Day trips from London: Mountfitchet Castle

Mountfitchet castle

We gave Stan his first castle experience at the weekend with a visit to Mountfitchet Castle, near Stansted.

Mountfitchet Castle map

Finally I understand why my parents used to take me to all those boring museums and ‘experiences’ when I was a kid – they liked them! To be fair I think Stan did actually enjoy himself at this one, but he was much more into running around pretending to be a knight on the lookout tower than learning about how wool was spun or how rabbits were bred as emergency meat supplies.

Mountfitchet Castle

Escaping the whipping post

This is an open-air museum and although it was cold when we visited the sun was shining and there was no rain. Good weather is essential for a visit here – don’t be fooled by their website, which calls it ‘an all-weather attraction’. It is a recreation of a medieval castle and Norman village, complete with moats, stocks, a guillotine. There are loads of recreated scenes with rather sinister life-size puppet-people who tell you about their role in the village as soon as you go within five feet of them. The day we were there (the last Sunday of the Easter holidays) there was only two or three other families, which lent the place an air of having been put there especially for us.  Although there are lots of static scenes, it still feels  interactive. You can climb towers, the log fires are lit and smell lovely, there are helmets and chainmail to try on, that sort of thing.

Mountfitchet Castle

It’s nicely done and definitely worth a visit. In July they have a knights’ tournament, which sounds fun – though it will probably draw the crowds and half the pleasure in this place is the tranquility so rarely found in a kids’ attraction.

There are also loads of rescue animals wandering around – birds and chicks galore, deer, a whole man-made rabbit warren (cute, cute, cute) and this show-off:

Mountfitchet Castle peacock

To get a sense of how huge this fellow is, check out Beeve's legs behind him.

Many of the animals were rare-breed and looked like they could have been around in Norman times. On the downside Mountfitchet is pretty expensive for the size (£9.50 for adults and £7.50 for 3-13 year-olds. Under 3s are free.) But you can take a picnic to have on the grass in the village, which saves a bit of money – the cafe isn’t really much to speak of anyway. There is also, bizarrely, a toy museum on site. I personally found this a bit boring, but it’s worth a quick squiz.

Mountfitchet Castle

Animal feed is for sale at £1

It took us 30 minutes to drive there from Tottenham, which means it is perfectly doable without having to make great big plans or preparations. And as Nicola from Homemade kids has pointed out in the comments, it’s also easily accessible by train from Tottenham Hale or Liverpool Street (30 mins from TH and £13.60 day return).

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4 Comments

Filed under Days out from London, Family, Things to do with kids in London

4 responses to “Day trips from London: Mountfitchet Castle

  1. Great to see your blog! I’m new to the blogosphere and am happily blogging about our adventures with kids around the world. Your London info is invaluable and, as you suggest in your “About” section, I will look to it as a reference source the next time our adventures bring us your way. Thanks!

  2. What’s so great about Mountfitchet Castle is that it’s reachable by train for Londoners (particularly easy from tottenham hale!). Family & friends railcards give you, and a friend or two and children quite a lot of discount. Also it’s an OK trip in the rain – less people which I prefer, and because it’s on such a steep slope has the potential to be a wonderful mud slide (though you may want to take a change of clothes)! Nicola
    http://homemadekids.wordpress.com

    • I was wondering about the train, but it got so late when I was posting last night I was too tired to go and check. I’m going to add the train into the post. As for going there in the rain – you are obviously made of far sterner stuff than we are!

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