We visited the Wonderfolk interactive family quest at Woodhorn Museum in Northumberland. The temporary exhibit runs until 3rd September, and I can recommend this for children aged 3 to about 7 though older children will enjoy it too. This will be a fab summer holiday activity if you are in Northumberland with kids.
Wonderfolk at Woodhorn Review
Deep beneath the trees and fallen leaves exists a forgotten land inhabited by magical and mythical creatures.
Professor Parkyr, a world expert in unexplained underground lifeforms, has been recruited to Woodhorn to investigate the existence of the Wonderfolk. From initial findings, the Professor has discovered a higher than normal level of activity below the ground and has unearthed some very surprising findings.
We, and a group of other children and adults, listened to how we might help the Professor to look for the Wonderfolk. We heard about different kinds of Wonderfolk, and some of their distinctive characteristics.
The room was called the Wonderfolk Museum, and was set up in part as a classroom, with overhead projector, some display cabinets with the Wonderfolk artefacts, and an area for practical activity (crafting a hat).
We heard about how only children “with hearts open and pure” were able to help find the Wonderfolk. The Professor had come to Woodhorn and discovered there were very strong readings of Wonderfolk on the special machine.
Some of the Wonderfolk are called Knockers, and so the boys dropped to the floor to listen for some. I think it shows what an immersive experience it is, as they weren’t prompted in any way to do so.
Make and wear
Apparently, we had to make hats, as the Wonderfolk think our heads, without hats on, are too flat! After we had made hats out of the materials provided, we were split into smaller groups and given one magical lantern per group. Thank you to everyone who was in our group, because everyone got right into the spirit of the thing. I love it when children speak and adults answer, even if they’re not the parent, and we had a good team with everyone helping to find the Wonderfolk.
Digital technology to guide the tour
We were given a map, with some tasks to complete, and set out with our magic lantern. The lantern is a digital guide, and talks! There is a Bluecap Wonderfolk inside! He tells stories, and everyone needs to huddle round to hear the clues to go to the next location for further possible sightings of Wonderfolk.
You do have to listen carefully to hear where to go next, and we couldn’t quite make out the answers to all the clues. But we muddled through! The quest lasts about 30-40 minutes, depending on the size of the group and how quickly you walk between points on the map.
How was the experience for the kids?
James (4), who can convince himself he’s scared at the drop of a hat, and finds watching people being naughty very difficult, he did have a few moments when he needed to leave the room we were in. Noah (2) was fine throughout. Some of the Wonderfolk are seen by going into small, dark spaces, others you peep at them through a door or window.
I showed James this Wonderfolk Sightings website before we went, so he had an idea of what we were looking for. This really helped to set the scene.
We really enjoyed it, and after returning to the classroom for the final part we left to head for some lunch.
Without much thought into the food on offer, I picked a kids box for each of the boys, and a sandwich and crisps for me. The kids box is one of the best we’ve seen recently. You can pick 5 items, including drink and sandwich. The list of items to pick from was extensive, and everything was available, which makes a pleasant change!
The food is all made freshly and there is a large selection of homemade biscuits and cakes. We tried the rocky road and chocolate brownies – both were very quickly gobbled up as fuel for playing in the excellent adventure playground.
The play area has a really high, very fast slide. The boys take a moment in flight before landing, and they love it. There’s also a coal theme, with pulleys, chutes, and buckets to move stones up and down the levels.
A tunnel, and horses to ride makes this a really fab playground, where we easily spent an hour.
Things to know about the Wonderfolk at Woodhorn tour
At busy times, if you have not booked as a party of 10, you may be asked to join another group.
There are four daily tours at 10.30am, 11.55am, 2.10pm and 3.35pm.
The Wonderfolk leave Woodhorn on Sunday 3 September 2017, and until then the tour is on every day in the school holidays.
Tickets are £2 each, under 2s are free. You can book online, though there’s a booking fee to pay. It’s also possible to buy at the museum on the day of your visit.
You will be able to negotiate the whole tour with a pushchair, though you might not be able to fit in some of the smaller sheds, especially if your group (or stroller) is large.
Check out Woodhorn’s website for more information, a “before you go” guide, and to book. Note that parking is £3.50 per car, per day.
We love our days out at Woodhorn. We have enjoyed Woodhorn Museum when there are temporary exhibits on, like the Brick Dinos earlier this year. We’ve enjoyed days out at Woodhorn when there’s nothing “special” on, and we’ve toured the museum and gone for a ride on the Woodhorn Narrow Gauge Railway. We’ve been visiting Woodhorn since August 2014, and I know that because it was one of the very first posts on this blog, as well as our first visit. There’s plenty to do at Woodhorn, both indoors and out. We can definitely recommend a trip.