Sunday cycling and the Look Out Discovery Centre science fun

We had so much fun on Sunday morning cycling at Swinley Forest in Bracknell. We arrived at 10.30am and hired one adult bike with a pull on bike for Arthur (he cannot cycle on two wheels as yet). We got a cycling route map at the Look Out shop but it proved unnecessary as all the routes (except green one) are not quite suitable for this age children and some of the turnings are very sharp and would not accommodate the pull on bike.

We tried the green route (only 1 mile long so it can be done in some 10 minutes) and we all found it fun, especially the first time around! It is rather narrow and it has many ups and downs so it can get pretty bumpy! 😉 I was a bit worried about Conrad as he can get carried away with the speed but I was often shouting ‘use your brakes’ throughout the whole ‘exercise’ so it appeared he has taken some notice (no accidents!).

There are also blue, red and black tracks to chose from but these are more challenging for higher skilled riders than ourselves.

We would then cycle on the main paths for some 7 miles one way (it was rather hilly) before breaking off for a picnic of sandwiches and strawberries and… realising that in our excitement we forgot to buy the parking ticket!

Well to be perfectly honest I have actually realised it some 45 minutes earlier but made a quick bilans in my head and decided that the peaceful family time together is far more precious than a prospective £40 fine and got into terms with it pretty quickly (read: pushed it to the back of my mind until the point it was no longer ‘visible’) ;-).

Unfortunately that is not a conclusion my dear husband reached while he realised (of course I didn’t tell him as I knew pretty much what the outcome is going to be) the very same thing some 45 minutes later ;-).

And so off he went into one of his ‘I am on a mission’ state with poor Arthur attached by a metal pipe with his pull on bike, hoping to make it before some imaginary parking warden or most likely a yellow ticket on the dashboard of our car… oh dear…

So here I was left on my own with the two children on the bikes and the tops of the trees and a sun as a compass (no sat nav! why nobody has invented a bicycle sat nav as yet?!) hoping to successfully recall my way back.

Well I followed the main path for a while but was rather confused at a few crossroads and pretty much made a wild guess which seemed to follow the direction my bike happen to naturally take at the time of its descend from the hill. Either way we made it successfully all in one piece all the way back to the car (must have been some 7 miles or so).

The parking tickets was of course already neatly placed on the dashboard inside our car which was a reassuring sign of my lovely hubbie and Arthur getting there before us in good time! We then went to do a couple of more rounds on a green route which is where we met the other two (or one if you look at the bike instead ;-).

All in all it was lots of fun which ended abruptly bus still didn’t manage to spoil the experience as such.


PIY (Plan It Yourself):

How to get there:

Best by car, the postcode is RG12 7QW, Bracknell, Berkshire.


£15 for 2 hours includes helmets, £5 for additional hours. We paid £24 for an adult and pull on bike for 2 hours but returned it after almost 3 hours and kindly have not been charged any extras.

Afterwards we headed off to the Look Out Discovery Centre – one of our favourite places we go out as a family. There are so many science exhibits there that even though we must have been there at least ten times or more the children are always excited about different things.

We went first to the Forces and Movement zone where they launched a hydrogen rocket and sent a huge hot air balloon up into the air. We tried a number of wooden puzzles available and both Giselle and Conrad got the special golden stickers from one of the staff members for perseverance!

Giselle spent some time playing with different ink colours while Arthur was jumping up and down on a large piano keys playing music ;-). We then went to a Light and Colour zone where they tried to capture each other silhouettes in the shadow box, played a tune with laser beams and altered the shape of the cloud by creating some mist.

And then it was time for a Yucky You show. We tend to go to the Look Out three times a year which is closely linked with every new show they put on (they really like them). This time they were finding out about all the yucky things about their bodies which inevitably included bogies, sick, scab and spots (it is all part of the science curriculum! ;-)).

There were many interesting facts about the bodies the children learnt ie what ingredients the toothpaste is made of, what happens inside their bodies when we are sick, why is it important to brush your teeth and wash your hands thoroughly – things I am sure stay with them for a long time. Arthur spent almost 5 minutes yesterday washing his hands and recalling different facts from the show – perhaps ‘Save our water’ should be the next one on the cards! 😉

And the day would not have been completed without a visit to a Build It and Water zones. At the Water zone they played with boats in their indoor stream. Giselle and Conrad designed their own trees and all were fascinated by a colony of ants in one of the glass tanks.

They all absolutely adore Build It zone full of red lego-like looking blocks which you can load into the wheelbarrows and using the rubble chute transform up the scaffolding and start your imagination go wild! Needless to say we stayed there until the closing time which is 5pm (the parking ticket run out at 5.07pm which is worth noting in the circumstances ;-)).

I am sure if you ask them they would be ready to go back there as early as tomorrow!

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PYI (Plan It Yourself):

How to get there:

Best by car, the postcode is RG12 7QW, Bracknell, Berkshire.


We paid £7.25 each for adult ticket and £4.95 each per child (under 4s free). There is an additional charge per show which is £1.85 per person (definitely worth going). You can get a Family ticket (2+2) at £19.45.

There are some reduced prices after 4pm but since the Centre closes at 5pm is probably not worth paying.

The car parking ticket is £2 for 4 hours or £4 for all day and £2 can be redeemed at the Centre upon presentation of the parking ticket stub.


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