Phizz Whizzingly Marvellous: Great Missenden… Oh and The Roald Dahl Museum

roald dahl great missenden

Swishwiffingly Smashing! The Roald Dahl Museum (Image taken from trip advisor.co.uk)

I’ve recently starting writing for The American magazine, which I’m amazingly excited about because they are a genuinely fantastic monthly publication dedicated to keeping the expat community informed about goings on at home and relevant happenings abroad. They sent me out to see Charlie and The Chocolate Factory, which has just opened on The West End and is spectacular, in large part because they’ve got an absolutely brilliant Willy Wonka, played by the English actor Douglas Hodge. I thought it a timely opportunity to post about our recent little trip to The Roald Dahl Museum and more importantly, this gem of an English village where the Anglo-Norwegian writer lived for so many years, Great Missenden.

Roald Dahl Writing Chair

Roald Dahl’s Writing Chair, the highlight of the museum (image taken from daithaic.blogspot.co.uk)

Having finally acquired a British driving license, I was looking forward to using the old motor to liberate us and take in a few of the sights and treasures around the UK. My son’s a huge fan of Roald Dahl (he’s read them all except Matilda  and Danny Champion of the World. And the adult stuff. He is six), so we thought one of the first places to go was The Roald Dahl Museum and Story Centre tucked away in The Chilterns on the way to Oxfordshire.

Aside from getting out of London and contending with FA Cup traffic in the process — which took the longest part of the trip — it was a lovely drive (which is, by the by, the reason these photos are not my own. Phone battery drained fulfilling satnav function). I’d forgotten how pleasurable driving can be sometimes.

The Museum itself was good. Ish.

Don’t get me wrong. They’ve done a great job in installing some wonderfully presented rooms about the great man’s life and works, but for families on a day out, with a fairly lacklustre attitude conveyed by the employees, I wasn’t sure there was anything we couldn’t have done with my son at home with some markers, some paper and a copy of The Giraffe, Pelly and Me and The Great Glass Elevator. 

Roald Dahl Museum

The inside of the museum. Delightful. Ish. (taken from floorinsite.com)

What I was much more impressed by was the village that hosts the museum and that Dahl called his home for over thirty years. Imagine what you’ve always pictured England to look like. Open your eyes. There. You have Great Missenden before you. No doubt the town planners and their permission forms work hard to maintain such charm, but complete with narrow cobblestone streets, treelined little roads and a sleepily pleasant atmosphere even on the weekends despite Dahl tourism, this little hamlet is the place to explore.

Great Missenden

Purdy, in’t it? (taken from geograph.org.uk)

Handily enough, before even paying the admission price for a family (it’s nice, but is it £21 nice?), the museum has free brochures detailing village and country walks following on the trail of different Roald Dahl narratives. See the woods that inspired The Fantastic Mr Fox, have a look in at the library at which Matilda read all those classics and became inspired by literature, and see the timber house that inspired Sophie’s “norphanage” in The BFG, all for the price of gas. 

I do applaud the efforts of The Museum in paying tribute to such an amazing writer, but if I were to go back again, it’s for this village, a real piece of vintage Britannia at its best.

Great Missenden

The Crown House, Great Missenden (taken from thebookhabit.blogspot.com)

FIlling Station Great Missenden

The Old Filling Station, Great Missenden. Ya don’t see that every day, now do ya? (image taken from geograph.org.uk)

Advertisements

2 responses

  1. The town is, as you described, exactly as I would have imagined a quaint British village. I am still adjusting to the fact that there is so much to see in the UK for a relatively small country. I hope your son got more out of the museum visit than did you. BTW – Congratulations on the writing gig with The American magazine. – Mike

    1. Cheers, Mike. Would love to go back to the Chilterns on a nice day for hike. I would also love to see Wales. Every time we’ve ever been through on our way to Holyhead for the ferry, the Welsh coast looks gorgeous and the countryside there is supposed to be breathtaking.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

LET ME BE FRANK

Reading. Writing. Parenting. Angsting.

An unsettlingly big place

“The Universe, as has been observed before, is an unsettlingly big place, a fact which for the sake of a quiet life most people tend to ignore.”

Imponderabilia

Digital Public History, Museum Marketing and Material Culture

Globe Drifting

Global issues, travel, photography & fashion. Drifting across the globe; the world is my oyster, my oyster through a lens.

Little London Observationist

An expat blog about "the little things" in London

The Displaced Nation

A home for international creatives

EXPATLOG

...life without borders

Smitten by Britain

For People Who Love Great Britain

Sunny in London

A Florida girl's guide to finding SUN and FUN in London

%d bloggers like this: