2016 marks 100 years of Roald Dahl. Born 100 years ago, one of our greatest story tellers is being celebrated through events and at the story centre and museum in his home village. As the Easter holidays are coming up, I though I’d share our recent Roald Dahl experiences and add some other ways to celebrate.
One of the very vivid memories of my childhood is my teacher, Miss Cairn, reading “Charlie and the Chocolate Factory” to the class. It was a book unlike anything I’d come across before. I remember being enthralled. One of the joys of parenting is re-discovering things from your own childhood. Reading Roald Dhal to my own son has been something we’ve both loved. His books have fantastic characters and brilliant stories that appeal to children and adults.
Roald Dahl museum and story centre
Dahl lived and wrote many of this books in the village of Great Missenden, Buckinghamshire. It’s a short drive from the M40 and accessible by train from London. On the high street is the Roald Dahl Museum and Story Centre.
It’s a small but thoughtfully formed experience, that takes visitors through the life of Roald Dhal. His boyhood and early adult experiences that informed his writing are told via two galleries. There is a definite emphasis on getting children to create and imagine. The third gallery is the story centre, for creating and writing. There is an opportunity to sit in a mock of his writing chair and look at the objects that he kept beside him. Each child is given a little book “My Story Ideas Book” and there are spaces to stick, glue and write ideas. There are also regular workshops and it is worth checking the website before planning a visit.
The Twits cafe, attached to the museum, has a fabulous display of cakes. The sandwiches are priced around £3.00, tea is £1.40 and there is a children’s menu. In good weather there is outside seating, in a court-yard in the middle of the museum. When we visited in February this wasn’t an option and at lunch time the small cafe was packed and we ate elsewhere. There are various other places to eat on the high street.
Once we’d been around the museum, we took one of the walking guides and explored the village, which gave us a opportunity to see the woodland and area that inspired the books. One of the paths is a field over from Gypsy house, the home of the Dahl family. It is a private house and not accessible, however his writing hut is still visible in the garden.
The museum is open on Monday only in school holidays. During term time it is open Tues – Friday and Weekends. Admission is £6.60 for adults and £4.40 for children.
The museum is fully accessible, with accessible loos and with the exception of the cafe (ramp available), step-free. Free admission to carers.
Wondercrump of Roald Dahl
Currently in the South Bank centre in London is the. My 8-year-old and I visited at the opening in February. It costs £8.00 for a child and £10.00 for an adult, booking is essential. Aimed at 7-12 year olds. The spaces are small, dimly lit and with additional noises to ignite the imagination. You need to crowd in to listen to the guides. I’d suggest it isn’t suitable for smaller children.
A truly interactive experience with the chance to get up close to personal objects and archive material, loaned from the Roald Dahl Museum. The experience consists of a small group led by animated and enthusiastic guide. Each group is led through a series of rooms, with things to touch and listen to, the guide tells stories, answers and asks questions. We loved the Twits room which reconstructs their tricks. It weaves the life of Roald Dhal with the characters in his books. There is a lovely photo and some history of real-life person behind the BFG. The tour lasts around an hour. From now until 3rd July 2016.
The exhibition moves on to Cardiff in August until the end of the year..
Can’t get to exhibitions in the South of England? What about Cheshire?
Tatton Hall at Easter and beyond
Tatton Park in Cheshire is playing host to Charlie’s Chocolate Easter event. Easter weekend launches various events which run until October. Danny Champion of the world in the Gardens, Matilda in the Mansions and Mr Fox in the farm. It looks wonderful, check out the website for more details..
Make your own Party: 100 years of Roald Dahl
September 13th is the birthday of Roald Dahl, he would be 100. There is a global celebration in the planning. Register here for a downloadable party pack and make your own Roald Dahl themed celebration.
We were invited to the press launch of The Wondercrump of Roald Dahld. Our visit to the Story Centre was a personal family visit. Other information is gathered from searching the web and press-releases I’ve been sent and is correct at time of posting. All words and opinions are my own, shared because we love Roald Dahl.