Sometimes we visit some really random places. Many of those that I’ve remembered since my own childhood, and the Thursford was one of these.
On a rainy day on our Norfolk holiday, we decided to change plans from the beach and head indoors. The Thursford popped up as an alternative and N seemed keen to check out the steam engines.
I always think hanging around until 10am for places to open is a pain when we’re ready to leave hotels early, but Thursford didn’t open til 11. We arrived just before along with a few other cars. We didn’t wait long for it to open, then made our way through the shop and into the fairy light bedecked hall of steam engines and organs.
I’d been expecting something much bigger (that always happens when you’ve been somewhere as a child I find). I wasn’t sure what N would think, but he seemed quite interested to find out about the steam engines and point out the names he could read. Every couple of years there’s a local steam rally near us so I could relate it to that one – maybe we’ll make the effort to go the next time it’s on.
The owner of Thursford spent years buying old traction engines and renovating them to a high standard. From those used for farming, which N couldn’t quite believe – trying to explain the timeline of horse to steam power to modern day tractors was interesting. To those use for taking goods and materials to the canals and railways. There were plenty of different engines to see, including the smaller ones which were more N’s size.
I love the musical organs the best – they’re just so ornate and remind me of old fashioned fairground rides. Thursford have a spectacular carousel which N really wanted to go on, but it wasn’t open for a while. Then when they did open it up he didn’t want to go on. It was £2 to ride so saved me some money.
The gondola wasn’t operating which was a shame. Both rides look beautiful and are immaculately restored.
N wanted to take a seat and watch the film showing on the stage. It was a shame there was such a long wait to hear the Wurlitzer show, but there wasn’t any chance of us being to fill another hour (we never time our visits to places quite right to see the main shows). We did get to hear the organ on the carousel which was lovely.
I suggested we go out to the children’s play area as there’s a large area outside. It would be great for picnics and enjoying the sun in summer but the weather was a little drizzly. N played for a bit on the equipment which had some interesting pieces in. He was most excited to work out where the organ music was being piped out from so we had to look around and find the speakers. Obviously outdoor music is a novelty for N.
All in, we were probably only at Thursford for an hour. There is a café although it didn’t look very open when we were there. As we left there were more people arriving, but it was still very quiet. The clientele was mostly elderly people coming along, with only a few families.
The best thing was really the magical atmosphere for me. As you walk in it’s really spectacular, and I can only imagine what their Christmas spectacular show is like. If you’ve got an hour to spare, check it out, but don’t expect to spend a whole morning or afternoon there unless you’re really into steam engines.
Do you have steam engine fans in your family? Have you ever been to Thursford?
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