All aboard the good ship Osterley, I was certainly aboard! This was a fantastic family festival, full of imagination and panache!
Family festivals in heritage are going down like a storm at sea at the moment (excuse the pun!) it's as if every London site is trying to outdo one another. This year, The London Transport Museum offered an enchanting street party for families and Historic Royal Palaces have pulled off yet another simply brilliant family festival (not to have been missed!) It's clear that heritage sites across the board are upping their game. The world of old houses, castles and palaces are no longer only accessible to the history buffs, and in many cases, older generations. Sign panels depicting - in my opinion- dry essay style texts are fast becoming a thing of the past. Any site not keeping up with the increasing trend for interactive, immersive activities for the whole family is sure to become a sinking ship, weeping rust in the ever competitive game of heritage and tourism.
But it's not just the London sites that are plying for our attention, desperate to show us their creative juices. Just a few miles out of central London, heading towards Heathrow, sits the National Trust's Osterley Park and House. This, in my opinion, is a real hidden gem, proven all the more so by their fantastic family festival last weekend!
Families were transported back to the C18 and sent sailing the world on a ship, which they could name themselves (I decided to aptly name mine, 'Ship O' Theatre'). The idea was to navigate your way from port to port, trading with each country you landed in. Navigation techniques included decoding flags (a personal favourite, I mean who doesn't like to secretly pretend they're Sherlock) following constellations in the stars and escaping from a ferocious storm (some convincing sound effects bringing this part to life!) Each port was a different country and the activities were in abundance! Candle making in Britain, tea tasting in China and my personal favourite was learning (or attempting to learn) the drums in India- I wont be quitting my day job!
Overall, I think it is clear to say that Osterley Park and House has fully embraced the growing trend, encompassing music, theatre, dance, craft and much, much more! They have taken hold of their Ship's rudder with strong hands and are steering it with full force into London's eye. If you have not visited this hidden gem yet, you're in for a real treat!
I'm busy working on my blog posts. Watch this space!