Our bank holiday trip to Avoncroft Museum was an impromptu one. We had original plans to go to the woods and jump in muddy puddles, but when I couldn’t find the little one’s wellies we had to think of a new plan quick.
Luckily I already had a picnic ready and remembered that there was a Teddy Bear’s Picnic nearby at Avoncroft Museum. This is local to me but in over three years of living here I have never got around to visiting until today.
Despite being a bank holiday we managed to get parked quite easily and there was barely any queue with the helpful staff making sure annual pass members could by-pass the till area (whether the earlier rain put some people off I am not sure). As I am still a student at the moment we were able to get reduced entry and under 5s go free. As it was the Teddy Bear’s picnic we were given activity sheets to hunt around the various houses to work out the clue.
Avoncroft is nicely spread out with loads of open areas so it never felt crowded. As I was on my own with a 2 and a 5 year old we decided to not follow any plan and just go where we felt like.
The two year old was the first to spot all the phone boxes (she loves a telephone) so we made that our first port of call (no pun intended 🙂 ). There are loads of different phone boxes from over the years. The phonecard box bought back memories to me (I’m showing my age now). I found the internet phone boxes fascinating too. The girls didn’t really understand the concept of a phone box in today’s age of mobiles but still loved going in and out. You can even make phone calls between the different phones in the area.
The highlight (for me anyway) in this area was a traditional police phone box. Sadly The Doctor was not around today, but it is definitely a must visit for any Doctor Who fans amongst you.
From here we passed the railway. This is a small scale train track run by local volunteers and you can pay (50p per person when we visited) to ride the train. The volunteers that run the track were fun and took time out to talk to my two as we were queuing. The train takes you on a short journey up towards the playground and back again (with a guaranteed toot for those playing in the playground).
One of the main attractions I wanted to visit was the Windmill which sadly wasn’t operating when we were there but still looked impressive. I loved how it is surrounded by countryside making you feel like you are on a rural farm. We decided this was a great area for a picnic and it was enclosed enough for the girls to have a bit of a run around whilst we were sat there. The big one was very excited to have found a ladybird whilst she was exploring. I noticed there was also a wild flower field which opens next month which I am sure will look amazing.
For those of you who dislike or don’t take a picnic blanket there are picnic tables dotted about here and elsewhere in the museum. Today as the weather was looking uncertain, there was even the option to eat your own picnic inside one of the buildings. This was great to see as in many attractions you are not permitted to eat inside if you have bought your own food.
We the decided to start exploring some of the buildings. There are lots of different ones to choose from lots of different eras including a Medieval Town House, a stable, a wooden Mission Church, a bomb shelter and so much more. My girls really liked exploring the post war prefabricated house which was fully replicated inside and the “resident” of the property told us all about life living there. I loved the touch of the local residents inside some of the properties (although it did feel like we were intruding sometimes as they were so realistic and it was like walking into someone’s house).
As well as the houses, as today was a bank holiday there were plenty of other things to do. We enjoyed face painting, horse riding and the boat swings. I noticed there was also archery, a bouncy castle, balloon animals too. These all had an extra cost but they were fairly reasonable (although these things do stack up if you go a bit too crazy). There were plenty of free things too like traditional outdoor games and the playground.
By around the 2:30pm my youngest was getting tired and having not bothered with the pushchair we decided to call it a day. If I had bought the pushchair though, the museum is nearly completely accessible with just a few areas that had staircases or steep hills.
I was very impressed with Avoncroft. I loved all the open spaces which are perfect for girls to run around and have fun. They have an option of annual membership for £55 per family which I am quite tempted with as I can see that we will visit again at least once before the end of the year.
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