Beano Time Travellers! at Mottisfont

This summer much-loved Beano characters are setting up home at Mottisfont, for a vibrant new exhibition exploring 80 years of mischief and mayhem. From black-and-red beginnings to the full-colour capers of today, Beano Time Travellers! explores the heritage of the longest running children’s comic in Britain. Outside, kids can whizz back through Mottisfont’s past with their favourite Beanotown residents in a bespoke trail.

Beano Time Travellers! takes place from Saturday 20 July – Sunday 8 September 2019, 11am (outdoor trail available from 10am) - 5pm. Normal property admission price only (please note that peak price applies for non-members for the August bank holiday). For visitors unable to access the second floor gallery, we have digital versions of exhibitions on iPads which are available on lower levels.

Mottisfont’s exhibition includes the original artwork for the first Minnie the Minx comic, which has never been shown publically before. You’ll find out how Minnie was created as well as see work from her current illustrator, Laura Howell.

The exhibition includes the first appearance of Minnie the Minx
A black and white panel from a Beano comic introducing Minnie the Minx
The exhibition includes the first appearance of Minnie the Minx

Dennis and his best friend Gnasher take centre stage in the exhibition too, with artworks showing how the characters’ designs have developed from the 1950s to the present day. The exhibition explores iconic moments which have firmly fixed these characters into the public consciousness, such as ‘the great gnational gnasher search’ in the 1980s.

The exhibition also takes visitors ‘back to school’ with comics and artworks featuring the Bash Street Kids. 

Meet the Bash Street Kids at Mottisfont
A colour strip from the Beano comic, 'Ye Olde Bash Street Kids'
Meet the Bash Street Kids at Mottisfont

On show will be colourful covers and special editions, showing the timeline of Beano from its first beginnings up to the present day; from Second World War stories to commentary on modern celebrity culture.  

It’s an exhibition for all ages, with labels for children and adults throughout. The show reveals fascinating insights into the comic-making process, from initial artist’s sketches to final prints.

There'll be original artwork and sketches on show
A pencil sketch of Dennis the Menace for the Beano comic
There'll be original artwork and sketches on show

For the collectors, there’s vintage merchandise including a Beano bicycle and a pair of decorated Doc Martens. There’ll be photo opportunities too, dressing up and comics to read.

A unique highlight of the show is Mottisfont’s immortalisation in comic strip form. A giant frieze on the walls of our visitor reception building reveals what happens when Beano kids create a time machine during a school trip to the former medieval priory. Families can re-enact the story on Mottisfont’s outdoor trail, designed by the comic.

While on a school trip to Mottisfont, the notorious Beano characters create a time machine to experience some of the National Trust property’s 800 year-old history for themselves, but it breaks down, scattering pieces throughout the grounds. Help them hunt the gardens to piece it back together so they can return to the 21st century. 

There’s an exciting opportunity for children to create their very own comic strip too, using a specially designed Beano template. Designs can be entered into a competition to win a unique Beano prize.

A Beano illustration of Dennis reading comics in a treehouse

Summer holiday activities at Mottisfont 

Join the Bash Street Kids, Dennis, Gnasher and Minnie the Minx on an exciting interactive adventure whilst on their school trip.