I feel just a little sad to be bringing you the last post about our trip to Norway & Scotland. I have really enjoyed reliving the trip while writing these Wednesday posts and I’m going to miss doing them.
Our last port of call was Newcastle upon Tyne, England. I’m starting to sound like a broken record, but we didn’t actually dock right in Newcastle, we docked in a rather industrial area with not much at all to see right there at the port. However, once again there was a locally provided shuttle service that would take you into Newcastle or several other locations (including the Beamish, if only I’d known). But this port is where we took our one and only ship sponsored shore excursion, a trip to the Beamish.
If Disneyland and a traditional museum had a baby it would be the Beamish. The Beamish is an open air museum that was founded by Dr. Frank Atkinson. He was inspired after visiting some of the Scandinavian open air museums, like the one that we visited at our first port of call, Oslo (it’s as though we have come full circle!). He wanted to preserve the history and culture of this more industrial part of England.
The Disneyland part comes in because first of all the place is quite large at 350 acres. Second, it’s basically set up as a series of themed areas situated around a circular 1.5 mile road. And finally, because you can ride on various vintage forms of public transportation to get around (much like on Disney’s Main Street). The only thing that it’s missing is a boat ride with singing dolls, and of course The Mouse.
We decided to start off in the 1820’s section of the museum and so after entering we headed to the right towards St. Helen’s, a lovely medieval church that was saved from demolition when it was moved here.
I truly felt as if we were traipsing through the English countryside exploring incredibly charming out of the way places. This is exactly the way I picture England in my imagination (probably a result of all of the Father Brown shows I watch).
Here is a view from inside the church.
After visiting the church, we made our way through the beautiful Georgian landscape up to Pockerly Old Hall.
As you can see, the place isn’t just buildings and functioning vintage transportation. There are also plenty of animals like the horse above, and this comical guy who stared me down through the fence.
Plus there are costumed characters demonstrating what it was like to live and work in each era, such as this woman doing a little baking in the manor house.
You could test taste the results too!
It started to rain a bit just as we got to Pockerly, but I braved the elements to snap some quick photos of the gorgeous terraced gardens.
Don’t forget, this was May so things were just sprouting in the kitchen garden.
Then we headed back inside the hall to get out of the rain and tour the fully furnished rooms.
I would love to get my hands on that dresser. It needs a little milk paint and some new knobs. It seems to be missing ‘just one.’
After touring the rest of the manor hall we decided that a little rain wasn’t going to hurt us, so we headed off through the ‘English countryside.’
We followed some pretty country lanes back to the main circular road which then led us to the 1900’s town.
There were a few more people in town than there were in the countryside, but there was also a lot more to explore. All of the buildings are furnished appropriately for the period and you can walk through them. Many of them also have costumed workers who can tell you more about the place. There are so many buildings that I’m not going to take the time to list them all, but you can check out this link to the Beamish website to read more about them if you like.
The inside of the print shop was full of interesting bits.
Just check out the fabulous old cup pulls on the print cabinet.
Even though we never actually rode on any of the old street cars, it was fun to see them being used.
The rain had ended by the time we were done exploring the town, so instead of riding we opted to continue on foot. Our next stop was the 1940’s farm.
This area focuses on life in England during WWII with rationing, land girls, and finding ways to ‘make do and mend’.
The final stop on our circuit was the 1900’s pit village. I wasn’t really sure what exactly a ‘pit village’ was, so I looked it up on wikipedia …
A pit village, colliery village or mining village is settlement built by colliery owners to house their workers. The villages were built on the coalfields of Britain during the Industrial Revolution where new coal mines in isolated or unpopulated areas needed accommodation for the incoming workers.
I’ll admit I wasn’t terribly excited about seeing something called a ‘pit village’, but I ended up loving it.
Especially the miner’s cottages with their small gardens and cobbled together green houses.
I’d love to have one of these in my own backyard!
This area was so charming.
They really paid attention to the details with things like old quilts hanging on the laundry line …
and old posters pasted to the walls …
We really enjoyed our afternoon at the Beamish. It was a little bittersweet knowing that it was our last port of call and our trip was coming to an end.
But honestly, 16 days of traveling was just about perfect for us. We felt like we saw so many great places, but we were ready to head home and sleep in our own bed again.
Overall it was an amazing trip. If you’ve been reading my posts and thinking that one day you’d like to take this cruise, well sadly Holland America doesn’t seem to be offering this exact itinerary next year. They still have a cruise called the ‘Fjords & Highlands‘, but it only has one stop in Norway at Kristiansand, which if you’ll remember was my least favorite of the Norway ports. Otherwise they have switched out all of the Norwegian ports for Ireland. I’m puzzled as to why they are still calling it by that name because it doesn’t even seem to sail through any fjords. Are there fjords in Ireland?
Anyway, this brings my Wednesday travel posts to an end. I hope you enjoyed them! I’m still not sure what I’m going to do with my Wednesdays after this, but I’m sure I’ll think of something. You’ll just have to stay tuned to find out!