Traditional Steam Fairground

Golden Gallopers - the classic fairground ride
Golden Gallopers
Haunted Cottage
Look out, what's that hiding in the dark...?
Haunted Cottage
Hollycombe Bioscope showing a film
Enjoy some of the earliest films in existence

Hollycombe’s Edwardian Fairground takes us back to over 100 years ago, bringing the atmosphere of a larger steam fair to life.

Ride authentic steam-driven Victorian and Edwardian fairground rides; Golden Gallopers, Steam Swings and Chair-o-Planes. For younger children there are children's Chair-o-Planes, Austin Cars, Toy Roundabout and hand-turned Dobbies.


Showmen travelled up and down the country with their fairs, causing great excitement in towns and villages on their arrival – often being the villagers’ only contact with the outside world. They were the first to bring electric light and moving pictures to these communities, thus gaining something of a cult status for the showmen.

In the late 19th and early 20th centuries, powerful steam engines, known as Showman’s Road Locomotives, were built to haul the trailers carrying the rides. These engines were fitted with a dynamo on the front to generate electricity for lights on the rides and, later, power the rides themselves.


More exotic rides were developed over time, and Hollycombe has examples of some of the first ‘white knuckle’ rides.

Fairs still travel the country, though most now have modern rides which cater for a more sophisticated thrill-seeking public.


The Bioscope

When moving pictures first came along in the 1890s, the travelling showmen were the first to show them. They travelled with grand palaces called ‘Bioscopes’, the forerunner of the fixed cinemas we have today, which were fronted by a magnificent fairground organ on one side and a steam engine generating electricity on the other. Live performances, including dancing girls, were held on a stage at the front, all to attract customers to pay their penny and venture inside to see the films of the day.