I received a Fred Dibnah DVD as a birthday present and saw a feature about Papplewick pumping station. An internet search confirmed that its was open for business and no1 son and I attended a steaming weekend last year. We have just returned again. From Kent. If you are interested in industrial heritage, steam or machinery, then this is one of the best places you will ever visit. I have no connection with it and am not a member, so why? 1) It is beautiful inside and out. The Victorian engineers were under budget so spent the surplus on decoration stained glass filligree ironwork etc. The garden is mature with lovely trees, a lake, pretty rhododendrons etc 2) There is no tourist tat or hard sell. None. 3) There are two fantastic working Bolton and Watt beam engines, fired by the original coal boilers 4) There are several other well chosen and beautifully restored exhibits - a large mine winching engine and lift tower, a hydraulic pumping engine and a huge generator engine from a factory 5) There is a nice miniature steam train around the grounds and a good playground 6) Other societies operate / present their toys on steam days e.g.model boats, small engines, fairground organ etc. Yes there are other larger (and good) steam related places to visit e.g. Hollycombe, Beamish. To me this place is like top gear on a Sunday night - a very happy place to which no 1 son and I can retire for half a day. Its atmosphere is unique. Please go, but you will miss out if it is not a steam day. It is accessible by car and public transport, both tested. The "pronto" bus between Nottingham and Mansfield stops at Seven Mile Inn, which is a 15-20 min pleasant walk away.
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