Now, this really stretches the bounds of what you could describe as “London”. It’s on the cusp of non-London land, but it’s this side of the M25 so it counts. It’s Adventures With Gravel turf, but I was meeting Gravel’s owner Weasel there and she generously agreed that I could review it too. Or maybe it was Weasel’s mother…I don’t know, I get confused. And besides, look! I found our local bus in there! How much more London could you get?
Let’s start a bit further back – what is this museum you talk of? That’s a question that neither Nathan or I bothered to ask before putting the postcode into satnav. Well, I will tell you – it’s a museum to commemorate the famous Brooklands racetrack which I knew about mainly from James May’s Toy Stories. Excitingly, Weasel’s Dad also featured in that episode, posing as a Scalextric expert. He really isn’t a Scalextric expert.
Anyway, with all that motorsport and aviation history to absorb, including bits of the original racetrack, our first stop was naturally the soft play in the cafe:
The Weasels took the last of the chips AND the beans, so we had to wait a little for our lunch but Roo and Eva both very happily played in this motor-themed play area for as long as they could, along with our friends’ son Miles, who had pooed on me during our trip to Gütersloh last Christmas. I reminded him of that and he seemed unrepentant.
Lunch was OK -the prices were reasonable compared to London museum prices and they do kids’ portions of all the mains, as well as a kids’ snack box. So we all sat in the cafe for quite a while as the children played but eventually decided we should go and see what was in the rest of the place. Like aeroplanes:
You have to pay extra to go on Concorde, which is a bit cheeky seeing as the entrance fee is hefty anyway, so we decided to skip it. I’d been on a Concorde at IWM Duxford anyway, so it definitely wouldn’t have been worth it. Instead, we found a plane where Roo could sit in the cockpit and pretend to fly it.
Roo looks pretty cheery in all these photos, but don’t be fooled – he had his fair share of strops every time he wasn’t allowed to touch something or run riot. Apparently the preschoolers are allowed to actually fly the planes. Who knew? Concorde is meant to be even more…*touchy* about small children handling things, so it’s just as well we didn’t go there.
And then we looked around the London Bus Museum, which was a bit similar to the Transport Museum, really. But again, there were buses you could climb on, which made Roo happy. Again, there were buses he couldn’t climb on, which made Roo sad. It was one of those days.
By the time we got to the actual motors, Roo was getting a bit over it and Eva was fidget-y too. He consented to pose as a racing driver:
but then had a giant meltdown, so we retreated back to the cafe for a slice of cake and a bit more play. All 4 of us were tired, the Mileses were tired and the Weasels were tired, so we all needed a sit-down. Remarkably, the people we were with who didn’t have children seemed sprightly still. Funny that!
Anyway, Roo settled in for another round of soft play and Eva sat and looked confused:
VERDICT: An interesting museum, most of which you miss with a whiny, overtired boy. They had obviously tried hard to accommodate families, with the kids’ food, free colouring sheets and soft play, but there was a distinct divide between those with small children and the motoring “enthusiasts”. One group didn’t look too kindly on the other.
A couple of notes – the soft play is for 4-and-unders only, and there was a man enforcing that. Baby changing is just inside the door of the Ladies’ loos but a staff member said that men were also free to use it.