A taste of medieval life at Chiltern Open Air Museum

Last weekend, we took a trip back in time and found ourselves getting a taste of medieval life at the Magna Carta event at Chiltern Open Air Museum. Several tents were set up in the field, giving an insight into life in the 13th century.

A taste of medieval life at Chiltern Open Air Museum - Little Hearts, Big Love

In one tent, the wealthy ladies were busy with their needlework while a nun stood in silent prayer.

A taste of medieval life at Chiltern Open Air Museum - Little Hearts, Big Love

We discovered more about medieval cookery and the types of food that people would have eaten. Meat and fruit pies, fish, cheese, bread, seasonal fruit and veg. I had always thought that winter was the lean time as far as food was concerned but learned that it was spring and that the Lenten fast came at a time when food was more scarce anyway.

A taste of medieval life at Chiltern Open Air Museum - Little Hearts, Big Love

Jessica enjoyed trying on a medieval style helmet and we watched the men practising their archery in a nearby field.

A taste of medieval life at Chiltern Open Air Museum - Little Hearts, Big LoveA taste of medieval life at Chiltern Open Air Museum - Little Hearts, Big Love

We were then treated to some medieval storytelling – the story of the Three Billy Goats Gruff. It was a somewhat dramatic telling of the story and the storyteller’s imitation of the troll was quite frightening for some of the very small children in the audience.

A taste of medieval life at Chiltern Open Air Museum - Little Hearts, Big Love

Once the story was over, we decided to leave the medieval life behind and explore the rest of the museum. There are two places in the museum that the girls always make a beeline for – the Victorian vicarage, set up like a schoolroom, and the 1940s prefab house. These are the two buildings which contain a selection of toys – skittles, cup and ball, hoops, wooden dominos etc. – and the girls will spend ages happily playing with them.

A taste of medieval life at Chiltern Open Air Museum - Little Hearts, Big Love

They also love the play area although are both a little young for most of the play equipment which makes it quite a challenge when I am trying to keep an eye on both of them on my own. It was so much easier with hubby around – being able to watch one child each!

A taste of medieval life at Chiltern Open Air Museum - Little Hearts, Big LoveA taste of medieval life at Chiltern Open Air Museum - Little Hearts, Big Love

Despite having an annual pass, we didn’t manage to visit the museum over the summer and missed out on a lot of the activities that were taking place. Thankfully there are still a few more events taking place before the museum closes for the season at the end of October – hopefully we’ll manage to make it to a couple of them!

Me and Mine - August - Little Hearts, Big Love

Country Kids from Coombe Mill Family Farm Holidays Cornwall

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20 Comments

  1. September 4, 2015 / 11:10 pm

    What an interesting insight into medieval life. I love the costumes and the way the museum brings things to life for the children. Funnily enough I would have assumed winter was the hard months for food too, amazing what you learn. Thank you for sharing with me on Country Kids.

    • Louise
      Author
      September 10, 2015 / 8:45 pm

      The costumes were great – I loved the fact that there was a little one around Sophie’s age wandering around in costume too 🙂

  2. September 4, 2015 / 11:12 pm

    What a unique and educational day out! My boys would love this

    • Louise
      Author
      September 10, 2015 / 8:46 pm

      It was brilliant – would definitely recommend 🙂

  3. September 4, 2015 / 11:18 pm

    In my old life, I used to drive past the museum signs on my commute and wondered what it entailed, and I’ve seen a couple of posts about it this summer. It looks really interesting – I always think it’s great to bring history to life, and N much prefers real life people telling him what went on.

    We also had a prefab house in our Country Kids this week.

    Love the family photo too.

    • Louise
      Author
      September 10, 2015 / 8:46 pm

      Museums like this are brilliant for bringing history to life and making it more interesting 🙂

  4. September 5, 2015 / 5:47 am

    I love these types of events. Bringing history alive. We used to get a veg box from one company, and they refered to their early spring boxes as the “Hungry Gap”. Lot of kale and celeriac. #CountryKids

    • Louise
      Author
      September 10, 2015 / 8:47 pm

      The “Hungry Gap” sounds like a good way of describing it! Not quite sure what I’d do with lots of kale and celeriac though.

  5. September 5, 2015 / 6:40 am

    Sounds amazing, fab photos too, girls are getting so big! Glad ye enjoyed the day x

    • Louise
      Author
      September 10, 2015 / 8:47 pm

      Thank you Gráinne – they’re certainly growing up fast! 🙂

  6. September 5, 2015 / 6:57 am

    We love going to museums like this – have learnt so much from our visits.

    • Louise
      Author
      September 10, 2015 / 8:48 pm

      It’s such a wonderful way of bringing history to life 🙂

  7. September 5, 2015 / 8:24 am

    We go to lots of Medieval events, it’s our ‘thing’ and I always love to see the costumes – even bought myself a cloak last week 🙂 I learnt that about lean times through growing my own, the ‘hungry gap’ where the winter supplies have gone and yet not much is ready to eat on the plot.

    This looks an amazing museum, I’d really like the Victorian elements too.

    • Louise
      Author
      September 10, 2015 / 9:13 pm

      It’s a fab day out, would really recommend. Love the sound of going to lots of medieval events – it’s a period of history that I find fascinating and always love to learn more about.

  8. September 5, 2015 / 10:16 am

    What a great way to learn about medieval life – sounds great that there is so much to do too. I love a bit of dramatic story telling – it would help my years 2 and 3 children no end too.

    • Louise
      Author
      September 10, 2015 / 9:15 pm

      The dramatic storytelling was brilliant – such a fab way of bringing a story to life 🙂

    • Louise
      Author
      September 10, 2015 / 9:16 pm

      I’d definitely recommend it – we’ve been a few times and the girls love it 🙂

  9. September 11, 2015 / 1:09 pm

    This does look brilliant, I think places that really bring the history alive like this are fantastic for kids. How interesting about the food, although I suppose the summer/autumn harvests sees them through the winter and then starts to run out? #countrykids

    • Louise
      Author
      September 13, 2015 / 8:13 am

      Yes, I think that’s what it is – the harvest stores are running out but it’s still too early for other crops to have grown.

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