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“Excellent visit”

The Hornby Visitor Centre
Ranked #6 of 53 things to do in Margate
Certificate of Excellence
More attraction details
Attraction details
Owner description: The Hornby Visitor Centre takes you on a fascinating journey through the history of Britain's best loved toys. The Visitor Centre also hosts a well stocked shop and the Just the Ticket Cafe. Pocher Model Exhibition being shown at the Centre, this exhibition features 24 rare and sought after Pocher models including the Fiat F2 130HP Racer. Please note that Spring/Summer 2016 the Visitor Centre will be relocating to its new purpose built premises in Ramsgate Harbour. Look out for facebook posting with regular updates about us.
Useful Information: Activities for young children, Activities for older children
Level Contributor
30 reviews
10 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 19 helpful votes
“Excellent visit”
Reviewed April 9, 2014

I think people on here seem to be expecting some sort of Disneyland experience so you need to read ahead first: this is a visitor attraction, neatly priced and is designed to tell the Hornby story which is way bigger than just Scalextric. It is not a full day out with kids. The premises is the Hornby plant in Margate and part of it was let over to an imaginative and fascinating display of all the Hornby brands going right back to the original ideas of trains and Meccano. There are a few Scalextric tracks, some excellent model railways and the D-Day diorama is brilliant (pretty massive). You have to get your head around the fact that there are no rides - just things to see, read up and (if it's not busy) the kids can have a go at Scalextric. The shop is pretty well stocked and the café is okay, it seems to be run by trainees from a college but they also do birthday parties which explains why it may be so big. If you want to get your kids into models it is a must-see attraction. If you are a Dad and want a trip down memory lane then it is the place for you (in fact, my 9 year old was impatient to see all the gizmos and I just wanted to read the huge volumes of information on the brand). Spend 2 hours with the kids or 4 hours on your own but it is brilliant value for money at £5 adult and £2.50 for kids. The best things are quite subtle: buy a 1:72 Spitfire Mk1a starter set, read the back of the box and then go to the 2 museums at nearby Manston where you can see stuff related to the plane on the box. Living history! Use this as a cheap, good value morning call before going to Manston or the Turner for more war or more culture.

Visited April 2014
2 Thank Kevin B
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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310 reviews from our community

Visitor rating
Date | Rating
  • English first
  • French first
  • Any
English first
Eastleigh, England
Level Contributor
5 reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
“A missed opportunity Hornby!”
Reviewed April 2, 2014 via mobile

For the home of the archetypical British toys, I was disappointed. There are only three model railway layouts and two Scalextric circuits. The Airfix D-day diorama is excellent, as well as the display cases and the shop is ok, although I've seen more stock my local model shop. Hornby, less restaurant, more items in the shop and more product displays!

Visited April 2014
Thank willy7474
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Level Contributor
168 reviews
66 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 62 helpful votes
“Great, if expectations managed”
Reviewed March 25, 2014

If you're in the area and have any interest in modelling, it's definitely worth a trip.

Yes, it's not huge, but it's half the price or less of many family attractions!

Some interesting history of Hornby, a lot of models (trains, cars etc.) spanning many years, and a couple of spectacular layouts.

I can, however, imagine that at weekends and school time, it may get crowded compared to the number of hands on exhibits kids can play with, so arrive early!

Nice cafe, relatively small shop.

Visited March 2014
Thank Simon J
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Level Contributor
107 reviews
36 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 62 helpful votes
Reviewed March 17, 2014 via mobile

We intended on visiting here for the whole morning but not a chance !! The museum side of things was great lots and lots of cars and trains to see if only they had more activities the kids were very disappointed, they sell themselves for scalextrics but they had two tracks and dozens if kids wanting a go , I heard people complaining about how long it took to get there for nothing to do and the fact you could easily wAlk around in 30 minutes max, the coffee shop literally is just that plus sweets and sandwiches e wanted food ! After a very drawn out hour mostly in the coffee shop we left via the large expensive shop, the potential is massive ! Come on Hornby big boys and small want to play !!!!!

1 Thank Susan L
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Plymouth, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
8 reviews
3 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 6 helpful votes
“Trip down memory lane”
Reviewed March 3, 2014

An interesting visit, where you can learn how the Hornby brand has evolved into what it is today, and where some of the other toymakers disappeared to. I imagine it would be excellent for children, but parents beware - there is a very impresively stocked shop!

Visited March 2014
Thank barbicantrader
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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