“ Address: Jackson Dock / Maritime Avenue / Hartlepool / TS24 0XZ „
Hartlepool Dockfest was a free (already a winner for me) two-day festival in the happy if a little down-at-heel town of Hartlepool: it offered the usual mix of music, comedy and entertainment and I have to say, I was pleasantly surprised by both the festival and the town of Hartlepool: nice people, a nice place and a great couple of days. The Lighting Seeds headlined the music on Saturday: a little too run-of-the-mill for my liking, but they were decent enough. Brodie trundled through his extensive back catologue with an ease and confidence that reflects his status as one of the best writers in his genre: again, not really my thing, but it was good. The stand-out for me was Sean Lock's stand-up show on the second day (Sunday). Once again, Lock is by no means my favourite comedian, but he really carried off the gig very well and the crowd ended (and, indeed, started) right behind him. Other notables (apparently, as I'd never heard of them0 included Radio 2's Ivan Brackenbury and comedian Lee Nelson. A couple of days entertainment, and it was free! Well done Hartlepool.
During the school half term in February my husband and I were looking for somewhere local to take the children for an afternoon. As we had several Tesco Days Out vouchers due to expire we looked on the website to find somewhere that would accept the deals and came up with Hartlepool's Maritime Experience. Despite the fact that we don't live too far away this was somewhere that we hadn't ever visited so we decided to change that and headed off to Hartlepool. ** What is the attraction? ** Hartlepool Maritime Experience is a recreation of a 18th Century seaport, with a range of activities to help visitors understand what life was like during that time. ** Arriving at the attraction ** Outside of the Maritime Experience is a good sized car-park. There is no charge for parking. As we arrived there were several young people wandering around the car-park dressed in period costumes which immediately siezed the interest of our ten year old. ** What is there to do ** After paying the entrance fee visitors pass though the entrance onto an old fashioned, quite attractive quayside with a ship docked in the centre. There are a range of interactive exhibits at the experience. ** SHOPS ** Shopaholics wouldn't get too excited by these shops as they are recreations of the type of shops that would have been found at an 18th Century seaport and they "stock" a range of seafaring necessities. The shops themselves are an interesting insight into naval life and the fact that visitors can wander in and out of them examining the merchandise makes them more interesting than seeing the objects in a museum display cabinet. **FIGHTING SHIPS** This is a walkthrough attraction whereby visitors see what life was like in a fighting frigate in the 1800s. Visitors move through corridors showing a series of scenes from ship-life, narrated by a recording said to be a young worker on the ship. The ending of the walkthrough is quite dramatic, although I won't reveal what happens to avoid spoiling he surprise. **PRESSGANGED** This is a film about two brothers who were pressganged into working on board a ship. It is shown in a tiny cell-like room at various times throughout the day. **CHILDREN'S MARITIME ADVENTURE CENTRE** This is an interactive centre for children where they can practise a range of maritime skills including knot-tying and rat-killing(!) - simulated only! This centre was closed during our visit as the area was host to a re-enactment society presentation. **MOORED SHIP** Visitors are able to go on board an actual ship to see what conditions would have been like. I wouldn't recommend this is you are at all claustrophobic as it has rather cramped conditions and has very steep staircases. **QUAYSIDE COFFEE SHOP** Here you can buy a range of snacks and meals and we thought the prices to be very reasonable. **EVENTS** Hartlepool Historic Quayside is home to a range of events such as Farmers' Markets and Brass Band Concerts. ** Where is it? ** Hartlepool is situated on the North East coast in the Tees Valley. Easily accessible by road, the town is only 1 hr 15 mins (67 miles) from Leeds and just 45 mins (32 miles) from Newcastle. ** Directions to reach the attraction (taken from visitor website) ** Directions - From the north Take A19 southbound and exit at the A179. Follow the brown signs to the Historic Quay. When you reach a roundabout with large spherical balls on it (public art - Heaven and Earth) you are not far away. 3rd exit at that roundabout. The next roundabout is at the top of Marina Way it has a large buoy in the middle. Focus DIY store is to your right. Go straight on, heading for the masts of HMS Trincomalee. Take the second left then the next left again which will bring you to the Maritime Experience car park. Parking is free. From the south From the south Take A1M northbound and exit at junction 49 (A168/A19) signposted Teesside. Exit A19 at the A689 and follow the brown signs to the Historic Quay. Keeping going straight on at each set of lights and each roundabout. When you come to the lights at the junction between Victoria Road and Stockton Street (Wilkinsons and The Hartlepool Mail on your left, Hartlepool Art Gallery (Christ Church) on your right. Straight head, past Asda and Boots and with Focus on your left, take the 4th exit at the roundabout. Head for the masts of HMS Trincomalee. Take the second left then the next left again which will bring you to the Maritime Experience car park. **PRICING** Adults £7.75 Children: £4.75 Unwaged: £4.75 Over £5.75 Family ticket (2 adults and up to 3 children): £20.00 Travel Trade Groups: £3.85 School Groups: £3.30 Other Groups (Adults): £7.00 Other Groups (Child): £4.00 Other Groups (Over 60's) £5.00 Quay Cards Adults £20.00 Over 60's £15.00 Family (2 adults and up to 3 children): £45.00 Tesco Days Out Vouchers are accepted here, as that is how we paid. **Overall Opinion** I think that this location would be an ideal place to spend an afternoon, especially if you have an interest in history or naval life. The quayside has been redeveloped to look very attractive and it is a pleasant place to visit. The attractions are reasonably interested and all of my family enjoyed it, apart from my 14 year old son who thought it was boring. I thought the pricing was reasonable, considering it would be possible to spend a good few hours there. Additionally, it is right next door to Hartlepool Maritime Museum which has free entry so an extra few hours could be spent there.
It is a re-creation of an 18th century seaport. It brings to life the time of Nelson, Napoleon and the Battle of Trafalgar.