After a post about probably the smallest and quietest museum/historical site I’ve ever visited, this post is about the busiest museum/historical site I visited in Europe: the Tower of London. After two visits to London and not going in (budget student travelling) I decided it was high time I forked out the entry fee and went inside.
I’m very keen on visitor participation, I’m happy about high visitor numbers and I think a busy museum is a vibrant museum. But sometimes I just really love to be alone in a quiet empty museum. I think the most special moments can happen when you’re alone with a museum. It doesn’t mean the whole museum needs to be empty, just the space you’re in. Especially when they’re historical sites.
When I was travelling in the UK I visited a National Trust site in Northern Wales with some friends. It was ‘Tŷ Mawr’ or ‘Big House’ translated from Welsh. This lovely historic site was nestled in an isolated part of the country side and manned by a keen and knowledgeable guide. The site had an old magic to it, which the guide helped bring to life.
Beamish is an open air museum near Newcastle-upon-Tyne in Northern England. The museum covers a range of eras from 18th century farming to the turn of the 20th century mining. It sits on a vast rural property with different sections/eras connected by a vintage bus and tram loop. Luckily for me, the days I visited (the first week of May), the lovely spring sunshine bathed the museum in warmth. This obviously added to my enjoyment of the outside spaces. Like all outdoor museums, Beamish is at the mercy of the weather in this regard!
The museum is a lively and fun place, which also offers a comprehensive historical immersion. The staff are a great highlight of the museum. I met so many who eagerly and voluntarily spoke about their area of the museum. Their enthusiasm and knowledge really added to the experience.