It’s very easy to mistake this as a picture of a toy model train. If you did think it was one, then you were not mistaken. This was shot at the Bekonscot Model Village and Railway, the original and the world’s oldest model village having opened as far back as 1930!
According to the website, in 1928 Mr Callingham was given a choice between having his model railway or his wife inside the house. Surprisingly, he chose the latter and so the railway tracks were moved outside. Making the best of the situation, Mr Callingham got his staff (the gardener, cook, maid and chauffeur) to develop and build a model landscape of rural England. He named it Bekonscot, combining the names of the places where he lived (Beaconsfield and Ascot).
Initially built to entertain guests, it became well-known quite quickly with international and national press coverage and when it was opened to the public, there was a steady stream of visitors.
It may sound like a place which only a child can visit or enjoy. On the contrary, I was pleasantly surprised to see a lot of adults (myself included) who were interested in the models and structures. Kids would find it entertaining and fun but the attention to detail and intricacies were lost on them (including my own 4-year-old).
The entry fee is a nominal £10 for adults and £6 for children (cheaper for late afternoon entries) and most of it goes to charity as the place is run by the Church Army.
As soon as you enter, you can take a trip on a Light Railway, a must for a child (and for the young at heart), which winds its way around some of the miniature gardens for a two-minute ride.
After that, it’s straight into the main attractions of which there are plenty, scattered around the 1.5 acres which would take at least a couple of hours to appreciate fully. The highlights for me were the zoo, the fishing village, the church, the fairground and the cable cars.
What is most interesting about the whole thing is that all the models and landscapes have been restored to the original 1930s setting. So you are able to see some very unique and fascinating scenes of old English charm. If you are into Downton Abbey, you will definitely be a fan!