Advantages Excellent for childrens imaginations, good interactive area in story centre, Workshops
Disadvantages Lots of reading, prices a tad high,
|Is it worth visiting?|
My daughter is currently learning about Roald Dahl in literacy at school, and as parents we are always keen to continue on whatever theme they are doing at school but the fun side! I hadn’t ever heard of the Roald Dahl museum but knew there must be one in the country somewhere. I googled it and was right! Unfortunately for us, living near Halifax in West Yorkshire, it was some 3.5 hours away in Buckinghamshire. Never mind, I thought, Road Trip!After initially finding the Roald Dahl Museums website, I was disappointed to see that they were not open on a Monday, as with such a long drive to do we wanted to drive up the day before on the Sunday. We soon realised that in school holidays they do open, so I called to see if I could book as we figured we would all be awfully disappointed if we got all the way there and it was full! Luckily the museum allowed me to book over the phone (online booking isn’t an option which is surprising as the website is actually pretty decent). To book online call 01494 892192.
Deciding to arrive a little early as we were staying in a hotel about 15 minutes away, we were actually the first to arrive. By the time the doors had opened their was quite a queue behind us, so we were glad to be the first in through the door giving us a head start in each of the rooms. When we first arrived I was surprised to see it was actually fairly small but the children were so excited I figured we could work our way slowly around the museum. The museum is divided into 3 rooms and Miss Honey’s classroom. To be fair it does say on the Museum’s website that visiting will take between 60 and 90 minutes.Situated in the heart of Great Missenden, the village where Roald Dahl lived and wrote for nearly 40 years, the museum is in the perfect for place for understanding his environment and the inspiration he may have got for some of the settings of his stories. Now when we read BFG at home, I instantly visualise Great Missenden!
The Museum while a great place to see aspects of Roald Dahl’s life, was for us much more about creative writing and how to inspire my eldest daughter who has a massive interest at the moment (as did I at her age when I wanted to be Enid Blyton when I was an adult!) in creative writing and storytelling. When I called to book the tickets for half term, I was offered the opportunity to pay £3 extra for each of us to take part in a workshop with a children’s author. I have to say this is one of the best £12 I have ever spent, but more about that later! According to the museum, events such as these are a regular occurrence on weekends and school holidays, some are free and some include a small charge.The Boy Gallery:
The Solo Gallery:
This room is larger than the Boy Gallery and features a small version of a plane where children can get dressed up as pilots from the war and listen in to what kind of things Roald Dahl would have listened to. A hit with the girls was a height chart where they could see who they were the same height as, with BFG being right at the top. Comically one of my daughters was the same height as an Oompa Loompa! The main focal point of this gallery is however, the Writing Hut which is home to Dahl’s original writing chair, or his ‘little nest’ as he called it. Its set up as it was when he would write and its actually fascinating to see. Just through from the writing hut is the outfit that Johnny Depp wore for Charlie and the Chocolate Factory which was fascinating to the children!
This was what we paid extra for and was fabulous. The childrens author 9rebecca Patterson), read the book she had written and then she did several activities with the children which was fun and completely different. They absolutely loved it, as did most of the parents I think!
Miss Honey’s Classroom:
In the short time that we were in the Museum we were collared by Guides telling us about storytelling sessions going on Miss Honey’s Classroom. We took advantage of one of these free sessions which lasted about 15 minutes. It’s basically a storytelling session and the one we went to was Revolting Rhymes (which actually prompted me to then go buy the book!). I would recommend going to these sessions as the children absolutely loved it.
If you have more time than we did and the weather is nice, there is a Village trail where you can explore the world of Roald Dahl in the Village that he lived. In the museum it explains how he found a lot of his inspiration from the High Street in Great Missenden so it would have been nice to do this trail but unfortunately we had to set off on our trek back ‘oop North’.The shop: Now funnily enough, we did have time to spend in here! I blame being a female for having to buy something from anywhere that sells something! The majority of things to buy in here are the vast collection of Roald Dahl books, some of which I had forgotten about such as Essio Trot. Here you will find every book he ever wrote in a variety of different formats. We opted for a box set of 5 books for a surprisingly decent price of £15 for my eldest daughter and Revolting Rhymes for my youngest (still love this one as a nearly 30 year old grown woman!). There are other books for sale such as a collection from Quentin Blake (the illustrator for much of Dahl’s works) and various other popular children’s authors (the authors book from the workshop was available and could be signed). There are audio books, book marks, limited edition prints, note books, etc, etc. We spent around £30 on books and book marks and were given a free family organiser (which was usually £8) as we had spent over £25. This was probably because they had gone unsold at the beginning of the year but it was still a nice little touch.
Café Twit looked a nice little place to get fresh and home cook food however by the time we made our way out of the Museum it was lunchtime and it’s a relatively small café with probably around 10 tables in total so we didn’t stand a chance. There are plenty of picnic tables in the courtyard which is in the centre of the museum so it is probably worthwhile coming prepared on a nice day and bringing sandwiches. There is a fabulous sweet shop just across from the museum which we got coaxed into! They sell things like limited edition Wonka bars and retro sweets. The Wonka bar even comes with a golden ticket and it literally made my daughters day!Opening Times
Monday...........ClosedTuesday..........10am to 5pm
Wednesday.....10am to 5pmThursday..........10am to 5pm
Friday...............10am to 5pmSaturday...........11am to 5pm
Sunday..............11am to 5pm
In 2013 the Museum will be open on the following Mondays:1st April
Children under 5: FreeConcessions: £4.40
Family ticket: £21.00*
(*For 2 adults and up to 3 children.)
As the Museum is situated on the High Street there isn’t any parking designated to the Museum but this isn’t a problem as there is plenty of spaces in a pay and display car park which is really well sign posted as you arrive in Great Missenden. This cost us a few pounds for several hours.
(Using this postcode for sat nav gave us no problems at all).To sum up, I would recommend this place but I wouldn't go back. It was an awful long way for us to travel however I am glad we did it as it was brilliant for the children and particularly my eldest daughter. I would possibly say if you are going to travel to see it, that you plan other things to do. Had we been aware, we would have taken them to the Model Village which we passed signs for on the motorway which i don't think will be too far. Price wise, I think it's 'okay' perhaps a tad expensive for something which only takes an hour to go round, in comparison to prices at Eureka Childrens Science Museum which is near us which is 10 times as big, takes hours to get round and is the same price.....
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