Bressingham steam museum is located on the A1066 Diss to Thetford road two and a half miles west of Diss, it is well signposted and can be easily found next to a large garden centre. Admission to the museum is through the garden centre. On entering, our first impressions were good with a narrow gauge railway loco pulling rides around the site and gardens with a fine set of gallopers in the distance but as we wanted to see the engine collection we decided to save these treats for later. After passing through a rather shabby gift shop, we entered the main hall containing the engines and were rather disappointed to discover a collection of rather neglected exhibits including a pair of Fowler ploughing engines, several rollers, traction engines, a Burrell road loco and a Burrell showmans both of which we were to sold and were in need of some TLC. The gallery finishes with a ‘Dads Army’ set which while interesting was a bit ‘thin’. To our dismay, outside, on a patch of gravel was an old and rather interesting Fowler Agricultural engine which was in almost derelict condition having evidently been left uncovered for quite a while, not the sort of thing one expects from a museum of repute.
Next we toured the standard gauge locomotive sheds where there were some nicely cared for engines from the national collection, these were by far the best kept things in the museum, it would seem that road engines are the poor relation at Bressingham.
On the plus side, we enjoyed riding on both the ‘nursery railway’, a narrow gauge industrial type line and the ‘waveney valley railway’, a 15′ line, both were quite long and offered fine views of the gardens which must be spectacular in the summer, the locos and stock were well looked after and the staff both friendly and helpful.
Bressingham has been in existence for well over 30 years and in the past has had a reputation for being worth a visit, however we were rather disappointed with the overall experience and thought that it rather suggested a museum in decline, perhaps offering some of its assets for sale will generate some revenue to revamp this tired but worthy attraction.