Strafford on Avon and the MAD museum.

Hi sorry I haven’t written for a while, In all honesty I haven’t had much to write. With summer on its way I thought some of you might be already looking for ideas to put on the summer plan – so here is one of my suggestions. If your children like Marbles then you may want to hear about this little Museum in Strafford. In short both boys are marble obsessed, so when I saw a leaflet for here and you could use Tesco vouchers at the MAD Museum I thought we would check it out combine with a visit to Strafford for the day.

It was worth a visit as in the boys opinion the MAD museum in Strafford on Avon was the best museum Ever!

We parked in the Park and ride, taking the bus into Strafford to avoid struggling with parking this was easy and good value.

The MAD museum is a small museum, however we did manage to wasted a couple of hours inside. Advertised as a mechanical Art and Design museum, with over 90 pieces of kinetic Art. In short our version of the museum there are several very interesting and large marble runs, with lots of buttons to push. Plus a area where you can build a marble run of your own which the boys enjoyed the challenge. It wasn’t quite what I expected from the advertising, I personally expected a bit more variety of what was on offer. However the boys were happy so I was happy, even if it was not quite what I believed it would be.

ball shaped balls fun games
Photo by Anthony on Pexels.com

The boys would of stay longer, however Mummy and daddy were marbled out! There is only so long you can look at and play with Marbles!

We combined our visit with a lovely walk along the river, a coffee and a trip across the river on the oldest chain ferry. The day worked out as a fairly cheap day out, Free tickets for the museum via Tesco, park and ride, coffee/ Ice cream and a free walk.IMG_1220IMG_1223.JPG

Enjoy emmas xxx

© 2019 by Emmas Creative Love. Powered by WordPress.com. All Rights Reserved.

 

Gloucestershire Warwickshire steam railway.

IMG_1240.JPG     Hi, so sorry I have been out of the Loop as usual life has just got in the way. We haven’t been up to much in the form of Arts and Crafts (so sorry no updated projects for the time being) as when the weather has played the game we have grabbed the chance to get out and about with both hands. Isn’t this years weather rubbish, what has happened to the summer – Is it ever going to improve?

So I am finally finding some time to write up our reviews on a few days out. Hopefully providing ideas for  you for the upcoming big summer hols.

    We recently took a ride on The Gloucestershire Warwickshire Steam railway. Spending a whole day riding several of the trains, we manage to ride on both the steam and diesel on the 14 mile long track. Stopping to visit the attractions along the way. Both boys over their younger years have been into trains obsessively. So we thought they might enjoy the visit as we haven’t done anything to do with  trains for a while.

     We did enjoyed our day out as a family and had a giggle, However apart from a lovely train journey though the Cotswold’s and the very relaxing views, we found their was not much to do at each location. The small museums and displays were small.  If you are looking for a relaxing day out with young children then this is worth considering. However if your Children are older they may find it boring, unless they really love Trains! Our youngest at 6 years old definitely enjoyed it however our 8 year old was very close to being on the edge of bored.

I advise you study the timetable in advance and do some planning if you wish to ride both steam and diesel. Plus definitely consider going on a day where they have a special event as this will give you a bit more to do for your money.

Basic info (check out their website for more details) :  

The railway is (Approx) 1 hour drive from South oxford.

The Car parking is free at Cheltenham race course station. Enter via the race course entrance. Signage is quite clear and easy to follow. 

Depending on the timetable, you can take a ride on a steam or a diesel train.

To save money buy discount tickets on line before hand. Plus Under 5 goes free.

Dogs can travel – £3 for a dog ticket.

Enjoy emmas xxx

© 2019 by Emmas Creative Love. Powered by WordPress.com. All Rights Reserved.

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Royal Windsor racecourse family fun days.

Hi Just thought I would let you all know about a very different family day out we had recently at Royal Windsor racecourse. We attended one of their family Fun day on the IMG_1334.JPGlast may bank holiday.

They have another day coming up next bank holiday – It might appeal to some?  If so take a look at their website as they have 5 Family fun days though out the year.IMG_1340.JPG

We are not normally horse racing types, however we fancied doing something completely different and out of our comfort zone as a family. Having seen an advert we thought we’d give it a go! Adult tickets are £14 each if pre-booked and Kids go free (so if your a large family or single parent this could be a fairly cheap day out), all entertainment is free on the day. Apart from watching the horse racing which started at 2pm, on this occasion this included a free funfair that opened at 12pm (the kids loved the fact there was no ‘No, its to expensive’) and they were free to go on what they wished. Not a huge funfair but large enough to feel like you have got something for your money. Plus there was a bouncy castle inflatable slide and assault course. Free face painting and pony rides which the boys loved. The pony rides were the highlight for the boys.IMG_1317

In all it was a good value day out as we all went on several rides and had fun as a family. We enjoyed watching the racing despite not taking part in the betting apart from one small bet which we loss (to complicated for us!). I don’t think we loved it that much that it would be something that we will take up but it did give us a different fun family day out and experience for the boys.

The race course has all the usual things, picnic area, food places, etc. Plus you don’t have to dress fancy on family days – normal wear is fine. The staff were not overly helpful or knowledgeable on the day so be prepared to figure out what is happening on your own and where things are. Funfair is to the left of entrance and there are more activities in the middle. Basic ticket allows you access to these and picnic area. You will need to upgrade (£2 per person) for other enclosures and access to pre/ after race horse viewing and more eating options. We personally took a picnic though their were plenty of places to get food/drink from vans at the more expensive end or posher stands/sit down options in the club enclosure. We also chose to park in the free car park as opposed to the chargeable one (£10 plus). In all honesty I would say save your money and park in the free car park it is not that much further to walk if your able, five minutes if that. It was more than fine for both our boys to walk.

For further info check out there website.

Enjoy Emmas xxx

© 2019 by Emmas Creative Love. Powered by WordPress.com. All Rights Reserved.

Conkers.

So here goes another day out review/idea:

Conkers in the national forest.

Again we used Tesco clubcard vouchers to take a visit to Conkers. A bit of a drive as its approx two hours from Oxfordshire, near Ashby-de-la-Zouch in Derbyshire (DE12 6GA). A mix of indoor and outdoor experiences which kept us amused for 6 hours.

Having read mixed reviews, I was not sure what to expect but went with an open mind. For us personally as a family it was great and we had a fab day. It was great being outdoors exploring the attractions in the woodland and lake, the boys really enjoyed exploring somewhere different and asked if they could back another day. The bonus for us was it cost us nothing as on vouchers saving us £35 for a family ticket.

We started the day in the discovery centre where the boys found lots to do, which basically meant they pressed a lot of buttons in the interactive exhibits not sure how much they actually read and took in. They really enjoyed the tree top walk especially the slide at the end and loved the enchanted forest adventure play zone (I think there highlight of the day).

We then took a visit to the 4D cinema (tickets included in entrance but need to be booked when getting your entrance tickets, this is not heavily advertised). We had no idea what we were going to watch as this was not advertised. The film we watched was basically about a bug learning to fly. The film did not overly thrill the boys, however gave us a ten minute sit down complete with wind and rain. Probably more impressive for a younger audience. We have seen better 4D films in our opinion- others may think differently.IMG_1193

We also walked the trails and visited the new attraction the warrens (the boys loved this), lots of underground tunnels to explore.IMG_1190.JPG The fairy Labyrinth a maze with a fairy theme ending at a towerIMG_1187.JPG. The 450ft  barefoot walk – an interesting activity with a difference. Climbed the sky viewing tower,IMG_1202 walked the sensory trail and took the trainIMG_1198.JPG to the waterside centre where we explored the wobbly bridges based around the story billy-goat gruff.

IMG_1197.JPGThe boys had a play in billy bonkers play house why we enjoyed a coffee. The boys also enjoyed playing at the park area, which was impressive and well designed.IMG_1211.JPG Yes I agree with some reviews certain parts are rundown, may need some updating and sound better than the reality – but the boys didn’t care they were having fun! If they are having fun that makes happy parents! Other areas are well designed and have been well thought out with money spent on them. The only negative I really have to say is the staff were the most unenthusiastic and friendly I have seen anywhere ignoring that I think it is a good day out if you go with an open mind, enjoy being with your kids outdoor and creating your own adventures.IMG_1200.JPG

Please visit there website for up to date details and prices.

Enjoy emmas xxx

© 2019 by Emmas Creative Love. Powered by WordPress.com. All Rights Reserved.

Birdland, Bourton- on- water

So hi there! We are having a fab Easter break enjoying time together! We have been playing in the garden, busy making things (blogs/ projects to follow) and had a few nearly free days out (all on Tesco – club card vouchers) reviews shortly to follow.

The first place we have visited was Birdland, Bourton – on – water.

Bourton- on – water known as the ‘Venice of the Cotswold’s is a beautiful small village with a selection of tea rooms and gift shops. It is in Gloucestershire, but nestle on the edge of Oxfordshire approx. 30 miles away and just under one hour drive from South Oxfordshire.

This was not our first visit to Birdland as this is our second visit using Tesco vouchers. The boys have enjoyed the visits and give it a good review. Birdland park and gardens (GL54 2BN) is essential a bird zoo, with a selection of exotic and rare birds. It takes about 2-3 HOURS to visit, including a lunch stop. Its not a huge park to walk around. The boys enjoyed seeing the Flamingo’s talk, touching a tortoise and having the chance to hold an owl. IMG_20190410_123151.jpgThe real highlight of any visit to birdland is watching the penguins at penguin shore which is home of the king and humboldts penguin – feeding time is 11am and 2.30pm and worth a watch.

  IMG_20190410_133339.jpg In our own personal opinion Jurassic journey is a slight disappointment for older children, an unexcited walk with plastic looking dinosaurs (though younger pre-school children may enjoy and not see the fakeness).IMG_20190410_121110.jpg Take part in the dinosaur hunt and receive a free badge at the shop. As usual we too a picnic however there is a café where we got a coffee, that seemed reasonable in price (for the area). A small busy café with lots of staff however I counted 5 doing nothing –  resulting in slow service as only one member serving with a lack of enthusation!

IMG_20190410_133438.jpgIn short if your looking for a few hours out birdland is an interesting place to visit alongside a walk in Bourton – on – water.

opening hour: apr-oct 10am – 6pm. Nov – mar 10am – 4pm.

Parking is pay and display next door to birdland.

 

As usual check out birdland website for up to date details and prices.

Enjoy emmas xxx

© 2019 by Emmas Creative Love. Powered by WordPress.com. All Rights Reserved.

 

 

Natural History museum at tring.

Another simple and affordable family day out idea which we have visited recently.

The Natural History Museum at Tring was once the private museum of Lionel Walter, 2nd Baron Rothschild; today it is under the control of the Natural History Museum, London. It houses one of the finest collections of stuffed mammals, birds, reptiles and insects in the United Kingdom, Stretched over several floors. Not as big as the museum in London however there are still plenty of different animals to see without having to take a visit to the city of London. It offers a few hours of entertainments for kids and the bonus is it is free to visit the museum which is located on Akeman Street, in Tring, Hertfordshire HP23 6AP. The museum has a free car park, a café and gift shop. If you wish you can combine it with a walk, coffee or lunch in tring or a visit to the local reserve.

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I personally don’t think tring is as good as the museum in London but it offers similar experience on a smaller scale without the hassle of going into London. I would say allow 1 to 2 hours depending on your own children attention span for the museum. They do provide free activity sheets and hold events though out the year – take a look at their website for more info. However the boys did really enjoy it for a few hours.

I personally would suggest going later in the day. The museum can get really busy first thing, especially on a rainy day making it hard to move around the museum and see anything. If possible leave buggies in the car as there is not much space to move around the museum at the best of times, due to tight space around displays.

Opening times: Mon- sat :10.00-17.00. Sunday :14.00 – 17.00

Enjoy emmas xxx

© 2019 by Emmas Creative Love. Powered by WordPress.com. All Rights Reserved.

 

Kite flying at Dunstable downs.

     If you are looking for another simple and affordable day out (a very nearly free day out – apart from the parking/fuel cost) I can personally recommend Dunstable downs (based on one of our family visit recently) it is somewhere different to go as a family, isn’t going to cost you the earth, if you are looking for an outdoor walk with children.

Dunstable downs sits at the highest point of Bedfordshire near whipsnade zoo, Is an extensive chalk grassland within the Chiltern’s area of outstanding natural beauty.  Offering a wind – swept ridge which provides ideal conditions nearly all year round for kite flying or a variety of air sports.  You can have a go at kite flying or just watch others have ago. take a walk along one of the footpaths which include circular walks, stand on top of the downs for a great view with a picnic or have a coffee from the café. The site is owned by the National trust, however you do not need to be a member as free for all to visit.IMG_20190309_151604.jpg

  • Non NT members £3.50 FLAT RATE parking allows you to park all day. (free for NT members – just remember your cards).
  • Kite flying  is all year around –  have a go or just watch (shop sells a great selection if you need one or forget one to take). I have yet to go when no one is flying a kite – There is always some to watch!
  •  The area is Dog friendly (even the café has a section for you to sit with your dog).
  • The national trust provide a Good informative website if you need anymore questions answered.
  • NT café and gift shop within the Chiltern’s gateway centre.
  • Cycling routes are available if you fancy taking your bikes.IMG_20190309_145117.jpgIMG_20190309_145113.jpg

Address: whipsnade rd. Dunstable, Bedfordshire, LU6 2GY.

Enjoy emmas xxx

© 2019 by Emmas Creative Love. Powered by WordPress.com. All Rights Reserved.

 

Lego Discovery Centre- Birmingham.

Again another review based on a family day out, as we have been a bit lacks on our own art and crafts lately – focusing on playing in the gardens, walks, merccano and science kits. This time my review is based on our visit to The Lego Discovery centre in Birmingham. We visited one weekend before half-term on a 40% of voucher.I had heard very mixed reviews most negative to be honest so really was wary and not keen. However we decided that we would take a visit because the boys had been begging us for ages (thanks to the children ads on TV and there Lego obsession), it was indoor, so suited the cold weather and again we had a voucher that tempted us. We were pleasantly surprised (though not so sure if we had paid full price we would say it was not an overpriced day out). Both boys loved it even if it wasn’t quite mummy and daddy cup of tea!!022.jpg

Yes it was small and only takes a few hours, but numbers are controlled (make sure you pre-book on-line – we were glad we did, as when we arrived at 10 all tickets were sold out for the day). It was clean and well organised. Staffs were friendly, helpful and focused on their jobs. There are two small rides, that don’t really have a thrill factor to them, however the boys enjoyed and we took two rides on both.

We watched all 3 movies at the 4d cinema (The Lego movie – our favourite, Lego ninja and Lego knights) all were good fun and enjoyed. 025.jpg026.jpg

We also enjoyed a visit to the mini land, As adults we enjoyed looking at the actual model scenes, whilst the boys enjoyed playing with all the interacted buttons more. The boys then enjoyed building Lego cars to test on the test track. Meeting the Lego characters for photo’s, Playing in the soft play area. Our eldest loved and spent ages designing his own movie. 024

021.jpgThe boys gave the day out a 10/10. Mummy and daddy not quite as keen, however it was a good day out and in our own bias personnel opinion it did not live up to the negative reviews we had heard. Though despite this, be prepared it’s not a full day out at most 4 hours if being generous, I would only recommend if your child really loves Lego, aged under 10 at a push and you don’t have to pay full price to get in. Plus make sure you book on-line to avoid disappointment (most voucher codes can be added online).

Enjoy emmas xxx

© 2019 by Emmas Creative Love. Powered by WordPress.com. All Rights Reserved.

Green Dragon rare breeds farm and eco centre.

002.jpgA few week-ends ago, just before the snow we decided to visit Green dragon rare breeds farm and eco centre near Quainton in Buckinghamshire. Tempted by an advertisement on Facebook and prompted by the fact ‘kids go free’ with a paying adult in January (Making it £18 for 4 of us) and wanting to do something in the fresh air. We were really glad we did as we had a great few hours out hour.

The farm is fairly small but well-kept and offers plenty of hands – on experiences, talks and displays. We were very impressed by the staff, quite often you visit family attractions, where the staff are unenthusiastic, grumpy and put in minimum effort. This was far from the case, all the staff here at the farm were happy, chatty and informative, which is a real credit to them especially as it was absolutely freezing, a few hail storms and bitter in the wind. It was obvious that the staff enjoyed there jobs, all were really informative, friendly and answered our question with great knowledge.003

All the animals were out in the animal paddocks and barn, looked well looked after and were active, Despite it being freezing.  The boys enjoyed grooming a Shetland pony, holding a cockroach, watching a bird of prey show, digging in the sand pit for dinosaur bones, riding a pedal go-kart and playing in the soft play.  Apart from the farm animals, there is an indoor messy play barn, wildlife zone, exotic pets corner, peddle Go-karts, outdoor play area, indoor soft play area, picnic shelter, café and shop.004.jpg

If your Local, in my own personal opinion it is definitely worth a visit to this lovely well run farm for a couple of hours especially those with younger children. Depending on older children’s interest, some may find it to small or not big enough to hold there interest. This is my own bias review/opinion based on our own personal experience of a few hours there. We had a great few hours out, enjoying family time and was so impressed by the staff.

Enjoy emmas xxx

© 2019 by Emmas Creative Love.

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Marwell zoo

IMG_20181231_134648.jpgWe visited Marwell zoo near Winchester during the Christmas school holidays.  I thought I would share my own personal opinion on the Zoo based on our own experience – with you! We have visited the zoo previously as it is just under 1 hour from home and have always had a good day out, though seeing the animals has always been abit hit and mix. This visit was prompted by the fact we had two ‘kids go free’ vouchers and we wanted to do something in the fresh air so we thought we would take a visit.

We were really glad we did as we had a great day out. All the animals were out and active, unlike previous summer visits to the zoo. We saw every animal up close!IMG_20181231_150906.jpg

  Marwell Zoo is a well spaced out zoo and crowds are not ever a problem. Easy to find (lots of brown signs). It is a fairly big zoo (140 acres) for walking with young children however there is a free land train that goes around the zoo one way. I recommend using this where possible it relieves tired legs for little ones and keeps the interest going. There is also a proper rail train which you can pay extra for too, though I can’t comment on this as it has never been open when we have visited.

The zoo is open every day and has two prices throughout the year (there is a cheaper price to go in the winter months). Plus you do have the choice to pay with or without Gift aid ( a voluntary donation). There are animal talks, feeds, cafes, gift shop and playgrounds. Parking is free (always a bonus) in a big car park close to the park entrance. We always take a pack lunch and eat it in the indoor picnic room, so can’t comment on the café. The shop is near the entrance/exit, big and has a wide choice of gifts typically priced for a visitors attraction.

The animals you can see to name a few include Giraffes, Cheetahs, zebras, tigers, penguins, flamingos, rhinos, wallaby’s, reptiles, fish, insects etc.

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Despite mixed opinion on Zoo – I do believe animals should live in their own wild habitats. However I have two children (and myself) who love animals, and seeing them up close only helps increase that interest, love and knowledge. Plus I do appreciate that Zoo’s have changed there agendas in past years and the reality is that some animals will be protected from dying out due to programmes and funds created from/by Zoo’s.

Enjoy emmas xxx

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