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Fantastic Day Out
Didcot Railway Centre (Didcot)
Member Name: CarlaGib
Didcot Railway Centre (Didcot)
Advantages: Wide variety of attractions - something for everyone.
Disadvantages: Open air, so do not visit during bad weather
My 2 children (Katie aged 6, and Jack aged 4), my 2 middle-aged uncles and I, visited Didcot last month on an Enhanced Steamday and had a great day. Following is a list of aspects that I feel were crucial to our enjoyment:
1. Firstly, all the staff we met on our day out at Didcot were helpful, knowledgeable, friendly and easy-going. It was obvious that they enjoy their work and are proud of the Centre. In particular I found that the information some of the staff shared with us about the workings of the trains contributed enormously to our understanding of the World of the Railway, and therefore to our enjoyment of the day.
2. The accessibilty and parking at Didcot are good, and the grounds on which the Centre is built are well-cared for, and set out with visitors' comfort in mind. There are both interior and exterior eating areas; well-equipped toilets; and a shop that has a good selection of gifts and souvenirs.
3. The wide variety of attractions ensures that there is something that will interest everyone visiting Didcot. The air-raid shelter, miniature train-set, interactive area, museum and engine shed were an unexpected bonus, as we were expecting to see only the trains themselves.
4. The map provided at the entrance booth contains vital information about the invention of the train, its progress and its uses over the years. Information boards around the Centre provide further detail into the World of the Railway, without which I would have been a little lost!
5. The overall lay-out of Centre is delightful. I thoroughly enjoyed having to walk through the wooded areas, across the train tracks, and through engine sheds and the like to reach each point of interest. It was almost like a following a treasure map, with a new discovery just around each corner.
6. I felt honoured to experience what is must have been like to travel in one of these magnificent machines all those years ago. The ones we rode in were finished to a very high standard, and it was lovely seeing how the different classes travelled. It was especially interesting to be permitted into the cab on the broad-gauge engine as it travelled, and to converse with the driver and guard, who were happy to explain how it all worked and even allowed us to ring the bell!
7. The entrance fee is very reasonable, and we definitely got great value for money at Didcot. It was lovely that we were allowed to ride on the trains as often as we liked and at no extra cost. On the day we visited there were 4 trains running almost all day, which gave us plenty of opprtunity to experience the fun time and again.
8. I feel that allowing visitors access onto old engines and to be permitted to tinker about with the levers, knobs and bells adds greatly to the fun of being around the trains. I think it is wonderful that Didcot offers the opportunity to learn how to work and drive an engine, although, in my case it was unfortunately out of my price range.
9. The crowning glory of the Railway Centre must be, without a doubt, the trains themselves. These were in immaculate condition and the loving and painstaking work carried out on them was evident in how they had been restored to their former glory, both inside and out.
I consider my day at Didcot one of my top Days Out, and will always remember it fondly.
I hope to visit again sometime soon, and recommend an outing to Didcot to anyone remotely interested in history or trains.
Summary: I recommend an outing to Didcot to anyone remotely interested in history or trains.
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