We are old hands at picnics – ever since I discovered that my children could be persuaded to try any food with equanimity and good humour if we put it in a paper bag and ate it out of doors. However there are times when a special picnic is called for and a visit to the Weald and Downland Museum is one of those occasions.
Forty acres of beautiful Sussex countryside and a collection of rescued historic buildings reconstructed on site, many with period gardens is enough to recommend it to us but on ‘Wonderful Wednesdays’ throughout the Summer holidays there are loads of family friendly activites laid on too.
In the course of a few hours my three made willow wands, ground flour, fashioned beeswax candles, tried their hand at wood turning, did a spot of smithying, walked on wooden stilts, sampled Tudor flatbread and attended Victorian School. We walked the woodlands, watched a documentary being made, patted the donkeys, pottered in any number of gardens, examined the charcoal burner’s camp, got to know the chickens………and loved every minute of it.
A place of this kind deserves a wholesome traditional picnic – of the kind the Famous Five would have devoured next to a shepherd’s hut in a field and so our willow basket (what else?) was stuffed with a fresh loaf of bread, butter, ham, cheese and boiled eggs, a bag of tomatoes, plums, apples, a few handfuls of rocket gathered from the garden before we left and a fruit cake. And yes, we did take ginger beer not only as a nod to the FF but also because one of the apprentices suffers from car sickness and ginger beer helps………quite a lot, as it happens.
Sounds like a perfect day doesn’t it? And that’s because it was. There are seasonal activities all year round. Go if you can – come rain or shine. It really is a magical place, excellent value for money and a picnic anywhere is a must for a summer’s day!