Last week Jay was on A/L and we were lucky enough to spend a whole week together as a family. We have not had a car the whole time that we have been togther as a couple, but a few weeks ago we gained a nice family car and the freedom is now amazing. Jay decided to wake me up last Wedsnesday, told me and the kids to dress warm and waterproof, pack some lunch and get in the car… he was going to surprise us with a family day out.
Now, I hate not knowing where I am going or how long we will be sat in the car for… basically I hate surprises!
After much begging and poking of the ribs, Jay announced that we were going to Mountfitchet (eerrrr, Where?!) I had never heard of this place but apparently it was a perfect family day out, with a huge castle, Norman village, dinosaurs (no link to Normans in the slightest… but dinosaurs OK?!) And an amazing toy museum….. oh and its in Essex, I Knnoooowwww Shurrruuuupppp right!
So off we set, in the piddling rain (not impressed) and headed to Stanstead, the journey didn’t actually take long at all and soon we were pulling up in the car park, bite to eat (S**t! We left the lunch bag at home… on the table. Fail.), dressed up warm and headed inside. Because we visited during school term we only had to share the whole attraction with 2 school trips. No-one else was going into the museum so the staff opened it just for us (felt well posh like).
Walking up to the museum was hard work, it was a very steep slope and actually quite slippery, but just to make the walk a little more bearable, I nearly pooped my knickers being RAWRED at by a few dinosaurs…. It’s fun for the kids though, right?
The Toy museum was actually brilliant (the cost of entry was included in the entry price to the castle) with loads of strange toys from past and some present, movie props, music memorabilia (I saw Elvis’ autograph…. I could almost ssmmeeellllll him), some great Victorian penny machines and some scary puppets.
One scary puppet…. Did not like this much!
The Force is Strong with this Olive…..
Bad parenting moment number 2….
After wandering around the museum we headed to the castle and village (After much rain, that steep slope felt a hell of a lot more slippery). I wasn’t quite sure what to expect from the castle and village itself. Jay had briefly explained to me that it was a living museum that had been reconstructed above the actual original archaeological site. Walking up to the site you could not see much for the big castle walls, and huge gate… but this was all part of the attraction. As I entered the castle walls I was actually shocked. For despite it now raining even harder, it was actually beautiful. Some of you may know I have a huge fascination for archaeology and even had the privilege of working alongside Bradford Uni on a dig in Shetland a few years ago, but this tourist attraction really was something else. It was a full reconstruction of a Norman village with houses, animals, weapons, fertility chair(!), stocks, church (which I sat and breastfed in- until I was ambushed by a group of Essex school kids) and animals. How had I gone so long having never been there… or even never having heard of it!
I fully recommend this day out to any one, with children or without. I have absolutely fallen in love with the place, and I have actually even said to Jay that I am looking forwards to going back in the summer (Minus the mud and freezing rain, you see).
Here are a few photographs from the main attraction, you cannot really see the beauty of the village through my badly taken pictures, so please go see it for yourselves!
The lovely peasants cottage…