Buckinghamshire Family Life Local Review London

Exploring Chiltern Open Air Museum with tweens

Exploring Chiltern Open Air Museum with tweens

A few weekends ago we visited the Chiltern Open Air Museum. Can you believe it has been on our list since we moved to Hillingdon 6 years ago? Yet it took us 6 years to find a free weekend! Anyway, we had a fantastic day at the Chiltern Open Air Museum with our tweens so now I want to tell you why you should visit too.

Chiltern Open Air Museum with tweens

Chiltern Open Air Museum is an outdoor museum in Buckinghamshire. You can explore over 30 rescued and reconstructed historic buildings from the Chilterns in a beautiful countryside setting. I have fond memories of visiting an open air museum when I was a kid so I was excited to visit the Chiltern Open Air Museum. The day we went was beautiful so we packed suntan lotion, sun hats and a picnic and drove through the beautiful countryside to it.

We bought our tickets and walked through the ticket office into the sunshine. We were given maps and a special Victorian children’s trail (to mark the 200th anniversary of the birth of Queen Victoria) and off we went. We walked through a gorgeous country garden to find our first building. All the 30 buildings have been moved from their original sites and re-built at the Chiltern Open Air Museum. It’s a really lovely place to explore as all the buildings are unique and different. The buildings are well-spaced out so we really enjoyed walking between them all.

toll cottage at COAM

I’m not sure that either of my children would say they enjoyed history (they moan every time we say we’re off to use our National Trust membership!) but they did enjoy our day out. Not only had the buildings been re-built but some of them were furnished which helped them understand a bit more about each one. There were information guides in each one so we could learn more about them.

I loved the buildings set around the village green, especially the 1940s pre-fab, as I’ve always been fascinated by them. My son really liked one of the barns which had really sturdy wooden model buildings which could be built. They were such a great way to learn how buildings were originally put together and we spent ages building them.

building a model barn at COAM

Little Sis enjoyed the traditional farm and all the barns (even though they were filled with authentic farmyard smells!). She found a model of a wheel she couldn’t resist.

model of a wooden wheel at COAM

We stopped for our picnic at the children’s playground. The weather was so hot and sunny but we found a picnic umbrella to sit beneath for a while. Then it was on to explore the rest of the site, including the very pretty Toll cottage. There was a cafe on site which we stopped at for ice creams and we also found a place where you could make your own candles.

The children can’t resist the chance to make something so we paid a few pounds and they sat in the Candles Maker’s Hut and rolled their own candles. The guide was really patient with them and taught them lots of facts about bees. We thought this was a lovely little extra to our day out.

making candles at COAM

The site was pretty big but we didn’t visit all the buildings. The weather was really warm and it’s always nice to have a reason to go back another day.

Chiltern Open Air Museum is located near Chalfont St Peter and Chalfont St. Giles in the Chiltern Hills, Buckinghamshire. You can find out more about the buildings it looks after here.


  • Reply
    Rhian westbury
    June 20, 2019 at 9:17 pm

    You really got some great weather when you visited, it’s nice that there were some hands on activities to do x

  • Reply
    Nayna Kanabar
    June 20, 2019 at 11:08 pm

    This place sounds interesting and not too far for me to travel. I would love to go and visit there. Waiting for some sunny weather.

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