This has been a blog post a long time coming. I started to write it after our first trip to Crich and then realised that it was about to close for the season. So I’ve waited winter out, returned to Crich already this year and am ready to tell you about it, in case you’ve not been.
Fancy a day out in Derbyshire? A day among old fashioned shops and transport? A day out that celebrates the days when functional everyday things were beautiful, not just functional? Nostalgia-central, that’s also great for kids? Well, Crich Tramway Village is for you.
The attraction is sited in an old quarry and has tram lines running up and down the hill. Trams from days of yore run throughout the day. There are also old fashioned shops – sweets, a printers, gift shop – a pub and a tea shop, as well as a warehouse style building that house more trams, an indoor museum and soft play centre, and a further education centre. There’s also a woodland walk, with sculpture trail and outdoor play area, and a small exhibit about the quarry including fossils. And there’s a tardis, I mean police box, as well as other old street furniture.
We’ve been three times since our first visit, all on the same ticket which lasts a year. E gets in free until she’s 4 and adults are priced at £16 each. It’s great value.
E loves it. She gets very excited about the double decker trams and the first time she rode one she had a hissy fit when we had to get off. Now she understands she can go back on them it’s ok. You get given old fashioned pennies when you enter and you use them to ‘buy’ an all day ticket from the tram conductor. I think all the staff driving and conducting are volunteers and the atmosphere is fun – they dress up in the old uniforms. But it’s not just the rides. She likes to look at the old trams, stroke their paintwork and where it’s allowed, climb on and sit down. She’s becoming a transport nerd.
The woodland trail is very good and I love the sculptures, which range from green men to wizards to books and a drum set. The outdoor play area opened this year and is excellent, providing E with all the climbing apparatus she likes. And this year we stopped off at the fossil display which has ancient shark’s teeth and a selection of sparkly rocks. It’s enough to please any three-year old, or at least mine.
The food in the tea rooms is fine, and the children’s choices come in boxes – royalty or safari (they ask which you’d prefer, not wanting to assign genders to them, thank god.) There are also plenty of toilets. So all in all, it’s really family friendly.They also have theme days. Some of these are nostalgia-based (1940s, horse drawn trams and so on) but to close the season last year they did a Halloween special and as it got dark lit up the trams and the ‘street’ with spooky costumes and lights. E loved the open air Blackpool boat tram with its lights glowing and we had such a good time dancing to Monster Mash on the pavement.
I’ve already been asked when we’ll go back to the double decker trams, and have made a list of the theme days so I reckon at least two, if not three, more trips before our tickets run out for the year. Give it a try, I really recommend it.
Crich Tramway Museum is open daily from Saturday 19 March until Sunday 30 October 2016, from 10am – 5.30pm (last admissions 4.00pm). More information can be found on their website, Facebook or Twitter pages