When my children were younger, Calbourne Mill was somewhere we all enjoyed visiting. It is in a beautiful setting and in theory has a lot to offer all ages. I haven't visited for a few years and wanted somewhere to take my grandchildren on Bank Holiday Monday.
The entrance fee of £7 per adult would have been OK if the attraction was how I remembered it! However, I couldn't believe how run down it is. We purchased some bird and fish food at £1 a bag but couldn't find any birds hungry enough to eat and only saw one fish which had obviously had enough food. The children were very disappointed.
The grass area outside the cafe is where I recall sitting on the grass watching my children play, but it was so covered in duck, goose and animal 'poo' that we didn't dare sit down.
We went in to the cafe for lunch. The staff were very nice but we had to wait 45 minutes for scones, a child's lunch bag and beans on toast. I ordered an adult portion of beans on toast and was flabbergasted to be charged £4.50 for one slice with beans on top - not sure how big the child's portion would be! I would have liked a Ploughman's lunch, but at £9.95 I resisted!
What did the children enjoy? Well, the old fire engine that they can climb in and the mill demonstration were really the main attractions. They were too young to appreciate the war museum and the other outbuildings were a muddle of rusting artefacts.
As an Island resident I am able to reuse my entry ticket for the rest of the season. In past years I would have returned to enjoy the setting and have lunch in the cafe, but not this year!
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