When I was arranging my trip to Wales my Mum told me that she had something planned for while I was down. It got a little bit complicated because it then turned out that the thing she'd planned was actually going to be closed on the days I would be there. So I extended my trip and on the day I was travelling back, when we were going into Cardiff for my coach home anyway, we went to the Doctor Who Experience.
I may have been a teeny tiny bit excited.
Just a little.
The Experience is in two parts, the experience itself and then the exhibition. I don't want to say too much about the experience because they're very careful not let spoilers leak out. Suffice to say, the whole thing is done really well.
The entrance is dotted with Doctor Who villains; there's a few Daleks, a Weeping Angel, and an Ice Warrior. The experience has allocated slots so we started at 11:30am, giving us a few minutes to queue up and look at the 'artefacts' that they have in the queuing area. You're given a quick rundown of what to expect; strobe lighting, no cameras allowed, as you'd expect. Then you're handed a pass to the Museum of Gallifrey with a large crystal in it and allowed in.
I'm not going to mention exactly what happens during the experience, but you enter the Museum of Gallifrey where a guide explains that we can look at the artefacts, but not touch because 'we don't know how your human DNA will react to them'. It's goofy, but it's a nice way of telling you 'hands off' without actually saying it like that.
We're able to lock on to the TARDIS and watch it travelling through space. Except things kind of go wrong and we have to help fix them. It's very well laid out, the Doctor shows up, and (my personal favourite) we get a stab at flying the TARDIS.
If you get a chance to go, do it. But go when the kids are in school, otherwise the kids get to do all the cool stuff while the grown ups just watch.
|What was it I had to remember?|
My favourite console was the most recent one because it's virtually as it was when it was last used in the TV series. Of course, when it was last used it was pretty much blown up, so it's been cleaned up and installed in the exhibition. You're able to walk around it a lot closer than the other two consoles. I just liked being able to get up close to the stuff actually used in Doctor Who.
You then move upstairs where they have loads and loads of costumes and monsters (and another TARDIS). I'll admit, I found it a little creepy walking into a room with a clutch of Daleks in one part of the room and a group of different types of Cyberman in the far corner. Of all the Doctor Who villains and monsters, Cybermen are the ones that freak me out the most. It took me a while to work to that bit of the room, I can tell you.
It's fun to see the classic costumes worn by the companions and Doctors. Even though they're just on manikins, you get a real sense of the characters as you walk around. There are little snippets of information about the costumes as well; like Peter Capaldi pushed for a black and white costume as a way of harking back to the original Doctor, and for something relatively simple to make it easy for fans to recreate it.
Another thing I noticed; Jenna Coleman is tiny! Karen Gillan is a giant! It's cool that you can get close enough to the costumes and monsters to get a real sense of the scale that you're seeing on the screen. Of course, being a knitter I got as close as I could to the knitwear, particularly Amy's scarf and the Fourth Doctor's scarf. I did resist the urge to reach over and give them a good squish though.
Space in my case was a little limited so I resisted the urge to buy any of the bigger things in the shop. I would've loved to get one of the 'Police Box' hoodies they had, though when I got home I discovered my favourite hoodie has acquired another hole and I sort of wish I'd splurged the £30 as a souvenir. Instead I just picked up a couple of postcards, showing great restraint.
All in all, it was a fantastic attraction and I'm already planning on taking Mr Click there when we go Wales together next. I'm getting confident enough in travelling around Wales with my Mum, that I reckon I could have a go at finding my way around Cardiff to find some of the filming locations around the city too.
Seriously, if you're a fan of Doctor Who, go. Just go!