Tiny fun at Bondville Model Village

Published: Thursday 10th August 2017 by Courtney Farrow

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Bondville Model Village offers a completely unique day out in East Yorkshire. We spoke to Co-Director Jan Whitehead to find out more.

Located just outside of the seaside town of Bridlington in Sewerby, Bondville Model Village is truly a miniature masterpiece. With over 200 tiny buildings, shops and properties, including its own castle, ruined abbey and harbour, the small-scale dwelling depicts everything that modern-day village life offers.

“It was first built in 1987 by husband and wife, Geoff and Carol Cooper,” explains current owner and director, Jan. “It took them two years to complete. They built it entirely by hand.”

Jan and her husband, Tim Whitehead, took on the project as they really wanted to run the tearoom, which is also on site. The Garden Tearoom is the ideal place to rest your feet after wandering around the dinky replica.

“Owner, Tracy, serves up freshly-prepared sandwiches and salads alongside home baked cakes and treats. They do the most delicious coffees and teas,” Jan expands.

In the meantime, the Little Treasures Gift Shop is run by Jan and Tim’s son, Oliver:

“He has Aspergers and has always wanted a gift shop. He’s now 23 and hasn’t had a job, so we’ve set up this shop so that he can be self-employed and run his own business. It’s going great so far.”

Inside the shop, you’ll find bespoke teaware, lovely gifts and pocket money-friendly toys and trinkets. They also sell locally produced ice cream from Driffield.

“The cows are milked and the following morning the ice cream is made to order. It’s really incredible,” she adds.

“It took us four and a half years to renovate the mode village, with the help of Geoff and Carol, who are now retired and in their 70s and 80s,” Jan tells us.

“Everything is made to a 1:12 scale and is in proportion. The railway that encircles the village is built to the correct scale too, which is quite rare.”

Meanwhile, many of the stores in the village are sponsored by local businesses: “This money goes straight back into the model and covers our costs to maintain it,” Jan points out.

“Every year, we spend six months sanding down, refurbishing and painting each figure, door, all the boats and properties. It’s a colossal amount of work.”

At the village, you will be given a quiz and embark on a treasure hunt. Kids and grownups alike will love exploring the fun-size settlement and discovering all the tiny details. And Jan and Tim add in more elements each year.

“There was a lot of attention to detail when it was originally made,” enthuses Jan. “For example, milk bottles on the doorsteps.”

Bondville Model Village is open daily 10am-5pm from 1 April until 30 September. Adult tickets are £4, children £2.50, and senior citizens can get in for £3. A family ticket will set you back just £10.

You can find out more information on the Bondville Model Village website.

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Published: Thursday 10th August 2017 by Courtney Farrow

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