Given the choice between car or rail for a day out, I could guarantee the Beans will choose rail every time. They love it when an adventure starts and ends at the train station because it’s exciting.
Our most recent rail adventure was courtesy of Greater Anglia trains from Cambridge to Mountfitchet Castle; a reconstructed medieval motte, Bailey Castle and Norman Village. Did you know Greater Anglia have brought back their Kids travel for £2 offer so make the most of it!
A chance to learn
Now that the Beans are all in school they understand procedures much more so rather than me taking charge at the train station, I took the opportunity to explain to them what to do when travelling by train. We started at the entrance by looking for our train on the departures board to see which platform we needed to head to.
On the platform, the Beans excitedly waited for the train to arrive and asked what the screens were for. I asked if they remembered what time our train was due to depart and explained that they needed to wait for the screen to show our train had arrived before boarding.
As if to test us, our train switched platforms just 5 minutes before departure and luckily Lillie heard the announcement so we were able to move to the new platform in time.
Time to relax
Once seated on the train we were able to get the pads and pens out which I had packed so we could play games to pass the time. The Beans currently love playing Hangman, a popular game at school to help with their spelling. Remembering that Albie is only 6 years old, there was no chance in the world that we would have guessed ‘Giraffe’ with just 4 letters – turns out Albie spells it ‘draf’ bless him.
As our train pulled into Stansted Mountfitchet Station the boys excitedly spotted castle sitting on the hill at the side of the tracks.
Just a two-minute walk found us at the entrance to Mountfitchet Castle on a beautiful sunny day.
Despite looking at the website before we set off, nothing could have prepared us for the sight before us. Stepping through the entrance you feel like you have taken a huge leap back in time.
Life in a Norman village
The Norman Village inside Mountfitchet Castle is made up of more than 18 buildings housing the kitchen with bread oven, Church, community house, blacksmith, Surgeon, brewhouse, potter’s hut and kiln, stables, Bakers, gaol and stores. In a separate area, you will discover the Grand Hall, falconer and herb garden.
Each area of the Norman village is set up to look how it would have done all those years ago with mannequins dressed appropriately, lots of educational plaques and interactive audios to explain how things would have been.
House on the Hill Toy Museum
Entrance to Mountfitchet Castle costs £12 for adults, £10 for children and £11.50 for Senior Citizens. This also includes entrance to the House on the Hill Toy Museum which is a massive blast from the past. You’ll find yourself saying “oh my, I had one of those” about a thousand times over.
Upstairs the Museum also has The Haunted Manor but we didn’t venture up there with the children.
What did we think to Mountfitchet Castle?
It was a unanimous decision from all five of us that Mountfitchet Castle is a brilliant day out, we all learnt so much and enjoyed trying our hand at some of the more interactive elements of this open-air museum. It is without doubt, somewhere that we will come back to time and time again as the children grow.
The Visitor Centre is home to a good size cafeteria and souvenir shop with very reasonably priced items. Outside there is a large picnic area where you are welcome to eat your own food and there is a block of toilets and hand-washing facilities.
To see all photos from our day out, head over to my Facebook page and grab a cuppa.
We planned our stay at Mountfitchet Castle around the train times. Knowing that we were only a two-minute walk from the train station meant that we could leave at a moments notice and not miss any part of our day. In the car park next to the Castle and the train station is a small supermarket where we were able to buy ourselves a few snacks for the journey home. After our busy day, we were all feeling very tired so we enjoyed just chilling out together, talking about all the amazing things we had seen and learnt.
DISCLAIMER: Our day out was complimentary courtesy of Greater Anglia trains and Mountfitchet Castle in exchange for our honest account. Greater Anglia welcome all feedback, could you spare a moment to complete this survey to help them improve their services. All words, images and opinions are my own and may not be copied without my permission. I have not been instructed what to write.