Situated in Malton, North Yorkshire, Eden Camp is a World War II museum. It is constructed in the huts of a genuine Prisoner of War camp built in 1942, which held German and Italian prisoners from May 1942 to April 1948.
What makes Eden Camp stand out from all your other bog standard war museums is the fact that it isn’t an ordinary museum, it is a series of reconstructed scenes that use movement, sounds, lighting, smells, smoke etc, to try and make the onlooker feel as if they’re actually there. Each hut has a different theme, from the London Blitz, to a Music Hall singing along with Vera Lynn, to D Day in Normandy, to the Warsaw Ghetto. The various huts explore an immense variety of different aspects of the war from many different places, although it mainly concentrates on life in Britain during the War.
Just about every school in a 100mile radius of Eden Camp go on regular trips there and it’s not surprising why. Teachers like it because they feel that the kids just might be getting an educational experience from the visit, and children like it because it interests them, somehow managing to grab their attention and keep hold of it. They get to run around manically pretending to be soldiers, gag at the horrible smells, jump on top of the tank, pretend to be on a submarine under attack by German U-boats in the middle of the north Atlantic; and generally have fun whilst not realising that they are learning at the same time (at least that’s what happened to me, who was a child in one of those schools within the aforementioned radius). That’s the magic of Eden Camp, because as soon as kids think something is “educational” they’ll hate it, but the camp never seems like that and that’s why it works so well.
A winner of many awards, Eden Camp is definitely worth a thought if you’re in that area of the U.K. and want something to do for the day. Just as long as you never actually mention the word “museum” to any kids, they’ll never know!