Thursday, 10 August 2017

Audley End Miniature Railway

Today we visited Audley End Miniature Railway. We hadn't been for a couple of years and there was so much more to do! First, we went on the railway where we spotted bears in the woods!

Then we did the rather lovely fairy walk which is really lovely. When you arrive at the entrance to the walk you are greeted by real fairies and elves who helped the girls make their very own fairy wand. Everything is beautifully styled and magical right from the start. Then we walked under the beautful floral arch and looked for fairies, ticking them off in the fairy and elf spotting book the girls had been given. The fairies are hidden all through the woodlands and have information boards telling you all about them.

Then we went to the play area, where the girls enjoyed complementary hair brading and face painting. We also played with some of the games but ran out of time for story telling and craft fun! 

Friday, 4 August 2017

Bekonscot Model Village & Railway

 Today was P's 7th birthday but we also had to give and pick E up from her residential riding holiday. On the way we made 2 stops. The first was to Dinosaurs in the Wild, an imersive 70 minute live action adventure where we went back to the Cretaceous period.transported to TimeBase 67, a research station set in the late Cretaceous Period, to see scientists at work as they study dinosaurs.transported to TimeBase 67, a research station set in the late Cretaceous Period, to see scientists at work as they study dinosaurs. Whilst we waited to enter the time machines, we were each handed a pair of “UV protective glasses” to be worn whenever we were looking out external windows in the past, while we were at TimeBase 67 – a clever way to work the 3D glasses needed to bring the dinosaurs to life into the storyline. It is a really cleverly put together experience; instead of just walking around seeing animatronic and CGI dinosaurs, you are taken on a journey which is so realistic at times you can almost forget it isn’t.

 P totally got in to the adventure and really enjoyed all the parts! 

We then got back in the car and drove to Bekonscot Model Village which is the oldest original model village in the world, and opened for the first time in 1929. Although the attraction was updated with modern buildings over the years, in 1992 it was returned to a village stuck in the 1930s. There are six distinct villages: Greenhaily; Bekonscot; Southpool; Hanton; Splashying and Evenlode – with Epwood and Bekonbury castles and and Zoo. The villages are linked by a Gauge 1 model railway.

The model village is set over a large area, connected by little paths that you can wonder through. P loved the miniature trains running in between the buildings and was jumping up and down with excitement each time one went passed.

 We also went on the ride on the railway and P also enjoyed driving the boat!

Friday, 28 July 2017

Roald Dahl Museum and Story Centre

P and I visited the Roald Dahl Museum in Great Missenden, a wonderful little museum packed with his possessions and full of displays about his characters and books. The museum is aimed at children ages 6 to 12 years old and divided into three parts — Dahl's life, his writing process, and an interactive, kid-friendly story centre. I am sure this counts as one of the activities in our book, Amazing Family Adventures, which wants a literacy adventure!
Dahl joined the Royal Air Force in Nairobi after the outbreak of World War II. Being exceptionally tall at 6 feet and 6 inches, Dahl was told by the flying officer that he was too tall to fly. The gallery draws children into this with a measuring stick showing the respective heights of various Dahl fictional characters alongside a life-sized cutout of young Dahl. P is trying to be as tall as Matilda!
The Story Centre encourages children to be creative with magnetic poetry and sticky note plots. There's also a stop-motion animation station, dress up boxes, and place to craft creatures. There is a model of his Writing Hut as the real Writing Hut was protected behind glass in one of the galleries. 
 We had lunch in the twit cafe! My scone was one of the yummiest I have ever tasted and was warm! P had a slice of Bogtrotters Cake.
 Roald Dahl loved to garden! P then did a workshop where she made clay vegetables!
 We then went for a walk following the Countryside Trail, exploring some of the Chiltern countryside that Roald Dahl loved.
 Below is Angling Spring Wood, said to be the inspiration for Fantastic Mr Fox,
 We then also visited the church where he is buried
 and the petrol pumps which inspired the filing station in Danny, Champion of the World.

Tuesday, 11 July 2017

Wet walk round Wicken Fen

This afternoon we went for a walk around Wicken Fen. It started off slightly overcast but then the heavens opened and we got soaked - mainly because it hasn't rained for so long we were unprepared.

We enjoyed watching the sparrows near the cafe!

 Then we went for a walk around the fen.

 We found one of the herds of free roaming Konik ponies.

 There were many beautiful flowers out.
 and then we hid from the rain!

Monday, 10 July 2017

Whipsnade Zoo

We enjoyed a fantastic day out at Whipsnade Zoo.The zoo is about an hour and a quarter from Cambridge. You can pay to take your car into the Zoo itself (it’s not cheap (£25 on top of your ticket price) but if you have small children, loads to carry round or little ones who won’t walk too far but refuse the pushchair it would say it’s worth it). However we used the free parking and walked round the site. There is one part where you need to drive through but there is a steam train we took instead!

The zoo is very large (600 acres to be exact, and home to over 2500 animals) and we spent all day wondering round - we had to get back for a dance lesson so there was plenty we didn't investigate such as the children's play area (which P looked at longingly and looked fab), the children's zoo area and the many keeper talks/animal feedings!

You can’t help but look at the views across the Chilterns from the zoo - it’s a wonderful sight. We loved the animals loose round the grounds!

One of our favourite parts was the walk through lemur area. They were very active and jumping around, leaping from one side of the path to the other!

Tuesday, 13 June 2017

30 days wild - Day 13 Penny Walk

Today P and I went for a walk in the sunshine. The idea of a Penny Walk is that every time you come to a junction, one tosses a penny. Heads you turn right and tails left. We had a great walk, although we decided at a certain time we just had to head home!

Sunday, 11 June 2017

30 days wild - Day 11 Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park

Today we went to the Lee Valley Hockey Centre to watch England vs Netherlands. It was such fun to watch amazing hockey! The girls really enjoyed it as well!

  We then had a quick wonder through the beautiful Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park, bustling animal habitats, waterways, colourful flowers and insects.

Saturday, 27 May 2017

Quarry Bank Mill

On our way to the Lake District we stopped off at Quarry Bank Mill. This fitted in with adventure 31 - travel back in time (from our Amazing Family Adventures book), enabling the girls to find out about victorian working conditions!

Quarry Bank Mill in Styal, Cheshire, England, is one of the best preserved textile mills of the Industrial Revolution and is now a museum of the cotton industry. The mill was started in 1784 and over the following one hundred years, harnessed water power to drive the machinery which prepared the yarn for spinning, but later moved on to steam power in order to power the actual looms. We went inside the restored industrial building into which much of the original machinery has been replaced.

You can trace the whole process through from the arrival of the sacks of cotton bolls through to the cotton being prepared as yarn, to it being loaded onto the looms and made into different fabrics
The clattering noise from just one machine is pretty deafening: multiply it to reflect the fact that in the 1830’s there were over three hundred looms operating, and the cacophony must have been terrifying!
We then visited the The Apprentice House where young apprentices who arrived at Styal Mill in the 19th century  were housed. The guided tour talked about life these children had - who were very lucky compared with their friends who were not chosen to go with them but who were left in the Liverpool workhouse.The girls had a taste of the life of an apprentice, trying bed making, emptying chamber pots, writing with a slate pencil copying copperplate handwriting and seeing real live leeches in the medicine cabinet!
 We then had a quick wonder round the very beautiful gardens!