The plan was to go to York for a couple of days and overnight in a nice hotel. However, the hotel was booked, plans were made, children told, and then I checked out the Jorvik Centre which I was desperate to revisit, having not been there since I was a child. It was fully booked online, epic mummy fail. I’d planned it all, except for the place I most wanted to visit. Boo to covid, for making all things bookable online, in advance and for messing up with just rocking up on the day, without a care in the world, like us ADHD folks do!
Anyway I picked up the children this morning from their Dad’s and told them there was a change of plan. I was all excited to be taking them to the Roald Dahl Museum as we all love his books, and Quentin Blake is my all time fave. Instant horror from Grayson about not going to York. Why oh why were were not going, he wanted to stay in a hotel, I have now apparently spoilt this, and so it continued. Honestly I was a little shocked, and saddened as I’d made some alternative lovely plans, plus plans for tomorrow too, but it seemed I’d ruined his life!
Melt down over, and much Nintendo Switch playing later he was calm, and happy to be going to the museum. Hallie on the other hand was less than cooperative! She refused point blank to get changed into the outfits I had selected for her and Ruby to wear, and wanted to stay in the mishmash that she had come home in. Much bribery ensued and finally I was able to pull over and change her without too much of a fuss. Honestly the hassle it is to get anywhere with children in tow! Ruby my queen of drama and anxiety was for once instantly changed, and was trying to assist with my negotiations with Hallie. Like wtf, I was sure she was just lulling me into a false sense of security, and she was!
I had booked us for an arrival time of between 1100 – 1200 and naturally swung into the carpark at 1155, and then we dashed down the road to the museum entrance. Tickets were checked smoothly and quickly – all prebooked online – learnt my lesson now – and we were pointed in the direction of the clay workshop I had crazily booked for 12pm. Nothing like putting myself under pressure.
My ADHD brain likes to laugh and acknowledge time blindness as being an ADHD thing, when I read about it online and see funny videos of there ADHDers talking about it. But it also likes to pretend to me that it’s not something that I need to worry about when planning something for myself, and then it’s all a mad panic.
Anyway back to today. We got in the line with the other parents and children who had booked into the make Roly Poly Bird Clay Pots! Up we went to the craft room, and the lovely lady talked about the Holy Poly Bird and Roald Dahl’s time in Africa. The children answered questions about what the birds looked like and likened them to flamingos and ostriches. Ruby with a new found confidence as she was snuggled on my knee even answered a few questions which was lovely. The clay was handed out and the messiness commenced. Brown sticky, messy clay, the type I would have hated at primary school, and would have made me constantly want to wash my hands. I was waiting for the whining to commence but they all got stuck right into making their Roly Poly Bird pots. They turned out fabulously, and they all seemed to really enjoy making them. AND they (the children, not the pots) came out clean, as they were given shirts to pop on over their clothes, which to be honest were huge and looked like they might have belonged to the BFG himself.
Following our pot making, we started to mooch about the museum. The children had a sheet with numerous things to tick off along the way, which was a great starting point to spark their interest. To be honest we all love his books and know them well, so there was so much to see that looked familiar. Soon Hallie was excitedly pointing out posters for the latest Matilda movie, Grayson was off looking at a dead mouse in a sweet jar, and Ruby was diligently looking for everything on her sheet! There is a mixture of history and story making at the museum, it’s really interactive with lots for the children to do, and loads of photo opportunities. There really is lots for all ages. I was happily reading all about his life and travels, and the girls were trying on flying hats and looking at a model of a plane, from his RAF days. It was so nice to be able to actually look & read myself without hearing ‘hurry up mummy’ or ‘this is boring’. It’s very cleverly done.
Gray was pretty irritated – hilariously so – to find out he was the same height as Augustus Gloop from Charlie and the Chocolate Factory! Hence the slouching in the photo!!
Story telling sessions are run on the hour, there was also a ‘secrets from writing den’ ( at least I think that was what it was called) session too.
We spent the most of our time in the Story Centre as it was really interactive with magnetic boards to make rhyming words, and stories, dressing up clothes – which the girls loved, cutting and sticking and other crafty bits, interactive screens, video making – Grayson was really into this, and of course lots of books. It really is very lovely.
We had a late lunch around half two, and it was lovely and reasonably price, filled baguettes – loads of choice, or sandwiches, cakes / muffins and plenty of choices of drinks. What I also loved is that you are welcome to bring your own food too, and can eat in the picnic area. I’m not that mum, I am never that organised, and yes I wish I was, but I know it’s not me, and so I just buy when I get there. But If you are organised and bring packed lunches then this is perfect for you! We ate in the ‘Children eating room’ and had it to ourselves. This was initially because of great timing and probably ended up staying that way as Grayson chose post lunch to remember that his awful Mummy had spoilt his night in a hotel! Cue some quick googling and a new plan made for tomorrow and Friday but more about that later!
Time for the shop. Now I know, the gift shop always fills every parent with dread, and usually rightly so for the amount of plastic tat they usually have. But I have to say this shop is a delight. How can you not love everything Roald Dahl, complete with Quentin’s quirky illustrations, I was in shop heaven! Plus no plastic tat in sight. It was blissful. There was numerous versions of every one of his books, art work, bags, clothing, keyrings and all that kind of thing, but it was reasonably priced and all rather very lovely. They did well out of us! We left with books, a Roald Dahl monopoly set, some dominos and a colouring book for Hallie as she is not yet able to read the books, some BFG treats for Dad (his initials are BFG!), and a selection of postcards with cool quotes from the books that I plan on doing something with. Truth be known I’ll probably file them away somewhere safe never to be found again! But the intention is there right!
We left the shop and decided to walk through the village up to the church and the cemetery to where Roald is buried. Having done the walk before you’d think I’d remember it was a fair walk and it was going to be disastrous, but oh no I didn’t! So off we went. Probably over half way there I was now carrying Ruby, who’s legs were hurting her too much to walk, plus the shopping, and I lost thew will to live. So off we went back to the car park to collect the car.
Loaded them all in, passing the museum on the way, Grayson ran in to get the clay pots, which we had left drying. Then we drove right up to the church and parked right outside. Why did I not think of that before?! We have a blue badge for a reason, yet when I most need to use it I think we will be ok! It’s a lovely little church and a really neatly kept graveyard. Roalds grave has two big BFG foot prints by it which is so lovely.
For those of you with little ones who don’t like walking, it is an uphill walk, not particularly steep, but yes it sucks if you are carrying them, and like me, you bought out the gift shop and are carrying bags too! There are a couple of parking bays on the road up to the church, the ones further down the hill by the houses, I noticed are resident only, but if you do choose to drive up, there are a couple on the right hand side as you walk up towards the church as you leave the houses behind you. Or to be fair I’m sure they wouldn’t mind if you parked by the church for a few mins.
All in all, meltdowns excluded as they are just life for us, we had a lovely day.
Great Missenden is a lovely town, with some really rather lovely looking shops. I made a mental note to pop back without the children to have a proper mooch about. I’m sure you could make a day of it visiting the museum and having a lovely lunch, or a shop if you liked.
For all the museum details the link to the site is here: https://www.roalddahl.com/museum/
It really is very reasonably priced
Visitors aged 5 and over – £7.95
Discounted entry – £5.95
Discounted entry is available for students aged 18+, MAX card holders and people in receipt of state benefits
Under 5s – FREE
Carers – FREE
All tickets include free re-entry for a whole year! This is amazing value, and honestly it would be lovely to pop back again.
Location: Great Missenden
Summer Holidays: Tuesday to Sunday
10AM to 4.30PM
Half term: Monday to Sunday
10AM to 4.30PM
Term-time: Thursday to Sunday
10AM to 4.30PM
Let me know if you have visited or if you do visit in the future. I hope you have fun x