We had looked at the Beamish website and had planned to visit on the day that Santa arrived in the town. We expected it to be busy, but when we got there at 11:15 the queues were still growing outside of the ticket hall. We had pre-booked tickets online, but there were no signs directing visitors to a specific queue. We probably "jumped the queue" by going up to one of the staff and asking where we queued for pre-booked tickets, she just advised us to go to the next available ticket desk, which we did. It would have been a simple thing to make entry to the attraction a better organised affair. Signs placed outside directing people to a specific queue for pre-booked tickets, and for those with annual tickets. To their credit, the staff were processing ticket purchases very quickly. Strangely, at the end of the day when we were leaving the ticket hall, there was a sign advising people with pre-booked tickets to queue in a specific place, why wasn't this there when it was needed at the start of the day? Maybe it was, but it was obscured by the number of people queuing.
Other reviewers have commented on the queues at the Chippy, we weren't too bothered about seeing Santa, so we got to the chippy just after 11:30, just after they had opened and got served very quickly. The fish and chips are good value for money, in fact would recommend asking for a "dab" and chips - "dab" being a half portion of fish, as a full portion was too much!
the fish is quite greasy, presumably because it's cooked in dripping, but very tasty and worth a try.
The day was made more interesting because there was an open store exhibition - this allowed visitors to see items which are being held to be used in future buildings, etc. I had great fun identifying TV's, Radios, etc of the same model that I had once owned!!! From talking to a volunteer we learned that this was one of three stores and that Beamish was actively looking for items from the 1920's to the 1980's for further development.
Every time I go to Beamish there are new buildings / things to see, etc. This time it was the new bakery, although it was too busy to allow us to buy any produce from there.
I always enjoy going to this attraction and wish I lived nearer, as our ticket gives us unlimited access for a year.
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