We’ve had a few days staying at home, what with the weather and general wallowing after my husband headed back to Qatar. This has naturally resulted in the two boys getting bored and fighting. After one particular screaming match on a drizzly Monday morning I sent my four year old up the stairs to wake Grandma up with the instruction to tell her we were all headed to the Crich Tramway Village.
The Crich Tramway Village? I can hear the question. Not an obvious choice for a day out with a four year old and a two year old, something that you’d stereotypically expect your Uncle Nev to be into. After bundling them into the car with a hastily thrown together picnic we set off, silently thinking that the £39.50 I was about to spend was likely to be a big fat waste of money.
I couldn’t have been more wrong.
We had the BEST day over at the Crich Tramway Village, and it really was a full day having arrived just before 11 and not leaving until 4. What’s even better is that once you’ve bought your tickets they are valid for an entire year so we will be going back.
Arriving in the drizzle I began to feel apprehensive, bundling the two year old into the pram and heading inside to pay we were handing some old pennies for our tram ride.
Herding the four year old to the toilet as soon as we got through the door, we came back out to find one two year old little boy jumping up and down shouting about the PRAM PRAM CHOO CHOO he had just seen.
A little glimmer of hope that this may just work out.
Off we set, eagerly keeping an eye out for one of the three trams running that day, down the period street to the tram terminus.
We hadn’t got far when we found Barnatts Sweet Shop. I cannot resist sweets. Especially old style sweets weighed out in quarts. Neither can my boys. A quart of Midget Gems (the real old school ones where the yellow sweets are pineapple and the black ones liquorice) and dolly mixtures later we were ready to go on our way.
The trams, all of which are original models from the earlier part of the 20th Century, are not adapted for pram use. For those in wheelchairs there is a specially adapted tram that can be requested on arrival.
Parking the pram in the buggy shelter where it was to remain for the rest of the day, much to the utter joy of my two year old who was free for the day, we headed for the tram terminus to pick up our first tram. A beautiful olive green tram, originally built in 1936, the Liverpool Corporation No 869. With the destination proudly stated as Pier Head/Dale Street, which made me squeal with excitement as Dale Street was in fact where I met my husband.
Off we went, a round trip time of approximately 20 minutes, we headed up to the Glory Mine. Where with the drizzling rain we decided to stay on the tram. Changing directions at the top of the hill, pushing the seat backs to change the direction of the seat so we were always facing forward, we headed back down.
The second stop from the top took you to the Woodland Walk, a half mile walk down through the woods leading to the adventure playground, one which we decided against.
The next stop, at the entrance of the Crich Tramway Village, saw us alight and head to Victoria Park with our picnic. Relatively few people were picnicking given the dampness of the day, but undeterred we sat down.
And made it through lunch without the rain falling!
Next stop the adventure playground
It wouldn’t be a day out for my pair unless they had a chance to explore a park or playground. This was more suited to my, nearly, five year old than my two year old but we spent a happy half hour running round and chasing in here.
We could probably have spent longer if there was more for my two year old to do, or indeed if he hadn’t of insisted on death defying leaps of faith onto the “Fireman Sam” pole.
The Bowes-Lyon Bridge
Leaving the adventure playground over the Bowes-Lyon Bridge, stopping to wave at the trams as they went past.
We headed back to the period village and went to visit the trams in the depot. Something I thought would bore the boys, again, I was proved wrong as they ran round delighted. My four year old asking questions like when was this one built Mummy? Where was this one in the olden days? With over 80 tramcars in the collection it was quite some conversation…
Glasgow Corporation 22
After a short stint in the small indoor soft play, bypassing the Red Lion Pub, originally from Stoke and back down for our second tram ride of the day.
Jumping on the Glasgow Corporation 22, this time to do a full tour up to the top of the hill and back down to Stephenson Place. Heading up on the lower deck of the tram, with everyone jumping off to do the Woodland Walk we snuck upstairs to enjoy the latter part of the trip on the top deck outside.
Concluding the day by heading into the exhibition housed inside the facade of the Derby Assembly Rooms, where some dressing up was indulged in. Finally wrestling the two year old back in the pram, we headed for home, but not before we stopped at the sweetie shop again.
The Crich Tramway Village is open from March until November, holding a variety of events throughout the year.
Adult ticket prices are £16.50, with a child ticket coming in at £9.50. We opted for a family ticket, 2 adults and up to 3 children, at £39.50. Full price tickets grant you entry to the Tramway Museum for a full 12 months.
And I think it’s a testament to how much we loved the Crich Tramway Village that we are planning to go back next week when the horse drawn tram is being exhibited, to walk the woodland walk that we missed this time, and to generally have another wonderful day.
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