N is for National Space Centre

Published August 7, 2011

The final stop on my Alphabet mini-tour (way back in May, how did that happen?) was the National Space Centre, just outside of Leicester. I’m developing an interest in all things space travel, and I was surprised that we have a space centre, given that we have very little in the way of a space programme.

The website makes it clear that this is a destination designed for kids. At the moment, on the homepage, there’s a lego space shuttle, and three pictures of kids enjoying their day out at the centre. I was anticipating this when I went, and given my lack of any real space knowledge, I figured I’d do well to start with something aimed at the children. I was to be disappointed.

Space Centre

There wasn’t much in the Space Centre, a few sections zoned off to separate pieces about astronauts, about the solar system, and about space travel itself. It was all centred around the cinema, which would be showing some kind of film - but I am never keen on sitting and watching these things. I don’t like having to plan a visit around a specific showing time.

There were some bits I liked, the bits about astronaut life were fascinating, and I loved the stuff about previous trips to the moon. For some reason, I have never really thought about the other people that went to the moon - more than just the giant step guy. There were great videos along the way talking to astronauts about what life is like in space. The videos were good, and although interesting, they could be a bit long. It’s awkward to stand around and watch a video, perhaps missing the beginning, or jostling for position with others coming in halfway through.

Space Centre

Ultimately, I was really disappointed with the centre. There wasn’t that much to do, and having the fascinating astronaut bit nearest to the door meant the rest was something of a letdown. It was one of those places where the gift shop was more interesting than the attraction itself. I left pretty early, and made my way home, a little sad that my mini-trip had such an anti-climactic ending.

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