As family days out go I wasn’t actually expecting very much from Wycombe Museum. I’d seen a few fairly mixed reviews, but I think a lot of those were actually confusing Wycombe Museum with the nearby chair museum which does seem to be a bit pants. I had been stuck in High Wycombe with smallest child and so needed something to keep her entertained but didn’t want to pay, this place was free so seemed like a good idea.
I knew it wasn’t large but when we arrived it was actually smaller than I thought; the museum is actually “just” a house but they have packed so much into it. High Wycombe museum is dedicated to the history of the local area, in fact part of the museum is called “Wycombe in 10 objects” and covers prehistoric, Roman, Saxon, Medieval, Tudor, Georgian, Victorian and the 20th century. Yes, there are a lot of chairs, but then chairs are important to the history of High Wycombe!
Something that I loved about this place is that it’s really hands-on, including for the smallest hands. The first room we went into is laid out as a kitchen and so there’s a little tea set and play kitchen set up. There’s dressing up costumes, a mock archaeological dig and even a microscope that people can use to look at rocks and insects and other specimens up close. There’s are also i-spy games and little trails that you can get from the cafe.
Near the Wycombe Wanderers section there is a little colouring and craft area. There’s lots of free colouring sheets that are related to things in the museum and some kids had left their crafts behind. The only criticism I have is that there was no seating or low tables in the area. Bigger children could use the colouring table itself but it was much to high for smallest child. We ended up just sitting on the floor to do our colouring. Not great really.
In one of the last rooms that we went into there are lots of drawers you can open to explore, there is another play kitchen and stories to share. We spent ages in here. Fun fact, did you know that the “Bacon Badger” was a traditional Buckinghamshire food? Me neither but apparently it is.
This is one of the most hands-on museums I’ve been to. TBH it needed to be, if you’re just looking around then it would only take about half an hour. If you want to turn this into a full family day out then you do need to get involved. The grounds are really lovely. There’s a sensory garden, little woodland and green space to look around. The day we went it was really wet and dreary so we didn’t get chance to look around properly.
Something else to point out is that, whilst there is a lift you can use, the staircase is incredibly steep. It’s the original staircase in the old house so there’s not a lot they can do about it. Smallest child and I had to go REALLY slowly down the steps to make sure she didn’t fall down.
If you want to go to the sensory garden then you will have problems with access if you have a pushchair or a wheelchair. I’m not sure if there’s another path round from the garden itself but the path signposted from the car park is not passable.
Parking / How to get there
Address – Priory Ave, High Wycombe HP13 6PX
There is some very limited free, on-site parking. Maybe 15-20 cars if that? I imagine that on busy days these fill up quickly. There’s also some payable on-street parking nearby.
There’s one loo and it’s out the back. It was being used when we needed it so I have no idea if it’s clean / gross or not.
There’s a little cafe on site. It actually seemed to be quite popular as a cafe and meeting point in itself. They have board games in there and quite nice cake. There is space outside for a picnic if you wanted to have one.
4 / 5 – It’s great that it’s so hands on, that really bulks the day out. There are lots of things to do with the kids during the holidays etc. It is small so you’d struggle to be there all day unless you’re there for an event. The parking does let it down. If you’re coming from Aylesbury then I’d probably get there early to make sure you get a space.