A railway museum and a Steampunk festival may sound like an unlikely combination but it actually makes for a brilliant family day out, as we discovered at Buckinghamshire Railway Centre.
Steampunk takes the Victorian engineering of the 19th century and gives it a science fiction twist to create some stunning fashions. If you don’t think you’re familiar with the Steampunk, chances are you’ve seen it on-screen as it’s inspired the style of Ripper Street and Peaky Blinders in no small way. On the big screen, films such as the Golden Compass, the Robert Downey Jr Sherlock Holmes and the City of Lost Children all create wonderful cinematic worlds based on the fantastical neo-Victorian Steampunk concept. Although ShireMum and I wouldn’t have the confidence to dress up ourselves, Steampunk is an aesthetic we very much admire.
The Buckinghamshire Railway Museum is itself based around what was once a station on the Metropolitan Railway and Great Central Railway. Located in a rural part of Buckinghamshire, north of Aylesbury, it is a remnant of the grand plans railway pioneers once had. Alas the Great Central closed under Beeching in the 1960s and the when the Metropolitan Railway was taken over by London Transport, its line far into the countryside was cut back much closer to the capital.
Today the museum beautifully preserves the setting of the steam age and it felt quite fitting that this setting full of hissing, clanking locomotives should host Steampunk, which is very much inspired by this era of technology.
A day out for everyone
It’s not often that we can go out as a family and all genuinely get something out of the day. Destinations are often geared for children or grown ups but there aren’t so many that keep biggies and little ones entertained throughout. We’d hoped that the steam train / Steampunk combo might do just that but we really weren’t expecting how well it worked in practice.
The museum was running two steam trains regularly throughout the day, while there are extensive museum displays, train sheds and a miniature railway at one end of the site. The Steampunk fair featured performances and music throughout the day and had a number of stalls.
Here’s a look at what we each enjoyed from the day:
- Train track play area
- Train rides
- Miniature train rides
- Train carriages to explore
- Lucky dip
- Steampunk stalls
- Admiring the fashion
- Historical vehicles
- Local history
- Style and historic photo opportunities
- Steampunk performances
- Vintage transport, signage and art
Tickets normally cost £11 for adults and £8 for children over 5. Entrance is free for under £5s. Museum entry includes unlimited rides on the steam trains. The miniature railway costs £1 for adults and children over 3 years of age.
- Buckinghamshire Railway Centre website
- Buckinghamshire Steampunk Weekend website
- Buckinghamshire Steampunk Weekend Facebook page
Disclaimer: We paid for our visit to the museum ourselves and the views are our own honest opinions.