overly big, but the girls seemed to enjoy themselves. There is also a toddler area with soft play and a ball pit.
After lunch the rain was coming down very heavy, so we rushed next door to have a look in the great exhibition hall. In here you can see the ‘century of trams’ exhibition. There was also some free seaside activities, such as colouring in, word searches, crosswords, origami, and I spy. Once the rain had died down a bit we went to have a go on some of the rides. These were a very reasonable £2 a go. Unfortunately shortly after, the rain started to come down heavy again so we quickly went and got on another tram.
When that tram trip had finished we went to have a look around some of the shops in the village. We visited the old sweet shop and brought some traditional sweets. There is also a gift shop, tea rooms, a traditional English pub and an ice cream shop.
Unfortunately due to the weather we were unable to do the rest of the seaside activities, woodland walk, outdoor play area and sculpture trail, but we will definitely be returning when the weather improves to do the areas that we missed.
The cost to get into the museum is £13.00 per adult, £10.50 senior, £8.00 Child (4-15) and children under 4 go free. You can also purchase a family ticket (2 adults and 3 children) for £35.00. The price includes all tram fares and unlimited free entry for 12 months, which is a brilliant offer.
Overall we have had a very enjoyable (and wet) day out at the Crich Tramway Village, I would definitely recommend it and will certainly be returning again in the very near future (hopefully on a sunny day!).
For more information or to book tickets visit www.tramway.co.uk.
The National Tramway Museum, Crich Tramway Village, nr Matlock, Derbyshire, DE4 5DP
01773 854 321 | email@example.com