Arts + Culture

Tiny Tourist Attractions

by Colleen Clark

Bekonscot, Beaconsfield, England

Kids these days build virtual villages online. In the 1920s and '30s, they did it in real life, in this case in the large garden of wealthy British accountant Roland Callingham. He originally created an empire of mini buildings in his backyard in the town of Beaconsfield (a half-hour's train journey from London) to entertain the politicians and aristocrats who attended his popular countryside garden parties. Then the local schoolchildren got involved, helping to construct a complex of miniature villages complete with 10 scale miles of train lines, a lake with sailing boats (and a whale!), more than 200 buildings, 3,000 inhabitants, and 1,000 animals. The fun has an educational slant, too—the park has a frozen-in-time vibe, giving visitors a slice of life in 1930s England. Riding a mini train amid pint-size Arts and Crafts homes and country farmhouses feels like The Sims' world come to life, where your tiny titans can trade virtual reality for the real (miniature) thing.

Bekonscot
Warwick Road
Beaconsfield, England
Tel: 44 1494 672919

Next: More weird and wonderful places to visit >

Photo: Courtesy of timo_w2s, Flickr/ CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

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Information may have changed since date of publication. Please confirm details with individual establishments before planning your trip.

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