Friday was Inset Day here, so we arranged to meet up with a few of my son’s NCT friends. We decided on a train trip to Oxford to have some fun at the Ashmolean Museum.
My son was so excited to be going on a train journey, but to be going on a journey with his friends! This was going to be a real magic moment.
We watched the train arrive, hopped on board and settled into our seats. My son was busy spotting cows and probably keeping an eye out for any hard-working tractors along the way.
The kids loved being on the train, it was so nice to be going on a trip with them. We’ve often gone to Blenheim Palace, but this was a little bit different. Somehow more grown-up.
When we arrived in Oxford we walked to the Ashmolean Museum. Passing buses, a multitude of bicycles, a fire engine, walking over the river, not seeing any boats, seeing the open-top tourist bus – note to self MUST do this! The kids all wanted to hold hands – a bit tricky with 4 of them, and a nearly one-year-old.
The Ashmolean Museum is free to enter (donations are obviously welcomed). It is full of artefacts from the ancient civilisations of Egypt, Rome, Greece and beyond. As well as Artworks from Japan in 1600 through to Italian Renaissance paintings.
So you may think that this is not the sort of place to take a group of nearly 4-year-olds. Well, you would be wrong! The kids loved it. We went on a treasure trail spotting artefacts on a printed sheet. Statues, mummies and the like. Miss B was fascinated by the mummified child and was asking LOTS of questions. In fact, I think all the kids were rather interested in why people got bandaged up when they died. We left N, our resident Physio to enlighten the children on the finer points of embalming – yes we did have that conversation.
By the time we’d covered the Ancient World, we decided we’d have a lunch break in the cafe. The food was reasonably priced and the kid’s lunch box sandwiches were made with lovely brown bread and decent slices of cheese (no flippy floppy plastic cheese here!)
After lunch, we continued our fun at the Ashmolean and decided to see what the children thought of the art galleries. So off we went, some up the stairs, some using the lift (we had a buggy for Master O). We set the children a challenge – which painting has a lady in a yellow blouse? Which painting has a church spire in it etc? I don’t think we inspired any future art critics, but the kids all had so much fun.
We were going to go to the park after our fun at the Ashmolean, but it was spitting with rain and the skies looked ominous. Instead, we headed to the Covered Market, detouring around the Bodleian Library, Radcliffe Camera and the Bridge of Sighs. If you liked Morse and now Lewis, these buildings are featured regularly as backdrops. The children watched cake toppers being made, passed the fruit and veg stall, the butcher and fishmongers. All interesting sights and smells.
Then it was back to the train for the journey home. We’d had fun at the Ashmolean, and I’d loved spending time with the kids on a more grown-up activity and seeing them enjoy themselves and each others company. A magic moment, a lovely day, thank you schools for that Inset Day!