VISITORS flocked back to the newly-reopened Steam Museum and praised the safety measures put in place to protect them from Covid-19.

Staff set up sanitising stations, marked a one-way route and managed to have some hands-on exhibitions available which always prove popular with youngsters.

Georgina Bickerton's three-year-old and five-year-old enjoyed trying the train driving simulator and recreated signal box as well as walking underneath the massive Caerphilly Castle train.

Georgina said: "We came up from near Reading and wanted to make the most of it. I thought all the touching stuff would be closed off but it's lovely they've been able to keep them open. It's quiet and safe and there's plenty of space."

A booking system with 20 people allowed in every half hour ensured there was enough room for guests exploring their historic surroundings and they could spend as long as they wanted inside once they arrived.

Mark Johnson and his wife from North Swindon became annual ticket holders a month before lockdown. Everyone with the subscription has had six months added to their ticket's expiry date to make up for the closure.

Mark said: "We come here quite a bit so it's nice to see it back open again. The kids Jack and Jessica always love it, especially the interactive bits, it's great fun.

"We hope to come back once a month because it's always good to support a local museum like this one."

David Dickinson and his two-year-old son Colin had just moved to Abbey Meads so he decided to check out one of Swindon's biggest attractions now that it's doors were open again.

As they made their way around the exhibits, Colin's eye was drawn to a wooden block train set where he played with another child at a safe distance.

David said: "My little boy is a big fan of trains so he had a great time and really enjoyed himself.

"It's a nice place, very well laid-out, and it looked impressive.I felt safe and it was easy to book so I will definitely be coming back."

While the museum was shut, a virtual 360-degree tour online allowed people from all over the world to have a look round. Tests were carried out in the final days before reopening to ensure the new safety measures worked properly.

Museum marketing manager Jade Walker said: "We are so pleased to be back. The safety of visitors, staff and volunteers is our number one priority.

"We had a great response from the community after announcing the reopening and bookings have been steady. Some time slots have sold out and we expect that to happen more as word spreads."

New exhibitions focus on lesser-known services once offered by Great Western Railway, including 'Flying High'. which is about the Railway Air Services.