I have always loved exploring quirky places on my doorstep, and have found myself climbing around disused tube stations and railways, secret underground caves and oddball museums on my weekends. But growing up, the one thing I really loved to do is visit a model village.
If you’ve never been to one, they really are exactly what they say they are – miniature copies of villages and scenes, often with a working railway, parkland and water. A more modern version might be found at theme parks such as Legoland, but its the vintage, quintessentially British model villages that I really love to see. I grew up visiting Babbacombe and Southsea, but the worlds oldest model village was actually right on my doorstep.
So lets explore the beauty (and quirkiness) of Bekonscot Model Village!
As mentioned, Bekonscot is the worlds oldest model village, having been opened in 1929 in Beaconsfield, Buckinghamshire. It portrays mainly life in the 1930s, displaying typically English village scenes such as cricket pavillions, fun fairs, a zoo and local village life. As you wander round the expansive site, you can peer into shops and churches, and watch the working miniature railway move around the village and stop at each station in turn – it even has a working miniature cable car!
It was actually never intended to be a visitor attraction, and was instead conceived by an individual (Roland Callingham) local living in the area as part of his large garden – to entertain friends and family. It was named Bekonscot’ after Beaconsfield and Ascot where he had previously lived.
The model village covers around one acre of the space, and many of the models are still originals from the 1920’s – although they do update the scenes are the years past and add new things (although they can’t expland because the whole area in now surrounded by private housing. Whilst the towns portrayed are entirely fictional, they are definitely similarities to other places in the UK (the zoo has some strong similarities with London Zoo!)
The best thing is looking closely at the shop names and spotting al the puns! (Lee Key Plumbers’ Merchants + Sam and Ella’s Butchers are my favourite).Got a spare day and fancy visiting a cute + quirky visitor attraction? Try Bekonscot Model VillageClick To Tweet
But enough of the history – here are some of my favourite scenes from one of my favourite places to visit:
Bekonscot is open 7 days a week 10am to 5.30pm, from mid February to late October. It costs £10 per adult, with much of this money being donated to charity.
Have you ever visited a model village?