Simple childhood fun at Chiltern Open Air Museum

Chiltern Open Air Museum is one of our favourite places for a day out. The girls love the old buildings in the museum, and having space to run around and explore. It’s the perfect place for some simple childhood fun.


Last weekend, it opened again for the 2017 season. We had originally intended to go on the first day but the forecast showed rain.  Hubby was also working on an event so wouldn’t have been able to join us either. We decided to stay home and make Easter biscuits instead.  The weather turned out fine in the end but the next day turned out to be a much better choice for our first visit of the year. Not only did it mean we could have a day out as a family, but it was much quieter than the previous day had been.

Sophie at the top of the slide: "Simple childhood fun at Chiltern Open Air Museum"

It was a beautiful warm afternoon – warm enough to shed both coats and cardigans. In spite of the warm weather, Sophie was quite insistent on wearing her furry dog hat. As soon as we were inside the museum both the girls made a beeline for their favourite carved wooden bench. This is where they play “horses” or “trains” or whatever comes into their imaginations at the time. Sometimes they like to practice their balancing skills, or just sit for a moment and have a little rest.

Sophie and Jessica on the carved wooden bench - Sophie practising her balancing skills and Jessica sitting watching her

Thame Vicarage Room was our first port of call. It’s one of the two buildings that have a box of traditional children’s toys for the girls to play with. Sophie enjoyed galloping around on a hobby horse while Jessica had a go with the cup and ball.

Sophie on the hobby house in the Thame Vicarage Room

The Amersham Prefab was the next stop and the girls knew exactly where they wanted to go – the other room with the toys! The pinball machine is the favourite toy in this room. Jessica and Sophie will happily spend ages in this room playing with this. It was even better having Daddy join in!

Hubby, Sophie and Jessica playing with the pinball machine in the Amersham prefab

Jessica was a little disappointed that I hadn’t picked up a map on our way in. Not that we need it – we’ve been here so many times before – but she does love to try to follow it. Fortunately I had some of her drawings from Junior Church earlier that day in my bag. Jessica was quite satisfied with having a “pretend map” instead.

Jessica navigates from her "pretend map" while Sophie runs along next to her

We spent most of our visit in the playground. For a little girl who can be very cautious when it comes to slides and climbing frames, Jessica has no fear when it comes to the swing! She spent the whole time demanding that we push her higher and higher “up in the sky!” Hubby was pushing her a lot higher than I was comfortable with but she was loving it!

Me and Jessica on the swing

Jessica being pushed high in the air on the swing - she's swinging just above hubby's head height (6ft 3in) in this shot

Sophie was much less keen on going high on the swing and was happier exploring the rest of the playground. This was where I really noticed a difference from last year. She needed a little bit of help to climb up into the model Toll House but was very confident crossing the bridge to get to the slide. I don’t think she could hold on to the ropes on both sides last year. Now she has no problem doing so.

Sophie crossing the bridge inside the model Toll House in the playground

One of the things I love about having annual pass is not feeling the pressure to spend a long time at the museum. This was one of our shorter visits. Once the girls were done in the playground, we were ready to go home again. Now that the Museum is open again though, we can look forward to many more days out. Hopefully next time we visit, there will be some new lambs too!


Jessica standing in the garden of the Leagrave Cottage


Country Kids from Coombe Mill Family Farm Holidays Cornwall



  1. April 8, 2017 / 6:26 am

    Lovely photos of the girls. We still haven’t been there yet – and it’s still on my list of places to visit! #countrykids

    • Louise
      April 8, 2017 / 8:58 am

      Thank you Emma. Hopefully you’ll get to visit this year! 🙂

  2. April 8, 2017 / 7:20 am

    This looks amazing, my girls would love this #countrykids

    • Louise
      April 8, 2017 / 8:58 am

      It’s a lovely place to visit – my girls really enjoy it there 🙂

  3. April 8, 2017 / 7:21 am

    The play ground looks fab there! It has been lovely and warm this week. Nothing better than getting out and enjoying the sunshine x #countrykids

    • Louise
      April 8, 2017 / 8:59 am

      Thank you – it has been lovely to enjoy the sunshine this week 🙂

  4. April 8, 2017 / 7:27 am

    What a fab play area. I know M would be asking to be pushed higher and higher too. #countrykids

    • Louise
      April 8, 2017 / 8:59 am

      I’m not sure either of us can push the swing high enough for Jessica!

  5. April 8, 2017 / 7:59 am

    Every time you post about the Chiltern Open Air Museum, I can’t help but think of how much fun it looks! The girls always look like they’re in their element exploring the different buildings and playing with the old toys. That swing looks fab and I can see why Jessica was enjoying going higher and higher, although it’s hard to tell when the stopping point should be isn’t it? It’s great to see Sophie getting more confident and exploring the play equipment, it’s always a bittersweet moment watching them gain confidence on these.

    Thanks for linking up with me on #CountryKids.

    • Louise
      April 8, 2017 / 9:00 am

      Thanks Fiona. It is lovely to see them having so much fun. Going back to places after the winter does make me realise how much my girls have grown since the last visit – and yes that can be bittersweet.

  6. April 10, 2017 / 5:29 pm

    Looks like you all had a fabulous day out. It’s somewhere I have wanted to visit with my children if ever we’re that way. #countrykids

    • Louise
      April 13, 2017 / 3:57 pm

      Thank you Heidi. It’s a fab place for a day out 🙂

  7. April 10, 2017 / 5:54 pm

    Your post reminds me that we still haven’t got there for a first visit. I loved playing bagatelle as a child, must get there this year! #CountryKids

  8. April 11, 2017 / 8:48 pm

    The Chiltern Open Air Museum sounds like it has a lot going on for it. #CountryKids

    • Louise
      April 13, 2017 / 4:03 pm

      It’s a fab place for a day out 🙂

  9. April 12, 2017 / 9:34 pm

    How thoughtful that they have all those toys for the children! My grandad use to have a pinball machine and we loved it as kids! I have no idea where it has gone!!! The playground looks immense too! #CountryKids

    • Louise
      April 13, 2017 / 4:05 pm

      The playground is fab. I love watching the girls having fun with the old-fashioned toys, they love them 🙂

  10. April 13, 2017 / 6:37 pm

    This looks like an amazing place for kids. Lovely photos too.

    • Louise
      April 14, 2017 / 10:12 am

      Thanks Claire. We always enjoy a day out there 🙂

  11. April 18, 2017 / 9:08 pm

    What wonderful photographs, and the girls look like they are having such a great time. It looks such a fun place to visit. #CountryKids

    • Louise
      April 19, 2017 / 9:47 am

      Thank you – the girls love it there 🙂

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