Three Floors of History... in a Nutshell!
Wander back in time, starting towards the end of Queen Victoria’s reign. Visit our authentic life-size Victorian Street filled with all original items. See the Blacksmith hard at work making horseshoes. He is a valuable master of his trade, the equivalent of a highly skilled mechanic today. Smell the treats of the Sweetshop that would have been made fresh every morning on site. Listen to the hustle and bustle of everyday living, immerse yourself in Victorian life.
See the lady having a new outfit tailor made in the Milliners with lace, silk and luxurious velvet all to choose from. In contrast, the 10 year old boy selling hot chestnuts from his portable brazier to earn money for his family to eat. He is wearing his only change of clothes that he has almost grown out of.
On the next level, imagine yourself in the nursery as the Nanny employed to look after 6 young children from an upper-middle class family. In the nursery, children would play with expensive toys, bathe and even start their education before being sent to private school.
Peer at the kitchen, in the servant quarters, it is filled with household appliances (some obscure, some you may remember your grandparents using!) Cook is exhausted from having carried the groceries back from the village for the week ahead.
If you were unlucky enough to have tooth ache, you might want to take a tot of Whisky before visiting the dentist with his foot-operated drill!
As you meander up to the top floor, hop on the 27-ton steam engine en route! See the wartime evacuees waiting on the platform with gas mask, minimal luggage in tow and knowing little of what to expect. Upstairs, take a break in our Station Café for a range of cakes, refreshments, High Teas and more.
Marvel over our completely refurbished model railway. The display is designed to evoke thought and remembrance of the First and Second World Wars.
Take a chilling walk through our recreated WWI trench, imagine your ancestors on the front line or taking cover in a WWII Anderson Shelter. Travel from the Peninsular War and Battle of Trafalgar through the Victorian campaigns and WWI & WWII to the Falklands in 1982. With a vast collection of medals, uniform, militaria, can you spot the Boer War Christmas tin issued by Queen Victoria to our troops in 1900 still with its original contents?
Don’t miss the 1950’s and 60’s shopping arcade filled with post-war packaging and household items. And don’t forget to play on the original peer machines.
Bygones is three floors of pure nostalgia for ALL the family.
We are dog-friendly throughout so please bring your four-legged friends with you!
We run seasonal children’s activities (see our website for more detail) and our Victorian Christmas runs throughout December. Our most popular event (needs to be pre-booked) is Breakfast/Lunch with Santa, where you’re immersed into a traditional Christmas, have the opportunity to meet and receive a gift from the ORIGINAL Santa in his grotto and indulge in a festive breakfast or lunch.
We have a souvenir gift shop selling confectionary, traditional toys & games, retro items and even popular merchandise including Harry Potter and Game of Thrones! Please see our website for the online shop!
One of the main questions we are asked is how it all began…
Back in the 1980s, an obsession with railwayana and the spontaneous purchase of a 27-ton railway tank engine sparked the need for a bigger venue. As good fortune would have it, the old cinema had become available in St. Marychurch and the Cuming family bravely took the plunge to turn their hobby into a business. They decided to combine their interests in railways and objects from the past, and invite the public to come and visit the collections. Bygones was born.
The next main question we are asked is how we managed to get the steam engine inside! You’ll have to come in to Bygones to find out!
A completely unique venue for Birthday parties (child or adult!), corporate events and group and bespoke guided tours.