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Doctor Who Experience

Hey everyone, I am a Whovian who is finally going to London in October 2016. When I learned about the Doctor Who experience I couldn't help but be intrigued. When I watched a video on it, it seemed like most of the people taking part in the interactive experience were kids. Is this common? Would it be weird if my husband and I went? (We are 24 and 25) haha. I just want a better idea of what it is exactly.

To add to this, are there any places in the London/Cardiff area that a fan of the show shouldn't miss? Thank you in advance! :)

Posted by
27 posts

My 37 year old son went to the Doctor Who Experience last summer and he loved it, especially the interactive part.

Posted by
5 posts

Yay! Good to hear. Thanks for the link of the walking tour as well, I will definitely check that out.

Posted by
2 posts

We were there in June 2015. The interactive experience is cute, but I preferred the costumes and sets that you get to see afterward. It appears that they switch things out periodically, but the Tenth Doctor's TARDIS set seems to be regularly on exhibit. Cardiff is lots of fun for Doctor Who fans because they film all over the city, as well as in different parts of Wales. The Doctor Who Experience is an easy walk from the plaza area (Roald Dahl Plass) that is featured in several episodes (and particularly in Torchwood). It's a busy, fun area that also includes a few restaurants that you see on the show, including the diner that was in the most recent series finale. If you're in Cardiff you should also go to Cardiff Castle to see the Norman buildings as well as the more recent fancy building that, besides being beautiful and interesting on its own merits, was also a filming site for "Heaven Sent" (it was funny watching The Doctor run around and realizing that I had my own pictures of those ceilings). I also recommend a bite to eat in one of the "arcades" (covered pedestrian areas) near the castle or train station. The castle and Roald Dahl Plass are only a few miles apart, but I don't advise walking it, it was not very pleasant. Use the bus or the train or, if it's running that time of year, the water taxi on the river, which was pretty fun.

Posted by
5 posts

Reading your post made me even more excited to go. I will definitely check out those places, and was wondering where Heaven Sent was filmed because I thought it was a beautiful location. I'm a Torchwood fan as well so seeing Roald Dahl Plass would be amazing. Thank you for the tips in traveling, I was worried about finding my way around once I got there. We'll probably end up spending a night in Cardiff then it looks like. I didn't realize all of that was right there. :)

Posted by
1930 posts

You might wish to consider staying in Cardiff at least 1 night as this will give you time to visit the National History Museum of Wales at St. Fagans as well as Caerphilly Castle = a 20 minute train journey to the north & also a Dr. Who location. (Staying in Cardiff will be cheaper than London). (You could combine Caerphilly Castle with Castell Coch by first taking a Stagecoach bus to Tongwynlais) .
http://cadw.wales.gov.uk/daysout/caerphilly-castle/?lang=en
http://cadw.wales.gov.uk/daysout/castell-coch/?lang=en
www.museumwales.ac.uk/stfagans/ (free) (Bus 32 or 320).
Although you can book a through train ticket to Cardiff Bay, the journey is a bit complicated as you must change at Cardiff Central & Cardiff Queen Street & the Bay train station is about 13 minutes walk from Dr.Who. My advice would be to book in advance (for the lowest fares) the train from London Paddington (PAD) to Cardiff Central (CDF). Then, when you leave the train at Cardiff Central, go down the stairs but DO NOT follow the herd out through the main north entrance but go the other way in the subway to the south exit .
Then, keeping the railway to your left, walk straight ahead for 2 minutes to the bus stop on the FAR side of the road. Every 10 minutes or so, a number 6 (marked Cardiff Bay or Porth Teigwr) will come. Pay the driver for a return trip - which will be about £3.40 - and the driver will not give change! Get off at Dr.Who. http://www.doctorwhoexperience.com
On leaving Dr.Who, don't get on the bus but walk around the inner harbour passing the Norwegian Church to the Senedd = Welsh Government building. If you wish to see the modern architecture, you can go in for free. Then, head for the Wales Millennium Centre (Opera House), perhaps having a meal first in one of the restaurants on the harbour or in the WMC. (The WMC also has a Tourist Information Centre with free maps).
You could take the ferry out to view the barrage or up river to the Castle (instead of Bus 6). (For day trippers, the bus is the faster option).

Bus stop is by the WMC for the number 6 back to the city centre. Don't get off the bus when it reaches the station but stay on until at least the next stop. If you get off at this stop (Custom House Street), walk towards the modern John Lewis department store and then proceed N up The Hayes. On your right is modern architecture - you might like to walk into the modern shopping mall called St.David's 2. On the other side of The Hayes is Edwardian architecture - you might like to take a peep at the Royal & Morgan Arcades.
Straight ahead are some large trees with a street cafe. Continuing northward, you eventually reach Cardiff Castle and I would suggest that you would only have time for the cheaper self guided tour. If you want the dearer more detailed guided tour, it will take about 1 hour. www.cardiffcastle.com
On leaving the Castle, you may wish to visit The National Museum of Wales (closed Mondays) - which is next to the City Hall. However, if you wish to give this priority, you could stay on the number 6 Bus & ask the driver to tell you the nearest stop to the Museum - most days, it stops practically outside .http://www.museumwales.ac.uk/cardiff/
From the Museum or Castle you can wander back through the city centre shopping area to the Central Station. (Most streets are traffic free).
www.visitcardiff.com
Find trains at www.nationalrail.co.uk but book ahead via https://www.gwr.com (Trains are usually cheaper on Saturdays - providing no major sporting event is taking place). A debit/credit card number is given which can be used at British stations to get your tickets from a machine (chip & pin needed) or a humanoid. If paying on the day, it might be cheaper to buy tickets for separate legs of journey with splits at Swindon & perhaps Didcot -
The train must stop at Didcot & Swindon for this to be valid. (All stop at Swindon but not all at Didcot - click 'Detail' to find out).

Posted by
1930 posts

I ran out of allocated space.

The London (Paddington) to south Wales railway is being electrified. Check journey times - it should take around 2 hours - any longer and you are being sent on a longer route due to this work taking place. (Most of the work is done at night/Sundays or major holiday periods).

Cardiff hosts some major events - mainly at the Millennium Stadium. Visitors not interested in these events should avoid the city at these times as hotels are full/expensive as are trains & coaches. Find out the dates to avoid here:>
http://www.millenniumstadium.com/tickets#.Vpv6ROnTCiY

During 2016 > 2018, the area to the north side of Cardiff Central station is being demolished and undergoing redevelopment.
The Museum at St.Fagans is undergoing re-development during 2015/16. This should not spoil any visits as the Castle remains open along with the gardens and the vast parkland containing buildings of historic significance from all over Wales.

RS has a separate forum for Wales yet this query has been placed in England.

www.traveline.info is a good site for finding bus services anywhere in Britain.
www.visitwales.com

Posted by
1345 posts

RS has a separate forum for Wales yet this query has been placed in England.

There are frequent calls, which I support, for a combined Great Britain forum for England, Scotland and Wales until such a time as there might be constitutional change that renders that asunder. There is an all Ireland one despite being two separate sovereign states. I will generally avoid answering Scotland only questions placed in the England forum, or vice versa. Ditto for Wales.

However this is Doctor Who, so I will make an exception. I've been to the experience, seen plenty of all adult groups having a whale of a time. Got chased away from trying to take home the Lego Dalek in the reception. Also take cash, leave your credit card elsewhere. If you are like me you will max it out.

I would also second Saint Fagans. Just click on the top right of this link if you want it in English. Or follow the one above.

Posted by
4731 posts

The partitioning of these islands has been done to match the way Steves does it for his guide books. Not always that convenient for visitors where one 'book' doesn't cover everything (although there is a GB one but no corresponding forum).

Regarding the DWE, for short periods in the year when there is no recording sometimes visits into the nearby Roath Lock studios are offered, the attraction of which in the main is to be on the TARDIS set, the only one that is permanent (even though it periodically changes ...). You may go down the Russell T Davies corridor, and sit on chairs filched from various past BBC drama productions whilst you wait your turn to go in (they divide the group into 2 so it is not too overcrowded). If this is available pre-booking is recommended.

Posted by
5 posts

Wow! Thank you so much everyone for the recommendations. I didn't expect to get such great feedback. As for posting in the wrong forum, my apologies. I didn't see that there was one for Wales until after I had already posted/started getting replies. I see that would have been more appropriate now. I will be spending most of my time in London though, so again if there's anything there I should check out please let me know.

Posted by
1930 posts

Yes, it is a common mistake on the Forum to not realise that Wales is way down at the bottom of the list - especially as most people are coming from England where they are already posting queries.

I agree with Marco - RS should have a Great Britain forum as so many queries relate to travel across England, Wales & Scotland.

Posted by
36 posts

We did the Who Experience last August and thought it was great fun. We stayed overnight, but really only went to Who. In retrospect, I wish we had spent more time in Cardiff. I thought the bay was gorgeous, and it would have been cool to do a walking tour of the Who locations.

BTW, the diner where Clara met The Doctor in the last episode is a couple doors down from the Nando's on Cardiff bay.

Posted by
54 posts

Thanks for sharing all the great info everyone, particularly the transportation details. I sincerely hope 24 and 25 is not too old to visit the Dr. Who experience, cuz I can guarantee you this 43 year old isn't going to miss it on her trip to England/Wales. :) I don't care how silly I look.