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Discover Beamish – The Living Museum of the North

Experience life in a rural Victorian town this unique and exciting open-air museum

A visit to Beamish, near the former colliery town of Stanley in County Durham, north east England, quickly confirms that this is a museum unlike any other.

Opened in 1972, and occupying three hundred acres of Durham's countryside, Beamish was England's first open-air museum. In the last four decades, this authentic recreation of everyday life in a north-eastern industrial community during the Victorian/Edwardian era has won a host of awards and become famous worldwide.

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Lumley CastleLumley Castle

Lumley Castle & Durham

Experience Durham on this 5-night break based at majestic Lumley Castle, in the heart of this alluring County Durham. Discover some of the region's other beautiful castles and step back in time with a captivating visit to the Beamish Museum.

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6 days from £679 pp

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The Beamish Museum is dedicated to the preservation of regional customs, traditions and ways of life that would otherwise have been lost in the march of modernisation. Beamish successfully achieves this thanks to its life-sized replicas of period locations which are accurate to the finest detail. Beamish's Edwardian Town, for example, contains many authentic structures reclaimed from towns and villages throughout north-east England, and features recreations of a typical inn, Co-operative store, sweet shop, bank, dentist and other businesses as they were at the beginning of the twentieth century.

Superbly entertaining and enjoyable for every visitor, Beamish also features a recreated mining village and colliery, an Edwardian railway station and steam railway, a Victorian farm, and Pockerley Old Hall; a luxurious manor house. Historic transport, including a tramway, vintage-style bus and, during the summer, a steam locomotive carry visitors between the various attractions at this unforgettable museum.

The Beamish open-air museum accurately recreates every aspect of life in the Victorian and Edwardian period. Despite this the museum is fully accessible and as such is suitable for everyone to enjoy.

Staff in authentic period costume act out their roles with enthusiasm and add to the general feeling that visitors have 'stepped back in time'. They're also on hand to answer any questions and to demonstrate the various trades and skills that people of the time would have had. In the Edwardian sweet shop, for example, visitors can watch toffee and other confectionery being made by hand.

The scale and diversity of the Beamish museum and the attractions it offers - from descending into the colliery village's mine to trying out traditional recipes at Old Pockerley Hall - ensures that there are no dull moments - in fact, there probably isn't enough time to experience everything that Beamish offers in a single day.

Luckily, there are several places within the museum at which to relax and take a bite to eat, from traditional fish and chips cooked the old-fashioned way on a coal-fired range to a host of goodies including freshly-made bread, pies, biscuits and cakes from Beamish's most-recent addition, 'Joseph Herron's': an Edwardian baker's shop.

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