The time-warp UK tourist 'town' that's like travelling back to the 1920s | The Sun

TRAVELLING back in time isn't possible… yet – but there is a place in the UK that does a pretty good job of letting people experience the past.

The "living museum" of Beamish in County Durham allows people to see what life would have been like in the UK between the 1820s – 1950s, with replica homes, pubs, shops, businesses and more.

What sets Beamish apart from other museums is that it is fully interactive.

Instead of dusty items sitting behind glass cases, it has real people in authentic costumes, demonstrating activities and telling visitors about the type of people they're representing and their lives.

There's also great attention to detail paid in the recreation of the town, which is set out on a sprawling 300-acre estate.

For instance, it has a row of terraced houses that were taken apart brick by brick from the nearby town of Gateshead and rebuilt in the museum.

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Inside one of these houses is the dentist, one of several visitor highlights within the museum.

One person who was suitably impressed was museum professional Museum Mutterings, who wrote: "A costumed interpreter acting as the dentist greets you into the upstairs room of his dental surgery and introduces you to a 1900’s dental practice.

"From my earliest visit I can vividly recall the velvet plush chair, the whirring foot-pumped dental drill (which is demonstrated should you show enthusiasm) and the rows of teeth and mouth casts in the adjoining dental workshop room."

It's this demonstrative element that really helps Beamish tell its stories in a way that other museums simply cannot do.

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Visitors can ride the trams that run through the quaint cobbled streets, order drinks in the reconstructed pub, the Sun Inn, and even see the farmers feeding the pigs in the on-site working farm.

There's also a bakery and a sweet shop that make treats in full view of the visiting public, who are then able to buy the delicious products.

A working fish and chip shop sits in the 1900s pit village section of the museum, which also has a school, a pony stables, a band hall and a chapel, showing how a colliery community would have lived at the peak of the North East's coal production years.

Again, the homes in the village were brought in from an actual pit town, from Hetton-le-Hole, on Wearside, and were rebuilt for the purposes of telling the stories of the people who lived in them.

Another highlight at Beamish is the Edwardian train station, which offers visitors the chance to experience the birth of the steam train, with rides on one of the locomotives.

The trains are pulled along by Puffing Billy, a replica of the original locomotive which was built in 1813 by William Hedley.

Steam train rides operate on Wednesdays, Thursdays, Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays.

They aren't the only things visitors can ride either, with a carousel one of several attractions in the town's fairground.

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Visitors can also try out a few of the sideshows that would've been popular during the 1900s.

The reconstructions at Beamish are so authentic that they've also doubled up as scenes in popular TV shows set in the past, including Downton Abbey.

More than 100 cast and crew members turned up to the museum in 2018 to film there, with the faux town also featuring in the last ever episode of the show.

The museum is also continuing to grow as well, with new features being built to keep people returning.

Construction of a 1950s cinema and shops, including a toy store, an electrical shop and a repair workshop, is currently underway.

Semi-detached houses, police houses and a bowling green and pavilion were opened in the 1950s town earlier this year.

There's also a welfare hall, a cafe, a chippy and a hairdresser's.

Beamish is one of the most popular attractions with locals and had more visitors than any other site in the region last year.

The museum welcomed 773,814 visitors in 2022, up 30 per cent on the previous year, the figures released by the Association of Leading Visitor Attractions (ALVA) show.

It was also previously named Large Visitor Attraction of the Year at the North East England Tourism Awards four years in a row.

One of the main reasons it remains so popular is that its tickets are all annual passes.

From £15.45 for kids, £24.95 for adults or £63.50 for a family of four, ticket holders can visit the museum as many times as they like for a year following their day of their first visit.

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