Well you can’t quite visit all of time and all of space, but The Doctor Who Experience in Cardiff, Wales is about as close as you can get. Our daughter is a major Whovian and her mother and I are also big fans. So there was little question that we would pay a visit to this attraction while in Cardiff. The Experience is part of the BBC production studio facilities used to make the show, right along Cardiff Bay.
There are essentially two parts to The Doctor Who Experience. Tickets are sold on a timed-entry basis with a one-hour entry window. When enough guests have queued for entry, the group is admitted into the guided, interactive exhibit. I won’t spoil the details, but it’s a well-done and fun little adventure that starts with a short film and includes time in the TARDIS!
Assuming your group successfully helps to save the day, you will exit into the exhibit portion. This is a large, two-story area with a whole host of actual props and costumes from the series: costumes from each of the eleven Doctors (mostly original, some reproductions); various sonic screwdrivers; companion costumes; the 5th and 10th/11th Doctors’ TARDIS; numerous Daleks; other creatures and characters like the Weeping Angels, The Silence, Cybermen, to name just a few. A couple of small side exhibits illustrate the process of making prosthetics and costumes.
Fans can have a photograph made in front of a green screen, with the ability to customize the background – be sure to bring one of your sonic screwdrivers with you – you do have at least one, right?There is a fee for this but as I recall it was fairly reasonable, considering.
We were all extremely pleased with the Experience and it was the highlight of this Ireland & UK trip as far as the New Lati-daughter was concerned! I just saw that this September (2014) the Experience is shutting down for about 6 weeks in order to “regenerate” and reflect the 12th Doctor.
Photographs and video aren’t permitted during the interactive session, but you’re welcome to take photos and videos all you want in the exhibit area. The lighting in the exhibit hall is fairly low, with accents and spotlights on the artifacts, so factor that in to your picture plans. It might not hurt to bring along a sweater as we found the exhibit hall to be quite chilly – and I’m usually too warm. We did visit early in the morning when it wasn’t busy, so perhaps it warms up as more people arrive.
Naturally there is a gift shop with ample variety of souvenirs to choose from. A cafe is also on site and, like many places we went to on this trip, actually had good food at decent prices. There were two hot dishes plus cawl, a Welsh soup/stew (which I ordered and quite enjoyed it!); cold sandwiches; baked goods; Welsh cakes; and various alcoholic and soft drinks.
Admission is £20 (about $34) for adults and £13 (about $22) for kids aged 5-16 (free under age 5). We purchased a merchandise package for our daughter, and since she was under 16 at the time it wasn’t a bad price. The website shows the merchandise package options.