An autumn afternoon at Chiltern Open Air Museum

Chiltern Open Air Museum has been a favourite place to visit ever since the girls were babies. Since Jessica died, we’ve not visited it quite as often as we used to though. During half-term, we decided to spend an afternoon there and revisit some of our favourite spots before the museum closed for the winter.


Sophie standing on the path with sheep from the farm on the grassy slope above her – “An autumn afternoon at Chiltern Open Air Museum”


Sophie loves all the sensory trail signs across the museum. She always looks out for them and we have to stop at each one and take a moment to share what we can see, hear, touch or smell depending on which signs there are.


Sophie looking at the ‘listen’ and ‘feel’ signs outside the Haddenham Croft Cottage


As it was coming up to lunchtime, we went for our usual route – heading to the tea room at the far end of the museum first and then working our way back to the entrance.


Sophie looking at the “feel”, “see” and “smell” signs outside the High Wycombe Toll House


We always pass the candle making workshop hut on the way to and from the tea rooms but rarely stop unless we have older cousins with us. This time I thought Sophie might enjoy giving it a try. There are a few different types of candles that children can make here. The one Sophie liked most looked a bit complicated for a first attempt though. We decided she could make a couple of simpler ones instead. She had fun rolling up the coloured beeswax and adding a little wax motif to finish off the candles.


Sophie making a beeswax candle by rolling pink and purple wax


Sophie holding up two finished candles – a pink and purple one with a snowflake motif and a blue one with a gingerbread man motif


There are three places that we always have to go to whenever visiting the museum – the playground, the Thame Vicarage room and the Amersham Prefab, both of which have a selection of vintage toys to play with. Unfortunately two out of the three were closed on this visit. The playground was closed because of recent bad weather. It’s in a little dip and there are lots of grassy slopes which become very slippery when wet and muddy.


Sophie trying to run with an iron hoop


The Thame Vicarage room was closed due to preparations for the Halloween event later that week. Fortunately the toys had been taken outside so she could still enjoy playing with them on the village green.


Sophie playing with a wooden cup and ball game on the village green


Thomas also enjoyed getting out of the buggy and being able to explore a little. He’s still a bit unsteady on his feet when exploring outside but having the picnic bench to hold on to helped. We had to be quick setting up Sophie’s domino rally though before he wobbled the bench and knocked it over though. The joys of having a younger sibling on the move and keen to join in with play! It took a couple of attempts but we got there in the end.


Sophie with a wooden domino rally set up on a picnic bench with Thomas standing holding on to the seat and looking on


Sophie is very good with Thomas though. She loves taking his hands and encouraging him to walk and is always so proud of his little milestones. It is lovely to see that beautiful bond they have. It takes me back to all those days out at the museum watching her and Jessica together. The way Sophie is with Thomas is so much like how Jessica was with her.


Sophie holding Thomas’s hands and helping him walk across the village green


We rolled some coins into the well on the village green and heard the water sprites respond. No doubt Sophie made a wish too. I used to do the same at wishing wells. These days the one wish I would make is one that I know can never be granted.


Sophie standing by the well


There are memories of my girls almost everywhere we go at Chiltern Open Air Museum, and especially so at the Amersham Prefab which was always their favourite place. I miss seeing my girls play together here, but it is nice now that Thomas is able to start joining in and play a little more with Sophie.


Thomas holding a wooden cup and ball in the Amersham Prefab building while Sophie plays on the wooden pinball machine


One place that doesn’t have any memories of Jessica though is the WW1 Nissen Bow hut which was a new addition to the museum last year. Sophie enjoyed having a look around inside this.


Sophie sitting on a wooden bed inside the WW1 Nissen Bow Hut


It was lovely to enjoy the autumn sunshine and see Thomas starting to explore some of his sisters’ favourite spots. Days out at the museum will always be bittersweet without Jessica. She certainly would have loved seeing Thomas play with some of the toys and would have been a very helpful big sister to him and Sophie. There are so many happy memories here though, bringing smiles as well as sadness, and we will share them with Thomas as he gets bigger.


Sophie pushing Thomas in his buggy up the hill towards the High Wycombe Toll House



Visiting Chiltern Open Air Museum – what you need to know:


Chiltern Open Air Museum
Newland Park
Gorelands Lane
Chalfont St Giles


Opening times:

The museum is open daily, 10am – 5pm, from late March – late October. For more information, visit the museum website here.


Country Kids linky

4 thoughts on “An autumn afternoon at Chiltern Open Air Museum

  1. That’s another year we’ve failed to get there! It always looks like you have so much fun there. Nice to have happy memories of time spent with Jessica and lovely to see Thomas joining in with Sophie now too. My son loves making those beewax candles #countrykids

    1. Lol, we’ve not managed to make it there very much this year either but it is always a fun day out.

    1. It is a lovely place for a day out and so nice to see Thomas starting to join in and enjoy it more now too.

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