There are two fun places for children in Buckinghamshire dedicated to Roald Dahl and they’re not to be confused. There’s the Roald Dahl Museum in Great Missenden which is more focused on the author’s life and has activities aimed at children aged 6 and over. Even though my boys are younger we have been. You can read our review by clicking here. Not long after writing that review, we discovered that there’s a Roald Dahl Children’s Gallery in Aylesbury which is attached to Buckinghamshire County Museum. It’s much more suitable for toddlers and young children. We visited in February 2017 and we had an absolutely brilliant time. It’s not that big – only three rooms on two floors, but there are lots of hands-on activities to enjoy. Watch my video below and then scroll down for more information.
What’s on the ground floor of the Roald Dahl Children’s Gallery?
As we walked in we were struck by how bright and colourful the Gallery was with a space-like display hovering from the ceiling and bottles for George’s Marvellous Medicine high up above the door to the first room. Inside that room there’s a ‘Fantastic Mr Fox’ tunnel which my boys loved crawling through – there’s a camera inside so you can see your children from the outside; balance a ball on the jet of air; make different sounds by connecting pipes and using a foot pump; make your voice sound funny with the BFG voice changer; walk inside a giant peach and examine bugs with a microscope; play traditional wooden games from Mrs Trunchball’s cupboard and then chill in Matilda’s library. And that’s not everything. We spent a fair bit of time on each activity before moving on to the next one. My 3 year old loved them all. My 19 month old could enjoy some of them. It’s all interactive and great fun whatever your age.
What’s upstairs in the Roald Dahl Children’s Gallery?
There’s a cool staircase that takes you up to the second floor. There’s a fun mirrors section and holes you put your hands into to guess what’s hiding. We loved the ‘Mike TV’ green screen. You stand in front of a green wall – and then using a green cloak you can make yourself disappear – just like in the films! We also enjoyed creating shadows in a darkened room that magically stay on the wall.
What can we eat at the museum?
Well, like everywhere we go, we took a picnic. There are tables and chairs outside. There is a very very small café in the museum itself which sells hot drinks and a couple of sandwiches. If you’re looking to eat out then the museum is in Aylesbury town centre itself so you could easily walk to a bigger café or restaurant.
What else can we do and how long did you spend there?
The Roald Dahl Children’s Gallery is attached to Buckinghamshire County Museum. You can go in this museum for free. It’s a very traditional museum with a couple of modern galleries, but there are a few hands on activities for children including a wooden farmyard scene and a Tudor house. If you’re interested in the Paralympics (as my family are) then when we visited there were some wonderful portraits and memorabilia to look at. We spent about 4 and a half hours at both places. But that did include us having lunch, doing the Roald Dahl Gallery twice and my 19 month old having a nap.
How much is it and do you have any tips?
The prices have increased slightly since we visited in February 2017. As of December 2017 it costs £7.70 for an adult, £5.50 for a child and under 4s is by donation. If you compare it to other museums it’s certainly not the cheapest overall. Stockwood Discovery Centre in Luton is free as is The Natural History Museum at Tring. There is a charge for Milton Keynes Museum but you pay once and you can go all year. But to be honest this is more of a fun play destination and we were happy to pay what we did for a day out indoors. It’s more interactive and fun for adults than going to a soft play – particularly if your kids are young. BIG TIP 1 – Before you leave, go up to the desk and fill in a gift aid form, that then gets you half price entry for 12 months – yippee! BIG TIP 2 – to avoid the crowds go in the afternoon – it was so quiet by 2.30pm / 3pm.
Where is it and when is it open?
It’s in Aylesbury town centre on Church Street. The postcode is HP20 2QP but you can’t park there. You need to park in a town centre car park and then walk up. We parked in Friars Croft car park which cost £3 for the day and it was 5-10 min walk from there. You can also get a bus from MK to Aylesbury. Please do look at the the Roald Dahl Gallery website for opening days and times as it varies throughout the year. It is generally open on Saturdays but also on selected days during the holidays. Don’t assume it’s open until you have double checked.
Who would enjoy visiting and would you go again?
We absolutely loved visiting the gallery. Although it’s not very big, it’s such good fun. There is more for younger children but I think whatever your age there’s something to enjoy. If you have older children, show them the video above and see what they think. I liked it and I’m coming up for 37! We would definitely go again, particular as we can now go half price all year – and my two boys can go for free as they’re under four.
I'm Laura, mum of two boys - aged six and four. I started this website at the end of Sept 2015 whilst on maternity leave. I now work four days a week and do this blog late at night once the little boys are sleeping. It's won several awards over the last four years and I continue to run it for free and mostly focus on free, cheap, and good value days out. Do drop me an email firstname.lastname@example.org if you want to contact me. Don't forget to follow all of our latest adventures on facebook, instagram and twitter and have a look at all of the videos of the places we visit on the Milton Keynes Kids YouTube Channel - subscribe to it for notifications every time I add a new place. And remember... you may been reading this post months after we visited, do check with the destination you're visiting for up to date opening times and prices. If you find this blog useful then please do comment on my posts and leave me a Facebook review - it makes doing this all the more worthwhile.