Saturday, 6 June 2015

Visiting the Roald Dahl Museum

Last week we had the opportunity to take a trip to the Roald Dahl Museum and Story Centre hidden in what must be one of the most charming villages in England, Great Missenden. About a 60 minute train ride from London, this quaint town steeped in literary heritage has lots to offer as a day trip. 

The village was Roald Dahl's home for 36 years until his death in 1990, many of his most famous stories took inspiration from the village, it's people and places. Dahl is buried in the local graveyard beside the church of St Peter and St Paul. 

The short walk down through the village and to the graveyard in itself is gorgeous, although when we were there cherry blossoms were in full bloom which surely added to the effect. In addition to this, all of the local buildings are beautiful and full of character.... we did consider relocating!

The church by the graveyard is stunning, with parts of it dating back to the 12th century. The graveyard is beautifully maintained and features a raised area with memorial benches, each bearing the name of one of Dahl's children. Leading from here to his grave are a series of large stone would imagine were left by the BFG!

Next we headed to the Roald Dahl Museum and Story Centre, a fabulously maintained museum with a gift shop and the 'Twit Cafe'. The museum has two main rooms which tell the story of Roald Dahl's life and then a Story Centre at the back. 

A real highlight of the museum is Roald Dahl's writing hut. Located in the 'solo gallery' it contains all the actual items from Dahls' hut which he built in his garden. It's amazing to think that you're looking at the chair where classics like Matilda, The BFG, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory and James and the Giant Peach were written!

The Story Centre was definitely our favourite room as it was filled with interactive displays and activities designed to harness imaginative thought. Utilizing themes and characters from Dahl's book, the Story Centre encourages creativity and originality. 

Another brilliant exhibit is one of the actual sets from Fantastic Mr Fox which was primarily filmed utilising 'stop motion' techniques.  The actual figurines on display are less than a foot tall and the room that they're in is less than a metre wide/long. Our inner children definitely wanted to break through the glass and play with it like a dolls house!

If you're a fan of Roald Dahl and his work we hope you get the opportunity to give Great Missenden a visit, we definitely recommend it! 

For more information on the museum visit:
There's also a great trail map available here, which includes the library featured in Matilda, the Petrol Pumps that earned a place in Danny the Champion of the World and the building which inspired Roald Dahl's description of the orphanage in The BFG. 

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