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House of Marbles (Bovey Tracey)
Member Name: Epiphany
House of Marbles (Bovey Tracey)
Date: 07/06/01, updated on 09/07/01 (207 review reads)
Advantages: Free entry, Lots to do, Good Food
Disadvantages: Food a little Pricey, Could find yourself spending a fortune on glassware
The House of Marbles is situated in Bovey Tracey, Devon. It’s pretty easy to find, you just have to head for the Drumbridges Roundabout (if you are travelling from South of Bovey), this is the roundabout that goes to the Newton Abbot branch of Trago Mills. From the roundabout you then head to Bovey Tracey and keep going straight until you reach a mini roundabout where you take the first exit. There is a sign here directing you the few hundred yards of the rest of the way and the building can be found on your right.
Should these directions not be enough for you their full address is:
House of Marbles, Pottery Road, Bovey Tracey, Newton Abbot
Tel: 01626 835358
Local information points may also have a copy of their promotional leaflet, which I have managed to loose *hanging head in shame*. This leaflet provides you with a small map to show you where to go, probably much more helpful than my directions!! Now I will endeavour to remember the most important things about a visit to The House of Marbles.
I’m not 100% sure about opening times, so it may be best to ring ahead, and I will update this when possible. It is popular with coach parties, so it is worth getting there quite early to miss the rush, or go later in the morning when most of them have gone. If you wish to take a coach party here (well, you might!), you must book ahead. There is enough parking for a few buses and there seems to be ample space for cars. What’s more, parking is free here, as is the entry to the place itself.
So what is The House of Marbles? Well, it is a working museum type place where you can learn about the history of the marble, how they were made, how they were invented, the different types and the materials and processes used to make them. But the information is not limited to marbles. There is a section that identifies other games played in the past, some of which many of us will recognise, but which are not in gen
eral circulation any more. Then there is an area that looks at glass, a section about pottery and there are various examples and models around. There is even an old marble making machine tht has been shipped back from America!
If this isn’t enough for you, there is a small area (which gets very warm) where you can watch glass blowers at work making decanters and other glassware as the public look on. You are allowed to ask questions and there are pictorial representations of the workshop dotted around that describe what you can see. This is very interesting for those who have never seen glass blowing before, but to be honest I have seen better displays both in Scotland and in Plymouth.
There are also examples of marble runs; intricately designed wire structures, designed to carry marbles through loops and turns which is great fun to watch. There is a bigger version of a marble run on a wall as you go through the shop and up the stairs. This uses billiard balls instead of marbles and is fascinating to watch… trust me, you have to see it!
Other things to see are the huge kiln/chimney things in the courtyard. This is where the pottery and glass used to be fired. It is on this courtyard that you can have a meal, or there are some marbles to play with if you prefer! There is also a restaurant so if you don’t want to eat outside you can eat here and it is reasonably sized. The food is very good but is a little expensive; I guess you get what you pay for. Whilst we were there the children were given a complementary jigsaw puzzle… as was I, the waiter took pity on me!!! Also, whilst in the restaurant be sure to look out for the gorilla. Keep an eye on him because you never know what he might do!
You can purchase goods from the shop, which is about the size of the rest of the museum exhibitions put together! You can buy glass rods that look like sticks of rock, paperweights, glass ornaments, vases etc. Marbles mad
e of glass or marble – which are VERY reasonably priced, and glass icicles and snowflakes which are 99p each. Other novelty gifts are available, like musical cookie jars and games. Upstairs you can find more glassware plus a moose head (fun for the kids – I don’t think it is real, but I can’t recall for sure) and wooden furniture. Hand creams and soaps, plus luxury oils and conserves can also be found here, making this area smell lovely. Also, look out for the snoring bear!
I think that is all you need to know. The place isn’t huge, but it still occupied us for about three hours, and as I mentioned before, entry is free so what do you have to loose!!
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