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Family Fun at Babbacombe Model Village

They say all the best things come in small packages, something the tiny residents of Babbacombe Model Village know only too well.

With an estimated population of 13,160, this bustling spot boasts its own hospital, railway network, factories, shops, entertainment venues and, er, fire breathing dragon. What more do you need?

Like giants among men, the kids and I weaved our way around Torquay’s marvellous miniature masterpiece, which has been pulling in the crowds since it first opened its doors in 1963.

People absolutely love Babbacombe Model Village, a passion that has now been passed on to my kids, aged 10 and eight.

I wasn’t sure if they’d go for it.  “Basically, it’s like a village but small, very, very small”, I told them as we approached the (full-sized) car park.

Once inside, however, it was soon clear that there is just something about tiny stuff that delights young and old.

“There’s a tiny Paignton Zoo!” yells Alice. “I can see Stonehenge,” says Jake, “Or is it just really far away…?!” (He’s clearly getting into the spirit of this).

        

“Look, a very small hospital!” This causes much delight when we ask daddy, who works in a hospital, to sit outside and pretend he’s a giant healthcare provider.

“The waiting times are very short here,” he booms.

See? What fun we’re having already and we’ve only just done part of the four-acre village. We’ve still got the football stadium, the beach and lake, complete with its own naturist beach, to go yet.

“I still don’t really get it…?” says my still slightly underwhelmed other half, who is struggling to understand why the children are quite so excited.

Jake is actually flapping his arms in delight at every new scene he encounters.

“I don’t know why I love it here. I just do!” he says, heading for the Star Wars section in the Movie Miniatures section.

There really is a mini replica for everyone here and I think that’s its appeal.

       

Babbacombe Model Village portrays British life and culture over the past six decades in painstaking detail.

Everywhere you look, there are tiny representations of everything you have grown up with, making this village look and feel like a throwback to a simpler time, the days when children played out in the streets and the trains ran on schedule (they go like clockwork here).

There is lots of good old-fashioned sense of British humour to be found, too.

Like a Where’s Wally page (he’s here somewhere) you have to spend a good amount of time looking before you can really see what’s going on.

We spotted a caveman in with the baboons at Paignton Zoo, a ‘Ditcher, Quick and Hyde’ divorce lawyers van and a branch of Coastalot Coffee. Jake also managed to spot a half-naked lady in the window of the Conifer Club. Typical.

There’s no way we saw everything in one visit, despite doing two laps. There are loads of trails for the kids to do, plus they keep village life fresh here.

Exhibits and details are being added all the time and the new and improved city display is being finished over the spring and summer.

We’ll be back again to see the latest developments and to spend some more time in a place where size definitely doesn’t matter.

By Chrissy Harris

Click here to find out more about Babbacombe Model Village


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