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Michelham Priory

in Sussex. We went along to the Celtic event.
Didn’t this year’s Bank Holiday Monday have the perfect weather? As I have a bit of an interest in the Iron Age at the moment, we went along to Michelham Priory in Upper Dicker (Wouldn’t you just love to live in a place called that? It would make me chuckle every time I had to write my address!) near Hailsham, Sussex. It’s owned by the Susses Archaeological Society and they were putting on a family Celtic weekend.
It was fantastic! I have never been more impressed with a good value family day out. It cost £13.50 for a family ticket, (which is their usual price without events), although it did cost more than that as there were donation boxes at most of the event stands. But there was so much to do there it truly was a full day’s entertainment. We got there at midday and suddenly realised we hadn’t even looked around the priory at 4:45 and we were literally followed round by the staff as they were trying to close up for 5. (Are all the glaring old ladies in the country gathered up and put in stately homes to glare?)
The Iron Age Centre was all out-doors with 2 reconstructed roundhouses complete with clothes to try on, laid out with straw beds and a pretend fire in the middle. We could see the process of coracles made, and saw a guy in costume paddling on the moat in one. We had a taste of bread made as it would in the Iron Age; some honey oat cake and some trout baked in dough in a clay oven and it was honestly the most delicious fish I have ever tasted. There was a woodturning demonstration, flint working; animal skins to clothes – all with someone answering questions about it all. And the great thing was, the children’s adventure playground was right in the middle of all this so after they got bored they could go and play while the adults carried on listening. They loved the one where they could sit in the shade and make what they wanted out of clay though!
The grounds were beautiful and you could walk round the moat and take a picnic and sit anywhere you liked, which was nice. There were some lovely sculptures that might be of interest. On the lawn by the Priory there were out-door games and archery. And there was a large barn where there were loads more activities. We all had a celtic pattern painted on us in woad (blue paint). The kids did some printing with celtic designs and made their own little loaf of bread to bring home and bake.
You can see why we ran out of time to see round the house! And there was a little café where the pieces of cake were £1.30. Not bad compared to the £1.90 at the last National Trust place I went to!
I was surprised they shut as early as 5 on a bank holiday really. We needed more time. They wouldn’t even let us into the gift shop! They luckily let us look around the watermill by the car park, but we sadly missed it actually working. I would definitely recommend this as a good day out with the kids – we all had a lovely day. We are quite likely to go back for another event. The 11th August Crafts thing looks good, as does the Medieval Weekend 10th September.

Out and About, Places to visit,
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Writer, pyrographer, renovator, crafter, photographer and maker of bohemian clothing and costumes.

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