Chalfont St Giles, Bucks
Military and Living History, Royal Wedding Knits, Children’s Events and National Arts Award Discover Scheme
Chiltern Open Air Museum is an oasis of calm, a magnificent 45-acre woodland and arable site in rural Buckinghamshire which, to date, has rescued 35 traditional vernacular buildings from the Chilterns that would otherwise have been demolished.
The buildings include a Victorian working farm, toll house and tin chapel; a 1940s prefab home, which featured in BBC TV’s ‘Call the Midwife’; a WWII Nissen hut; a 16th century barn; an Edwardian public lavatory (still in use), used for a murder scene in the ITV series ‘Grantchester’; and a reconstructed Iron Age roundhouse.
Throughout the summer holidays, the museum has a range of activities, re-enactments and events for children, young people and families.
Military History Re-Enactments
Fans of military history can enjoy four historical re-enactments aimed at families.
English Civil War – 11th and 12th August
The Marquess of Winchester’s Regiment display their muskets, pikes, armour and artillery in re-enactments of a drill and a skirmish. See what life was like for ordinary soldiers and officers in camp during the English Civil War.
Medieval Warbow – 26th and 27th August
A chance to see the skills of medieval archers, performed by the Free Company Aquitaine, named for the mercenary soldiers who found employment in the French province of Aquitaine during the late 14th century. Watch archery demonstrations and talk to a blacksmith, bowyer (maker of bows and arrows), spinster (spinner or weaver) and surgeon of the day.
Meet the Tommies – 15th and 16th September
World War I soldier re-enactors explain what life was like for them and show off a replica Airco DH2 single seat fighter plane. Visit the museum’s World War II Nissen hut and a fully furnished 1940s prefab house, used in ‘Call the Midwife.’
Activities for Children, Young People and Knitters
Ragged Victorians – 28th and 29th July
Watch out for pick pockets, rats, rogues and street urchins! An opportunity to learn about the less savoury aspects of Victorian life, with costumed re-enactors.
Rural Life – 4th and 5th August
At this special event of heritage crafts you can see a saw pit, charcoal kiln and pole lathe in action. Come and learn about the traditional craft of straw plaiting and learn about hedge laying in a talk and demonstration. Children can take part in a lavender craft.
Iron Age Life – 18th and 19th August
Discover what life was like in the Iron Age, meet costumed re-enactors and watch exciting demonstrations.
Creative Thursdays – 26th July and 1st, 8th, 15th, 22nd and 29th August
A chance for anyone aged 5 – 25yrs to take part in the nationally recognised Arts Award Discover scheme. Participants explore the various art forms within the museum, meet different artists and craftspeople and get to produce something arty or crafty themselves.
Bespoke log books for this award should be downloaded from www.coam.org.uk before visiting and submitted to the museum’s education team after the visit for assessment.
Wild About Wool – 29th and 30th September
Best-selling knitting author Fiona Goble, whose ‘Knit Your Own Royal Wedding’ book knocked Jamie Oliver off Amazon’s best sellers list in 2011, has now added knitting patterns for Prince Harry and Meghan Markle to her repertoire. She will be giving demonstrations and taking questions on both days of this special event, which is aimed at those of all ages who enjoy knitting and crocheting.
Chiltern Open Air Museum, Chalfont St Giles, Bucks HP8 4AB
Open daily 10am – 5pm (last admission 3.30pm)
Normal admission prices apply for all summer holiday activities. (£10.50 adults, £6.50 for children age 4-16yrs; concessions and family tickets also available).
For all ticket prices and further information:
Tel 01494 871117