Destination UK

A day at the Ancient Technology Centre – Cranborne

Posted on
March 24, 2018

We are always on the look out for days out with a difference and it is always extra special when we find one our doorstep.
We first heard of the Ancient Technology Centre in Cranborne last year when our friends moved to the village and it is literally a hidden gem, tucked behind the primary school.
The Ancient Technology Centre is a historically based activity centre for children and young adults which is by extremely friendly and enthusiastic volunteers who make you feel welcome from the moment you arrive.
The centre is normally accessed via school visits, Learning Centre visits, Duke of Edinburgh Awards, Colleges and University field studies, however a few times a year they hold public events and this weekend it was their pre-history weekend and we headed up the road to check it out.
The centre is all outside, so if you plan to visit I recommend your wear your wellies as it is quite muddy in places, despite straw being laid on the floor to protect the ground and absorb some of the mud.
As you enter the centre, we walked past some ancient reed buildings and a large pond before being greeted by a Roman Water Lifting machine that the kids were fascinated by and it took three of us to get it moving and start picking up the water.
Roman Water Lifting machine
Just opposite this we were introduced to our first tools of the day and the kids were invited to chop wood with two different types of axes to see which one worked better.
Bronze axe
Both Sebastian and Eliza tried a flint axe and a bronze axe and both decided that cutting was easier with the bronze one.
Axe Testing
Next up was a tent full of the different textiles they would have used in ancient times.
Ancient Material
Eliza and Sebby were keen to learn to weave and after a wobbly start, they both got the hang of it and produced a brilliant piece of fabric that could have been worn as a headband or belt. In fact I probably could have left Eliza there all day as she loved weaving.
In the grounds are an exciting array of 6 different buildings; an Iron Age roundhouse, a fascinating Earth House, a Viking Longhouse, a Neolithic Log Cabin, a Saxon Workshop and a Roman Forge as well as tents set up with various exhibits.
Round House
The exhibits were there to showcase the many different and exciting technologies and lifestyles of Prehistoric Britain ranging from the Stone Age to the late Iron Age. Most of the volunteers were in costume which really added to the experience and all had extensive knowledge of their area of expertise and happily explained how things work or how our ancestors lived.
The best thing about the day is that the kids could actually take part in the activities, which kept them interested and engaged.
Long Bow
Isaac is normally my keen archer, but it looks like Sebby is going to be giving him a run for his money, as he hit the target every time!!
Sebby long bow
It was the Roman Forge that really caught Eliza’s attention and she loved helping the blacksmith make a really hot fire with the bellows so he could make an arrowhead and an axe.
Roman Forge
It was fascinating watching the blacksmith hammering away to shape his tools and the process was much quicker than I thought it would be.
Arrow Making
For a small donation you can even take your creations home with you too.
Also at the event were Albion Falconry, a team dedicated to the credible research and preservation of the historical techniques used in Falconry. Their birds were on display throughout the day plus we got to see an exciting display of the worlds fastest bird – the Peregrine Falcon.
Peregrine Falcon
There was plenty of food to try, including some authentic bread, as well as being shown how food was preserved for the winter months.
Grass House
There were also some yummy jacket potatoes available for the less adventurous in the Viking Longhouse.
Viking Longhouse
Sebby’s favourite activity was involved seeing how they would have caught, prepared and eaten their meat and he was full of question after question for the man doing the demonstrations.
Preparing a Pigeon
I probably wouldn’t recommend watching this demonstration if you are sensitive to animal dissection, as it involved showing the best way to take a dead pigeon apart to get the breast meat by just using your hands and gutting a trout, but it certainly drew in a crowd and was fascinating to watch.
Pigeon Breast
It certainly gives children the knowledge of where food comes from and how it is prepared.
Trout Skin
Around the corner, there were more volunteers working with animal pelts and tanning hides.
Tanning Hides
Tickets for this event cost £10 for adults, £5 for children 4-16yrs, with under 4’s free.
The centre is only open to the public on certain dates of the year, so I recommend visiting their events page or their facebook page for more details. We are definitely going to go back for the Dark Ages weekend in July and their Apple Day in September, where you get to see your apples turned into cider with the fruit press.

Country Kids

  1. Reply


    March 25, 2018

    This looks like such a fabulous day out, and is really making historical education fun.

  2. Reply

    Deborah Nicholas

    March 25, 2018

    oh wow this looks so interesting, a bit like i remember my visit to Yorvik Viking museum etc!

  3. Reply


    March 25, 2018

    This looks so good, nice it is so up and close for you to get really hands on. My kids would love this

  4. Reply


    March 26, 2018

    What an incredible day out I’m fascinated by places like this as is my daughter – brilliant that they could be so hands on with so many activities which is the best way to learn!

  5. Reply


    March 26, 2018

    wow! this looks amazing! reminds me of the Yorvic Viking center in York with how interactive everything looks.

  6. Reply


    March 26, 2018

    It sounds like a nice place to visit, with plenty of things to learn. I am not sure about the last part though… not sure how important it is to see how a pigeon is killed and a trout guttered… some children can be very sensitive to this, if they are animal lovers.

  7. Reply

    Dean of Little Steps

    March 26, 2018

    Love the look of that ancient technology centre. It’s nice to take kids in places like this one to remind them about what it was like in the “olden” days as my daughter would say 🙂 Looks like your little one had so much fun. #countrykids

  8. Reply

    Yeah Lifestyle

    March 26, 2018

    What a wonderful day spent at the Ancient Technology Centre learning so many new things. Looks like your kids had such a good time there, I know mine would love it there too.

  9. Reply

    Nichola - Globalmouse

    March 26, 2018

    Wow what an amazing place. My kids would love it here, so much going on that they can get hands on with.

  10. Reply

    Sarah Bailey

    March 26, 2018

    Oh my goodness what an amazing place to get to visit, I love that it is so hands on I always think that is the best way for places to be.

  11. Reply

    Sarah | Digital Motherhood

    March 26, 2018

    When I was about 9 we had a school trip there and helped to build one of the big huts! I’ll have to take my 6 year old to show her, forgot all about it until I saw you post!

  12. Reply


    March 26, 2018

    What a great idea for some family fun. My kids would love to see this place.

  13. Reply

    Rhian Westbury

    March 27, 2018

    Looks like loads of fun, especially making the little axes, I’d love to do this even now x

  14. Reply


    March 27, 2018

    Aw it looks like you guys had a wonderful day. I remember going to a similar place like this when I was back in school and it was heaps of fun!

  15. Reply

    Eva Katona

    March 27, 2018

    I love how hands on this experience is. Children can use the tools not only peering at them in a glass display. Fantastic.

  16. Reply

    Fiona Cambouropoulos

    March 27, 2018

    I would happily pay to go to an event like this, it looks full of interesting activities and full marks to the volunteers for bringing the site to life. I’m not surprised it is used by all kinds of educational establishments, it sounds an amazing resource as well as a great family day out. The animal dissection reminds me of scout camps, I remember Nick having to go along and show them how to shoot, skin and gut a rabbit for their dinner. I’m not even sure if they would be allowed to do such things anymore but great that you can still learn about it here.
    Thank you for sharing with me on #CountryKids

  17. Reply


    March 27, 2018

    This looks like a fun day out for kids. My friends kids would enjoy this

  18. Reply


    March 28, 2018

    What a fab place to visit! I went somewhere like this when I was younger on a school trip and loved it.

  19. Reply

    Merlinda Little

    March 28, 2018

    How cool is that place! Travelling back in time is always so awesome! #countrykids

  20. Reply

    Candice Nikeia

    March 28, 2018

    This looks like so much fun! I love all the activities the kids can do and learn!

  21. Reply

    Louise (Little Hearts, Big Love)

    March 28, 2018

    I love places like this for the way they really bring history to life. It looks like there were plenty of activities going on and they all sound fascinating. #countrykids

  22. Reply

    Lauretta at Home and Horizon

    March 29, 2018

    I love how you’re engaged in the activities. Using the tools and the weapons especially the bow and arrow. I love it. Great place.

  23. Reply

    bryanna skye

    March 29, 2018

    I think places like this are so important and it is even more special being fully outside – so important to be active outdoors 🙂

  24. Reply


    March 29, 2018

    Wow this place looks absolutely fantastic! I love interactive places that give you a blast from the past xxx

  25. Reply

    Holly - Little Pickle's Mom

    March 30, 2018

    Wow! This sounds amazing – I love how hands on it is. I bet you all learned loads. I’d love to give weaving a go!

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Are we nearly there yet? is a new online blog run by me, Kara Guppy, and is named as such thanks to my daughter Eliza who always asks that very question when we are less than 5 minutes up the road heading off on our adventures. You may know me from my other family blog