Just over a month ago, on September 9, the Doctor Who Experience closed its doors for good. As a huge sci-fi nerd and devoted fan of the tenth Doctor (I love you David Tennant!) I didn’t want to miss out on this opportunity. Since we knew this would be our only chance to see it, we decided to make the trip to Cardiff while we were in England.
The BBC series started in 1963 and ran for more than 20 years, going off the air in 1989. It started up again in 2005, with Christopher Eccleston playing the Doctor for one season, and continues in production to this day.
Part interactive “experience” and part museum, the Doctor Who Experience embodied the camp and the cool of the show. The experience opened in a Library of Gallifrey with a librarian leading visitors through various sets on a search for missing crystals. We had to travel in the TARDIS as part of our adventure and I have to say, entering inside was pretty incredible. I kind of just wanted to stay there and enjoy the awesomeness of it. But the librarian was busy acting out his story, keeping us from taking photos and making us move on. (Note to future Experience creators: let us stay in the TARDIS for longer and please – let us take photos!)
As we wandered through a garden with weeping angels, I struggled not to blink, sure that one of those angels would sneak up on our group. But they didn’t. They were just concrete angels. A missed opportunity for sure.
Once the crystals were recovered, the librarian led us into the exhibit part of the Experience. Housed on the upper floor, the entire space was filled with costumes, monsters, daleks, police boxes and cybermen from every era of the show. It was fun seeing the props side by side, comparing how they’ve evolved over the run of the show. The Doctor’s distinctive outfits were lined up together, as were the ever-changing cybermen and daleks. Even the police boxes have changed in subtle ways and of course the inside of the newest TARDIS is way cooler than the first few generations.
While there are rumors about the exhibit moving to Manchester or somewhere else, the BBC has yet to confirm anything. Whovians who missed out can still get an experience of sorts with the walking tours of filming locations in Cardiff.
Accessibility: 5 out of 5. The entire Doctor Who Experience was accessible. An elevator takes you between floors and steps are ramped.
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