In Praise of a Local Asset

One of the best places to visit locally to us is Stockwood Discovery Centre. I tend to go there at least once a month with the children, we love looking at the all carts and carriages, the playground and the tractor and Roman Chariot you can climb on. It’s an easy, free half day out with two toddlers in tow. Toddler Boy particularly enjoys pulling the levers and pressing the buttons on the display about (vehicle) brakes, Fifi climbs on the Roman Chariot which was used in the film Ben Hur and pretends to drive about in a Boudicca type manner. Not that she can actually see over the top.

We have enjoyed visiting every single temporary exhibition and over the summer used the gardens to learn about bees. A few weeks ago we raided the park for sweet chestnuts and came back with a hearty, healthy foraged snack. The picture above shows me wearing my lovely Seasalt waterproof mac given to me for just sort of an occasion. You can find a review here.

The thing that strikes me about Stockwood is how unusual it is to find somewhere which is free, fun and caters really well for children and adults alike. My museum is set in a fabulous park, but unless you pay local council tax you must pay for entry. In fact, I would go so far as to say that I don’t know of anywhere else better than Stockwood, at least locally. It’s a real local asset and I know that it is really well used by the local community. I have to say that at the moment I am really worried by all the Government financial shenanigans. I am skeptical about how much they value the concept of free culture and I’m worried about the impact on cuts to Local Government funding and the knock on effect that this will have on places such as Stockwood. I have no idea whether or not the intention is for it to remain free entry for the foreseeable future, but I do hope so.

Do you have any places locally to you that you can recommend for a fab, free day out with the toddlers? If so, please leave a comment!

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