We’ve had the great pleasure of visiting Milestones Living Museum in Basingstoke this weekend. The museum features cobbled streets from the late 1800s and 1900s including shops, a post office, working old penny arcade, vintage vehicles and a working Edwardian pub! Another highlight of the museum is the 1940s sweet shop.
During our visit there was a special event taking place called Around The World Brick Adventure which is running from 7th Feb-23rd April 2017. This is a Lego adventure where the children must find clues around the museum to help stop thieves from stealing the crown jewels. Each area of the museum has Lego models themed around a particular continent, starting with Europe, as you track the thieves as they travel around the world. There is an easier trail designed especially for under 5s as well so everyone can take part. This brings an exciting edition to an already brilliant museum and is well worth checking out if you can get there before it finishes on 23rd April.
One of the kids favourite parts of the museum was the old penny arcade with working machines. You can exchange current coins for old pennies (i.e. 50p for 5, £1 for 10) and use these in the machines which all cost 1 or 2 coins. We loved seeing so many different ones and the kids loved choosing which machines to spend their coins on. We had quite a talent at winning on the crane sweet grabber machine, much to the children’s delight!
We really enjoyed visiting all the old shops and factories along the streets. A particular favourite was the toy shop which has displays in glass cabinets of popular toys throughout the years. Being a keen photographer I also enjoyed the camera shop.
Of course our #1 favourite shop was the 1940s sweet shop. You can purchase a coin and ration card at the entry desk for £1 which can be exchanged in the sweet shop for your weekly 2oz ration of sweets. It was a huge hit and as you know I love anything that brings history to life.
Around the museum are lots of lovely vintage vehicles, including some that you can climb on board. If you pick up an audio tour guide at the entrance you can find out more about them. My particular favourite was the Dockyard bus and the tram. They look so much more glamorous than modern day ones!
The kids enjoyed having an opportunity to dress up in one of the rooms and were very intrigued by the old school desks. We showed Great Nanny the photos when we got home and they couldn’t believe it when Great Nanny said she had a desk like that at school when she was a little girl!
The highlight of a trip to milestones for anyone over 18 is of course the working Edwardian pub! They serve a good selection of drinks and some light snacks as well. I love the fact that the bar staff are in Edwardian costume and there was even a lady playing a piano in the corner and singing songs from the era. The newspapers on the tables were from that era too making it even more authentic. Loved it!
Milestones Museum is without a doubt one of the most enjoyable museums we have ever visited. I loved the feeling of stepping back in time walking down the cobbled streets and the kids were absolutely fascinated. Bringing history to life with a ‘living’ museum is such a great way of getting kids involved and interested in history and Milestones have absolutely nailed it here.
The museum is fully accessible for pushchairs and wheelchair users and has a cafe and gift shop as well. The whole place is undercover so its perfect for a visit whatever the weather. There are toilets on site and free car parking. The car park directly outside the museum was full when we visited but there is a large overflow car park on the leisure complex with a short walk up the path to the museum. I highly recommend visiting during the Lego Around The World Brick Adventure event if you can as it really adds to the fun of your visit. The museum is suitable for all ages, young and old. We saw lots of grandparents visiting with grandchildren and sharing stories from their own childhoods which was lovely. The admission prices are good value for money. I’m sure you will love it!
Disclaimer: Milestones Museum kindly gifted us tickets to come and visit, however they had no involvement in this review. All photos, words and opinions are that of my own