Thursday 31 October 2019

Frightful Fun at Ford Green Hall

Ford Green Hall is an impressive timber-framed farmhouse built originally in 1624 for the Ford family. It's now an award winning museum, steeped in 17th century history with an admirable collection of textiles, ceramics and furniture.

Throughout the year, many wonderful events are held at Ford Green Hall, one of which we enjoyed today, courtesy of Visit Stoke and the #MyStokeStory campaign.

Situated in Smallthorne, Stoke-on-Trent, Ford Green Hall and the adjacent nature reserve is easily accessible by car and public transport. The car park is free, and just a short walk via the main road to the path that leads to the museum entrance. My children were instantly invited by the carpet of orange leaves that greeted them outside, and we had to have a play before we went in! 

They just couldn't resist playing in the leaves!

Remember, Remember, the 5th of November

We entered via the quaint tea room and were met by friendly staff who guided us to the first exciting event. In the Parlour, we found Guy Fawkes! He captured the children's attention with stories about the failed Gunpowder Plot of 1605, showing them how gunpowder was used in bombs and weapons. 

Apparently the phrase, "biting the bullet" was said to originate from this period, as soldiers used to hold the bullets in their mouths for quick insertion into their guns! They would also chew them so they would fit... yuck! After our little history lesson, Guy Fawkes waved us on our way and we moved on to the Hall.

Guy Fawkes showed us how to load bullets into the barrel of a gun.

The Gunpowder Trail

When we arrived, we had been given a Gunpowder Trail to complete. Having found the first barrel in the Parlour, we set off to solve the rest of the clues so we could find the rest! Our hunt took us to the main hall, a place where the family would have gathered to cook and eat together. Today, the Hall had been decorated for Halloween, with lights, pumpkins and even a squawking black raven! 

The Hall was dressed up for Halloween.
The children liked investigating the table of herbs and spices, each of which you could have a smell of. Some were more potent than others!

We enjoyed the smell of some herbs more than others!
We followed the clues all around the house. The trail took us to every room, each one so thoughtfully decorated for Halloween. My son found it quite funny to find skeletons in the bed! 

We had fun taking selfies as Henry VIII's wives! 
My daughter loved setting off all the singing and cackling witches, especially the one up in Parlour Chamber upstairs, where we found all the traditional games! 

We had a go at some traditional games.
The Gunpowder Trail is a really great way to get young children involved and to give them a focus as you walk around. It also means the adults get a chance to look at the exhibits whilst the kids are busy searching!

Creepy Crafts

Our last activity was a Halloween craft activity. The children could make spiders or haunted houses. We spent almost an hour colouring and sticking, creating creepy haunted houses to take home! You really didn't need that long but what can I say? When my kids are busy and happy... they won't be rushed!!

These creepy creations kept my two entertained for quite a while! 

Goodbye Guy!

After we had finally finished the crafts, it was my turn to test the children's patience! We stopped for a quick photo with Guy Fawkes before popping into the tea room for a (much needed post-crafting with two small kids) cuppa and a cake. There is a pretty good selection of snacks to accompany your drinks, and they're very good value too. I spent under a fiver re-fuelling us all before we went home.

A photo with Guy Fawkes to finish!
The October half term event we attended is running until Thursday 31st, so get down there quick if you fancy experiencing this one! However, don't worry if you can't make it - there are so many family-friendly events on throughout the year. It's definitely worth following the Facebook page or checking on the website, so you don't miss out on fabulous future events.

Can you spare some change? 

Now a charitable organisation, the museum relies on donations from organisations and the public to help with running costs and repairs. Currently, they are raising money via a Just Giving page to pay for the necessary refurbishment of one of the old oak beams. It's estimated cost will be £20,000! All donations are gratefully received, either online or via the collection points at the museum. 

Ford Green Hall from the outside.
We really enjoyed our visit today. Have you ever been to an event at Ford Green Hall? I'd love to hear about it!

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*** We were gifted our entrance tickets to Ford Green Hall for the purpose of this review. We paid for all other activities. All thoughts and opinions expressed are my own, unless otherwise stated. ***

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