• Stop monkeying around.
The village features a very detailed zoo, 'Chessnade', where all sorts of animals and birds from
Polar Bears to Penguins (I known what you're thinking, but they
really are poles apart - ha ha!) can be seen. There are elephant rides and flamingos too.
• It's forged!
The reproduction of English village life of the 1930's is very well done. The level of attention is wonderful, with every detail from bee hives to
miniature advertising signs on the railway station platforms included. It's one of those places where you notice something new every time you visit.
Every time you walk around it, even!
• Life on the ocean wave.
There's even an inland sea, complete with a pier, Lifeboat station and model of the Marie (sic) Celeste.
Two lighthouses watch over this pool which, as you can see, seems to be playing home to a whale...
This photograph also gives you a good idea of the scale of the models and the 40,000 square feet site.
• Cliff hangers.
At the time of taking this picture of the rope bridge, I didn't even notice the rock climbers.
I liked the couple on the bench and the lady with the umbrella, and the ginger way that the man with the stick is crossing the bridge.
Note a few of the 3,000 miniature trees behind.
• Morris Dances.
There's the faint sound of fighting over jumble coming from the Woman's Institute meeting room. A biplane is droning somewhere high overhead.
A bee buzzes past, intent on it's floral business. And Morris Men inflict themselves on an unsuspecting public in the town square.
The illusion of an idyllic(?) day is near-perfect.
• Bridge across the tracks.
It's a busy day in Bekonscot. This footbridge across the tracks near the signal box shows the amazing skills of the model makers at Bekonscot.
This is just one citizen of thousands, yet as you can see, he's very detailed and even has his own unique expression. Do you think he's looking
forward to his day at the office?
• Poop poop!
They say God is in the details. I know that's where much of Bekonscot's appeal lies. Take this scene of a 1930's garage. Would it really be complete
without a cigarette hanging from the mechanic's lips? Speaking of Big G, the village is run by The Church Army.
• Where's Windy?
One of the 'iconic' images of Bekonscot which is often used on their promotional literature is the windmill on the hill.
The railway line hugs the hillside, almost ringing it. The trains are controlled from a full sized signal box as they run past manicured alpine plants and
dwarf conifers which help make this model village one of the finest in the world. You'll end up wanting to window shop in the villages
or sit on the grass to watch a game of cricket which seems as 'frantic' as a real game.
• Pugh, Pugh, Barny McGrew, Cuthbert, Dibble and Grub.
This burning thatched cottage was a new addition to the village in 2001. You can see the firemen at work, but
where do you think the spark which set it alight might have come from? Note the signpost and village name sign.
• Your place or Mine?
It's not all fun and games for the model citizens of Bekonscot.
There's a solid days work to be done, many hundreds of feet (or inches) underground...
This coal mine is at one corner of the village where the noise of coal falling into railway wagons won't annoy the villagers.
• The great lake.
Another view of one of Bekonscot's oldest features. The central sea was once a garden pond, but over the years
it developed an island, a bridge to the island (both now removed) a pair of lighthouses and this pier.
• Boxy, but good.
Little bits of street furniture, such as this AA box, are dotted about to keep the 1930's theme
• Ride-on train.
My friend Judith and her little lad on the narrow-gauge train at Bekonscot. A better photo of this
Generally law abiding, the folks of the various villages have little to fear from crime. However...
• Sea front this way.
Every remote fishing village has, by law, to have a steep cobbled hill. Donkeys are optional.
In the background you can see Southpool (one of the six 'villages-within-the-village' at Bekonscot)
boat yard, with dry dock gates looking like canal lock gates.
The only thing missing in this scene, apart from a train crossing the bridge mirrored in the harbour, is a
lad on a bicycle struggling up the hill in a 'Hovis' style and an old man with a pipe mending nets.
• Down on the farm.
Behind the windmill is a lovely little farmhouse where a traction engine is powering a thresher and a sheep dog directs the flock into another field.
Elsewhere there are hops growing behind an oasthouse and a scarecrow who couldn't scare a gnat!
• An English model's home is his very tiny Castle.
There are several fortresses at Bekonscot, including this fine example which is surrounded by a deep moat, complete with giant fish. In this picture you
can see the troops on duty and a golden statute on a plinth.
• Gone Fishin'
I'm not sure these sportsmen will catch anything bigger than a passing tadpole. The water mill, complete with a mill pond behind, stands next
to a fast flowing river which passes under the railway.
Less ecologically sound is the village's own oil refinery. Up until the 1980's the village was changed to keep pace with the modern world,
so it had pylons and housing estates. Then a decision was made to return it to the appearance of it's heyday, before WWII.
• Plane Sailing.
The aerodrome at Bekonscot, or more precisely Hanton Flying Club, is teaming with microscopic activity, much like peanuts on the bar at a pub.
The more recent tramline appears in the background.
New for August 2003!: When I revisited the village with my mate Gavin and his two lovely kids,
I shot this 590k / 6 second .mpg file which features a near miss.
And I don't mean I candidly videoed a transsexual. Not this time. Nope.
New for February 2005!: When I visited the village in the summer of 2004,
I shot this 2.27Mb / 12 second .mpg file which features another near miss.
See note above.
A 352k video clip I made which is features on the official site, link right!
• Big fish, small pond.
There are some large Koi in the ponds of Bekonscot, but this fisherman seems to be oblivious that he's about to be able to tell the most
outrageous Fisherman's Tale ever.
• Pool Party.
When I visited Bekonscot with Gavin and his two kids it was a lovely hot day. I envied these lucky,
inhabitants lazing by the (recently cleaned) pool. But I guess that's the lifestyle when you're a model! ;-)
• Who are the real animals here?
Chimps tea parties aren't all that PC these days. It's exploitative to encourage these primates to behave like people, isn't it?
Well, in the 1930's, it was fine. So that's fine.
• Waves or ripples?
The tiny in-land sea in the centre of Bekonscot boasts not one but two lighthouses, a Pier, a Lifeboat Station, The Marie (sic) Celeste, and this
Paddle steamer, which looks set to give a group of visiting Bekonscottians(?) a boat trip across the lake. Perhaps they're off to hunt the ones they
call 'The huge white whales in the sky'?
• Who would live in a house like this?
It may just be a coincidence, but this square house is the home to the Dursleys, of Harry Potter fame. I wonder if there's a
cupboard under the stairs? The newspaper boy seems to know he's being watched by something in the sky... Is there an Owl passing-by perhaps?
• Well Trained.
There are seven stations being served by a massive network of Gauge 1 scale tracks which stretch all over the 1½ acre site.
They pass churches and castles, over canals and under roads.
Click here to see a 6Mb / 69 second 'Training' video, complete with stereo sound.
• D'oh! How did Homer get in here?
Although the village is firmly set in the 1930's, with cars, trains, clothes and buildings to fit,
the designers are allowed a little bit of... licence. There's a 'Bob the Builder' working on site too!
• All the fun of the Fair - at 1/72nd scale.
A working Wall of Death, swing ride, big wheel and a selection of other historically accurate fair rides. They're lacking neon
but the children of Bekonscot seem to be happy without it.
• The Pub by the Pitch.
It's the mid 1930's. Hitler is not yet a name people have come to hate. Imagine spending 2d on a pint, which you sit and drink
in the patio overlooking the Cricket pitch. A Dray rattles by while bees buzz among the still flowers, the sun beating down on the perfect Sunday.
• Grave News.
Seen during my 2005 visit to Bekonscot. I'd like to add something funny, but this just reminds me of my dad's funeral.
• Wide View.
Shot from the observation platform, this image gives you an idea of the size of the site.
• New for 2005 - Cablecars.
A recent addition (relatively, anyway. Don't forget the village has been open for over 70 years)
to the models is this working cablecar, climbing several feet.
I think it may be from another model village which closed down.
• The hospital
has a glass wall so you can see inside. I believe real NHS nurses do move faster than this.
• "Canoe? That's a kayak son."
It might be pedantic, but the extensive network of rivers, lakes, waterfalls and streams which cris-cross Bekonscot are a miniature kayakers dream.
Speaking of dreams, Bekonscot has free parking, two picnic areas, including a covered one,
a child's play area and even a ride-on train around two sides of the site. There's an elevated viewing platform, log cabins for children's parties and
a nice souvenir shop in a full sized rail carriage. Who, frankly, could ask for more?
• Let me entertain you.
The attention to detail, to use this model village cliche one more, is amazing.
Even though this shop window is at ankle height, it's still fully stocked with tiny toys.
And it's not just this one shop, it's dozens.
• "And now just the Bride and Groom."
On the plastic grass outside a rather dilapidated church a photographer is photographed. This shot shows the use of miniature shrubs at Bekonscot,
which add a lot to the model village's appeal and the general illusion of scale.
• The Sheep Dogs are innocent!
The competitors outstanding in this field stand in shock at the sight of giants on the horizon.
• Death in the Marketplace.
Stood motionless in mute shock, the inhabitants of Bekonscot seem unable to help the woman suddenly cut down. But who is that running away in the background, just before the screaming starts?
• At last, it's me!
This is the last picture from this collection. I hope you enjoyed your virtual visit to Bekonscot. The real place is quite magical
and I heartily recommend a trip there. You'll see so many things I've not had time to mention yet. Like gipsy encampments, trams, choirs, brass bands
and a town crier. The list goes on! Obviously I'm a big kid, but I defy anyone, even proper grown-ups, not to be enchanted by this place.
This is a little - very little - enchanting corner of England where Enid Blyton still types in her garden.
What with footy matches, scout camps, games of golf and croquet, even
tennis matches you would think that Bekonscot had quite enough attractions.
However, for me the crowning glory is its railway infrastructure. There can be seven passenger and goods trains operating at once.
Click here or the icon,
right, to see a short 6Mb / 69 second stereo Mpeg video of them running around from a model citizens point of view.
If you've a slow modem, click here for a little 180Kb / 26 second .WMV clip.
I've placed a geocache based here too. Click here for all the details.
A link to the excellent Official Bekonscot Web Site. It's well worth a visit too.