“Pecorama” is a great-value, three-in-one family day out. It’s not in Dorset, but it is well-worth the trip over the border.
What you’ll find is a little bit of something for everyone, with an emphasis on whole-family enjoyment based on model railways and beautiful gardens.
There’s fun and amazement to be had aplenty. And if you’re really into modelling or gardening there are masses of ideas to be taken from, or inspired by, what you’ll see.
As the modellers will know, “Peco” is a company that specialises in train modelling. This is their shop window and the model exhibition will enthral anyone from young kids to Grandparents whether they like trains or not. But those who are serious about trains and modelling will be in seventh heaven!
The quality of the layouts and models on display is exceptional. Dad’s will find themselves under particular pressure from their sons, as well as their “inner-child”, because many of the layouts have been designed especially to show what can be done in small spaces such as garden sheds, childrens’ bedrooms, lofts and garages. Suddenly the ring of track and sidings pegged down on 6 ft by 4 ft of plywood will seem woefully inadequate. Small voices inside and outside your head will start to say: “Hey, we could do that with ours...”
Pray that the lady of the house is close by when this happens, for only she will be able to save you from yourselves and your sons! You’ll also want to know that models like these take experts who do it for their day-job months and months to make!
Do not think for one second that this exhibition is just for fathers and sons. Far from it. The quality of these model layouts is such, that for some, the trains are purely incidental details in a much wider tableau. From Spanish seaside villages, to the Swiss Alps, from Dorset coastal branch-lines to narrow-boat carrying aqua-ducts, you’ll find it all here. And should you, by chance, be accompanied by someone who says they’re not interested in “this sort of thing”, get them to go in anyway and wait and see how long it takes for them to push one of the many buttons to operate trains, barges or even a hot-air balloon! They’ll be powerless to resist!
And the closer you look at any of the exhibits, the more you will become drawn into tableaus and stories that are built into them, like the man in the railway arches car yard, who is selling a used motor just as the policeman is coming through the gates!
The only downside to the exhibition hall is that you have to exit through Peco’s own specialist railway modelling shop. If you don’t want to be bitten by the modelling bug, the best thing may be to stick a brown paper bag over your own head and that of any male children you have with you!
But the Peco model railway exhibition is only a part of what Pecorama has to offer. There is also the Pecorama Gardens. These are brilliant, in every sense of the word.
The Pecorama Gardens are probably best viewed on clear sunny days in late spring or early summer. The colours at that time of year are stunning, so if you have a choice, go then. But even if you have to go when the weather, colours or plants are not at their best, the gardens are still a beautiful and fun place to be.
The beauty stems both from the gardens’ location, perched high on a hillside overlooking the town of Beer and the sea, but also from the way they are laid out. It is the layout that also makes them fun.
The Pecorama Gardens are a wonderful mix of interconnected themed gardens. Each is beautifully planted and maintained with particular concepts and colour schemes in mind. Perhaps the most striking is the “Rainbow Garden”, but others include the “Sun Garden” and the subtle and beautifully understated blues and mauves of the “Moon Garden”.
Gardeners and flower lovers will find this a fascinating series of inspirations for their own plots, but children will love it too. The mix of colours and fragrances is one thing, but the maze of pathways weaving in and out and between the gardens is an expedition not to be missed. On the way you’ll find aviaries packed with colourful birds and, during the peak season, an activity tent and entertainment stage. There’s also a choice of cafés and a large, brightly coloured and fun play area.
And if all of that’s not enough, there is also the final element of the Pecorama Garden’s mix, the Beer Heights Light Railway. This weaves its way through the magnificent gardens, through tunnels and cuttings and out to a loop in open countryside. One ride per person is included in your entry price, but extra rides can be bought for a modest additional fare. What’s not to enjoy about a ride on a small steam driven railway through ornamental gardens and beautiful countryside.
The Pecorama Gardens and Beer Heights Light Railway close during the winter months, but the model exhibition is good value for short visits throughout the year. The whole works is a cracking day out for spring or summer. It’s relaxing for you and tiring for kids. What could be better than that?
Pecorama is a great-value, three-in-one family day out. It’s not in Dorset, but it is well-worth the trip over the border."