a fun and inspiring family day out

The museum kids dreams are made of
The museum kids’ dreams are made of.

Here’s how our family day trips often go: we leave the house late (having packed the entire contents of it) often with shouts and a slammed front door. Upon arrival the kids first question (at 10am) is always: ‘What’s for lunch?’ closely followed by: ‘When can we go home?’ (At 10.01am).

“We is in dream country, this is where dreams is beginning….” – The BFG, by Roald Dahl

Meet Matilda and Mrs Twit!
I was Mrs Twit – hilarious, obvs!

But on rare occasions they’re exactly as I hope they’ll be. Our day at the Roald Dahl museum and Story Centre  – the picture-book Buckinghamshire village that was Dahl’s own ‘dream country’ for 36 years – was one of them.

The museum itself is full of interesting artefacts and interactive delights for the kids. Mine enjoyed making up Dahl-inspired stories, visiting the storytelling ‘Bored Room’ and crafting in Miss Honey’s classroom. My Matilda-obsessed daughter (who loves it so much she’s literally got the T-shirt) was delighted to find she was her heroine’s height on the character chart.

 

 

Even lunch was fun: no floppy sarnies and whinging kids at Café Twit – just delicious fresh food and mouth-wateringly marvellous cakes.

Devouring the delicious Bruce Bogtrotter cake. Luckily Miss Trunchbull wasn't around...
Devouring the Bruce Bogtrotter cake from Cafe Twit. Luckily Miss Trunchbull didn’t spot him…

But it was seeing his writing shed that had a surprise emotional impact on me. Not just as an author, but as a parent. As I gazed through the glass I realised that his stories encapsulate the very things I struggle to hold on to as a mum: a childish sense of humour and an ability to find magic in the everyday. Stepping into his world with my kids had brought them back again.

Roald Dah's writing shed has been lovingly transferred to the museum and is exactly as he last left it.
Roald Dahl’s writing shed has been lovingly transferred to the museum and is exactly as he last left it.

A little nonsense now and then is cherished by the wisest men.”  – Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, by Roald Dahl

Caught out by the camera: me having an embarrssing little weep at the words painted on the outside of his shed.
Caught out by the camera – me having an embarrssing little weep at the words painted on the outside of his shed.

Roald Dahl’s wonderful world lives on – not just in his books and the children he continues to inspire – but in this whizz-popping museum that’s definitely worth a day trip.

3 ways to celebrate Roald Dahl’s centenary this summer

see: Steven Spielberg’s new movie adaptation of The BFG starring Mark Rylance. From July 22nd.

go: on The BFG Dream Jar Trail – a swizzwhiffling search in iconic locations around the UK. From 8 July – 31 August.

visit: The Wondercrump World of Roald Dahl . An interactive journey full of installations, inspiration and information. Until Sunday 3 July.

 

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