Monday, 18 August 2014

Doctor Who Experience – Cardiff Bay

If I say, 'wibbly wobbly timey wimey stuff' or anything about reversing the polarity of the neutron flow and you know exactly what I am talking about then keep reading on. If not skip to the bottom and have a browse of Cardiff Bay. This about the most famous time traveller of all at the Doctor Who Experience.

My two children are obsessed about Doctor Who. They may only be 3 and 8 but their knowledge of the programme is vast and fuelled by ourselves and their jealous uncle. I say jealous because they have some far cooler Doctor Who toys than my brother and are able to play with them.

Over the years I've been to several Doctor Who exhibitions – most notably at Blackpool and Longleat. This is same exhibition that was at Olympia, London over Christmas in 2012. It has now found a permanent home and there has been some additions and updates to the exhibits. The reason it is in Cardiff Bay is because most of the filming is now done in and around the area. The BBC studios are just round the corner if you fancy a bit of celebrity stalking.
As with such themed attractions it is not a cheap day out. Don't go searching for discount or money-off vouchers as apparently they don't do any as they don't need to. We did book in advance which does have two benefits. Firstly, advance online tickets are slightly cheaper than just turning up. Although we had to book a ticket for my son we didn't have to pay as he is under five. Also you get a timed ticket so you are guaranteed entry. I think this is crucial because if you came with two very excited children and found you couldn't get in can you imagine the disappointment?

The first bit is the actual interactive experience. Until 31st August 2014 it is still based on Matt Smith and then the new experience with Peter Capaldi will be revealed. It's requested that you don't take photographs or film this part so not to spoil the experience for future visitors. This is great as it means everybody is concentrating on what is going on rather than holding up mobile phones or trying to take selfies. All I will say is that if you are aged eight or under this part will blow your mind!

After you have finished in the interactive experience you are left to your devices. There's two floors of props, sets and costumes. For an extra fee you can also dress up and have your photo taken in front of a green screen and then have a scene superimposed behind you. You can take photos without flash in this section. As it's fairly dark you may struggle with a compact camera as I had to ramp up the ISO on my DSLR.

There's a great selection of stuff with three different TARDIS consoles, the costumes of all the Doctors and a whole case full of sonic screwdrivers (my son's favourite exhibit and he wanted to liberate all of them.) Much of collection is from when the series was revived in 2005 but there are some nods to the classic series. There are some notable additions to what was shown at Olympia. In particular some rather nice costumes from the 50th Anniversary episode and not one, not two but three TARDISes (I'm guessing this is the acceptable plural of TARDIS!)

Exit is of course via the gift shop. Yes, there are some fabulous but horrifically priced items in the shop. However they do have some heart and realise your kids will insist on going home with a souvenir of their day. My son was delighted with his choice of a retro-styled poster at £3.99 and it is now proudly stuck to his bedroom wall. There's also a selection of the usual rulers, erasers and pencils plus for under £1 some rather cool badges.

There is a café at the exhibition. I can't say it enticed us. It's located in the foyer area and you have to sit near where everybody is waiting to go into the exhibition. It wasn't until after we left that we realised we should have checked if they had fish fingers and custard on the menu!

If you want to head into Cardiff city centre there is a bus stop right outside. I would encourage you to have a look round Cardiff Bay. It's some redevelopment and Doctor Who and Torchwood fans will easily spot locations used in the series. Along with the waterside apartments and swish restaurants it's also home to some important buildings. The stand out building is the Wales Millennium Centre which is home to the Welsh National Opera but also hosts a number of other productions. Just round from this is the Senedd for the National Assembly for Wales. The politicians were on their break when we visited but the steps were in full use for people eating their lunch and drinking coffee.

We had a delightful time in Wales and on the way back we drove through the breathtaking beauty that is the Brecon Beacons. There's so much see in the region and we're already planning another visit. 

Linking up with Pippa at Red Rose Mummy for What's Happened? What's Happening?



What's Happened? What's Happening?

26 comments:

  1. We LOVE Dr who but are Matt Smith fans- really not happy with the switch to Peter Capaldi :(

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. My daughter loves Matt Smith too and isn't happy either at the moment.

      Delete
  2. My son LOVES Dr Who. He is hoping to go into the film industry and wants to work on the show in the future.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Did you see the shrine to Ianto Jones in the bay? It's mad!

      Delete
    2. It's more than mad it's very, very creepy!

      Delete
  3. We went to the exhibition last year and my then 6 year old absolutely loved it. It's a brilliant day out, as you say not cheap but well worth it.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I think like the programme it has something for all ages.

      Delete
  4. I have never been into Doctor Who, but it looks amazing for fans x

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. The Experience itself is definitely one for the fans but Cardiff Bay is well worth a visit on its own.

      Delete
  5. I do love Dr Who - planning on getting my son into it this next season. Then perhaps we'll have a trip to Cardiff...you're right, it's an amazing city.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. They can never start too young! My son was only two when he first started watching it.

      Delete
  6. This looks amazing! The girls I look after are really into Dr Who and so I've been made to watch an episode every evening- they would love this experience! x

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. They would be blown away by it too then!

      Delete
  7. Hubby really liked Dr Who, but it's never been my thing.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. If you've never got into it then it is all a bit baffling now. There's plenty of other things to see at Cardiff Bay though.

      Delete
  8. Sounds perfect for a die hard Dr Who fan :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It really is a special day out for Doctor Who fans.

      Delete
  9. I am desperate to visit here and am slightly disappointed we won't make it until the Peter Capaldi exhibit is live as I love Matt Smith, although David Tennant is my fave. I am looking forward to Saturday :0)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. David Tennant was my favourite as well but I grew up with Peter Davison so I always have fond memories of him. We're having a Doctor Who party on Saturday night!

      Delete
  10. This place looks really fun to visit. Perfect for Dr Who fan.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It was the perfect place to visit for four Doctor Who fans!

      Delete
  11. I have never watched doctor who before but it looks like a great place for a fans!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. You don't know what you're missing! I know it's not for everyone but try checking it out this Saturday.

      Delete
  12. Oooh I want to go and see everything! We're all very excited for the return of The Doctor :)

    ReplyDelete
  13. I have not watched Dr Who since I was a kid. That looks like a great day out.

    ReplyDelete
  14. I love Doctor Who too and we visited the precursor to this exhibition in Cardiff in 2010. This one looks so much better though, I think another trip to Cardiff may be needed. It's a fab city. Thanks for linking up to #WHWH

    ReplyDelete

I appreciate your comments. If you have any tips, tricks or tweaks please pass them on!