Sunday 8 July 2018

Project 41: Britain

Project 41 was a double project/holiday: two weeks travelling around Great Britain by train with an All Line Rover ticket, from Thurso (the northern most station) to Penzance (the southern most station). Unsurprisingly there were plenty of opportunities for teachable moments along the way, whether visiting local museums, sharing a train with Prince Charles, or just looking at the objects we saw along the way. 

We visited three local museums and a gallery over the two weeks - we had planned to visit more, but the train travel didn't always go to plan. The McManus gallery and museum ( in Dundee is currently renamed the McMenace in celebration of 80 years of the Beano, and after discovering the Beano in the previous week's project on comics Solomon has been obsessed with it.  
We visited the Caithness Horizons Museum and Art Gallery in Thurso (, with it's exhibitions on nuclear research, local wildlife, and medieval stones. 
Skinnet and Ulbster stones at Thurso Museum
Finally, we visited Shrewsbury Museum and Art Gallery ( Unfortunately we only had an hour to look around, and despite the ticket seller assuring us that was plenty of time, it was a bit of a rush as there was lots to do and see, with plenty of hands-on activities for the kids. It currently has a big exhibition on the Titanic, but as with many museums where you have to pay, it was very very quiet. Although the 3rd class cabins on the Titanic are often compared unfavourably with Titanic's 1st class, you can't help but see the similarities with the modern sleeper carriages we were on. 

Caledonian Sleeper or Titanic 3rd Class
We also visited MOMA Machynlleth, after an unexpected change on the train. Unfortunately for a museum of modern art, the modern art gallery was closed! 
Just MO
As well as the museums and galleries, there was also a host of public objects and art works that provoked discussion along the way. From prehistoric henges and public walks, to scientists, writers and fictional characters. 
Balfarg Henge and Offa's Dyke Walk

Charles Darwin and Geoffrey Chaucer
Desperate Dan and Paddington Bear
You can't travel the country on 39 trains without at least one picture of a train, and our favourite train trip was Porthmadog to Blaenau Ffestiniog ( on a narrow gauge steam engine.
The 'David Lloyd George' on the Ffestiniog Railway.
Obviously there's too much to be covered in a single blog post, and we're thinking about writing up the whole trip as a book, current working title: How not to travel Britain by Train.

Next week's project: The Stone Age

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