(April 2009) A Grand Day Out

A few suggestions for family days out of a historic nature.

STEAM Museum – The museum of the Great Western Railway at Swindon. Wiltshire County Council have done a great job of refitting one of the GWR engineering buildings with videos of the works, hands on exhibits and games, real steam engines to go on, signals to work etc. Caution it is next to a huge shopping area!

Coventry Transport museum. This one is free and looks at the manufacturing of transport from bicycles through cars, buses, lorries and fire engines to tractors in and around Coventry. Being in the city centre only 5 minutes walk from the Cathedral makes it a good part of a day out.

The Black Country Living Museum. Further to travel but a great experience for the kids (and the tickets are valid for 12 months). Go down the coal mine and see how it was dug, use the trains and trolley buses which run round the site, have a go on the. Victorian fun-fair, buy cakes, fish and chips and a drink in the re-constructed shops and pub. See the black and white silent movies in the Limelight Cinema and watch Black Country craftsmen demonstrating their trades. For a very different experience take a canal boat trip into the limestone caverns (extra charge but accessible from the museum) and see this flooded underground mine.

Kenilworth Castle is a magnificent Elizabethan ruined castle with the newly restored garden re-laid to its design layout from Queen Elizabeth I’s visit. Managed by English Heritage it IS free to members and all children are allowed in free.