Whether it be a cold, wet or a sunny day, The Lookout Discovery Centre in Bracknell is a fantastic, fun but educational day out.
We have been before but now our two children are slightly older we found that they were engaged in many of the activities. There is a huge Build It play construction area where a lot of children were enjoying building anything from houses to putting slates on roofs to even practising their finer architect skills by creating their own design for a house. Even though we went at a weekend there were a huge amount of bricks and plenty to share.
Just around the corner it is time to lift off! You can launch a hydrogen rocket high up or send a huge hot air balloon skyward. Our children were mesmerised by the inflatable planet earth suspended mid-air by the Bernoulli blower.
There is a large water area “The Stream” where the children can put on waterproof aprons and play with the boats with pretend locks and running water.
The mini supermarket is very popular with the children, role plays with pretend food and money encourages social skills as well as early mathematics and learning to take turns.
There is a human body jigsaw which our two were very interested in, even though they are young.
The light and colour zone again is very interactive with the colourful Optimusic encourage the children to step on the colour beams as fast as they can. Or capture your silhouette in the shadow box or play a tune with laser beams.
Not everywhere has a colony of leaf cutter ants. We were mesmerised by them and I could have watched them for hours. There is also a facility to zoom in too and watch them close up.
Outside there is a huge wooden play area where on a dry day the children could play for hours.
The café is good and serves hot food as well as cold. You could make a day of it at The Lookout and take a picnic first in the woodland picnic area.
We have visited the London Science Museum on a few occasions with our children and it never fails to excite them. It’s a fantastic day out for all ages and our two are engrossed from the minute we walk in and they do not want to leave.
Their favourite floor is the basement where there is an assortment of interactive activities. There are a huge amount of large building blocks like Lego where the children can use their imagination to build anything from a garden wall to a space rocket. Next to the building area is a climbing frame but with buckets on ropes where the children can pull up the numerous amount of small beans bags, run to the other side and post them down the shoots to the eagerly waiting children to out in their wheelbarrows and take to the other side. Our son would play on this all day given the chance. A huge water system attracts a lot of the children and fear not there is protective clothing for them to wear. This is a very popular activity. There are many different areas which attract all ages.
Another favourite area of ours is the Space section. The whole area is bursting with information and there’s nothing quite like putting on astronaut gloves and trying to put a bolt on a screw.
During our recent visit we explored a floor we have not been to before where there’s a large area of interactive games for the children. Their favourite part of this floor was being able to create a symmetrical design which projects on to the wall and we could have stayed just in this section all day.
There is a lovely café at the Science Museum which serves great coffee and of course cake and in the basement there’s a huge picnic area where you can eat your lunch if you choose to take your own.
Milestones is a perfect historic day out for all the family whatever the age.
Today we decided to go back in time and wander around the historic streets of Milestones museum. We walked from street to street on cobbles whilst walking over tramlines and seeing bikes, horses and carriages.
We visited the vintage penny arcade first where the children eagerly emptied our pockets for change to change into old penny coins, then they were away.
There are numerous different old machines where you can spend your penny’s, from a Sooty show to the grand national. Some of our favourites were the puppet shows, grab a sweet machines and some of the children’s ride on machines.
We then went to the post office where the children can get very involved in role playing. There is a large vehicle display from classic cars and motorbikes, lorries and a Romany caravan to a huge fire engine and Victorian trams, all of which are from the 1930’s and 1940’s and have been beautifully restored.
There are some very well thought out room sets from the 1930’s to the 1970’s which we all found very interesting to see how people used to live.
Just found the corner from these room sets is an air raid shelter.
Although our children did not really understand what it was, I felt quite emotional about what people went through during the 1st and 2nd world wars.
The children then jumped aboard the beautifully restored Leyland 1930’s bus where our son pretended to be the conductor whilst our daughter decided to “drive” the bus. Again this bus was spotless and nothing like our buses today. This bus would have been used a lot in World War 2 as petrol was rationed and people relied on buses to get to and from work.
Over the road from the bus is a bicycle shop where on display were some elegant Penny Farthing bikes from the 1870’s and even our 3 year old agreed that these would have taken some practice to get used to riding them.
Next to the bicycle shop is a 1940’s sweet shop, where we were all excited to visit. Back in the 2nd World War where sweets were heavily rationed, only a few sweets could be bought each week.
So we entered the shop with our old penny and our ration coupon where it was ticked off and then we could choose our sweets.
The lady behind the counter dutifully weighed them out and they were placed in a paper bag for our enjoyment.
There are a variety of shops from a saddlers to a fruit and vegetable stall where we nearly mistook the pretend food for real whilst we weighed it out in role play activities.
Among the streets is a pub. This can’t be a working pub I told myself – I was very wrong.
The Baverstock Arms is a small traditional pub in Jubilee Street and there seemed to be a very friendly atmosphere inside. The pub serves Gales Ales, soft drinks and teas and coffees at certain times throughout the day.
I wasn’t too sure about dressing up the children in Victorian clothes but we all had great fun and it just added to the entertainment of the day.
There is an impressive area which demonstrates the working force behind a steam engine. You can clearly see The Smoke Box And Boiler, The Rear Axle and The Cylinder and Motion Works in full flow. We stood for a while just watching these incredible machines.
We entered another area where our last mission (my husbands!) was to build the Milestones version of a Viaduct Bridge and there are foam bricks identical in shape to those of a Viaduct.
Building such a bridge is rather hard on your own but we joined forces with another family and soon we had built the perfect bridge although the children made sure it didn’t stay standing for long.
Nowhere is complete without a coffee, lunch and cake and the retro café here compliments the whole atmosphere so very well. There are plenty of toilets which are immaculate and there are lifts as an alternative to stairs. The parking is plentiful and free.
Upon arrival we made our way to the Bricksmas Express, walking through some lovely Christmas trees with huge baubles and pretty lights before jumping aboard a fun train journey down to the park.
With festive snow covered trees lining a large area of the park makes you feel as though you are in a magical winter wonderland. Fairy lights twinkling in the trees and surrounding buildings really enhance the Christmas feel.
Very well organised from start to finish and clearly all the staff are in the Christmas spirit. With 15 attractions open there is plenty to do and see.
As well as many rides and play areas open, Legoland have created two marvellous areas just for Christmas. There is Mrs Christmas’ Kitchen where Mrs Christmas tells a story and then encourages all the children to decorate their own gingerbread man. This little workshop is fantastic for all ages and very interactive.
The second area is called The Elves Workshop and there is plenty to do here. Colouring and writing a Christmas card to Father Christmas, writing him your wish list or simply playing with huge amount of Lego, Duplo and large rubber bricks.
Our children were very happy playing with all this Lego for a long time creating different objects and enjoying the freedom to play with each type of Lego.
The area where Father Christmas can be found, is perfectly staged and again well organised. With snow falling and Elves everywhere it makes you feel you are somewhere special, and you are as Father Christmas is only a maze of trees away.
The Elves are so friendly making each child feel that they are the only ones there.
We were led to where Father Christmas was and soon we entered his grotto where he was very friendly and inviting to both our children. We happily left with a fantastic gift and exceptionally happy memories. We enjoyed our free hot chocolate and cookies whilst wandering around admiring the decorations.
On a rainy afternoon Jump In is well worth a visit. We arrived and the first thing I noticed was the cleanliness, absolutely second to none. There is a large café area where snacks and hot drinks may be purchased. Also within this area there are lockers for you to safely leave your belongings whilst you go and bounce your way through the afternoon.
The trampolines are fantastic and are very safe with padding around the outside. The staff are exceptionally attentive and very strict about only one person jumping on a trampoline at a time. There are a lot of trampolines but there is also an area full of foam bricks where you can jump in which our two found great fun, an area to try and bounce to get a soft ball through a basketball net and another netted area where you can throw balls to each other whilst jumping.
Quite rightly so they are very strict on session times and bands having to be worn as well as their own socks with grips (which you can take home as you need to purchase them when buying your tickets).
If you are heading there at a specific time allow a few minutes to fill in a waiver form on an iPad before they will let you in, this can take a while if there’s a lot of people in your group.