Friday, 16 March 2012

Movie at the Mansion

We recently went along to Wrest Park, our local English Heritage property for a really exciting project by the Cambridge Film Festival.

'Movies at the Mansion' is an initiative with Screen Team - a group which works with young unemployed volunteers to inspire them to take part in voluntary activity and build their skills; confidence and ultimately improve their chances of employment by giving structured training in film management and marketing.

Last year they ran a ground-breaking program of events including Films in the Forest at Rendlesham Forest, Suffolk and White Water Cinema at Lee Valley in Hertfordshire.

There are more events planned throughout 2012 so keep your eye on the website for information on upcoming events in Essex, Norfolk and the East Midlands.

The first initiative this year was a day of shows in the stunning french-style mansion at Silsoe, Bedfordshire.  Sadly we couldn't make it to the evening Kubric extravaganza, but we did take Ruby along for the family screening of the classic film, The Gruffalo.

All the kids settled on the floor of the State Room in front of the giant pop-up screen.  There were activity sheets and Gruffalo pictures to colour in while they waited.  Meanwhile, I got to admire the surroundings.  I ask you, where else could you watch a film with a ceiling like this above your head?

After the film, there was plenty of opportunity for exploring and Gruffalo hunting of our own.  90 acres of beautifully landscaped gardens with secret follys and lakes make for perfect exploring.

I used to come here as a kid with my parents and whilst the same secret places remain, there's also masses of improvements going on.  There is a fantastic new play area, a gift shop and cafe (which incidentally sells divine carrot cake).

Image: English Heritage
Image: English Heritage

Having just started on a 20 year program to regenerate the property and grounds, there's bound to be much more to discover and we're sure to keep going back.

Their upcoming diary of events includes the Easter Family Fun Trail on from 1st - 15th April and the hugely popular St George's Day Festival on over the weekend of 21st and 22nd April.  So if you fancy watching some medieval jousting, falconry displays and getting the kids involved in some hands-on historical learning head down to Wrest Park.

Image: English Heritage


  1. This looks fantastic!! :-) I bet the Gruffalo was even better in those surroundings!

    Jem xXx

  2. My grandsons used to go to a nursery there. The Gruffalo film and activites sound great.