Tag Archives: Carmarthenshire

West Wales Museum of Childhood, Carmarthenshire – August 2015

The entrance to the West Wales Museum of Childhood
Welcome to the West Wales Museum of Childhood

Croeso and welcome to the West Wales Museum of Childhood in ….West Wales! We are travelling back in time to August 2015 for a trip down Memory Lane. I visited the West Wales Museum of Childhood during my summer road -trip around Wales, and I popped into the museum when I was leaving Newcastle Emlyn on my way to visit Conwy. I got a big surprise when I discovered there were a lot of Doctor Who toys there – I was expecting all the toys to be old fashioned.

The West Wales Museum of Childhood is at Pen-ffynnon, 1 mile from Llangeler in Carmarthenshire. There is a tea room and a gift shop and the museum has 10,000 exhibits! A warm welcome is offered to ‘everyone who is – or ever has been – a child’.

The museum was created by Paul and Hilary Kennelly and Vic Davey to display the toys and memorabilia that they have been collecting for most of their lives. They bought the farm, Pen-ffynnon, in August 2002 and gradually turned it into the place I am reviewing today. I had a good chat with Hilary and she told me that she met the Third Doctor, Jon Pertwee, many years ago when he was playing Worzel Gummidge.

When I arrived I went into the ‘Oriel Amser’ (Gallery of Time ) which is a timeline of the 20th Century with memorabilia and displays of toys to look at.
Next to this is a stable where you can see costumes and traditions from Wales, and an antique toyshop window ‘Siop Deganau’ displaying Welsh toys.

Metal toys at the West Wales Museum of Childhood
Spot the TARDIS!

Next door is a barn full of little metal toys and an old school room that shows you what school was like in Wales’ old days. Next is the carthouse which contains train sets and a huge collection of Action Man toys.

The school room at West Wales Museum of Childhood
Hope I don’t have to wear the Dunce’s Hat!

Finally we come to my favourite bit – the Doctor Who stuff in the Television and Film Gallery! This was originally the kitchen in mid-Victorian times. It contains lots of merchandise from film and television over the last 60 years. At the entrance is a magnificent mural painted by Paul, depicting a Dalek exterminating a TV , whilst the Eleventh Doctor and James Bond have a sonic weapon-off!

The TV and Film Gallery at West Wales Museum of Childhood
The TV and Film Gallery

The room is crammed with Sci-Fi treasures including an original Dalek Dress-up suit from 1965. I dressed up as a Cyberman but deleted nothing as I was a good Cyberman. I would recommend any Doctor Who fans who live in, or visit West Wales, to go and see this collection. There are A LOT of special Doctor Who treasures to treasure which have been happily collected and displayed for you to enjoy. It was lovely to look at the toys and imagine what it would have been like to be a Doctor Who fan 50 years ago and I even saw some items from my own toybox.

This museum was an amazing place to visit and I really enjoyed riding on the kiddy cars. If you are ever in Carmarthenshire make sure you stop off and see it for yourself! If you have been already please leave a comment and tell me what you liked best.

Tom playing at the West Wales Museum of Childhood
I’m a little kid again!

In other news, I am off to London this weekend to go to the Doctor Who Festival! There will be lots of stars there including Peter Capaldi, Jenna Coleman, Michelle Gomez and Ingrid Oliver. I hope you will come back soon so I can tell you all about it.

Goodbye!

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The National Botanic Garden of Wales, Carmarthenshire – July 2015

Welcome to the National Botanic Garden of Wales!
Welcome to the National Botanic Garden of Wales!

Hello and welcome to my post which is coming to you from Mars!

Just kidding – we are actually at the National Botanic Gardens of Wales. In the Doctor Who episode The Waters of Mars (2009) the Tenth Doctor visits Bowie Base One on November 21st 2059 and the National Botanic Garden was used as the filming location for Biodome 1. In ‘Doctor Who Confidential’, it said that Russell T Davies (who wrote the script along with Phil Ford) had the Botanic Garden in mind when he wrote the story!

In The Waters of Mars the Doctor encounters The Flood. In real life, just over a week ago, Nasa released satellite pictures of Mars which shows evidence of flowing water! This is big news because, if it is water, it could prove there are such things as Martians! Water is  vital for humans and this discovery might mean we could explore Mars ourselves instead of using robots and maybe even live there in the future! Luckily there was no sign of The Flood when I was there….

I visited the National Botanic Garden of Wales during my summer holiday whilst I was staying in Carmarthenshire. This is the most visited garden in Wales and was opened in May 2000, the first botanic garden of the new millennium and it is built on parkland dating back 400 years. I was very chuffed to be able to use my Blue Peter badge for free entry!

When I arrived I walked through the Broadwalk to The Rock of Ages which tells the story of 300 million years of Welsh geology. I found a rock from Silurian times (Madame Vastra, you should make a visit to see this rock!). In Doctor Who we learnt that the Silurians are lizard like creatures that have lived on earth since pre-historic times -longer than us humans. This rock was 431 million years old!

Inside the Biodome at the National Botanic Garden of Wales
Inside Biodome One on Bowie Base One!

Next I went into The Great Glasshouse aka Bowie Base One’s Biodome 1! This is the world’s largest single span glasshouse and is based on the shape of a raindrop. It has an amazing indoor display of Mediterranean climate plants and protects and conserves many endangered plants. These plants come from six areas of the world – California, Australia, the Canary Islands, Chile, South Africa and the Mediterranean Basin and it feels like you are travelling the world in Wales!

In The Waters of Mars the Tenth Doctor meets the first human colonists of Mars, led by Captain Adelaide Brooke. I found out that the glasshouse has the same climate as Adelaide – the city not the person. Adelaide in Australia is one of two places in Australia that has a Mediterranean climate. I wonder if that is how Russell T Davies came up with her name?

Half way through my exploring I stopped for lunch at the café and I was surrounded by a bunch of hungry birds – I even saw one hop into the kitchen. In the episode Captain Adelaide explained that the crew had taken birds with them to Mars to keep the insect population down in the Biodomes to help the crops grow.

Up high in the Biodome at the National Botanic Garden of Wales.
No sign of the Doctor and Adelaide from up here!

It was sweltering inside the dome, a lot warmer than the Welsh climate. I felt as warm as if I was in a hot-air balloon. I explored all around, up high and down low and it was very peaceful. I didn’t see The Waters of Mars but I did find a lovely indoor waterfall, complete with fish.

Tom by the waterfall in the National Botanic Garden of Wales
How many fish can you spot in this pond?

After I left the glasshouse I travelled the rest of the Botanic Garden and enjoyed everything else it had to offer. I really enjoyed my time at the National Botanic Garden of Wales, it was a fantastic way to spend a relaxing day of my holiday. Whilst writing this I realised that I missed out on seeing a Ghost Forest – so if I ever get the chance to go again that is the first thing I will do!

Outside the Great Glasshouse at the National Botanic Garden of Wales
Look at the clouds on Mars. Ooops I forgot my spacesuit!

Would you like to visit Mars? Please leave a comment and tell me what you would do.  Thank you for reading, and I hope to see you again next time when I will be telling you all about a very special museum full of surprises…..

Goodbye!