Last Friday we headed over to Sandford Mill for the afternoon session of their ‘Summer of Science’. I’ve previously been somewhat intrigued by Sandford Mill, it comes under the umbrella of Chelmsford Museums but isn’t open to the public often so I wasn’t sure what to expect.
The mill itself is about 10 minutes outside of Chelmsford Town Centre, tucked away down a country lane in a really pretty setting. It’s nice to just wander round the outside of the mill as the location is great. The inside is a bit of a hidden gem – a little bit random and ramshackle but I kind of like that in a museum. The downstairs has an industrial heritage collection, which isn’t really my thing but is still an impressive collection. Then the upstairs has a Marconi exhibition which was really fun: lots of old TV cameras which the kids could have a go on, assisted by very knowledgeable and helpful volunteers. There was a green screen where my eldest got to dress up like Harry Potter while the others filmed him – all good fun.
After that, we went out to the Science Barn where Mad Science were doing their thing. I’ve seen Mad Science before and always enjoy their shows, and this was no exception. Although it was stiflingly hot, it was still enjoyable to watch, and the kids got to join in with the antics too. The science barn itself had lots of very simple but effective hands-on science experiments, so the kids loved that, and we spent a good half an hour or more after the show playing with these.
We also had a look at the Essex Rocks exhibition and caught half of the bird of prey demonstrations, exploring the science of flight, but didn’t have time for the bug hunt because we ran out of time! With it being a small museum, I really didn’t expect that to happen!
The museum wasn’t busy at all (this may have been partly to do with the heat!) so it was a really relaxed, fun afternoon, and the kids talked very enthusiastically about what a great time they had had. And for a fiver, it’s well worth it!
Sandford Mill is part of Chelmsford Museums and is located at Sandford Mill Road, Chelmsford, CM2 6NY. The cost of each session is £5 per person, with children aged up to 2 years old free. Sessions must be booked in advance at