CONTACT KNOWHOW Rediscover your Childhood

Want to get closer to your reader? KnowHow editor, Eleanor Pender, explores UK museums and art centres that help think and feel like a child again by rediscovering your childhood. 

Recently, I’ve been reconnecting with what I liked to do when I was younger. What did you like to do as a child? Were you an adventurer in the garden, climbing trees and building forts? Were you quietly creative, taking in all that was around you and expressing what you saw in your own way? I was a bit of both. As it turns out, I’ve been painting and getting crafty this year for the first time in a long while, and it feels like it has made a world of difference to my writing.

Now, I'm not saying you need to all make crafts or build forts, but there are ways to connect with children and young readers through the actions and activities they do, and we can do them too. Why not head out and explore a child’s world with these helpful organisations across the UK.

Derwent Pencil Museum, Keswick 
Southey Works, Keswick, Cumbria, UK CA12 5NG

Located in Keswick, the Derwent Pencil Museum is one for writers and illustrators, and creative types! Visitors enter this museum, home of the first pencil, through a replica graphite mine which would have served as the source of the pencil industry over three centuries ago. This journey of graphite and pencil discovery offers free drop-in art classes and a host of children’s courses

Museum of English Rural Life, Reading 
University of Reading, Redlands Road, Reading, RG1 5EX

Based in the University of Reading, the Museum of English Rural Life is a place to go to rediscover your childhood. Is your story set in the countryside? This is where you need to go to explore the people, places and issues of the contemporary and historic English countryside and rural life. They have a beautiful and packed event programme, including events for children with sensory conditions, activities inspired by steam, wildlife, and urban gardens.

House of Illustration, London
2 Granary Square, King's Cross, London, N1C 4BH

The House of Illustration is the UK’s only public gallery dedicated solely to illustration and graphic art. Founded by Sir Quentin Blake, their exhibition and event programmes explore historic and contemporary illustration, including the work of Posy Simmonds and Marie Neurath. Activities cater for all ages, from 2-5s to adults and cover a range of skills including woodcutting, character composition and creative fun.


Based in Bristol, Eleanor lectures in digital communications and chairs YA and middle-grade events at festivals including Bath Children's Literature Festival, Edinburgh International Book Festival and YALC. She is currently working on a young adult fantasy novel.


Do you have any helpful organisations or centres dedicated to children in your area? Tell KnowHow! Email our KnowHow editor, Eleanor at 

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