It was only by chance that I found out about the Charlie and Lola exhibition at Mottisfont House, near Southampton. I just happened to be watching the local news (which randomly covers the south coast, even though we live in the middle of the country!) at the right moment to catch an interview with Lauren Child. Lauren is the creator, illustrator and author of Charlie and Lola, and many other amazing children’s books. Mia and I are pretty big fans of hers, and lots of her books are story-time favourites here. The exhibition is a retrospective of Lauren’s work, including Charlie and Lola illustrations, plus pictures from many of her other books, mini interior sets from the Princess and the Pea, and even the ‘real’ pink milk glass and orange telephone featured in so many of the Charlie and Lola stories.
It was a beautiful exhibition, with space to sit down and enjoy the illustrations, to read some of Lauren Child’s books and a craft room for little ones to do some Charlie and Lola inspired cutting and sticking. Mottisfont itself is a gorgeous old house with huge gardens. There was a Charlie and Lola themed treasure hunt around the house and gardens, which was a great way of seeing everything, whilst keeping Mia entertained.Hunting for treasure hunt clues inside a potting shed in the rose gardens.Inside a Shepherd’s hut in the grounds we found another of Lauren’s characters, That Pesky Rat…and his laundry!There were some really good play parks too, one woodland themed and another water themed park.The water play park was a great hit with both of them. They played at pumping the water, making dams and mud pies, and made lots of friends! We ended up being one of the last to leave the gardens at the end of the day. Mottisfont is open all year round, and the Charlie and Lola exhibition runs until 6th September.