Now long gone from loads of places, trams once were one of the world’s most popular forms of urban transport. We are lucky enough to have trams in our city and use them regularly. They are sleek, modern and a great way to travel but are nothing like the beauties we saw at Crich in Derbyshire. We spent the most wonderful day at this lovely museum where they have Britain’s only large collection of old trams.
Deep in the Derbyshire hills this place is in an old and disusued quarry. It is run by some of the most enthusiastic volunteers you’re ever likely to meet. Not exactly a cheap day out – it cost £14 each for Husband and me and £8 for Son, but the ticket lasts a year and you can return unlimited times.
We arrived to a full car park and a couple of coaches. Cue sinking heart, however once inside the whole place did not feel even remotely crowded. We paid our entrance fee and were given an old penny each to use as the fare for the tram.
They had three old trams running all day. You can ride unlimited times on these vintage beauties as they travel up and down the cobbled streets of a little recreated period village.
They aim to have the right sort of tram for the weather too – no worries about getting wet in the open air models.
The street scene is just the perfect backdrop to showcase this wonderful historic tram collection.
We rode all three trams a couple of times. One was a single decker and two were double deckers – tall and gaunt. A bumpy ride at times but those beautiful wooden interiors make up for anything.
Son’s favourite was the former horse drawn tram with a little brass railed staircase curling to the top deck. He was also intrigued that when we got to the end of the line the driver walked through, shifted the seat backs and everyone turned to face the other way.
In the heart of the village is Tramway Street. We peeked in at the Eagle Press with all its print equipment but Son couldn’t wait to get inside the old fashioned sweet shop. Rows and rows of loose sweets – what a choice. He came away with a paper bag stuffed full of treats.
Most of the buildings along the street have been rescued from towns and cities around the UK. A trip to the ice cream parlour then we headed indoors.
There is a little museum with various exhibitions and a chance to look down on trams being restored in the Workshop Viewing Gallery.
We found a massive collection of old trams in the depot. You can see them up close and read more about them, my favourite was most definitely the World War 1 recruitment tram, decorated to promote enlistment in the army in the war.
Drinks and a snack in the old fashioned pub were most welcome before we began our afternoon exploring.