In the picturesque village of Great Missenden, home of beloved children's author Roal Dahl for over thirty years, sits the Roald Dahl Museum and Story Telling Centre.
Upon arrival we went straight for lunch in Cafe Twit. Whilst not a cheap meal, it had a very home-made feel quality to it, and they weren't skimpy on the portions either. The whole experience was in keeping with the Roald Dahl theme, with favourites having their names twisted to sound like they could have come from one of his classic stories.
After lunch we headed into the museum proper. At £6 a head (for adults), it's not a bad entry fee, and we had it even better because we got one free on a Waterstones promotion. It's probably worth mentioning that Cafe Twit and the shop can be accessed without paying for entry.
Once entry is paid for you can wander around to your heart's content, and even leave the site and return later thanks to the wristbands that you're supplied with. Adults are given a visitor's guide, and children get a story ideas book to jot down notes and ideas as they go.
|A quote on the wall in Cafe Twit. Do you know which book it's from? And can you spot the superfluous apostrophe...|
There's plenty to do:
- Two galleries outline Roald Dahl's life: one details his childhood and school years; the other takes you through his various experiences as an adult, including many of the events that inspired and shaped the stories that he wrote.
- The story centre is an area full of inspiration and encouragement for budding young (and young-at-heart) storytellers. With activities to get the creative juices flowing; clothes to dress up in; excerpts from notes and early, unpublished versions of Dahl's stories; a craft room; and comments, both spoken and written, from other famous children's authors on how they write, anyone with a creative bent can run amok.
|Emma gleaning inspiration from the master's notes in the story centre.|
Whilst the museum is aimed at children between the ages of 6 and 12 I found myself, at 29, immersed in the experience of finding out about the creator of worlds that influenced my own early years. I found out that I'm exactly the same height as Farmer Boggis, whilst Emma is somewhere between Mrs Silver and a human-sized duck. An interactive quiz told me that I'm as sparky as Fantastic Mr Fox*, and I had a sit down in a faithful replica of Dahl's own loved and battered writing armchair. The staff at the museum are very friendly, approachable, and encouraging, regardless of how many digits there are in your age.
|There's a feedback board that does nothing to detract from the playful atmosphere of the museum!|
Here are some places you can find info:
- Website: Roalddahlmuseum.org
- Twitter: @roalddahlmuseum
- Facebook: The Roald Dahl Museum and Story Centre
|The sweet shop across the road from the museum is a great place to pick up some treats and gifts.|
If you're looking to stay a little longer (it's quite far away from a lot of places**), then there are options to extend your visit:
- Across the road from the museum is a gorgeous little old-style sweet shop, selling sweets, pic & mix, ice cream, chocolate fudge and all sorts of other things that are good for your mind and bad for your body.
- If it's a nice day, there are two self-guided walks you can follow: the village trail, and the countryside trail (hard copies are available at the museum).
- Roald Dahl's garden is open on selected dates during the year.
|Sweets in jars: the sign of a good old-style sweet shop.|
* I can live with that.
** So is everywhere, I suppose.