Back in February we spent a weekend in Warwickshire as part of our XCounty Challenge. We’ve already written about our interesting (!) first day’s explorations around Warwick Castle and now here’s the blog about day 2 (finally)!
On Sunday morning we woke up to some pretty abysmal weather, which certainly wasn’t conducive to being out and about exploring. So we decided to have a slow-paced morning, which comprised of lots of books, cuddles and hot drinks snuggled up in our tent, which was lovely (we’re so used to leaping up and getting out and about to ‘make the most of the day’ that this actually made a nice change).
We also spent some time researching a ‘wet weather plan’ for the day and on this occasion Trip Advisor came up trumps with some pretty cool ideas. After a couple of hours we braved the wind and rain and embarked on the great tent pack down, said our goodbyes or more like “until next times” to Michael from Twitey’s Tipis (we will DEFINITELY be coming here again), and piled in the car.
The first stop was literally just down the road and was somewhere that Michael had mentioned to us – The Touch Down Café. We were pretty chilly from packing up so decided to treat ourselves to a hot cuppa and a bacon sarnie. This was just the place: a proper greasy spoon ‘caff’. It’s called the Touch Down Café because it’s based within Wellesbourne Mountford Airfield so you can watch the aircraft taking off and landing while you graze, though obviously given the weather there was not a lot of action on this particular day. But it was friendly, warm and by the time we left the rain had stopped and we were ready to explore. Plus a caffeine-filled Morten is a happy Morten.
Although our plan was to head towards Stratford Upon Avon, we stumbled upon a stunning looking National Trust Property enroute – Charlcote Park. There were hundreds of deer in the grounds and the house looked incredible, so we couldn’t resist a quick stop.
We walked around the grounds observing the deer, wandered the gardens and explored the incredible 16th Century House. It was beautifully set up, and even had workers dressed in period costume working in the kitchen making foods of the era, which was an interesting addition and brought the place to life.
After a quick visit to the house, we headed back out through the grounds which were lovely to run around and explore.
Then we exited through the churchyard of St Leonards Church, which accommodates the tombs of the Lucy Family who owned the house throughout the Victorian era. A visit to this peaceful little church is a must: a really special, tranquil and calm little place, with a beautiful stained glass window and some great information on the history of the church. While we were there was a little party being held and they welcomed us in, despite the fact we were covered in mud and looking incredibly scruffy. It really was a lovely experience.
After the unexpected delight of Charlcote, we went on our merry way to Stratford, popping in to see Shakespeare’s birthplace.
After a quick photostop, we then headed to our planned destination: The MAD Museum. This was our Trip Advisor wet-weather discovery and somewhere that prior to this morning we had never heard of or experienced anything like it before.
MAD stands for ‘Mechanical Art and Design’ Museum and it is mad! Utterly wacky and wonderful! The place is tiny but it’s bursting at the seams with crazy contraptions, kinetic art, marble runs, quirky clocks and automata of various designs, shapes and sizes.
Somehow we managed to spend over 2 hours in there; sure you could walk around it in 10 minutes, but if you fully engage with it and delight in it, it’s hours worth of fun and entertainment. We did a good few loops, going back to see our favourite pieces and watching them again and again.
Every single sculpture or piece of art has a button to press to activate its movement, and if there is one thing that toddlers love… it’s buttons! Oskar was in his element and he was mesmerized by all the movement. Kids of all ages would love it and Morten and I genuinely loved it too – it was unlike anything we’d ever seen before! A perfect rainy day activity.
So that marked the end of our Warwickshire adventure. Sure – Warwick Castle had been a let-down, but our day 2 discoveries had more than made up for it. It shows that sometimes it’s the unplanned surprises that are the best and doing things that you would not normally do.