Friday, 22 November 2013

Hornby Visitor Centre - A Review

Being born and bred in Kent, I am ashamed to say I did not know about the Hornby Visitor Centre until I saw it mentioned last week on a local forum discussing raining day activities for toddlers in Kent. Today was definitely a rainy day and we needed an activity which involved a long enough drive for C to have a nap in the car before we got there.  Hubby remembered me mentioning the Hornby Centre to him when I found out about it, so we thought we would give it a try.

The Hornby Visitor Centre opened in 2010 and is situated in the Westwood Industrial Estate in Margate, very close to the Westwood Cross Shopping Village.  It is easily visible from the main road and we were able to find it without issue.

Entry is £5 for adults and £2.50 for children aged 5-15.  Under 5s are free which makes it extremely good value for a family with preschool children.  There is also an annual season ticket available which is £15 for adults or £30 for a family pass of 2 adults and up to 4 children.  If you are local to the area and likely to visit more than once then this family pass is definitely worth the spend.

Being a weekday afternoon, we were the only people in the Visitors Centre which was great as it gave C a free rein on all the activities.  The first display on entering the centre is a Thomas the Tank Engine railway which children can control themselves.  Not surprisingly, this was the highlight of the visit for C.  At only 20 months old I was concerned that even this would be beyond her interest level however I was fortunately very much mistaken.  C has been aware of Thomas the Tank Engine for a couple of months now.  We watch him on DVD occasionally and she often points him out on children's backpack etc when we are out and about.  Because I had been ill earlier this week, we last watched the DVD on Monday therefore he was fresh in her mind.  She was fascinated watching the trains whizzing around the track and it was nice that this display was at her level so that Daddy didn't have to be carrying her for her to fully appreciate it.

Within the Thomas layout are 2 bubbles where little people can stand to get a better view of the trains from within the circuit.  Once we had overcome a minor incident with a banged head, this gave C an excellent vantage point to watch Thomas and Percy gliding around the track.

We then moved on to more railways with non character engines which C enjoyed looking at with Daddy.

The Hornby Visitor Centre does not only hold things relating to model railways. It also contains Corgi, Airfix and a favourite of Mummy and Daddy's.... Scalextric.  The majority of this is informational rather than interactive however there were 2 Scalextric tracks out on display that could be played with.  The larger of the Scalextric tracks was unfortunately not working however C enjoyed watching Mummy and Daddy having a race on the smaller digital one.  Daddy was especially impressed that these digital cars could do doughnuts and change direction! :-)

Along with the Visitors Centre there is the Hornby shop and cafe.  The cafe had closed for the day by the time was arrived however the shop was open and provided a wide selection of railway and other model making components.

I went into today with no expectations of what to expect both from the Centre itself or C's appreciation of it but I have been more than pleasantly surprised with both.  We will definately be returning again soon!

For further information about what is available to see at the Visitors Centre have a look at this promotional video tour...

No comments:

Post a Comment