A great open air museum is a rarity, and we’re lucky enough to have one of the best in our ‘hood. Chiltern Open Air Museum (COAM for short) in Chalfont St. Giles is home to a whopping 30 rebuilt historic buildings, a working farm, and plenty of opportunities to get stuck in to a little bit of history. Best of all, their schedule is jam-packed during those long summer months – so if you’re at a loose end, here are our top recommendations for August. Meet you by the pig sty.
The Great War, 13-14 Aug
COAM really shines when it comes to re-enacting events like this one, so it’s well worth a visit to teach the kids more about WWI and the role of women on the home front. There’s also a WW1 and WW2 Nissen hut, 1940s post-war prefab, and ‘Dig for Victory’ allotment to nose about in. Pre-booking essential.
All throughout August, COAM are running its Terrific Tuesdays – themed craft and activity days for families, organised by the Museum’s fabulous Learning Team. On 16 Aug the theme is Trees and Flowers, and children will be able to try bark rubbings and making clay trees and leaves, as well as other flora and fauna-based crafts.
Blacksmith Experience Days, Saturdays and Sundays
Fancy learning a new skill – and knocking up a little something to boot? COAM’s Blacksmith Experience Days are ideal for those aged 18 and over who want to turn their hand to a little metalworking (or who just want to smack an anvil with a massive hammer). Learn the basic techniques in the Victorian Forge before making your own hand-forged object to take home.
Medieval Jousting, 20-21 Aug
A crown jewel in COAM’s calendar is their weekend of Medieval Jousting – with real horses and everything! Come and watch the twice-daily displays, cheer for your favourites, meet the knights and find out more about what life would have been like.
This themed Terrific Tuesday is all about our feathered friends. Kids can make clay nature prints of tracks and trails, with guidance from the wonderful Dacorum and Chiltern Potters Guild, as well as make a pine cone feeder and get stuck into nature-themed craft activities. Time flies (sorry) when you’re having fun!
If you’re as weirdly fascinated by willow weaving as I am, then why not make a day of it? COAM’s Willow Weaving Experience Days are designed to teach ages 12 and older, under the expert guidance of sculptor Gina Martin, how to create sculptures for your outdoor space using just bendy twigs! Genius.
Did you know there was a Guild of Straw Craftsmen? You do now – because you can be taught by a guild member to make your own corn dollies and decorations. It’s suitable for ages 16 and up, with free tea and coffee, and you can snaffle up snacks from the Tea Room while learning an endangered craft. Sounds fun, no?
Forget burning wax and dipping wicks – this candle-making experience is easy-peasy for little fingers. You’ll simply wrap up a colourful beeswax sheet, add your decorations, and voila! A homemade candle ready to pop on your dining table. Candle-making runs from 12.30pm to 4.30pm during the school holidays, and it’s cash only, so make sure you grab your change purse.
The last Terrific Tuesday of the month is themed around Make Do and Mend, so naturally there’s plenty of recycling-themed crafts and activities, as well as making bird feeders and clay models with help from Dacorum and Chiltern Potters Guild.
Don’t forget that on top of all these activities, you can meet the farm animals, try an orienteering walk, explore the historical buildings, play dress-up, hit up the adventure playground and – phew – when you’re exhausted from all that, collapse at Elliott & Sons Cafe for a whopping great slice of cake. Summer day out, sorted.
Chiltern Open Air Museum, Newland Park, Gorelands Lane, Chalfont St Giles, Buckinghamshire HP8 4AB. Tel: 01494 871117
The post 9 things to do at Chiltern Open Air Museum this month appeared first on Bucks & Oxon.