Amidst bucolic Cheshire countryside, a massive piece of pure 1950s sci-fi punctuates the skyline: the colossal, gorgeous and iconic Lovell Telescope at Jodrell Bank. It’s impossible not to be awestruck. If you think Space is boring then pop along and have your mind firmly changed. Jodrell Bank has seen quite a transformation, becoming a brilliantly hands-on and exciting attraction for all ages.
The main exhibition building, the Space Pavilion, allows visitors to find answers to the wonders of the Universe, listen to the sounds of the Big Bang and explore the invisible Universe using a range of activities you can touch. The kids had a lot of fun in here – the Black Hole which you roll balls into had them practically fighting over it!
We went in the school holidays, a time when the centre runs plenty of events (advisable to book ahead). Our entertainment of choice was ‘Rocket week’. The day included a fun science show packed with audience-appreciated explosions. Outside the theme continued with children allowed to make their own simple rockets using old film cases and Vitamin C tablets. They loved it!
A million orange Vitamin C explosions later, we took the kids for a walk around the base of the giant telescope, trying to spot if it was moving… turning to look for life on other planets perhaps?
Jodrell Bank has introduced Planet Path backpacks that you can borrow, with maps and little experiments for children. It’s a perfect activity to do in good weather as it follows a trail around the site. Also, there is the arboretum with a new Galaxy Garden inspired by space and astronomy, plus a play area.
You’ll find plenty of picnic tables if you bring your own lunch and in summer The Potting Shed, a pop-up café, serves a small selection from the main café. The Planet Pavilion Café is a destination in its own right, serving wonderful homemade food.
Daily 10am-5pm. Adult £7.50, Child £5.50, Family £22.
Jodrell Bank Discovery Centre, Macclesfield,
Cheshire SK11 9DL
Tel: 01477 571766 jodrellbank.net