Family Days Out

Black Country Living Museum Review

Last week we took a day trip to the Black Country Living Museum in Dudley, near Birmingham.

The Black Country Living Museum is an award winning, open-air museum suitable for the whole family. It is one of the largest open-air museums in the country, set across 26 acres. Exploring history from the last 300 years, it’s worth planning to spend a whole day at the museum. We got there for opening and we were some of the last people to leave at closing, and we still didn’t get to see everything!

It was an amazing day for so many reasons. Here is my Top 10 Things To See At The Museum…

10 Reasons To Visit The Black Country Living Museum

  1. The costumed characters are absolutely amazing! The actors are in full period costume all over the museum. In every shop, home and workplace they can be found chatting to visitors young and old. They also walk around the museum grounds (doing their shopping or visiting the pub!) and we even spotted a few on horseback! The actors are also very knowledgeable and know lots about the museum, history and the people of the times. 
  2. There is so much to see. My personal favourite places to visit were the houses and gardens on the site. I love the home decors and gardening styles of the 1920’s so this was perfect for me. My husband loved watching the workers casting metal, making chains and working on the narrow boats. I especially loved watching the women cooking on the large cast iron open ranges. The kid’s favourite place was the fair ground, where they played on traditional fairground rides and won a prize on the Hook-A-Duck.

     

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  3. Take a trip across the museum on some of the museum’s heritage vehicles. The trams and trollybusses were traveling all around the museum. These true heritage vehicles are a sight to be seen. The kids loved them! If you’re taking a buggy to the museum, you can still enjoy a trip on the vehicles, as long as they can be folded down.
  4. The shops are stunning and you can even buy stuff! My husband loved the menswear shop so much, he treated himself to a new shirt, waistcoat and hat. There is also a chemist, iron mongers, fruit and veg shop and the famous fish and chip shop. Apparently the fish and chips there are delicious. The long queue out of the door (seen on the far left of the photo below) shows just how popular the fish and chips are. We didn’t treat ourselves the chippy as we ate by the canal. 
  5. Everything can be explored. Every house, every garden, every shop, every inch of the museum can be visited. We even climbed aboard a narrow boat to look in the living area! Kids and adults can touch and pick up items, you can walk around the gardens and grounds. We also took a walk around the canal towpath and work yards and there was no where you couldn’t go. This really made the museum so special for us, as I really believe history should be touched and explored! The kids loved the Anchor Forge and had such fun sitting on the biggest anchor we had ever seen!
  6. The Kids can play in the street, like the good old days! I got to have fun skipping with Willow and a rope tied to the street lamp. There were even hoops and sticks to roll down the street too.
  7. There are also gorgeous animals to visit across the museum. Some of the houses keep pigs and chickens, and there are also horses in the fields to say ‘hello’ to. The horses can often be seen being ridden across the museum.
  8. For grown-ups visiting the Black Country Museum who fancy a break to wet-their-whistle, take a pitstop in the museum’s spit and sawdust pub the Bottle & Glass Inn. This tiny pub is a far step away from our modern ‘spoons style bar. There is actually sawdust on the floor, cheerful barmen, bar singing and a piano. Take a step inside and refresh with an ale and a singalong.
  9. Watch real people working hard to produce their wares. We visited the bakery where the baker was producing gorgeous loaves. The bakery was hot, with his bread baking in a fire fuelled oven. He even treated us to a gentle tune on his penny whistle. We then watched the iron worker creating huge chains. You could feel the heat from the furnaces and the smell of burning coal as it filled the air. 
  10. One of the reasons why we visited the Black Country Museum was because my husband and I are huge Peaky Blinders fans. Lots of scenes from the hit BBC Two series were filmed at the museum. It was great fun walking around the museum and recognising the back drops from certain scenes.
Source: https://www.birminghammail.co.uk/news/showbiz-tv/gallery/peaky-blinders-filming-black-country-13079119

Visit

The Black Country Museum is open most days throughout the year, with various opening times. Please do check the Black Country Museum website for opening days and times.

Entry fee’s can seem a little steep, but you only pay once and then get entry to the museum for the rest of the year included with your ticket. For us, as a family of 5 (our baby went free) was £53.65, but we know for certain that we shall be visiting the museum lots in the coming year, especially for their special event days. Suddenly, it doesn’t seem that expensive. Also, unless you wish to purchase anything from the shops, fair, gift shop or places to eat, everything else in the museum is free. Take a packed lunch, and you will have just as much fun. Plus there are lots of lovely places to enjoy your packed lunch whilst soaking up the amazing atmosphere.

The museum address is:

Black Country Living Museum

Tipton Road, Dudley, DY1 4SQ

 

Have you ever visited the Black Country Living Museum? What are your favourite bits? Let me know in the comments below!

 

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Hazel Newhouse

Hazel is a mum to 3 young daughters, she lives in Bedfordshire with her husband, kids and pets. Hazel has written for various publications, and regularly works alongside popular parenting brands.

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