We had a wonderful afternoon, soaking in the history of the house and the mill, as well as getting back to nature within the wild and wonderful grounds. Surrounded by trees and water, the whole place felt very peaceful and calming. And because it has only recently re-opened to the public, we practically had the whole place to ourselves!
We were able to look back in time at the Victorian Kitchen, 1940s Living Room and Mill Managers Office. Emily couldn’t quite believe me when I pointed out the metal hoover and ceramic water bottle. A keen lover of animals, she quickly spotted the bear and the monkey in the living room. And she even took her chances in the bomb shelter!
Us adults found ourselves emersed in all things chalk! We found the whole thing fascinating and tried to explain to Emily where we could how the whole process worked! Everything seemed so super-sized, from the mammoth water-wheels, to the giant anvil and spanner, to the large Thor-like hammer! We kept Robin in the pram at this point, so he and daddy stayed on the ground while Emily and I explored the upstairs. It does advise that this section isn’t suitable for under 3s so it’s worth bearing that in mind when you visit – I would just advise to be super vigilant!
Grounds and Nature Trail
The outside space was definitely a winner with the children. They loved playing in the wigloo (willow igloo), the wooden tipi and Willow’s hide hut. Emily and daddy searched around the minibeast hotels, and we nervously watched the bees in action working on their honey. Exploring the Apothecary Patches, we found the size and scale of the plants, poppies and hedgerows made us feel like we were minibeasts ourselves! And Emily was very excited to find the Fairy Village. We also spotted a gigantic spider’s web in the trees but thankfully couldn’t get too close to get caught.
The pyramid of arts sculpture by the car park before you even enter the museum is quite remarkable and we enjoyed looking at all the different elements, pointing out the stars, birds, and even the person drinking a cup of tea!
The finer points
We took a spot of lunch with us so we could fully appreciate the grounds and make the most of our afternoon. There are plenty of places to sit – we opted for the ‘Paddocks’.
For COVID reasons, there is currently a one-way system around the house, mill and grounds.
Toilets are found at the entrance in the shop so be sure to use them before you set off as you won’t be able to go backwards.
The house and mill are accessible with lifts, although I would recommend avoiding taking a pram where possible – we took ours and it just got in the way.
The canal side is currently closed for COVID reasons as it’s where the boaters live.
Thwaite Mills is open from 12-4pm (last admission 3pm) on weekends ONLY.
It is only open 10am-4:30pm on weekdays during school holidays and public holidays
General admission applies – no pre-booking is required.
So, if you’re looking for a good place for a picnic, getting closer to nature, as well as taking in some history, I would definitely recommend giving Thwaite Mills Watermill Museum a go. A lovely afternoon out, which can be extended further if you choose to walk along the Trans-Pennine Trail along the canal to and from the city.