Have a Roald Dahl Day – Museum Review

Roald dahl museum is day trip from London ideas


Back in the day, when giving croggies and playing kerbie had you exhausted by 8 o’clock, the ultimate wind-down session was a few chapters of the latest Roald Dahl book, in bed with a mam that collected accents for a hobby. The Twits had you thinking up tricks to play on grumpy old neighbours, George’s Marvelous Medicine was the start of many a garden-shed potion and The Witches made you watch your teacher like a hawk if they even just the once scratched their head. Roald Dahl is woven into millions of childrens lives across the world and in my humble opinion was the starting block of every great children’s story.

So the thought of being able to learn a bit more about the mastermind behind some of the world’s greatest children’s books and see how he worked and where he created the characters which still live strong in children’s imaginations, appealed greatly. And, when I discovered the Roald Dahl Museum existed it immediately went on my bucket list of places to take the kids that disguise the fact I’m having fun too (along with segways and planet bounce!).

Where is the Roald Dahl museum? How do you get to the Roald Dahl museum? It's in Great Missenden and you can get the tube there from Marylebone

The Roald Dahl Museum, Great Missenden

After spending a weekend in London with the kids we managed to shoehorn a trip to Roald Dahl’s home town, Great Missenden in Buckinghamshire, on our way home. It’s located about an hour north-west of central London and is the perfect day trip for kids. I mean, I knew that Buckinghamshire was posh, and it seemed so quaint that they would build the museum in the spot where he lived, but I had no idea just how idyllic this little village was going to be!

So when Mr and Mrs Twit nip down to the village and the Muggle-wumps and Roly-poly bird get busy attaching furniture to the roof, it is this village that Mr Dahl intended to paint in our imaginations. And when Matilda’s parents leave 4-year-old Matilda alone in the house all day, it is to Great Missenden’s library at the end of the High Street that she takes herself off to immerse herself in the world of books. I just found it absolutely captivating that you can actually see the real-life village that inspired all of Roald’s stories for yourself!

Great Missenden’s High Street is a neatly arranged stretch of high-end boutiques and gift shops behind the perfect stretch of English parkland that follows the River Misbourne. Cricket spectators eating cucumber sandwiches in straw boaters wouldn’t ever look out of place in this corner of the world and Roald Dahl was lucky to live in such a spot that would fuel any child’s imagination.

Happily, local neighbours have latched onto their famous resident and allowed and encouraged appropriately named coffee shops, bookstores and gift shops. So once you’ve had your fill at the museum there’s still a good hour left for the cultural past-time of changing the world one newly purchased trinket at a time. One can never have too many eclectic bits!

Inside The Museum

Built on the spot of his actual writing hut, and even recreating the old wooden walls, placing a room inside a room, you are instantly transported to Roald Dahl’s world and you get a true feel for the kind of gentleman he was. His hut was cluttered with fascinating memorabilia; little keepsakes that often found their way into his novels, like the trumpet he was once gifted in Africa which obviously became the BFG’s.

Solo Gallery

The museums Solo Gallery tells a fascinating tale of his life prior to becoming a writer. He was a fighter pilot, a spy and even a chocolate taster. His wartime injuries put a stop to his former career and luckily for us he turned to writing, but not before displaying bits of his femur and bone shavings on his desk to remind him of where he’d come from, and then inventing a chair which catered for his newly acquired disabilities.

His life story is inspirational and I think what definitely struck a chord with my kids was how hard he worked – his ideas didn’t come easy, it was back to the drawing board over and over again, a lesson that I was happy to have demonstrated to my own children; they’re going to have to work real hard if they are to look after me in my retirement!

Where to park for the Roald Dahl Museum in Great Missenden

Boy Gallery

In Boy Gallery the theme continues; a cleverly thought out questionnaire is aimed at drawing the kids’ attention to the fun bits, like the tricks he got up to at boarding school involving mice and motorbikes, I’ll let your imagination figure out the rest. And the height chart which measures you against his books’ characters again brings his stories to life. This was a man with a love of chocolate too and this certainly shows its face throughout the whole museum.

The Story Centre

The third room is the Story Centre, which I just loved! It’s a mixture of areas, one for dressing up as characters from the stories, one which replicates his writing room so the kids can actually have a go in his chair and imagine themselves as a writer, and one space where you can just sit and read if you so desired. Interspersed between all this excitement are beautiful glass displays of scenes from the stories which were made into movies, like Fantastic Mr Fox.

Roald Dahl children books are famous the world over but have you ever had the opportunity to sit in his chair? The roald dahl hut is one of the highlights of the Roald Dahl museum in Great Missenden
Roald Dahl’s Chair


Well apart from the fact there’s Cafe Twit, with much emphasis being placed on chocolate plus an opportunity to try some Frobscottle, the museum puts on regular events in some of their other rooms. Stuff like crafting with paper and clay, fun interactive talks and games and guided trails which take you off around the village to visit scenes from his books and off into the woods where Fantastic Mr Fox lived. Alternatively, pick up the two little guides at reception and do your own guided tour once you’ve finished at the museum.

the roald dahl museum in Great Missenden is one of the best day trips from London. Have a walk around Rolad Dahl home village and spot some of the places he got his ideas for his books, like the petrol pumps from Danny the Champion of The WOrld
The petrol pumps from Danny The Champion Of The World
Inspiration for Sophie's Norphanage in The BFG - one of the facts you'll discover when you take the Roald Dahl trail around his home town Great Missenden
The house which inspired Sophie’s Norphanage in The BFG

The actual museum is perfectly compact and bijou which gives children the freedom to do a bit of exploring on their own, parents safe in the knowledge they’re never far. There are also permanent areas for arts and crafts and an opportunity to record your own dreams or even make a movie.

You’ll definitely have a wangdoodle of a day and it’s exunckley what the chiddlers will be buzzwangling about for many weeks, so maybe next time you’re in the city you can incorporate a day trip from London and immerse yourself in the life of one of Britains National treasures, the beloved Roald Dahl.

Phizz-Whizzing Tips

  • How long does it take to go around the Roald Dahl Museum? Allow half a day
  • What age is the Roald Dahl Museum suitable for? It’s is aimed at 6 – 12 year olds.
  • book in advance for a secure place.
  • check and book in advance for events.
  • You can take your own food to eat in the courtyard.
  • parking is a 5 minute walk away (on Link Road) costing £1.80 for 3 hours – more than enough time.
  • Great Missenden train station is a 40 minute ride from London Marylebone.
  • Is the Roald Dahl Museum free? No. Tickets cost £9.95 and chiddlers under 5 are free.
  • Look out for 2 for 1 tickets beforehand, they’re not too elusive!
  • The gift shop sells possibly every known Roald Dahl book published and I just loved the idea that they sell the exact yellow notepad and yellow pencil that Roald Dahl himself used.

I hope I have inspired a trip to the Roald Dahl Museum for you and your family – it’s a gloriumptious museum in a quaint little village which will most definitely lead to a car journey home of Roald Dahl chatbagging!

If you’re looking for accommodation nearby you can find the best deals on hotels near the Roald Dahl Museum here.

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Tips and info for visiting the Roald Dahl Museum, Buckinghamshire - A great day out for the kids and an easy day trip from London too.

29 Comments Add yours

  1. Another wonderful piece Alex. I too had no idea of the existence of the museum (ashamed from London) . You have whet another appetite. I have come to know Roald Dahl through my daughter and I just love the stories. BFG being a fave. I do believe a trip is in order at some point.

    1. Alex says:

      Sorry Nicky, this went into spam for some reason. Yes you should definitely visit, it’s not that far for you guys!

  2. Katy says:

    What a fantastic day out Alex. I just wish my kids were a little bit older so they could appreciate the Roald Dahl museum as much as I would. I think some patience is required! Thanks for joining #FarawayFiles

  3. Erin Gustafson says:

    We love Roald Dahl! Fantastic Mr. Fox is one of our faves! I think my daughter would love this outing – thanks for sharing with #FarawayFiles, Erin

  4. Jurga says:

    My kids have read so many books of Roald Dahl! I think several generations grew up with them! How cool it would be to visit a place where he created all these characters! What’s your favourite of this books, Alex?

    1. Alex says:

      Definitely the twits. It makes me very happy so many kids have had a piece of Roald Dahl.

  5. This is a wonderfully written review, Alex. Roald Dahl was such a big part of my childhood and an even bigger part of my kids’ – they too have a mother who absolutely delights in doing all the funny accents for the characters. Unfortunately for them, I only have a few dodgy accents in my repertoire so the results can be unintentionally hilarious (!) We went to the Roald Dahl Museum a few years back but I’d love to return and do the walk through the village as well. Fabulous share for #FarawayFiles

    1. Alex says:

      Ha – you should hear my accents, they ALL sound Indian! 😉

      1. Oh that’s so funny, Alex. I’ve got one that sounds Indian too (never intentionally) I can do dodgy Dorset and a passable Professor McGonagall. When in doubt, I’ll make a character Scottish just for a voice change!

        1. Alex says:

          Lol. That’s brilliant! Geordie and scouse are definitely my fall back accents! I think Roald Dahl would be proud of us 😉

  6. Jean says:

    Oh I love this! I remember reading so many Roald Dahl books growing up.

  7. Oh my goodness, what a wonderful place to be! Like so many children I was absolutely enthralled with the works of Roald Dahl as a child – I loved the fact that he didn’t feel the need to talk down to children, and that he always have his bad characters their just desserts! 🙂

  8. Esther says:

    Oooh, forget 6-12 year olds!! I wanna go there. I (still!!) love those books. #FarawayFiles

    1. Alex says:

      Yup – I loved it just as much, such a great insight

  9. what a great place! I read his books when I was a kid:) #farawayfiles

  10. Travellinn says:

    I remember reading his books when I was little, and absolutely loved them! I bet visiting the town and museum would bring back a lot of good menories. Thanks for sharing 🙂

  11. Rachel says:

    How have I never heard of this place before?! I loved Roald Dahl as a kid so a visit, like you said, would take me right back – Fantastic Mr Fox is one of my favourites 🙂

    1. Alex says:

      We only discovered it recently too!

  12. Tina says:

    That’s awesome – I didn’t even know there was a Roald Dahl Museum. Would love to take the kids when they’re older!

  13. Candiss says:

    What a wonderful little museum! It would be the perfect day trip from London when traveling with kids!

  14. NieNie says:

    This is pretty cool! Looks like a super quaint town is! I can see where he got his inspiration for his books.

  15. My claim to fame…my sister was a model maker on the Mr Fox film and gave him fur!!! Strand by strand!!! Love Roald Dahl books. museum sounds splendiferous!

    1. Addendum: my sister has clarified…She did Victor’s hair strand by strand on Frankenweenie. She did Mr Fox’s head mechanics.

      1. Alex says:

        I’m so glad you addendummed 😉 your sis has the best job EVER!

  16. Tatum says:

    Definitely not a place I would be interested in, but if I had kids this would be for sure!! Those doll wolf things are a tad bit scary haha. Thanks for all the information though.

  17. How did I, someone who works in a children’s department in a library, not know of this glorious place? I adore Roald Dahl. Now I’m really wishing I would have jumped at the London trip I could have taken next month, but I have a brand new puppy and didn’t want to leave her as soon as I got her.

    1. Alex says:

      Awww, how sweet (about the puppy). I’m sure another opportunity will come up one day though.

  18. Sherry says:

    This is ace! I didn’t know anything like this existed, i’ve got all the books from when I was younger and I just know I would have loved this! so cute! X

    1. Alex says:

      I know – I can’t believe we only discovered it recently too! It really inspired my kids which was awesome.

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