BEYOND THE LIZZIE LINE: Another reco for the summer holidays in the form of an out of town interactive experience at Roald Dahl’s house in Great Missenden (about 30-40 minutes by car.)
The Roald Dahl Museum is an absolute must if your child is a fan of any of his many books… and really, who isn’t? Matilda’s musical revamp last year pushed Dahl straight back onto the agenda; Mark Rylance’s BFG in 2016 was just as brilliant as the 1989 animated version and we await a new Wonka origins movie at the end of the year with Timothee Chalamet playing the lead role. Essentially, in spite of his death in 1990, he’s still very much current and known to all children.
The Museum acts as a sort of shrine to all of his wonderful work with plenty of characteristically mischievous interactive play thrown in. The Museum starts with a focus on Dahl’s life: where he went to school, where he was brought up… laying the foundations for his genius. It then threads through his creative process; the key moments in his life and, of course, his books and many memorable characters.
We were given a worksheet before we went in which is always a good idea as it gives the children a focus when their minds might otherwise wander. The interactive parts of the exhibition were pretty much all educational (which is a lovely plus!), asking questions about the characters within the books; tasking the children with coming up with BFG-esque names and, at one point, getting the children to act as Quentin Blake receiving a description from Roald Dahl of a strange looking creature to see how they would interpret the brief.
We spent about an hour in the creative hub at the back where the kids were offered several crafty worksheets including decorating a dream jar; drawing the BFG’s family; constructing Dahl’s writing shed. And every hour or couple of hours they have storytelling session which, again, is super interactive and very engaging.
Visitors are invited to bring their own picnic (there’s an inside picnic area and an outdoor courtyard) and buying a ticket gives you access to the museum for the rest of the year. During the Summer holidays, the museum is open Tuesday to Sunday from 10am to 4.30pm.