The car park is about a 10 minute walk away from the Experience building but it is easy to find (we had trouble paying after wards, turns out you pay on floor one for any one going). You can see the BBC studios building and the Doctor Who Experience building in the distance as you get closer. You go across a bridge, where you see a Dalek sign and then near the river, next to the Experience building, you can see a TARDIS in the air. There are Dalek, Cybermen and TARDIS signs leading you to the building. There’s a sign for the café and tables and chairs outside.
Once inside, right in front of you is the reception desk and a queue to go into the tour. To your left is the café and toilets, including a disabled toilet. They do allow wheelchairs in the Experience which is great. In the café/reception area, there’s the Doctor’s car and in glass cases, River Song’s diary, shoes, a Dalek eye, a Cyberman head. On the walls there’s amazing Doctor Who pictures. The café has Wi-Fi. There was a sign by the reception desk that said today’s password is ___ (can’t remember it), so I think that’s for the Wi-Fi. The staff were all really friendly, talking to all the kids and offering to take photos.
You hand in your tickets or get them scanned if you printed them from the internet. You can keep them. You then queue up until there’s around 20 people. While waiting (only around 5 minutes), you can watch a clip from series 7 on a TV screen above the door you will go through next. You are then spoken to about loud sounds, dark areas, smoke etc and about no photos/videos in the first section (tour). There will be someone with you and they’re visible but once in there I did forget about all the other people.
The first thing I saw was the current TARDIS. I then saw what I thought was the real Doctor (Matt Smith). It was a waxwork that was incredible. The hands were so detailed. His face looked slightly creepy but it was still amazing in detail. On this level were TARDIS consoles and TARDIS’s from different years, all the Doctor’s costumes and some other things such as TARDIS keys, a wall with magazine covers blown up which featured Doctor Who over the 50 years. The ninth and tenth Doctor’s TARDIS had a TV screen playing Ten’s regeneration. Everyone was mesmerised like we’d never seen it before. ‘I don’t want to go’ D: The sign said it was the TARDIS used by Christopher Eccleston and David Tennant so that was cool. We couldn’t touch anything, or go inside the TARDIS/consoles but we could now take as many photos and videos as we wanted. We were all getting photos by the TARDIS and the Doctor. Here we could also wander around at our own pace but there were staff around if we needed them. Everything had a sign saying please do not touch (me and my nephew were so tempted to touch ten’s jacket >_< but we were good and didn’t). All the signs also had it written in Welsh underneath, which is good.
The previous Doctor’s costumes.
Other costumes and TARDIS consoles.
We could then go upstairs where there were all the monsters, more costumes such as Amy Pond, River Song, Martha Jones and Captain Jack Harkness. The first thing you see is the Silence and you could hear them too! Daleks including Davros were opposite and Cybermen and Cybermen heads were behind. There’s a section where you can ‘learn to walk like a monster’. I think they had the Scarecrow, Cybermen, not sure who else. I didn’t try this out because all the kids were going crazy in there! There was a Dalek which you could go inside and operate – ‘operate a Dalek’! Again, all the kids loved this. There was a section called sounds of Doctor Who. You could (we think as we couldn’t get it to work), record your voice and play it back like a Dalek, etc. There was then a section with drawings of the TARDIS as it was being made, the TARDIS before it was painted, drawings of other models. There were paintings that were featured in Doctor Who, K-9, the Doctor’s crib, the Pandorica. There’s a water cooler available upstairs too.
I think it was downstairs, but somewhere there was also a desk where you could get photo’s taken. I don’t know how much it would cost or anything, but that is an option. We had our own cameras (and took over 500 photos!) but it was dark in there and the lighting made it difficult to always get great photos. It depends what you want really.
As you left, there’s a penny machine. You put in a pound coin and a penny and it stamps ‘The Doctor Who Experience’ on your penny and turns it into an eye shape (like the old Doctor Who logo shape).
More from upstairs.
Once you’re ready, you then go through to the gift shop. They had T-shirts, mugs, DVD’s, toys, pens, magazines, posters, key rings, etc. They even had ‘classic TARDIS wallpaper’ like used to be inside the TARDIS! I couldn’t decide what to buy so I decided on something with the Experience on so I chose a T-shirt. You then go down some stairs and you can hear the Doctor Who theme music playing. It gets louder and you’re back by the reception desk downstairs, where you started.
We went to the café and had a drink and a snack. It was really nice and they were friendly. You then leave the same way you came in.
Tickets for an adult were £13 and it was definitely worth it. You could pay extra for a pack. My nephew had the kids pack which was almost £30 (that includes the ticket). Included in the pack was a T-shirt with the Experience on which you can’t buy any where, not even in the Experience gift shop, post cards that also can’t be bought any where. He also got a book about the Experience which in the gift shop was £10. He also got a certificate to say he’s flown the TARDIS. Looking at prices in the gift shop, the pack worked out cheaper. You can pay 5p for a Doctor Who Experience plastic bag.
I hadn’t been expecting it to be so amazing. I thought you got to mess with the TARDIS a bit and then go through to see all the memorabilia. I would go again but I think it wouldn’t be quite so good the second time because I’d know that the cinema screen would open, I’d know where the TARDIS would appear etc but if they eventually change it, I will be going!
I don’t think the photos/videos would come out well but it’s a pity you can’t take them in the tour. It was just so amazing. Watching Doctor Who from now on will be great. You can really feel how it is to be there, in the TARDIS, with the Daleks. Just amazing. One of the best days out I’ve had and I’d recommend it for any Whovians. Some kids were a bit scared but you could see they were enjoying it at the same time. I normally find the Daleks funny but I have to admit, when you’re in a dark room and one is coming towards you about to exterminate, you do feel your heart beating. I think even people who aren’t big on Doctor Who will appreciate how good it is. I don’t think they could have done much more! Even though I was super tired once I got home, I was too excited still to sleep.
So basically 10/10 for the Doctor Who Experience, Cardiff Bay :)
If you are interested in going, you can visit the Doctor Who Experience website for more information, tickets etc, at www.doctorwhoexperience.com
Doctor Who star, Matt Smith, says of the Doctor Who Experience:
“The whole concept of the Doctor Who Experience, which will give fans a chance to star in their very own Doctor Who adventure, is massively exciting! I hope as many people as possible enjoy boarding the TARDIS to embark upon an exhilarating and sometimes terrifying adventure through time and space”.