With the summer approaching fast, like all parents I am bracing myself with the task of planning a jam packed summer programme of activities that will satisfy my little ones. I will also attempt to not blow the weekly family budget on a single day at an outrageously over priced, over stimulated and over crowded fun park. (To be totally honest the word fun has been placed within the title but this can be far from the actual experience and reality of such days out).

To tick one of the ‘good parenting’ boxes, I am always looking for a day out that both educates and entertains my children, especially if you have different ages to consider. For example it can be hard keeping the teenager off their phone at a soft play area, while you are chasing your toddler through car wash style sponge rollers, while trying to keep your dignity and underwear off show.

Location is key, so if you can find a good weather day (yes I am talking about the UK) Its always good to include more than one activities to help please everyone in the family group. One of the local places I like to visit is Stratford-Upon-Avon, but it can be pricey and tricky to park. We chose to park just out of town, opposite the Welcome Hotel for a full day of free parking and took a leisurely walk down the river with the children. (approx 15 minutes).

Stratford has it’s  theatre, river, Shakespeare, parks and shops and one other little ‘jem’ that I discovered last year and have returned again with the family, due to it’s gravitational pull.

The MAD Museum is the country’s only permanent venue for mechanical art, combining inspirational imagination with clever and often witty design.

“If you’re not quite sure what mechanical art is all about, think of the machines and gizmos used in Wallace and Gromit, Scrapheap Challenge and Chitty Chitty Bang Bang.
In a nutshell, mechanical art is usually beautifully crafted, moving sculptures either made to have an exaggerated purpose or made simply for the fun of it.” (Museum Website)


The MAD Museum is one of the rare places where the whole family, children and adults alike can find something to engage and interest everyone. As well as being  interactive and a great deal of fun, the museum appeals to those with the curiosity to understand how things work, figuring out how the gears, sprockets, robotics and eccentric machinery all engage with one another at the press of a button.

I can honestly say that the museum is ‘smile worthy’ with carefully selected pieces of kinetic art such as ‘the chicken and the egg’ and witty quotes displayed such as;

“I really have a secret satisfaction in being considered rather mad” (W Heath Robinson)

Derick and the rest of the museum staff are enthusiastically on hand to walk you through the museums delights. Talking about the history and inspiration behind the museums creation. They speak with pride in the museums involvement in projects within education, ranging from primary to higher education and the annual competitions to inspire and ignite creativity in the minds of the general public.

There are plenty of different styles of kinetic art to interactive with; from marble machines and clapping hands, to mechanical wooden calved exhibits and a Spirograph maker. There is a whole room of magnetic marble runners that can be hard to remove your children from playing in, once they have started!

The exhibits range from artists  such as ‘Runners with Bees’ – Peter Marjey and ‘that is is’  – Helmut Baur. There is also an opportunity to purchase some of the work.  Along side this there is work commissioned by the  museum and the team is always keen to display work created by creative members of the public who show an interest. 



On the educational side, the museum is very much geared towards promoting Science, Technology, Engineering, Maths, Art and Design to all age groups.


Listen to what Grace , one of our mini reporters thought following her visit to the Mad Museum:


The adventure into the mechanical world is right on budget and once you have paid for the day, you can return as many times as you need. Family prices start at £22.00, with concession prices and under 5s going for free. Which lets be honest is crucial when you have a 3 year old who is presenting the need to run up and down a hill, while your 12 year old’s belly is displaying empty and needs replenishing!

The museum has developed over time, moving from its original location in 2012 on Sheep Street  in Stratford, crafted  from the love of Mechanical Engineering founder Richard Simmons and his family  from Kenilworth in Warwickshire, who still run the Museum today.

Opening times: Monday – Friday: 10:00am – 5:00pm. Saturday – Sundays : 10:00am – 5:30pm.

The museum can be found 4-5 Henley Street Stratford-Upon-Avon Warwickshire CV37 6PT

Find out more at http://www.themadmuseum.co.uk

Reporter @LianeKate



Radio Warwickshire

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