I ventured along to the Narnia Exhibition at Dorchester Abbey this afternoon with my 3 and 9 year old. My eldest read The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe last year at school and loved it as much as I did when I read it as a child so we were excited to see what it would be like.
The exhibition has been wonderfully put together by someone with an obvious creative streak and eye for detail. Following a friendly welcome and only £5 for a family ticket (2 adults + 2 children), we picked up our ID cards and selected a coat.
The first part of the exhibition has been designed to immerse you in Narnia in the depths of winter. “This must be a simple enormous wardrobe!” thought Lucy, going still further in and pushing the soft folds of the coats aside to make room for her. A moment later she found she was standing in the middle of a wood at night time with snow under feet and snowflakes falling through the air’
Bundled up warm in our coats, you really do push your way through hung fur coats and feel an cold blast of air as you enter. The wide corridor inside has been transformed in a wintery wonderland with white painted tree branches, hung snowflakes and a frosty glittered floor. Hop onto the white witch’s sleigh as Edmund did, wrap up in white furs and if you look up there’s a screen show making you feel as if you’re travelling through the snow with sound effects too. My 3 year old was a little frightened to start!
In the main Abbey itself, you can follow the story of the The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe with individual scene set ups from tea with Mr Tummus to the Beavers’s House and through the forest to Aslan.
As spring comes and the snow beings to melt, you find yourself back to the wardrobe and slip through to home. For an extra £2 there are children’s crafts too. These run every Saturday afternoon from 1:30-3:30pm and will run every weekday during Feb half term. If you’re looking for more ideas of what’s on for kids at Feb half term, check out the Red Kite Days guide.