[Advert] If you are looking for place to visit that will entertain both the children and adults in your group, then Preston Park Museum and Grounds is a great day out. Until 3rd March 2019, in addition to the brilliant park, museum and Victorian street you can catch Behind the Seams is a collection of over 35 costumes from famous films and TV Shows.
We visited Behind the Seams a few weeks ago. We love Preston Park Museum and Grounds, I think the play park is probably the best one in the North East. We don’t visit as often as I’d like, as it’s a bit of drive, so we were really pleased to be invited to Behind the Scenes. We spend A LOT of time at kids events, and as much as I love them (and I really do) I was looking forward to a day out where there was more of a mix of adult and child focused things to do.
Preston Park is about 45 minutes drive from Newcastle. There is a big car park with free parking. After we’d managed to drag the kids out of the play park we headed into the museum. Behind the Seams costs £5 per adult (concessions are £3), and children under 16 are free (admission charges are on top of the museum usual entry fee of £5 per family for the year).
Behind the Seams is an exhibition of Angels Costumes, which is the worlds biggest costumed house. It’s set across two rooms with over 35 costumes from proper famous films and TV shows. I don’t know what I expected, but the costumes were from very recent, big productions. Including, Bohemiam Rhapsody, Stan and Ollie, the live action Beauty and the Beast, Titanic, Shakespeare in Love, Game of Thrones, Poldark and Only Fools and Horses.
The room is beautiful, very grand with dark wood panelling and really fitted the decadent clothes. My favourites were the royal costumes, for how opulent and detailed they were. I loved the dress that Claire Foy wore in The Crown and the one Judi Dench wore as Queen Elizabeth I in Shakespeare in Love. It was amazing to see them up close.
Each costume included a panel of information about the film/TV show and/or the costume. It was facinating to read through details about the productions had been made, and about how much thought, planning and design went into the costumes.
We had my niece (aged 7) as well as my two kids (4 and 3) with us. They were all quite interested to see the costumes. As we entered the staff greeted us. They were really friendly with the kids. They explained, in a nice way, that they couldn’t touch any of the clothes. They also got the kids onside, telling them they had a special jobs for the kids to do in looking for certain items.
Because I was blogging our visit I was focussed on taking photos, which left Daddy Sprog in charge of the three children… in a room with very expensive, prized items that they couldn’t touch. He was a bit stressed, and I think the kids smelled his weakness, and ran with it. They were a bit more hyper than usual, and to save both of our sanity we decided to leave the exhibition after about 10 minutes, look around the rest of the museum with a plan for me to return to finish looking at the exhibition whilst the kids went back to the park. I think if we’d had a higher ratio of concentrating adults to children, or our kids were a bit older then it would have been fine and we all would have enjoyed it. Even more so for children with an interest in films or clothes.
I think it’s really good that children are free to visit the exhibition, on this occassion our entry was complimentary, but in normal circumstances their free entry would really encourage me to have a look, without worrying we would be wasting money if it turned out the kids weren’t interested.
As usual we had a lovely day out at Preston Park Museum and Grounds. The kids adored the park and we were there for hours. The park is really big, with areas and equipment for kids of all ages. The 7 and 4 year olds with us even scaled the huge structure to come down the biggest slide I've ever seen in a park. The park is free to visit, and the general admission to the museum is a bargain at £5 for a family ticket which lasts a year. There is a Victorian street with different shops to look at, including a toy and sweet shop, old fashioned games set up like skittles to play with, and although closed on this visit, at other times of the year the walled gardens are beautiful.
Preston Park often host lots of really good value family events, like the ones this upcoming weekend to make Peg Dolls on Saturday or Sock Puppets on Sunday, both free but donations accepted to cover the cost of materials. So it really does make a great family day out.
Behind the Seams is open every day 10am-4pm until Sunday 3rd March. If you’d like to see more from our visit to Behind the Seams check out our video of our day below.