Afternoon at the Hornby Museum / Visitor Centre

Steam Train

Our first visit to the Hornby Visitor Centre in Kent was a pleasurable afternoon. Our group, once again, consisting of my mum-in-law, husband, nephew, teddy and myself. Fortunately, this time, teddy wanted full participation in what the museum had to offer and shared the full experience with my nephew James.


First stop (after an initial fail to find the car park) was to peel James away from watching a model train layout in the Hornby shop (*you have to be careful how you type that) and tempt him into the restaurant with the promise of a ham sandwich.


Their meal selection was quite nice, Kevin and myself had  a ‘blow your head off’ chicken curry which was perhaps just the ticket (ha ha) for a cold rainy day.

So, all fuelled up, we headed at full steam into the museum. We weren’t sure what to expect because their website didn’t say a lot.

We spent the whole afternoon there, following James around as he did laps of the exhibits. As expected, a short narrative of the man himself how he started of as a toy maker and moved into inventing Mechano, then the famous scaled ‘toys’ and models of planes, trains and automobiles.  A small, un inspiring Thomas The Tank Engine layout was the first exhibit which was made slightly more exciting by having domes in the middle that children could pop their heads into, in the middle of the layout.


 There is a small video room, a model train layout (again not the best, but not the worst neither), a few rooms with cases of various models for display and how the scaled models are produced for AirFix.

At one point teddy was given a leg up to peer into the model railway and nearly caused an epic derailment and the felling of several fluffy trees.


There was also a weird display of cars on podiums (Pocher Models) that were about 5 foot off of the ground… small people need not bother with this room. The museums is modern, airy and had a ‘science museum’ feel to it with low level lighting and lots of blue and white spotlights.


However, most of the time was spent playing with the Scalextric circuits at small person’s height! He thought this was great fun even though he generally lasted 5 seconds on the track before shooting off. We stayed most of the day in this area! Kevin seemed to enjoy it too – boys and their toys!


Apart from the one room with the high plinths, access is fine and you will find the pleasure of not one but two roomy accessible toilets hiding in the gift shop area (one without a baby changing mat you will be please to know!).

I think James gave the museum a thumbs up and we all had an enjoyable afternoon.


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