Tuesday, 12 August 2014

#CountryKids at Sudbury Hall and National Trust Museum of Childhood

Country Kids from Coombe Mill Family Farm Holidays Cornwall

I had a twitter conversation with the National Trust the other day and they suggested stopping at Sudbury Hall and the Museum of Childhood next time I was heading down south.  So this Saturday I plumbed the address into the sat nav and off we set... My son was pretty good at helping me follow the directions and it only took just over 2 hours to reach the car park. After a little walk along a path we soon came to the actual hall itself:

Sudbury Hall

As the hall was not yet open to general visitors we went into the Museum of Childhood first. It is very much a hands on museum with plenty of toys from the past to look at and play with. There was also a section showing how hard life was for children in previous centuries. My daughter was happy to crawl up a replica chimney as sweep:

Sudbury Hall

It was dark and pretty cramped though a light was half way around:



Sudbury Hall

Her little brother would only try out to see if he would have fitted in a real chimney and it was safe to say he was too big:

Sudbury Hall

Even his skinny sister would have got stuck:

Sudbury Hall

I think she was better suited to being a laundry maid:


It was not all about drudgery there were also games to play:

Sudbury Hall

There were some major flashbacks for me to my own childhood with the same kind of Brownie uniform I had to wear:

Sudbury Halll

Cleverly on the ceiling they had recreated various eras of bedrooms including a 1970s one that brought back memories for me:

Sudbury Hall

Around the corner we discovered that we could go to a replica Victorian school:


I was glad I sat on the back row with my son as the adults at the front were the ones singled out for their behaviour or clothing! My only ticking off was for having hair that looked unbrushed... The teacher did a really good job of recreating the atmosphere of the time. My son was praised for sitting so well and quietly (not a normal state of affairs!). We even got to write on slates:

Sudbury Hall

It was a very strict lesson so the children were relieved to be released to play with the toys in the museum:


It is amazing how they always manage to find their old favourites and will happily play with them for hours:

Sudbury Hall

This gave me plenty of time to look at the historic displays around the rooms:

Sudbury Hall

I eventually managed to drag them out into the sunshine where we sat in the courtyard to eat our picnic:


The courtyard had plenty of games to entertain the children with whilst their parents/grandparents sat and drank a tea or coffee from the cafe. My children invented a sort of musical chairs game with the foam mats which involved a lot of leaping around:


Of course it wouldn't be a modern National Trust property without a great looking play area:

Sudbury Hall

My two needed no persuasion to try it all out:

Sudbury Hall

Some of the obstacles were tricker than others as my daughter found on the balance log:

Sudbury Hall

Both of them tackled the climbing wall without too much difficulty:


Then it was time for a bit of sailing in the dinghy:


With their energy levels somewhat depleted it was time to head into the hall to see its 17th century glories:


My son had picked up the children's trail which had him counting things like faces on the ceiling and looking for various items in the rooms we went through:


This gave me time to pause and enjoy the beautiful building and its contents:


Down in the basement we discovered a child sized snooker table alongside the grown up one and my children needed no encouragement to have a go (although I don't think they are Steve Davis class just yet!):

Sudbury Hall

After a while I managed to drag them up to the first floor where the magnificent Long Gallery was located, they tested the official measurement of 142 m by pacing it out:

Sudbury Hall

I was ever so slightly jealous of Lord Vernon's library:

Sudbury Hall


The tour finished through some of the amazing bedrooms in the hall before exiting back in to the courtyard. Definitely a much better place to spend a travel break than a motorway service station!

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