Bringing the History of ‘Ye Olde’ English Houses to life
I love my children to learn whilst having fun. This is the whole premise of our farm holidays and I try to extend this with our own children whenever we are out and about. Nick remembered visiting a place from his childhood with showcase houses from long ago that clearly made an impression with him and he was keen to return. We packed up a picnic and set off on our adventure to Weald and Downland Open Air Museum. The children and I had no idea what to expect, but Yia Yia (Grandma) and Nick were confident it would be perfect. As we parked up, paid and headed on in the open space before me and picnic tables told me at once it would be perfect for my Country Kids.
On the 50 acre grounds sits an extensive collection of restored houses, recreated with real people dressed to the era covering the last 600 years. No wonder Nick remembered it from his childhood. There was a write up on every building from the architecture to the lifestyle of the people who lived there. The volunteer workers were on hand in their period dress to answer questions and even let you have a try. The children were captivated by fireplaces with no chimneys, fires in the centre of the floor in the room, old toilets and bed pans, beds and cots and kitchens. It was a real eye opener and fascinating at any age.
Clio tried her hand at ironing a Victorian dress; perhaps she would be more inspired if we had one of these at home?
The Water Mill caught the children’s eye and Nick explained that this was a real working example of Coombe Mill back in the 16th Century.
There is only so much culture and learning a boy can do and before long the younger ones were drawing a crowd at the lake where Guy had decided he was going fishing by removing his shirt and tying the arms together to create a net encouraged by his siblings. By the time we came out of the 16th Century house to see what was happening it was all too late to do anything but laugh. I have to hand it to him for rolling up his trousers and removing his socks and shoes first!
They showed off their tree climbing skills leaving those on the lower branches watching in awe, and every parent there cursing my kids for tempting their own higher!
Coffee from the lovely cafe and a picnic and we were ready for more learning.
The interactive houses gave a chance for candle making and brass rubbing. Clio tried her hand at the candles and then took her time badge making and helping weave a mat from hessian and old scraps of material.
Back outdoors there were strips of willow to help make the garden fences and animal pens, though Nick was less than impressed with keeping their pig in the leaky old style sty which must endlessly need repairing. Modern materials certainly came in handy for building ours.
Perhaps the biggest highlight, apart from Guy’s escapades, was the construction house. Here there were demonstrations on how to build a community from house beams to bridges was so carefully thought out and held the attention of all my children and their Dad as they worked their way round each experiment, even jumping up onto the counter to sit on their bridge just to make sure it really was strong enough to hold a person as claimed in the building instructions!
This was a day out we will remember for many years to come and well worth the entrance price, though I recommend taking a picnic or you could spend as much again on food. I wonder if any of mine will return in the future with their children?
Joining in with Country Kids
If you have been out with the family enjoying the outdoors from the garden to the beach please come and share your fun here on the linky. It can be an adventure, learning activity, crafting or play, just so long as it is away from screens and sofas and making the most of some fresh air time. Every week there are some wonderful ideas so please take some time to read other posts linked up. They are so often the source of our next adventure. Please grab the badge code below or create a link back here to help others enjoying the linky.
Just a few of my favourite posts from huge link up last week:
Two posts from right here at Coombe Mill, I love to see a day on our farm from a different perspective. In this case from Wild Family Fun and Maris World
“Tales from the farmers wife” shares the funny and interesting happenings on our lovely holiday farm with Farmer Nick and our 6 children. A behind the scenes look on balancing family, farming, the holiday business and cooking for all.