We love going on family adventures, especially ones we can learn new things. Today is May Day and to celebrate we went to Kentwell Hall, Long Melford for their re-enactment weekend. It’s a day where they show us life in Tudor times. It was a great opportunity to talk about the differences between time periods, ask questions and learn new games.
We booked our tickets online. If you book before 9am on the day then you get a discounted rate (but as my children and both under 5, they were free). It was just myself, my mum and my niece who had to be paid for. Booking online meant we didn’t have to sort out payment there. We just quoted our order number than got our tickets handed to us.
Parking was easy enough. It is ‘field car park’ so just be aware if it’s been a wet few days. There’s disabled parking near the top so you’re closer to the gates but as it’s field parking and not parking bays there was more space to open doors and boots.
The hall itself it’s absolutely stunning. Even J (age 4) said “wow”. The grounds are beautiful and the whole place is huge. The field is large and inviting, with a pond and trees all around. There were some ‘old fashioned’ games set out to explore. We had fun testing them all out. It just goes to show that not everything needs buttons and batteries to be entertaining.
We all got very competitive and would try and beat each other. It was great for getting us all interacting and laughing together.
We then went for a wander around the ‘village’. We spoke to the actors about what they were doing and looked as they demonstrated how to make candles, cook their food, turn wool into thread etc. The children helped make beads from clay (as J has sensory issues I did the ‘messy work’ and he poked with a stick. Both J and A (age 10) asked questions – J’s were a bit more random such as “Do you have a bed?”. It was great to see things ‘in motion’ rather than just artefacts behind glass panels. The only part we didn’t like was the ‘inn’ (I think that’s what it was) as there were graphic paintings that really were not suitable for children. A little warning before entering would have been great as it did disturb J and A (not baby F who was fast asleep the entire time…what a life).
The actors were generally good. Some were more friendly and interactive than others but as some were children and teenagers I can imagine that they have varying levels of confidence. The costumes were fantastic and added such a great atmosphere to the visit.
Just a word of warning to any asthmatics. Take your inhaler! There’s lots of wood fires around the place (understandably as they didn’t exactly have microwaves or cookers back then). The smoke did get a bit more for J who started to have the beginnings of an asthma attack. Don’t worry, few puffs and getting back into fresh air fixed it all.
We had fun in the woods and stopped on the grass for a picnic (there is also a cafe on site). It was a lovely open space to just sit and relax. We watched the sheep and lambs who were all adorable. Next we went to the farm area. J has been wanting to ‘meet a horse’ (as he puts it) for a while now and he got to meet two horses and two ponies. He even got to stroke them which he loved.
Next we went into the house itself. The place is huge and the owners have done an amazing job keeping it looking authentic. I had imagined that a 4 year old would get a bit bored in a house/museum but actually he enjoyed it. Both children got something out of it. A was remembering things she’d learnt at school about Tudor period and J was loving the hands on stuff he could touch and explore. He spent some time with The Governess placing traditional learning games.
Another word of warning, you are not allowed to take pranks/buggies into the house and there’s no where particularly ‘safe’ like a buggy park or shelter to leave them so it’s at your own risk (and take rain cover). Luckily I had brought the baby carrier along so Baby F was cuddled up as we explored.
Afterwards we sat on the grass and watched the May Day parade. Again, the music and costumes made you really get a feel for the celebrations. It was the time to get ready to head home. We had a toilet trip (there are regular male and female toilets and the basic disabled access toilets but I didn’t see any Changing Places facilities so bare this in mind if you require these). I took Baby F for a nappy change which is located in the toilets themselves.
We obviously had to go in the gift shop. J choose an ice lolly for the car journey and A choose a bracelet. We then left and headed home, all tired from lots of walking but also busy chatting about our favourite bits of the day. If you’re in the area on one of the re-enactment days during the year then it’s definitely worth a visit.
Note: this is not an ad and I recieved no discount or incentive for the visit or this blog post. Just thought you’d like to know about our adventures.