Milestones Museum, Basingstoke
A Museum That Will Surprise You
It is not often that a regional museum surprises you and delivers moments of sheer delight but surprised and delighted we were by the Milestones museum today!
Where to begin… OK, so it’s in Hampshire. Either a considerable day trip depending on which side of London you hail from, or a nice outing if you happen to be holidaying nearby or driving up the M3 and fancy a stop off.
Travel Through Time
Geography aside, the museum is “a living museum” and you meander through streets from different periods of British life, which are beautifully constructed and interactive (you can go into the buildings and see life from the period, e.g. the fire station, stationmasters house, fruit shop, toy shop, etc).
You can even go into a 1930s sweet shop and have your “ration” of sweets for the week if you hand in your ration book, after selecting your confections from the various jars. The kids were in their element!
Other highlights were a dressing up area – as ever my kids took this way too far and remained in (borrowed) costume for the entire visit! – a fire engine that you can mount with a REAL fireman’s helmet that can be worn, and a double decker bus that you can clamber on.
The WOW factor in my humble opinion was an aisle of maybe 20 or more mechanical slot machines dating from the 1920s onwards that have all been lovingly restored and which you can play on in exchange for tokens. They were magical. £1 buys 10 tokens which is great value as these games are absolutely full of charm (and full of bountifully stocked sweets if you go for the grabber kind). I was enchanted and could have stayed there for an hour or more but I was dragged away to (another) fire engine!
Kidadl In The Know
Buy your ration tickets for the sweet shop at the entrance.
Picnics are welcomed in the entrance hall otherwise there is hot and cold food and a full kids’ menu at the cafe