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Milestones Museum (Basingstoke)

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4 Reviews

Milestones - Hampshire's Living History Museum / Leisure Park / Churchill Way West / Basingstoke RG21 6YR. Milestones is only 3 miles from the M3 on the Basingstoke Leisure Park.

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    4 Reviews
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    • More +
      25.06.2011 23:41
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      A really varied museum that offers something for everyone at a very reasonable price

      T'was the early morning of a day when all the banks were on holiday and not a bird was heard stirring...because it was friggin' pouring down with rain and they were doing the sensible thing and holidaying in Tenerife. Bloody weather. But, with such a rare opportunity of freedom from the social constraints of employment, how does one find a fitting leisure activity not involving the outside world? Well, a quick surf on the web soon uncovered an intriguing sounding museum type attraction called Milestones in Basingstoke, Hampshire. So, with a quick drive down the M3 (J6 or J7 both work) followed by a short 3 mile stint to find the Leisure Park that houses Milestones with ridiculously easy brown signs to follow (imagine me, not using my SatNav to get somewhere...oh no you can't because it's never happened before...until now) I had arrived at my Bank Holiday ennui beating destination.


      ==Milestones==

      So when you first step inside the complex you are greeted with the reception straight ahead, the toilets to your left, an open spaced gift shop and the cafe to your right. Following the usual process of paying before entering lest ye be forcefully removed you have to go down a flight of steps before hitting the educational floor (where all the schoolchildren congregate) where you can pick up a map and a hand held guide which allow you to press buttons and hear talks on various points of interest - I decided against getting one as I normally start getting bored, but as I was walking around the place I could see people avidly engrossed in some of the talks so this decision probably was a mistake.

      Anyway, once you've either sensibly picked up your handheld guide or stupidly ignored it you then have to go down another flight of stairs before you genuinely feel like you have been transported back in time. Opening up before you is an intriguing network of named streets and buildings imitating what could have been an old town, with each building housing something from the past. Walking along cobbled streets with tramlines it's difficult to know what to look at first, so my well thought out plan was to wander in any old direction to see what turned up. Now, in all honesty a lot of the stuff here would have been completely ordinary for the people using it in the past and they'd have probably laughed if someone had told them that people in the future would be fawning all over it, but there really is something utterly fascinating at looking how people did things in the past and seeing how it's all changed, and in some cases not.

      The museum is divided into two distinct time periods separated by a time tunnel as the only way to travel between them. The first time period that you walk into is Georgian and this has all sorts of captivating things such as a big Sawmill with all the old equipment, big logs and some fairly deadly looking giant saws, so of course children should remain supervised at all times (remember the motto, when sharp edges are on display keep unruly kids away) and some blurb to read, no doubt enhanced by the handheld guide, as well as an old tobacconist which has some cool looking pipes and oddly also houses a pretty clock and watch collection, a milliner's, a jeweller's shop, a greengrocer's, an ironmonger's and a gasworks to name but a few trades from this period. The post office actually multitasks as a place to leave small children to allow parents and older kids to roam freely.

      There are also a lot of transport related features dotted around including a lot of agricultural vehicles, some salvaged carts and carriages, steam engines and locomotives as well as a tram (which sadly you can't set foot on as naturally it would collapse and cause a health and safety catastrophe) and a recreation of a railway station office and waiting room, alongside a very realistic railway model. Also, I should mention the fire station which has a fine collection of old equipment such as massive ladders and pumps which show just what a different business fire fighting was back then. The highlight for me of this period was the very realistic and actual alcohol selling imitation Edwardian pub - The Baverstock Arms. If you ignore the very modern drink dispensing equipment the rest of this admittedly small (with only about 5 tables available) pub had a warm and inviting period decor and a bubbly barmaid dressed in the typical period garb trying to create a very real experience which was great fun.

      There is plenty more to see, so once you feel like you've done the Georgian period justice you can make your way through "The Time Tunnel" which does feel like you should fall into a vortex similar to that of the Dr Who opening sequence, but sadly it really is just a small corridor that requires only a few paces to walk through. But immediately you can see the difference as you step into this post Georgian period with the sheer variety of shops and buildings here with a new emphasis being on technological advances. There is a camera shop with a great display showing the incredible evolution over the years, a gramophone and radio shop (HMV) which again has some thoroughly interesting antiques to marvel at and an electrical and hardware store. Some of it wasn't that interesting as it was just a collection of old hairdryers, vacuum cleaners and microwaves which surprisingly haven't changed a massive amount over the years.

      For kids, the best part is probably the sweet shop which is a genuine shop selling sweets from the 1940s (at least in old packaging and not 70 year old sweets once again to avoid a health and safety catastrophe). This is only open for a few hours on the weekend or on school holidays from 1:30pm-3.30pm and the queue was always out the door every time I checked so I couldn't be bothered to buy anything myself but did peer through the window like a starved street urchin. There is also a toy shop which shows some fun old games from the past and also gives an evolutionary display to observe how the games changed over the decades. Is it wrong that I squealed with delight when I saw some Sylvanian Family figurines?

      For adults, the main event is probably a large area devoted to the Thornycroft Company which was a famous vehicle manufacturer in Basingstoke from 1896-1977 so a lot of people today will probably still remember them. Here there is a vast building that displays an impressive array of their vehicles and machinery. Beyond that is also another old car exhibition zone which houses some very cool looking old cars which probably had a maximum speed of 30 miles an hour. Another interesting segment that caught my eye was the period room sets exhibition which was divided a typical home design into different decades so you could see the likely furnishings through the early to late 20th Century which was fun to see the stylistic changes, especially from the 1950s to the 1960s when society finally shook off their self imposed shackles and began to let their hair down.

      I've tried not to mention everything as I would hope to leave some mystery to the place whilst hopefully giving an idea of the pure variety this place has to offer. For me, what I felt was a shame is the fact there were no costumed actors frolicking about the place reliving the past with theatrical panache and letting you have a conversation with them so there were no stories to be had or demonstrations to see, which the website had promised me so I was a little disappointed there. Perhaps a bank holiday was not the most fruitful time to visit as this does seem to be something Milestones does offer. It is also worth checking out their Events calendar as they offer a lot of extra demonstrations and displays such as seeing a C Class steam roller in action outside of the museum with a Q&A session afterwards, or a 1940s Experience which includes singalongs with an amateur operatics society and presentations from costumed actors.

      So, I personally think (at least for the the foreseeable future) that Milestones has something to offer for every generation at great value for money. Kids and younger adults will probably find a historical value to everything they see and the older generation that remember a lot of it will probably get a fun feeling of nostalgia. There are things to interest fans of engineering, clocks, technology, agriculture, trains, fashion - it's hard to imagine that anyone visiting here won't find something of interest. It really is just a great place to immerse yourself in for a few hours, and a great educational place to bring kids to as well, especially on school trips (probably worth bearing in mind for choosing your visiting time if you don't want to be swarmed by kids). If you time it right you probably will see and experience everything Milestones has to offer, which unfortunately I didn't.


      ==Gift Shop==

      The gift shop is small, but does contain a lot of interesting items along with all the usual touristy things you'd expect like postcards, books, stationary etc. What I did like about this shop was the historical slant they put on it, so most things for sale had a real retro feel to them. I ended up buying an old card game called Muggins which told me hilarity and raucous laughter would ensue (I have since played and it was mildly amusing) and there were lots of other toys, puzzles and games available, as well as jewellery, models, Victorian costumes - this was definitely a much more interesting gift shop than a lot of other museums I've been to and the prices were nice and reasonable.


      ==Refreshments==

      As I mentioned before, for a nice beverage you can use the Baverstock Arms pub where you will be served by a very amiable barmaid. If you are visiting around lunchtime there is a Cafe which serves hot and cold food. I visited just after lunch so didn't need to use the Cafe but I poked my head around to have a quick look. The menu looked quite simple and not overly expensive, but there didn't seem to be much of an atmosphere which may have just been the time I looked in on it. Looking at past reviews for the cafe available on the website there seems to be a lot of complaints about poor quality food and slow service in the past, so they may or may not have rectified this issue since then - unfortunately I cannot tell you, but it may be something to consider before arriving that the Cafe may not be all that good. There is also a retro looking jukebox hidden away in the corner with weird looking discs inside (I've been reliable informed these are something known as vinyl...hmmm?), so it looks like music is available to raise the atmosphere (not whilst I was there), but looking at the selection of music it all seemed to be from the 60s and before so a little limited.


      ==Facilities==

      There are toilets (including disabled and baby changing) available on the top level which I never actually needed to use so I cannot comment on their cleanliness unfortunately, wheelchairs and scooters available for pre-booking if required and guide/assistance dogs are allowed in the museum (although other dogs and I'd imagine other pets such as cats, budgies, stick insects, hamsters etc are forbidden) and lifts to transport you between levels without the need to tackle the stairs.



      ==Admin essentials==

      ===Address===

      Leisure Park
      Churchill Way West
      Basingstoke
      RG22 6PG

      Tel: 01256 477766


      ===Prices (as of 2011)===

      Adult - £7.90
      Child (5-15yrs) - £4.75
      Child (under 5) - FREE
      Concessions (60+, disable, student) - £6.90
      Family (2 adults + 2 children) - £22.75


      ===Opening Times (as of 2011)===

      Closed on Mondays
      Tuesdays-Fridays + Bank Holidays - 10am-4.45pm
      Saturdays + Sundays - 11am-4.45pm
      Last admission 3:45pm

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      • More +
        29.09.2009 15:20
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        Great day out

        *What is it?*
        Milestones is a large museum in Basingstoke showing ways of life in victorian times and the 1930s.

        *Why we visited*
        I'd always been interested in the Milestones museum as I drive past it on a regular basis. I'd always thought it looked huge and very modern and would be worth a look. When my latest lot of clubcard vouchers came through from Tesco I had a look online and they were offering vouchers for Milestones. By exchanging £2.50 worth of vouchers, you'd receive a £10 voucher for Milestones. Great I thought and quickly exchanged £5 worth of vouchers.

        *Where is it?*
        The museum is located on the outskirts of Basingstoke and is easily found from the ring-road. It is well signposted and is situated in a very large leisure park. It is easy to see from the road due to the sheer size of it. The postcode for sat-nav users is RG22 6PG.

        *Arriving at the museum*
        The museum was easy to find and there was a good sized free car park. I imagine on a busy day this becomes quite full but Milestones was almost empty when we visited. The outside of the museum looks very impressive and very modern. Going through some automatic doors you arrive in the entrance foyer which also doubles up as the gift shop and the cafe. We were quickly seen to by a lovely member of staff who was very helpful and told us which way to go. She also provided us with special stickers which allowed us to go in and out of the museum all day as and when we pleased. To get into the museum itself you can either go down some steps or down in the lift. The museum must be built into a hill because travelling two floors down you are actually at ground level at one side of the museum.

        *Audio Handsets*
        At the foot of the stairs we were greeted by another member of staff who gave us our audio handsets. These were like a very big mobile phone on a neck loop. Around the museum there were numbers and by typing these into the handset you were played commentary about the item. These were a good idea however a number of the recordings were quite long and both the kids and ourselves lost interest. We would have liked to have the option of audio handsets or a print out as personally we would have found the print out more useful. However, the audio handsets would be really useful for some families.

        *The museum content*
        The museum is really fantastic as it is designed to look just like an old fashioned village which was really fun. Everything is lifesize and there are no barriers like you find at similar attractions. There are a great deal of things to look at including houses, tobacconists, train stations, trams, sweet shops and even a pub! The museums exhibits range from victorian times until the 1930s so there is something for everyone.

        I thought the kids might get bored easily but they didnt. They both were really interested and were having a whale of a time, they are aged 9 and 11 and neither of them moaned they were bored once!

        There is also the opportunity for both the children and adults to dress up in clothing from the victorian era. This was fun and the kids spent ages trying on all the different outfits. This was not manned by a member of staff which personally we saw as an advantage. I know my niece probably wouldnt have wanted to dress up if there were staff there but she was very keen!

        The victorian era consisted mainly of shops. This was really interesting as you could go into the shops and there were no barriers or restrictions. The kids enjoyed looking at the items for sale and the prices they were sold at.

        The saw mill takes up a huge section of the museum. My niece was particularly amazed by this due to the wood being so lifelike (if not real) and the tools being so similar to todays. There was noises playing in the background making it realistic and a number of things were moving making things interesting to look at.

        Also in the victorian era is the pub, which actually has opening hours where food and drink is served! We all thought this was really interesting and it was a fantastic opportunity to see what a victorian pub would have been like.

        You then travel through to the 1930s to which my niece exclaimed 'look its a whole new world!' This was my personal favourite part of the museum simply because this is my favourite era. There was absolutely loads to look at here including a sweet shop, garage, toy shop band stand, buses and other vehicles.

        The sweet shop again has opening times where you can buy sweets. You need to buy a ration coupon and some old money from reception (70p) which you can exchange for some sweets. This was a really nice touch as it allowed the kids to see just how little people did have in the war and it made them really appreciate their sweets (my niece still has most of hers left!) The lady in the shop was really nice and dressed in 1930s clothing, she spoke to the kids for a good 5 minutes about rationing.

        In the corner of the museum there was an electrical appliances section. I did not know this was there which made it a real bonus. We all found this section really interesting as it allowed you to see how much things had changed over time. The kids were especially amazed by the hairdryers! Also in here there are toasters, hoovers, washing machines, irons, radios and TVs.

        We spent about 3 hours looking around the museum. We saw everything there was to see but probably could have spent longer. We didnt listen to the audio recordings for most of the way round. Due to the lengths of these, I imagine that if we had listened to them we would have been there a lot longer.

        *Gift Shop and Cafe*
        There was a good sized cafe located near the entrance which served snacks and drinks. We did not eat here so I cannot comment on pricing or quality.

        The gift shop was really good. There was plenty to choose from including branded souviners, teddies and old fashioned toys. These were all very reasonably priced. My niece got an old fashioned blackboard, a pencil and a sticker all for £3.50.

        *Admission Prices and Opening Times*
        Open Tue to Fri, Bank Hols, 10am - 5pm
        Sat and Sun, 11am - 5pm
        Last admission 4pm
        *Please note the museum is not normally open on a Monday*

        Adult £7.50,
        Concession £6.75,
        Child (5 to 15) £4.50,
        Family (2+2) £22
        Under 5's are free.

        *Contact Information*
        Leisure Park,
        Churchill Way West,
        Basingstoke,
        Hampshire,
        RG22 6PG

        Telephone 0845 603 5635

        *Website*
        Milestones does not have its own website. However, there is a really useful website that we used to plan our visit:
        http://www3.hants.gov.uk/milestones

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        • More +
          11.02.2009 12:36
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          A look at what there is to do for families at Milestones

          I visited this museum, which is a "living museum", recreating how life used to be, in early 2009 with my family. We had a great time, but even though I live less than an hour away no one I know seems to have heard of it! This is a great shame as I think it is a great museum to visit for a morning or afternoon, especially for children and families.

          As I went on a family visit, and also as there is another excellent and comprehensive review on the dooyoo website which details all the facilities and directions, I will focus on looking at the museum from the point of view of being a family trip. Before going and researching this aspect I couldn't find any information from this perspective, so I hope this information will be useful to someone.

          Details of how to get to the museum are to be found on the museum's website http://www3.hants.gov.uk/milestones along with current admission prices, again I feel that the website sells the museum short, there are not many images or any idea as to how big the museum is.

          When I visited it cost £7.50 per adult (a quick google found me 2 for 1 voucher for this) and under 5's were free,, a child costing £4.50 and a family of 4 ticket being £22. This was fair value for money I felt, we also purchased and old penny and sweet ration card for use in the museum, for 60p, more of which later.

          When you approach the museum through what appears to be a retail park it doesn't look very promising, it is housed in what looks like a giant hanger and looks like it has been plonked there! On entry things look up - or down actually as the museum is actually down a level from the entrance and is all undercover and slightly below ground level. This is great from a family trip angle for a rainy afternoon, and it was indeed very grim outside the day we visited.

          The museum has 2 main street areas in it, 1930's and Victorian. There are recreations of various houses, shops, workshops and plenty of vehicules to look at all from the time. Children can choose worksheets to do, these were well conceived and my 5 year old was happy with her clipboard and an "eye spy" activity where she had to tick items as she saw them.

          There were a quite a few people there in costume, I don't know if they were volunteers or paid, some were very friendly indeed whilst a few others seemed to spend all the time we were there just standing chatting to each other and could have made a little more effort. Still, the sweet vendor was very jolly, the children got to take their old penny and buy a week's sweet ration which, clearly, disappeared in about 10 minutes!

          Everything was laid out quite well and though the cobbles are a little tricky for toddlers to navigate there was plenty to look at. The room sets of how houses used to be in the 50's, 60's and 70's were great fun, though made me feel old as there was much "when I was a child TV's weren't colour you know" and explaining how things were in "the olden times" as my daughter put it most tactfully!

          The children also enjoyed the various activities aimed at them on the way round - there were a few toys and also a fantastic mini post office with letters to sort, uniforms and a fantastic post box which thanked you loudly every time you posted a letter. This kept the children busy for a fair while.

          It would have been nice had there been some sort of craft or colouring activity on offer, but to be fair there was plenty to see. We enjoyed the dressing up area and the girls made lovely ragamuffins!

          There was a nice cafe at the exit and a small shop with plenty of pocket money small toys.

          All in all the museum exceeded our expectations (which had been gleaned from the museum's website). I have been to quite a few other "living" museums with reconstructed streets in, having grown up near what is probably one of the original ones Ironbridge, and also being a visitor of The Black Country Museum in the Midlands which aims to do a similar thing. This museum perhaps lacks the passion for the past of the two other museums I have mentionned, but it is perhaps not a fair comparison as Milestones is essentially a made indoors museum. In any event it is well worth a visit for a family to spend an afternoon or morning having fun and I have recommended it to a few of my friends - Milestones if you read this just sell yourselves a bit more as I think you have a lot to offer!

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          • More +
            10.05.2007 18:22
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            A great way to spend time with all the family

            Milestones Living History Museum


            Come and discover your past inside a make believe town that never rains or has traffic congestion. Milestones was built to house over 21,000 objects either made or used in Hampshire and dating back to as far as the Victorian era. Milestones is managed by Hampshire County Council and also Basingstoke and Deane .
            On approach to the museum, the building looks more like an aircraft hanger. You wouldn’t think that this ultra modern steel and glass building would house so many old and ancient artefacts. Milestones has been in Basingstoke since November 2000 and was opened by HRH the Duke of Edinburgh.

            ******Directions:******

            By car - Milestones is only 3 miles from the M3 on the Basingstoke Leisure Park site and is clearly sign posted on approach. There is ample parking and it’s free. Disabled bays are situated at the front entrance.
            If you are coming from Junction 6 (M3) follow the brown tourist signs for 'Leisure Park', driving clockwise around the ring road. At the Thornycroft Roundabout you will see Milestones ahead of you. Take the first exit into Churchill Way, go all the way round the next roundabout. Enter the Leisure Park at entrance B and turn right. The museum lies straight ahead. If you take the turn off at point A, don’t panic. You can still get to the museum. Drive past the Bowlplex and Gala Bingo, keep going straight until you see the KFC Drive Through. From this point you can see the building and just keep going straight on.
            From Junction 7 of the M3 take the A30. Follow signs to Basingstoke town centre and brown tourist signs for 'Leisure Park'. At Winchester Roundabout, follow the brown tourist signs for 'Leisure Park', driving clockwise around the ring road, to the Thornycroft Roundabout.
            By train and bus - Basingstoke Station is just two miles from Milestones. This is a reliable and frequent single deck bus service that runs during the day between the station, town centre and Leisure Park stopping outside the museum. The “Leisure Park” name is prominent on the reader above the driver. I have never used this service so I cannot comment on how much it will cost.

            *****Entrance Lobby:*******

            As you walk through the automatic double doors, you will be greeted with a bird’s eye view of the museum via the gallery. The receptionist seated on the left by the desk takes your payment and gives you details of what to do if this is your first visit. It’s worth having a look at the leaflets situated by her desk as these inform you of forthcoming activities inside and outside of the museum in the main field.

            On the right hand side is a gift shop. Full of lots of interesting memorabilia that will no doubt take you back to your youth. You will find items ranging from fridge magnets to a laminate poster showing the original Ford Cortina and its hairy chested owner in flared trousers. Prices here start at £1. It is worth taking a look even if you do not make a purchase. Credit cards, debit cards and cash are taken as payment.

            Next to the gift shop is a cafeteria. With its darkened glass windows, this is a great place to sit down for a cup of earl grey and a cheese sandwich and just watch the world go by. Prices are reasonable but to be honest, as there are so many grassy areas surrounding the museum, take a picnic and enjoy the views. You can park quite close to the building so leave your cool box inside the car. Food is not allowed to be eaten inside and there is no smoking.

            To gain access to the museum you have to enter the lift and go down levels. The lift is easy to operate but once inside it is quite dark and stifling. Fortunately it does not take too long to reach the lower floor. There is also a staircase if like me, you find elevators claustrophobic.

            The middle floor is for educational purposes and is mainly used by schools. It is on this floor that school children are allowed to eat their pack lunch, sitting at tables and chairs with excellent cleaning facilities for little hands. The museum caters for all ages from primary school right up to KS2 and provides set tasks for the pupils to complete. I thoroughly enjoyed my time there with my son as a parent helper going around in set groups with a clip board.

            The cost as of 2007 is as follows:

            Day ticket
            Adult £7.25
            Disabled, Students and OAP £6.50,
            Child £4.25
            Family (2 adults & 2 children): £21,
            Under 5s free

            Discounts for schools and groups, please call the staff for details

            Annual Pass for unlimited free visits during the year is Adult £14.50
            Disabled/Students, OAP’s £13
            Child £8.50
            Family £42

            Payment can be made by credit, debit card or good old reliable sterling.

            ***** Opening Times *****

            Open all year, Tuesday to Friday
            Bank Holiday Mondays 10am to 5pm
            Weekends 11am to 5pm
            Last admission 4pm.

            Closed Mondays, Christmas Day, Boxing Day and New Year's Day.

            ***** Audio guide*****

            When you reach the lower level, situated in front of the lift doors is a large desk. A member of staff is always present and will offer you a large handset. This is your audio guide and it is worth taking with you if this is your first visit. Though quite long, it isn’t heavy and cumbersome and comes with a wrist strap for your convenience. If you don’t want it, then you can refuse, it is not compulsory to have this. The audio guide is included in your entrance price, you will not be charged any extra.

            Though they look clean and well maintained, I am not sure how often these grey handsets are sterilised, if at all. I always carry baby wipes with me and always give them a good swipe over. After all, you never know just how much bodily deposits are in that ear piece.

            The set is easy to operate. All you do is look for the numbered label by the displays and type it in using your keypad. Press the big arrow button to play. You will then hear a commentary on that specific display which lasts around 5 minutes or less. There is a volume control on the lower left panel with + and – and also a pause button. When you have finished your tour, remember to return the guide to the same desk by the lift doors.

            For those hard of hearing, there are video screens all around with subtitles.

            ***** The Museum *****

            The majority of the floor is cobbled, so high or spiky heels are not recommended. Flats or trainers are perfect for a stroll around each display. You are a given a map when you pick up your audio guide and this shows the complete layout of the floor and the relevant numbers for your handset.

            There are so many points of interest and pictures are allowed to be taken. The way in is via “Taskers Works” and its introductory gallery. There is no specific route to this museum, roam and visit at your will but this is the only way in and the only way out.

            There are too many exhibitions to review in detail but a brief selection consists of the following: Taskers Works, Mottisfont Paint Works, Chesil Street Station, Wallis and Stevens, Agricultural Showground (it’s here you will find the stuffed Jack Russell relieving himself against the vegetable stall), Finches Yard, Sawmill, Council Yard, Victoria Place, The Thornycroft Works , Collections Corner, Gas Works, Tram Shed and Exhibition Court.

            My favourite selection has to be Collections Corner and the Fire Station. If like me you grew up in the 70’s, the amount of memorabilia here is amazing. It is like going back into your childhood. Everything from hairdryers with hats attached to a Tricity top loader washing machine that my mum used to own. I saw the original Chopper Bike, the first Cindy doll and even the slot meter for the electricity. How I hated that machine, you had no idea when it was going to turn off the electric and plunge the house into darkness. Money was tight in those days and mum couldn’t afford to keep filling it up with 50 pence pieces so she would always wait for it to go off before adding more. It always seems to happen in the middle of Crossroads or Starskey and Hutch.

            The Fire Station has a large display of Fire Fighters outfits from 1930 onwards and there is even a fireman on the roof. My late grandfather, who I regard as quite a hero of his time, was a fireman in 1940 and a replica of his suit is inside one of the cabinets. There is also a selection of oxygen tanks they had to wear, alongside the horrific gas marks that everyone had during the war.


            At lunchtime on weekends and bank holidays there is a pub called The Baverstock Arms and its open for customers. You can drink a glass of real ale in a reproduction Edwardian pub. The pub itself is very small and dark and the seats very uncomfortable. Wheelchair users might find it hard to manoeuvre inside. I have never had a drink in this “establishment” so cannot comment on the prices or the types of ale available.

            Opposite the Baverstock Arms is a sweet shop and just like the pub, is open on specific times selling the good old fashioned confectionary such as Rhubarb and Custard, Sherbert Lemons and Gob Stoppers. The sweets are placed in a paper bag just like they used to and charged according to the weight you have, on old fashioned scales.


            **** Dressing Up *****

            Close to the Agricultural Showground is a marquee where there is a good selection of children’s dressing up outfits mainly from the 1930’s era. Children are allowed to try on and take pictures of their new clothes, but please remember to return them and not walk out of the reception door. On busy times the clothes are always taken, so if possible avoid peak days. Children love to dress up and it’s good fun but on the negative side, the clothes really could do with a bit of a laundry service.


            **** Toilets ******

            These are situated on the lower floor by the audio desk. The toilets are immaculate and well maintained. There is baby changing facilites here and disabled toilets.

            **** Disabled Facilities*****

            This place is so easy to get around as everything is on the one floor. There are no steps to climb, no ramps to tackle, just a cobbled high street near to the stuffed Jack Russell. The lift is a good size and takes seconds to reach the displays.

            Wheelchairs and motorised scooters are available free of charge, all situated on the same floor by the audio guide desk. This really is an access friendly attraction.

            **** Staff****

            Members of staff are plentiful and all wear the same polo shirt with “Milestones” logo on the front. From the employee’s I have met during my few visits here, the staff are very friendly and always willing to stop for a chat and share their knowledge of the displays and the history. If a child is lost, they will broadcast the details via their walkie talkie’s to the main reception and are always on hand.

            **** Conclusion *****

            I personally feel this is great value for money. Once inside you are not rushed to leave, you can walk around at leisure. The place is friendly with a fun atmosphere. It is like walking into a time warp. Every one of all ages will enjoy an afternoon or morning here, but to be honest you couldn’t spend a whole day here. You can cover the majority of it in a few hours. It is easy to get to and with ample parking, a motorists dream.

            During the year they have various activities such as on May 28th 2007 there is a large vintage steam rally in the field outside. If the weather holds, this a great day out. You can spend the morning around the steam engines and vintage cars, then the remainder inside the museum. On June 23rd there is Festival of Fire Engines and in December there is usually a Victorian Christmas evening complete with Santa and carols.

            On the same site is a KFC and McDonalds Restaurant and Drive Through, Bowlplex, Gala Bingo, an indoor Aqua Drome with splash pool and an ice rink, all within easy reach.

            *** Contact Details*****


            Milestones - Hampshire's Living History Museum
            Leisure Park
            Churchill Way West
            Basingstoke
            RG21 6YR

            Telephone Milestones on 01256 477766.

            http://www.milestones-museum.com

            Hope to see you there.

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