“ Address: 89-90 High Street / Opposite Battle Abbey / Battle / East Sussex / TN33 0AQ / Tel: +44 0 1424 777226 „
A TARDIS load of history
It is typical that the week before you are due to go on holiday in England that the sun shines brightly and as soon as you reach your destination rain falls and wind blows heavily. At least this is what always seems to happen with us and our last holiday was no different. In fact, I believe the weather was better at home than where we went! Due to the poor weather we were only able to spend a short time on the beach before looking for inside entertainment and in our search we came across Yesterday's World in the heart of the 1066 country, or to be more precise six miles from Hastings in a small village called Battle (such an uninventive name!!).
Yesterday's World can be found both in Great Yarmouth and also in Battle in East Sussex. This review covers the one situated in Battle.
89-90 High Street
Yesterday's World is very easy to find. All major routes around the area are signposted into Battle which is only six miles north of Hastings on the A2100 just off of the A21 (Junction 5 from the M25). If you follow signs to Hastings or Bexhill you will pick up the signs to Battle and then you simply follow them into the main town. There are also regular bus services into Battle and trains which run all the way from London Charing Cross to the Hastings mainline which is a 10 minute walk from Yesterday's World.
Once here there are a few different car parks to choose from though the best long stay car park is opposite Yesterday's World next to Battle Abbey. Here there is plenty of spaces though come lunch time it does start becoming busy. You only pay £3.50 for the whole day of parking which is a lot cheaper than many other car parks in and around the area.
From the car park you simply pass the Abbey and cross the road. There are many cash points around if you need extra money including many small café's and public houses. There is also a café in the museum though we found it cheaper with more on offer at the local public house. Once you have paid for your entrance into the museum you can go in and out as you please up until 5.00pm which gives you time to look around Battle too.
Yesterday's World Battle is open 7 days a week;
8th January 2010 - 31st March 2010 10.00am - 4.00pm
1st April - 31st October
2010 10.00am - 5.00pm
1st November - 24 December 2010 10.00am - 4.00pmAdmission Prices
Shop Only FREE
Senior / Student £6
Under 5's FREE
Family ticket (2 adults and 2 children) £20
Extra child (in addition to family ticket) £3
Special Needs (including carer) £5
Garden & Tearoom Entry Only* £3
(*Please Note: not available on event days)
Annual Season Ticket
Senior / Student £15.00
Family (2+3) £60.00
Prices are actually quite reasonable compared to many places I feel.
Also do not be put off by how small the outside looks. They have a sign outside saying that it is a lot bigger on the inside and they are right! (Hence the TARDIS mention in my title for this review - yes, I am a Dr Who fan too!)
DO THE TIME WALK
On entrance to the museum you are met with not only the sights of times past though also the sounds. As we stood in a small area which was dressed up as a town area from the 1920's my daughter closed her eyes and relished in telling me what she could hear. I thought that this is a lovely little extra as it really did give the feel of being back in time.
There are many small shops on two levels of the museum ranging from Victorian times onwards with some great set ups and even some 'old world' smells which again adds to the experience. Many of the shops also have buttons you can press to hear commentaries with either information or little stories. These are a good idea though in some parts different commentary buttons are so close together that they end up drowning one another out which was a little annoying. One of the most memorable little shops for me was the sweet shop with all the old fashioned sweet jars. My daughter tried to actually get some to eat though we had to remind her that they were all pretend. As far a I know they are actual real sweets though with the cobwebs which surrounded some of them I certainly wouldn't want to eat them even if we could! The grocers store and chemist were also really well displayed with a lot of old household favourites such as Cadbury's chocolates and Colemans mustard. It is a marvel how they have changed over the years! There was also a little shop with many old games and comics and my husband spent ages pointing out everything he had as a child. I found it really interesting seeing how certain games have changed over the years whereas my daughter just wanted to play with the little dolls on display. Some of these were a little creepy to me though!!
As you go further into the museum you come across a house within a house with Victorian layouts of a working kitchen, bedrooms, playrooms and such. The attic playroom is extremely small though certainly worth a look with all the old wooden toys and wartime rations. Within these rooms are also life-sized models of people rather like in Madaam Tuusauds. Personally I have always found these models a little creepy and here was no different though they did bring that extra level to all the display rooms. Most of the rooms were either behind rope or behind glass what with all the old and expensive items though some were available to touch and even sit on such as an old fashioned rocking horse which my daughter loved.
It takes approximately an hour to walk around the museum if you are taking your time so although it holds a lot and is bigger on the inside it is not anything like a huge museum you find in London though I think this is also part of its attraction. The house alone is quaint and historical and lovely to look at.
Once you come out of the main part of the museum you are taken through the shop. This was the point in which we decided that coffee was needed so followed the signs through to the back of the house. On our way to the little café we came across the newest exhibits. The first we had to go upstairs yet again though this time it was much more spacious. Here we found a room covering the kings and queens in Victorian life onwards including some crown jewels! Personally this was not the highlight of our visit as I found the old shops and rooms much more of an interest though it was set out wonderfully. There was also a 'Harry Potter' style moving portrait of which was meant to talk to you though unfortunately this was out of order on our visit.
Going back downstairs we found ourselves in another small street like scene with a few more look-only shops and a lovely model of horses pulling a carriage along a cobbled street. This was also set out brilliantly and was a perfect walk through to get downstairs to the café.
The only thing in which I found a negative straight away was the whole cramped feel. There are three flours in all and the stairways are very thin and steep and often even I had to duck to get passed the low ceiling beams of this 15th century house in which the museum is situated. We actually had the buggy with us which we later took back to the car as there was really no room to get it up and down the stair ways. Luckily it was not overly busy so we didn't have the problem with getting past people though I wouldn't recommend taking buggy's inside. We were told when we bought our tickets that we could actually leave the buggy with them and they would look after it for us though as we had all our bags hanging from it we thought we would give it a try though on hindsight we would have taken it straight back to the car.
CAFÉ, GARDEN AND AMMENITIES
As already mentioned, this house with its stairways is rather cramped and so not suitable at all for wheelchair users or buggys. There is a lift down to the café and also to the Victorian exhibition though as far as I could see, there was no other lifts anywhere else.
There is only one toilet area which is situated by the stairs to the Victorian exhibit.
Onto the café...
On entrance to the café I could tell that it really was not somewhere which had a lot of choice. It is more of a tea room than anything serving tea and coffee and some lovely little cakes and cookies. For two small coffees and two muffins it cost us over £5.00.
The look of the café is lovely. It is very spacious and light with plenty of seating areas and for sunny days there is a large terrace with beautiful views of both the surrounding country side as well as the magnificent garden. You are also able to take your coffees down into the garden area which is the garden of my dreams!
While we were there a gardener was potting around the beautiful flower beds while we sat in the garden on one of the many benches. At the far end of the garden is two separate play areas. The first is a simple climbing frame and slide area with little rocking horses and such like - all well kept and perfect for little ones. Next to it is a wonderful little play village with about six little houses all built like normal houses though child-size. Inside each of the houses are decked out with little parts in which you would generally find inside real ones such as in the village school are old fashioned desks and blackboard and inside the little pub is a bar and table. It is absolutely brilliant and a perfect addition to the museum and a place which is so lovely to go and sit and relax whilst your children play.
I would also like to mention the little shop which is also accessible to those who have not gone into the museum. Here you find a lot of older things from old DVD's to beanie babies to copies of items found within the museum. The prices are very reasonable and it is a pleasant little shop and a perfect way to end your visit.
School Groups 15+ (per person)
Driver & Organiser FREE
1 adult FREE with every 5 children
Extra adults £4.50
Tailor made goody bags: Choose how much you spend Please ask when booking
Teacher's Pack: FREE (please enquire when booking)
Teacher Pre-Visit: FREE
Yesterday's World (price per person)
Group Rate 15+
Special Needs £4.00 (Carer FREE)
Driver & Organiser FREE
Pre-order tea, coffee and biscuits for just £2 per head. Please ask when booking.
There are many little questions posted around the museum to keep children interested and some even educated me a little! The only problem I see with group outings is the small spaces especially if it is busy.
The one great thing about this (well one among many) museum is that once you have paid you are free to go in and out of the museum until 5pm. This allows time to go and visit the abbey, go for a walk, visit public houses or anything else which takes your fancy. The museum alone will not take up a whole day trip though mixing it with Battle itself will and is well worth the visit.
We enjoyed ourselves thoroughly, even my little two year old daughter and would certainly love to visit the Great Yarmouth one if this one is anything to go by.