Free outdoor activities available to all families 

With the onset of Scottish schools’ summer holidays, Alford’s award-winning visitor attraction, Grampian Transport Museum, has extended its opening hours to 7days, 10am-5pm and joined in Parent Club Scotland’s national ‘Get into Summer’ campaign by offering access to the play area at the front of the museum and the Junior Driving School free of charge to families from Thursday 1st July to Tuesday 31st August.

Curator Mike Ward is very excited to be able to offer these facilities thanks to support funding from Museums and Galleries Scotland (MGS) Summer Programme Museum Fund. “This is a national campaign to help to lift the mood of the nation” explains Mike “and GTM thrives on families enjoying all we have to offer, especially in our outdoor play area, having picnics and children taking their first steps in driving and road safety in our Junior Driving School. However, after such a difficult year we know that some families will find the normal cost of such activities hard to find and so when MGS offered us the funding to provide them free of charge we jumped at the opportunity. It is an excellent initiative and we are glad to be working alongside Aberdeenshire Council to give as many families as possible a great day out this summer.”

The Junior Driving School at GTM is unique in the North-East with its realistic road layout complete with road junctions, signs and traffic lights. There are seven electrically powered cars modelled on the real thing and instructors teach youngsters between 4-8 years old the basics of road care and driving. At the end of their 20 minute ‘lesson’ they are awarded their own junior driving licence!

Mike continues “Everything at the museum is carried out to the highest COVID prevention standards so families with children in the qualifying age range who would like to come to the junior driving school must pre-book on-line and will be given a time slot to attend. Those wishing to use the play area and picnic tables will also have access to the shop and toilet in reception, all that we ask is that they follow guidance given by the museum staff and volunteers in order to keep everybody safe.”

Museum exhibition gears up for summer

With its extended hours - returning to 7-day opening - there is lots to do inside the museum too. On-line booking is still essential but after a very encouraging start to the year Mike is looking forward to a busy summer season “We have been delighted to welcome so many visitors already this year and the feedback through TripAdvisor has been great to read, so thanks to all who have been so kind to us. We are slowly and carefully expanding our offer, within all current guidelines, and are now able to welcome children back onto our ‘climb aboard’ exhibits and to offer our very popular ‘tablet tours’, full of extra information. There are fun quizzes every day and of course delicious refreshments in the very popular ‘Traveller’s Rest’ tearoom. Our new outdoor link corridor to the new Hydrogen bus exhibit is almost complete and we will soon be hosting some outdoor ‘Muster’ type events for museum visitors to enjoy. The first of these, for ‘British Cars’, will be held on Sunday 11th July followed by our ‘EV Expo’ for electric vehicles, on 1st August. We are looking forward to a summer when the museum is full of visitors of all ages thoroughly enjoying themselves, and we will welcome them all!”

This event has been funded by Museums Galleries Scotland as part of the Scottish Government’s Get into Summer programme, supporting opportunities for children and young people to socialise, play and reconnect this summer.