I first saw the #Take12Trips Challenge on Twitter at the start of January as a lot of part time travel bloggers were writing about it. It was set up back in 2013 by Need Another Holiday. She created the #Take12Trips Challenge to encourage everyone to take time to travel and go somewhere new. It doesn’t have to be a month long trip, it can just be a day trip somewhere or a visit to a museum you’ve been meaning to go to for ages. And therein lies the simplicity of it. Not everyone can afford to go on holiday every single month, or get time off work to do it but taking 12 trips in 12 months is entirely possible whilst still working a 9-5 job. I really love this idea so jumped straight on it, it gives me focus and helps to prioritise travel, whilst also getting me out of the house on these cold, dark Winter days.
Here’s the thing though, the best laid plans often go awry. I had planned a weekend in Middlesbrough for a friend’s 40th – I hadn’t seen her or a lot of the people going in probably around 10 years so was looking forward to a reunion of sorts but something came up and I couldn’t go. These things happen I know, and it’s the same reason I couldn’t go to Switzerland last year but that is life and I’ve learnt it’s how you deal with these situations that matter. However, I was somehow suddenly busy with other stuff on weekends and with the ever growing life admin that gets in the way and suddenly it was near the end of January and I had nothing I wanted to count towards the #take12trips. So I forced myself to prioritise and planned a day trip for Sunday 29th – 3 days before the end of the month! I passed my driving test and got a car back in October last year but because I don’t drive very often I still get a bit apprehensive behind the wheel so trying to plan day trips that involve driving is great as it forces me to do more driving. I recently read a blog post from Sophie Cliff about a weekend away and how it’s precisely when you feel you have loads to do, are a bit stressed and feel the world getting you down that you should take a break from it all. So ignoring the fact that I was stressing about things I needed to do, none of which was life or death stuff, I jumped in the car and drove us to Buckinghamshire. To Great Missenden to be precise.
Great Missenden is around an hour from London, just under an hour from North London, which made it ideal for me. I’m not used to driving for long periods of time, so a two hour round trip to escape London seemed ideal. The other reason I chose to go here is Roald Dahl. He lived in Great Missenden for 36 years and is buried there. I loved the idea of seeing buildings that inspired Dahl’s stories and learning more about him at the Roald Dahl Museum and Story Centre. I am a massive bookworm and also a big kid at heart. I never grew out of reading Dahl’s books and for one of my birthdays during university, a friend bought me ‘The Twits’ as a present.
We pulled up in Great Missenden and parked in one of the main car parks. It’s free on a Sunday, which I didn’t realise until much later! There are only a couple of car parks and they get pretty busy but are only a short walk from the high street and the museum, which was our first stop. General admission is £6.60 for adults, £4.40 for Children 5 to 18, and Children under 5 Free. You can also get a Family ticket for £21.00, which is for 2 adults and up to 3 children. The museum itself is relatively small but chockablock full of information and exhibits. The most amazing thing though is the door that looks like a Wonka bar and smells of chocolate! Yeah, you read that correctly, CHOCOLATE.
The museum covers Dahl’s life and times so has lots of information about him as a small child growing up and then how he joined the RAF and was injured in a plane crash. It also has his writing hut which he had built at the end of his garden so he could go and be comfortable and write his stories. It was wonderful to gain an insight into his life and experience things as he saw them.
Once you are done in museum, there is story centre where you can take your kids or a cafe called, Cafe Twit where I have been reliably informed they do amazing hot chocolate. We skipped this and went to The Cross Keys pub down the road, where the food was mouthwateringly good. I ended up with something not on the menu as I mentioned I was vegan and they were super accommodating – definitely worth checking in there for lunch. It does get rather busy though so may be worth booking a table or planning for the fact that you will have to wait around for one to become free.
At the Roald Dahl museum you can pick up leaflets with information on a village trail or a country trail. You don’t need to go inside or pay for a ticket to get this information, it’s readily available at the entrance or on their website. We did the village trail which covers the inspiration behind Danny’s dad’s petrol pumps (from Danny, the Champion of the World), the house that was the inspiration for Sophie’s ‘norphanage’ in The BFG, the library Matilda used to visit when her mum went to Aylesbury to play bingo and Roald Dahl’s grave. It was really lovely to see bits that inspired Dahl’s stories just spattered around the village and to visit his grave and see the memorial bench nearby.
I would definitely recommend this as a day trip – especially if you’ve got kids but even if you don’t. I was worried the museum would be aimed primarily at kids to the detriment of grown ups but it definitely wasn’t and it’s always nice to get out into the countryside for a bit of fresh air. I am super glad I went and will definitely look to do more day trips this year.
What are your favourite places to visit on a daytrip to escape the big smog?