This spring, indulge curious young minds with tales, re-enactments, artefacts and stories from days gone by.
Luckily, Plymouth and Devon boasts an abundance of historical properties, museums and attractions that will have a gravitational pull on any young history hunter.
Read on to find out more about what Plymouth has to offer…
Living History In Plymouth and Devon
Being fully immersed in an historical setting actively captures a child’s imagination in a way that is both engrossing and educational. Young visitors to the authentic re-created surroundings of Morwellham Quay near Tavistock (www.morwellham-quay.co.uk) can truly enjoy an enlightening time travellers experience by trying on Victorian costumes, playing Victorian school games and chugging along the copper mine railway.
Similarly, many National Trust properties across Devon such as Saltram and Buckland Abbey host seasonal living history events where children can wear historical costumes and re-enact scenes from days gone by. Take a look at www.nationaltrust.org.
From the Stone Age to the Iron Age, from the Anglo Saxons to the Vikings, to the impact that the Roman Empire had on Britain, children are already taught the fundamentals of British History at primary school. To re-enforce this understanding of British history, parents can direct their children to view the website www.show.me.uk which is packed with games, collections, videos, stories and homework help from museums and galleries.
Fossil Hunting and Archaeology
The Jurassic Coast, starting in the south east corner of Devon in Exmouth, is mighty rich with ammonites, brachiopods and fossilised fish.
Creeping along the coastline, evidence of the Cretaceous period such as chalk fossils can be found atHooken Cliff, Beer Head and Pinhay Bay. Yet, the vast majority of the rocks in other parts of Devon are of Devonian age, and thereby contain very few fossils. Discover more at www.ukfossils.co.uk/devon and don’t forget to follow the appropriate safety guidelines when fossil hunting.
Young fossil explorers can join the Go Jurassic club, which is designed for children aged 4 to 11 years, and run by the Jurassic Coast Trust. By joining the club the ‘Go Jurassic’ rangers are treated to a pack brimming with fun goodies such as an ammonite t-shirt, fact cards, stickers and a badge. Regular events such as a fossil day at Lyme Regis and a museum sleepover add interest. Visit www.jurassiccoast.org – and search for Go Jurassic rangers.
The Young Archaeologists’ Club (YAC) is suitable for youngsters who are interested in archaeology. Across the UK there is a network of local clubs where 8–16 year olds can indulge in a spot of real archaeology. Find a Young Archaeologists Club at www.yac-uk.org
Everywhere you go in Plymouth, there’s physical evidence of a city and surrounding area shaped by its history. From the dominance and strategic importance of Crownhill Fort, to the cobbled streets of the Barbican, to the remnants of Charles Church.
Venturing slightly further afield families will encounter the crumbling ruins of Okehampton Castle, to the pre-historic settlements of Merrivale and Grimspound on Dartmoor; history enthusiasts will really need to pay a visit to the Plymouth City Museum and Art Gallery (www.plymouth.gov.uk/museums) which houses permanent displays on Plymouth’s rich history and boasts a diverse range of temporary exhibits.
In particular, the museum runs exciting activities and workshops for primary aged children. Plymouth’s annual month-long History Festival will return this year and will be filled with a mix of talks, tours, special events and family activities. Visit www.plymhistoryfest.wordpress.com
Read more: Horrible Histories
History is never boring! In support of this statement and to demonstrate its sizable interest, the Horrible Histories compendium has flourished as the fascinating tales of wonderment and woe seemingly appeal to a child’s natural curiosity.
Children simply adore soaking up the dangerous and disgusting stories, about the foul food, the terrible toilets, the bloody battles and the fearsome fighters. It’s a great way to engage a child’s intellect in history. Read more at www.horrible-histories.co.uk
Visit world class Museums in London
The fervent history hunter will relish a day trip to the capital as there is so much on offer to appease a curious mind.
The British Museum, the Victoria and Albert Museum of Childhood, the Natural History Museum, the Science Museum, the Bank of England Museum and Imperial War Museum, to name a few, are furnished with historical treasures and artefacts that are sure to engage a young history enthusiast’s attention.
Plus, the great news is that entry to these museums continues to be free of charge. Visit www.visitlondon.com