- Check out the 19th-century model village with all its incredible detail.
- See if you can spot the model train as it goes past on the Bekonscot Model Railway track!
- Learn something new at the Ed Shed, Bekonscot’s Discovery and Play Centre.
- Kids can run, climb and slide about at the brilliant children’s playground.
If your family is looking for some classic days out in Buckinghamshire that will take you back to childhood, look no further than the wondrous Bekonscot Model Village and Railway. Located in Beaconsfield, Buckinghamshire, this two-acre model village has been around for over 90 years. The model village was initially created by enthusiastic Beaconsfield resident, Roland Callingham, who named his impressive town after Beaconsfield and Ascot. Considered to be the largest original model village in the world, Bekonscot has attracted over 15 million visitors in its lifetime. You might recognise it from one of its many television appearances, including Blue Peter, Midsomer Murders, BBC’s The One Show, and it even appeared once in a McDonald’s advert!
Over the years, Bekonscot has expanded, with railway manufacturers Basset-Lowcke installing a working railway model as part of the project. Now the model village is surrounded by a housing estate so can’t be expanded any further, but still contains over 200 buildings and 1.5 acres of garden. Kids can look out for various exciting attractions within Bekonscot, including Chessnade Zoo, complete with miniature animals, the picturesque hamlet of Hanton with its fairground, a tiny Marks & Spencer and a mini racecourse! Since the six towns within Bekonscot are all based on real-life locations, you might spot somewhere you know.
The working railway is one of the most interesting features of Bekonscot, with a highly sophisticated monitoring system and multiple individual trains on their own pre-set routes. In total, there are 450 metres of track, with three different tracks in operation. Head to the Signal Box to check out the intricate signalling system, and watch as the trains carry their passengers to their destinations. The railway has been running since 1929 in all weathers, and the Bekonscot staff pride themselves on the fact that the Bekonscot Railway actually runs more than the life-sized version! If the model railway has inspired you, head to the Bekonscot Light Railway, which runs from 10.30am until 4pm daily and will take you on a figure of eight route around the site.
If you’ve got some little adventurers on your hands, try visiting Bekonscot Model Village during one of their ‘Toddler Takeover’ mornings. Here, pre-schoolers have free rein over the education centre and play areas, with free tea and coffee for the grown-ups. Or, take the kids over to the Ed Shed to learn all about what life was like in the 1930's through play and activities. These include train-themed games, dedicated 1930’s rooms, and the opportunity to dress up as someone from the 1930's. Another great resource at Bekonscot is the number of Home Education days that are in place to assist those who are teaching their kids at home. With specific themes for each day, the workshops cater to teaching kids of all ages about a variety of history and design topics, including Model Making and Life in the 1930's. These classes are free for under 2's and can be pre-booked online.
Once the kids have had their fill of exploring the model village, they can get out some of that excess energy at the children’s playground area. Complete with climbing frames, slides, remote control boats and pirate-themed water cannons, nothing is boring about this play area. Plus, it’s located right next to the Tea Room for some light refreshment afterwards.
Less than a half-hour train journey from London Marylebone, Bekonscot Model Village & Railway is a unique location unlike any other. Once you’ve had a look around, you can stop off at the Tea Room for something to eat or for a cup of tea. Or, since Bekonscot is located right in the heart of Beaconsfield, you can find several cafés and restaurants nearby for a sit-down or grab and go lunch. We recommend you put aside roughly 2-3 hours to enjoy Bekonscot Model Village and Railway, so there is plenty of time to explore the surrounding area if you want to make a day of it. The town of Beaconsfield itself also has a long and fascinating history, and, like Bekonscot itself, has had its fair few film and television features. Home of Enid Blyton and Sir Terry Pratchett, there is lots to learn as you wander around this quiet market town. There are plenty of pubs nearby such as The Greyhound and The Jolly Cricketers which are great for a pub lunch or check out Prebalito or The Cape for café-style dining.
What started as a personal project in the 1920s, has now grown to inspire millions of people for almost a century. As the oldest one of its kind, Bekonscot Village & Railway is certainly a trip to remember.
If you want to explore more of the Bedfordshire countryside, make sure to plan a trip to Dunstable Downs for spectacular views over the Chiltern Hills. Or, take the kids to visit the home of Winnie the Pooh, at Aldenham Country Park in Hertfordshire.
What to know before you go
- Bekonscot Model Village is open from 10am until 5pm daily, with last admissions at 4pm.
- Apart from the elevated walkway (which only has stair access), the whole site is wheelchair and buggy accessible. You can also bring a small mobility scooter. Wheelchairs can also be hired for free, or pre-booked. For buggies, there is a designated ‘buggy park’ if you want to leave it as you explore.
- Baby changing facilities and accessible toilets are available near the Tea Room.
- Only assistance dogs are allowed on site.
- There is free parking available at St. Teresa’s church, opposite the entrance. Alternatively, you can use the pay-and-display parking in Beaconsfield town centre, or at the station.
- Bekonscot Model Village is easy to drive to via the M40 or M25 and is located in the centre of Beaconsfield in Buckinghamshire.
- The nearest train station is Beaconsfield, which has regular connections to High Wycombe, Stratford-upon-Avon, Birmingham, Oxford, Aylesbury and London Marylebone. Then, it’s just a short five-minute walk to Bekonscot.