I’ve driven past the signs to Sutton Hoo lots of times on our way to Framlingham Castle, but somehow I hadn’t registered that it’s really very close to us, linking it in my mind with Framlingham, which is about a half hour away.
Anyway, with this weekend being Heritage Open Days weekend, and therefore Sutton Hoo being free rather than costing £15 for a family, we decided we’d go and see it.
Small slept in rather late (obviously tired from the night before!) but was reasonably obliging when he woke, and not averse to the idea of going out as long as he could watch WALL-E (borrowed from Big’s friend C the night before) when we got back. We looked up on our tourist attraction map how far it is and he thought maybe 7 miles, as it’s 3 1/2 miles to an inch, and it looked to be about 2 inches. When we got in the car the satnav said 8.8 miles, so we decided we had done quite well with the map 🙂
Journey is about quarter of an hour, which is perfectly acceptable, and the sun came out as we were on the way there.
There was lots going on as well as all the stuff that’s there all the time – there was a 1939 archaeologist about somewhere, an art exhibition and chance for the children to get involved and falconry displays, as well as the big exhibition hall, the shop, the cafe and the (small but well formed) adventure playground.
We started in the exhibition hall – the children were given clipboards with quizzes on them, and I discovered that this isn’t a particularly good idea now. Big got very stressed about finding the answers and was not taking in the exhibition in general at all. Small just handed me his clipboard and belted off to find a replica helmet to put on 🙂
Anyway, after quick conferral with Tim, persuaded Big that she didn’t need to panic over the quiz, we would be returning some time soon, and she calmed down and we went to watch the 7 minute introductory film, which is well worth catching. Tim didn’t get to see it though, as Small declined the chance.
Once that was done we had a quick look at the special exhibition on feasting while trying to find Tim and Small, but didn’t spot them and wandered outside where the falconry was about to start. Tim caught us up when I texted our location, and we watched a Harris Hawk, a hybrid falcon, and my personal favourite, the eagle owl. He landed on a post right next to us, so we got to have a really good look at him, which was fantastic.
Big was incredibly brave and when they called for volunteers, went into the display area and sat down so that the owl could fly close over her head, was very proud of her 🙂 Unfortunately our angle wasn’t good for a picture, but she really enjoyed it. Small declined the opportunity.
Next thing we did was retire to the cafe for an excellent lunch. if we’d paid for entry I wouldn’t have felt happy about the £20 lunch bill, as it was, I thought it made the day a really good family treat 🙂 And when we’d finished eating, Tim popped off and joined the National Trust – got a £20 or so discount for joining on the day, so we only need to make three more visits to Sutton Hoo as a family and we’ll be well up 🙂 I can see that we might well do that during the year, particulary as I think we can take other children in with us, much as we did taking Scott and Princess in to Landguard and only paying for visiting adults.
We visited the shop as well, and Small impressed me by buying himself a cardboard press out version of the helmet which I think he’ll really enjoy making. Big bought herself a bookmark and pin to remember the day and we started a family postcard collection – we’ll try and get one of all these places that we visit, which will be a rather nice memento.
After the shop we went out to walk to the mounds. Turned out that this was rather more of a walk in the by now blazing sunshine than the kids and I were up to, so we retreated to the playground (I seem to have missed out the playground, we had already visited it though!) while Tim went for the walk. Big thoroughly enjoyed more time on the aerial runway, while I spent a lot of time waiting for Small outside the toilet (!) and then we had another look at the birds of prey.
And that pretty much did us for the day. We’d been there probably 4 and a bit hours, Small was getting more than a little antsy to get home to his DVD 😉 and the rest of us were just hot and tired. So we came home for screen time, Tim strolled out and picked up some reduced price food from the coop for tea and we all slumped for the evening.
But it was a really lovely family day out, and we’re looking forward to doing it all again 🙂