Sunday, 25 October 2015

A Bekonscot Autumn


The minute the clocks change, it starts to feel like Autumn. The leaves I see from my window have gone yellow and red apparently overnight ... but rather than showing you what's around the corner, I thought you might like to see autumn in Bekonscot Model Village.  I wrote about it here, in 2011,  so if  you read that, you'll find out a bit about it, and will know that it's just outside London.  It's been a favourite with the children in our family for years and years.  

The planting of the village is delightful and although this weekend is almost at the end of their season, and the flowers are starting to look a bit faded, the bonsai and dwarf trees are marvellous. Enjoy these photos and imagine yourself to be visiting an England of 1910, 1930 or 1950 - for modernity has been kept at bay in Bekonscot. 

Here's the aerodrome


The harbour


One of the many faithfully observed railway stations. Many of the buildings must be exactly copied from life.


Below, a gang of 1930s workmen can just be seen toiling on the railway line, with the market hall behind them. 


What a super old peoples' home, run by the Church Army,  It could be almost worth being an old person to sit out on such pleasant lawns and drink tea.  Can you see a man and his horse-drawn lawnmower to the right?


A pleasure pier. Its posters advertise George Formby and Gracie Fields, stars of the 1930s. 


The gypsy encampment looks charming in this sheltered grove.


This fellow has sheep in his back garden


And is that a cement works?


I just liked this little corner with its stream.


No landscaping has been done yet in the newest section of the village, which is under construction, but we all recognised the art deco gem the  Hoover Building  (or something very like it) because we'd passed it on the way from London.   By next season, this section will be landscaped.




Here's the Bekonscot website in case you want to go. It's only open selected weekends over the winter, but from mid-February it will be open daily again.   I'd add that since it is operated by the Church Army, prices are reasonable and profits go to charity.  And I'd also recommend the cafe (which has a large play area) which does simple, inexpensive kid-friendly food, some of it home made.  The boys appreciated that!


67 comments:

  1. Could anything be more charming?

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  2. Would love to see this one day! Richard and I just got back from England yesterday and we were amazed at the gardens...the dahlias and roses were still blooming in Sussex! We don't know about the rest of the country, that is all we saw! There was a flower that I am trying to identify...it was blooming all over, mostly it was white, but we also saw it in pink and in yellow. I loved this little flower!!

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    1. Yes, Kay it is a funny time of year now. There are even some roses out and the flower beds in Regents Park were beautiful! There are still quite a lot of leaves on the trees too. But one wind or frost, and it will suddenly be winter!

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  3. I am ashamed to say that I have never heard of Bekonscot Model Village before even though we often pass quite near to that area. I can well imagine how much the children really love it. I have been to the model village at Bourton-on-the-Water but not for many years.

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    1. I've never been to the one in Bourton. There's a book for sale in Bekonscot which has information about many other model villages, like the one in Wimborne, Dorset.

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  4. Certainly some wonderful colours on those trees!

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  5. That's so adorable! I love the horse-drawn lawnmower.

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    1. It must have been wonderful to see the real ones in action. Bekonscot goes back to about the 1920s so they must have had them then - so much nicer than the noisy petrol driven things they have now.

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  6. Wonderful! What is it about model villages? Or things in miniature in general, come to that? So many of them seem to have a whiff of nostalgia about them too - though of course not in the way they used to. I've come close to visiting Bekonscot, but never made it; it looks a peach!

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    1. I entirely agree about model things. I adore model railways too. But I must say that I also like modern buildings and trains. Bekonscot's trains are all of the steam variety. I hope you get to visit - it's a lovely place.

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  7. Model villages are such fun! Thank you for explanation of the "Church Army," as i'd never heard of it.

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    1. Yes, it is a good charity. My great grandparents were stalwarts of it and in fact ran a centre in London, long before I was born although I did meet great-grandmother once when I was a small child.

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  8. What a neat place - so full of details!

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  9. Amazing detail. Thanks for sharing.

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  10. Hello, Jenny,
    How lovely to looking down Bekonscot village! I feel like I am watching country style calendars in turns.The village must be proud of their autumn beauties! Here in Nara, the temperature is going down and leaves are beginning to change.

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    1. Tomoko, they put such a lot of effort into the little gardens and it is charming to see.

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  11. Big or small model village or not. The photos of the fall trees are wonderful.
    Love the last two photos that looks like Japanese Maples (?).
    So beautiful.

    cheers, parsnip

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    1. I think they are miniature maples - bonsai, perhaps.

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  12. I could lose myself completely in there!! Like you, Jenny, I love models of houses etc., and this model village looks like a dream come true.
    As for autumn, it has been very much autumn here for some weeks now. The changing of the clocks has only served to emphasize this, as it is now going to be dark even earlier...

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    1. Yes, changing the clocks suddenly makes it feel like winter. Here in England it's definitely dark by 5 PM.

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  13. It's a fantastic and fascinating creation - really a work of art. I love it (and the gypsy encampment is charming!).

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    1. Yes, it is a work of art. So are many model railway layouts, there is obviously a human need for tiny things, tiny towns, tiny houses. As a kid when we lived in Germany my dad made me a layout and I used to save my pocket money to buy the little model houses the Germans were particularly fond of. It was my favourite childhood toy and I played with it for hours.

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  14. What a lovely place!! (I'll leave you to imagine what Savernake Forest is looking like at the moment!)

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    1. I am sure it is gorgeous! When we used to drive through it regularly I just couldn't manage not to stop and admire it - a real Wild Wood!

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  15. What a lovely little model village, especially with all the Autumn leaves on show. The only village of this type I have ever seen was in Canberra, years ago. I think Bekonscot would be so enjoyable to visit.

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    1. I think there are model villages all over the world but I never heard of any in Australia - so thanks for letting me know about the one in Canberra.

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  16. This model village is charming. I would love to wander around there.

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  17. What a treasure! I followed your link back to the original post so I could learn more about it. It must take a team of dedicated workers to keep it looking so nice.

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    1. Thank you for reading the original post too, Darla. Yes, there is a dedicated team of mostly volunteers although I think some of the staff are salaried.

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  18. I've only been to Bekonscot once, many many years ago, so I enjoyed having my memory refreshed! Good to see they're still extending the village. The old people's home is magnificent. And I love the little miniature bandstand on the pier.

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    1. Every time I go I seem to have another favourite bit. I rather liked the chimps tea party this time. I remember they made a definite decision to keep it in even though they're rather frowned on in modern zoos, apparently.

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  19. I had never heard of this place Jenny. What a great place to visit and take in all the autumnal colours. Thanks for stopping by my blog - I do prefer the autumn colours to spring, but I suppose I'm an autumnal baby and that's why I love visiting places at this time of year. Take care x

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    1. Thanks for visiting and commenting, Chel!

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  20. Is this the place that was used in one of the Midsomer Murders? It also reminds me of the one in Holland, can't spell the name.

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    1. I don't know - I didn't see anything about Midsomer Murders but then I found this link! http://www.midsomermurders.org/bekonscotloc.htm

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  21. This reminds me of when the Borrowers went to live in the model village for one of the books! Those miniature autumn trees are fabulous - just as colourful as their full-size counterparts.

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    1. Yes, aren't the Borrowers wonderful. Bekonscot is certainly the kind of place they would enjoy. I must re-read them, have not done so since I was a child.

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  22. Oh, your twins are going to love that - if they don't do so already. How beautifully manicured it all seems, and what a great fund-raiser.

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    1. Yes - and so nice that it is in a good cause.

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  23. Replies
    1. Our family have visited it so many times over the years, with different generations of kids.

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  24. What a fabulous place this looks! I'd love to step back in time especially to the 1930s:) I must definitely add this to my list of places to visit.

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  25. oh what a wonderful trip down memory lane. When my girls were little we lived in Borehamwood and Bekonscot was one of our favourite places, that was over 35 years ago!!

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  26. Bekonscot Model Village reminds me of Madurodam (not sure I spelled that right?!) in the Netherlands. I remember complaining to my father that we never did anything that I wanted to do, so he let me pick an outing and that's what we did.

    I don't know if that first picture is the view from your home, but how beautiful! The leaves are turning all kinds of magical colors here too. So so pretty!

    Thank you so much for your generous donations for my sweet little dog. The steroid he's currently on seems to have helped him sooooo much, and I'm hopeful that when we go back for a checkup that his bloodwork will be better.

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  27. Hello Jenny,
    Thank you for covering Bekonscot model village. Was it disappointing to return to normal life following your visit.
    Fond wishes for a great week
    Helen xx

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  28. Wow, Bekonscot Is a perfectly lovely miniature land! Autumn is fabulous there. I imagined Arietti (by Hayao Miyazaki’s) would enjoy living there. I'd like to take my grandchildren there if I had Draemon's "dokodemo door (anywhere door)" . Not only children but also adults can enjoy. I remember you had a good time at the Japan’s Edo period miniature town museum.

    Yoko

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  29. It's all so charming, and I do love the plantings. Those Japanese maples are gorgeous, and how enterprising someone was to include bonsai plants to scale with the village. It all looks very real. I wish I could just walk into your first photograph and be in an actual village, human sized! And claim it as my home. ;-)

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  30. What fabulous pictures!
    That is a superb place. I have known of such as these before but did not know one still existed and was growing all the time. Great workmanship there. Super find!

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  31. Quaint, breathtaking and absolutely stunning. The colours of Nature are incomparable.

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  32. Will so look forward to visiting this model village on next trip across the pond!
    Thanks for sharing the lovely photos.
    The only model village I've been to is at Bourton on the Water, behind the pub.
    Are there others to put on my list?

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  33. What a pretty place, and so beautifully landscaped. Like the commenter above I have only been to in the UK is the one in Bourton on the Water, and that was half a century ago.
    We used to have one here in the town next to ours, but sadly it was closed up a few years ago, and sold off. Only to have the whole thing put into storage because no one could agree on where to put it.
    This one is being added to, that's a good sign that it will probably be there for years to come!

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  34. I am so happy that you did a tribute to this wonderful place. Bekonscot Model Village is such a treat and each time you visit you can find new things to marvel over. Your images really capture it so well. x

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  35. Ok, its official, I live in an ugly area of the world. Thank you so much for sharing, its stunning!!!! You really need to put together a coffee table book. I don't have a coffee table but I would get one to display your book.

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  36. I love it! Bekinscot Model Village is so charming.
    Thank you for sharing. :)

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  37. OH MY How did I miss that, NEXT TIME! You go to the coolest places on this planet, thank you for taking us along!

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  38. If the model truly reflects the real it is certainly a beautiful place

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  39. I'm still trying to catch my breath back after seeing that first photo. Marvellous! :-) Thanks.

    Greetings from London.

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  40. these are just gorgeous pictures. that old folks home is amazing. yes, it would be ok to be old and live in a place that grand. ;-)

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  41. I am afraid Blogger has gone flaky on me again and it's preventing me from answering the rest of the comments I do appreciate them all and I willl return later and see if it is possible to answer them then - many of them deserve a response!!

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  42. Wow, loved reaing this as we used to go as children. Great memories.

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  43. This brought back memories for me, as I grew up in Amersham and used to visit this magical village. I must re-discover it, Jane ( eccentric booklady in my other guise)

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  44. Oh, I am delighted to have found your blog! Thank you for stopping by and commenting on mine. I adore England but have only been able to visit three times -- so I fell the gaps with blogs like yours. The model village is wonderful! And as a long time reader of THE BORROWERS, I can easily see Arietty flitting about the pleasure pier or the gypsy encampment.

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