Thursday, February 22, 2007

The Heritage Centre

Its half way through the half term holiday and we're all going a little stir crazy. I had to pop in to Barnstaple to go to the post office so I decided to take the children into the Heritage Centre, mostly under protest I should add. I ignored the whines of "Can't we go to Playtime Adventure?" and bribed them with a trip to the cinema tonight instead.

The Heritage Centre is situated on The Strand, the road that runs along the river Taw. The area directly in front of it is home to the Millenium Mosaic which charts Barnstaples history back 1000 years to when it was made a borough by Athlestan. It is generally also home to large groups of skateboarders, but the weather today must have driven them away.

Inside the centre the tale of Barnstaple's history is also told, starting in Anglo-Saxon times, focusing quite a lot on Tudor times, mentioning briefly the Civil War and ending in the 18th Century with Barnstaple born playwright John Gay. Adult tickets are £3.50, children £2 and under 7's go free. The children were given a quiz on a clipboard and a pencil to record their answers but finding these answers involved listening to the recording of the models telling their stories and once they'd pressed the button to start the recording they generally lost interest in this. Much more interesting was the task of looking for the 15 white plastic mice that were hidden in the exhibits. When we got to the end and had only found 10 we had to go round again. We still only managed to find 13.

Other points of interest were remaking the broken pottery plates magnetised to the wall, dressing up in costumes, and doing a brass rubbing. By the time we'd finished my nine year old daughter said, "OK this isn't boring after all".

Sunday, February 04, 2007


Yes, I know I've written about this before, but its worth another mention. Today was a glorious day and as we haven't been anywhere for a while (the whole of January in fact) we thought we'd stretch our legs. It must have been a good idea because well over one hundred other people had the same one. There were loads of them on the beach, surfers, dog-walkers, parents with children clutching nets, etc. And it could've been April the temperatures were so good - brilliant sunshine and not a breath of wind.

Our main reason for choosing Saunton, and not somewhere I haven't blogged about yet, was The Sands cafe. Owned by the hotel you can see in the photo, and situated at the end of the car park, it serves the most wonderful hot chocolates. Unfortunately it's shut until March (this wasn't the case last winter) so my children were a little disappointed. However, there is a little kiosk next to the beach shop between the car park and the beach, and they serve hot chocolate and hot doughnuts, and it was so lovely no one minded sitting outside on a picnic bench (see new blog for proof - link opposite.)

PS. Car parking in winter is a mere £2!