Fab free day out at The Wilson in Cheltenham.

A couple of weeks ago, on a free morning, big girl and I had the pleasure of discovering The Wilson, an art gallery and museum in Cheltenham, Gloucestershire.

How have we never found this awesomeness before?! We’ve been to the cafe and a few craft sessions there which have been great, but there is so so much more there.

To start with, there is an ‘Art Cart’ with lots of different pictures to colour, clipboards, colouring pencils and various different gallery trails for you to spot things in all the different galleries. We were given a map of the gallery and lots of advise on which way round to go from one of the very friendly staff members. We have met a few now and everyone has been lovely, and genuinely knowledgeable, trying to ensure that we have the best experience which is so nice.


Big girl had fun choosing a colour pencil, picture and trail. We set off, the clipboard gripped firmly in her hand, me laden down with all the other things that she had promised faithfully to carry herself.

In all honesty, she wasn’t too interested in the trail itself, her attention was wavering at best! She is only four though, and was pretty tired after a busy summer holiday and the excitement if school starting. It didn’t matter though we had fun just exploring, along the way are lots of hands on interactive displays for children to get involved. We had a lot of fun doing this beautiful wooden puzzle. Which was actually fiendishly difficult, as you can probably tell from the triumphant finishers’ grin on big girl’s face!

    The best bit for her, the stay and play area, is absolutely brilliant and full of dressing up clothes, masks, story books, a beautiful big doll’s house and lots of other toys.
    There was some hilarious dressing up.
  Big girl was determined to squeeze herself into the jester’s outfit which was about four sizes too small!  Being ever so mature, I couldn’t resist the dress up box either! 😀
    I was having far too much fun with this!
    Surely this is mother abuse?!
  A donkey riding a horse. Bizarre!  She spent a lot of time setting up a silver service tea party for the teddies there. Very Downton!
  A very odd bunch! I’d put the wrong plates out here apparently. Not classy enough!  Now she was happy.
  This photo I think, is the absolute height of grown up and adult behaviour. It sums me up perfectly.
She had so much fun there that she wanted to go back with small boy this week. We are still in phasing in with school so are getting lots of days of just a few hours and so this is a perfect activity to fill a morning or afternoon. They have a lovely drumming statue that plays when you put coins in and so I also managed to empty my purse of lots of coins while they had a lot of fun dancing along!

Little loony tunes! 😀
  They have a great selection of story books and the whole area is themed to the season and changes regularly. Looking forward to see what they will replace the summer stories and buckets and spades with.   Such a goon!
  My little cowboy.  The court jester had lots of fun pretending to build a sandcastle.
  They have lots of lovely sensory activities there, like the rainbow bags filled with different coloured objects that the children can sort.
  I love their wall art, designed to fire up the children’s imaginations. The whole area is so well thought out, small but beautifully designed to make optimum use of the space, with different areas to make sure there is something for all ages.
  I can’t rate it highly enough, as well as the wonderful children’s area, there are creation stations dotted around with pictures to colour in and pots of colouring pencils, lots of interactive displays all around the galleries and so much for me to look at too. Because we are usually passing through at a less then leisurely pace, I see new things every time we go. Look at this absolutely stunning tiara I discovered. One of many in a gorgeous display case. They also have fun cabinets with bonnets that rotate and lots of different drawers that the children can pull out to look at different clothing items. Including some beautiful silk stockings that were promptly labelled ‘stinky socks’ by my two horrors! 😀 

Best of all, it is totally free, (apart from the contents of the change section in your purse! 😉 ), and also very quiet. Both times we have been there it has only been us. For somewhere so child friendly, very close to the centre of town and cost free, that is very welcome! 😀


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