‘Look after them’ (Gromit Unleashed)

Last week I had a rare full week off work with the kids. I enjoy my time off with the kids, but we don’t usually DO much. We take life a bit more slowly. We go for walks, we go to the park (althoughย not like we used to), we go to the cinema and they have to come shopping with me and fit round all of the housework and errands.

But with a full week off work, I decided I needed to make the most of it. I needed to be adventurous. I needed to go somewhere. So I decided to go to Bristol to see Gromit Unleashed. I realise this is not a big deal. I know many mums take their kids to theme parks on their own, even take them on holiday on their own. But not me. I’m just not that confident.ย I’m not the best driver, and I’m even worse at parking, so I didn’t fancy driving. I decided to take the train. Even though I can get nervous on public transport too.

When I announced my intention to embark on this adventure to my husband, he just said ‘look after them’. What else am I going to do?! I’m their main carer. I spend my life looking after them. But I realise this is what I say to him too. My husband has taken them to London before, he’s taken them to Weston-super-Mare and he’s often taken them to watch Man Utd. And he always brings them back in one piece. For him, the driving is his strong point. My worries are mainly that he gives them enough to drink and makes sure they wash their hands before they eat. But he’s good with suncream, because he burns himself, and will always make sure they’ve had plenty to eat (although it may not be the type of food I would want them to eat). I’m good at all this stuff. It’s just the travelling element I’m not so great with. But I was determined!

The first minor problem arose when we got on the train. It was crowded. The boys found a seat together, but my daughter and I had to sit separately, next to strangers, which she was a little bit stressed about. Then we got off the train and it was time for Gromit hunting!

Bark at Ee, Isambark Kingdog Brunel, Blazin’ Saddles and May Contain Nuts (& Bolts)

The first one was very easy to find – he was right on the platform – May Contain Nuts (& Bolts). Just outside the station we found Isambark Kingdog Brunel – named after one of Bristol’s most famous sons, of course.

From there it got slightly more challenging, but I had the excellent Gromit app on my phone and an awesome navigator in the form of my younger son. The kids were supposed to take it in turns, but he was the only one who seemed to understand what he was doing (and I’m including myself in this).

The first three after the station involved walk of 400 or 500 metres at a time, but they were nice and quiet and we could take photos in peace. Apart from shouting at each other. At this point I was having not too pleasant flashbacks to our Center Parcs geocaching experienceย My eldest wanted photos of himself on his own phone with each of the Gromits. My daughter didn’t understand why she couldn’t go in at least some of these photos (and, to be honest, neither did I), so she started shouting at him. Then she shouted that she couldn’t go in any photos of her own and she couldn’t take any photos either. Sigh.

Watch Out, Gromit! A Close Shave and Newfoundland

So she started taking photos on her DS – very slowly. And shouting ‘It’s gone blurry!’. At every Gromit we came to, my son had his photo on his phone, then I took a photo of all the kids on my camera – and on my phone too for Instagram if it was quiet. Then finally my daughter would get the DS out and try to take a photo from the front and the side. Usually while someone else’s little darling was already having their pic taken. Much to her disappointment.

We made it into the city centre and the Gromits were coming thick and fast and the crowds were getting bigger. Everywhere there were people with paper maps and waiting patiently at every Gromit for their photo. Luckily by this point we’d mainly stopped shouting at each other (apart from the DS blurry shouting, but that wasn’t actually aimed at anyone).

We got a bit thrown when the Gromits were inside – and a fair few are. They’re in the library (The Gromalo by Axel Scheffler), M Shed (two in there), tourist information and the Marriott Hotel. The one the kids wanted to see most of all was the one by Jeremy Wade, who presents River Monsters – a programme about large and scary fish that they watch obsessively. Needless to sa,y this one was in the aquarium. There was a Gromit on a boat – The Matthew – and my younger son told me all about the discovery of Newfoundland by the owner/ captain (I’m not sure which) of The Matthew. How does he know all this stuff?! That Gromit is called Newfoundland. Yes, they all have individual names and characters. There was one by Harry Hill (A Close Shave) which the kids were also very star-struck by.

Where’s Wallace? The Gromalo and Butterfly

In the four hours between getting off the train and getting back on, we found 25 Gromits. Pretty good going, I think! We walked and walked and we all really enjoyed it. It was A Grand Day Out. See what I did there?

Author: Sarah Mummy

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33 Comments

  1. It looks like you had the best time there, finding 25 Gromits is some achievement! Well done for going travelling with the kids, you probably deserve a medal for that. Thank you for linking up with #whatsthestory

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  2. I love this, we did this with the giraffes they have in Colchester at the minute. I would love to find the Gromit’s. Well done with the travelling. I’m the same with driving, I used to drive everywhere then I met Darren and he has done it all. I’m angry at myself for that. Made me laugh about taking the photos, it is a bit of a fight with all the cameras there are now!

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  3. Oh you sound just like me – and I just took the kids to London the first time last week – we ended up walking for 2 1/2 hrs so I could avoid public transport, and we went bk a few days later and my husband showed me it was a couple of minutes on the tube lol.

    I’m very proud of you, and know how much you don’t like public transport – glad you all had such a good time.

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  4. Sarah I am so so jealous what an absolutely amazing time i would love this!!

    thank you for linking up this fantastic trip to #magicmoments xx

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  5. I know how you feel about the driving and public transport thing. I hate it but have to force myself to do it otherwise we wouldn’t go anywhere. Well done you for doing it though x

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  6. It looks like a fabulous day – or grand, as you say! Wish we loved closer, as I’d enjoy this – my children are probably a bit small for it, so it would really just be for my enjoyment ๐Ÿ™‚

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  7. Wow I would love to do a Grommit hunt. That is so impressive and I love their names.. The Kingdog Brunel one made me chuckle (I have a terrible sense of humour!!) ๐Ÿ™‚

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  8. That looks brilliant! I wish I was closer to Bristol and could go visit! Love it ๐Ÿ˜‰ xx

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  9. Hahaha! well done on surviving your ‘Grand day Out’ (very clever!) even though you were nervous about it. I love the photos and I’m glad I could see them, a transatlantic trip to gromit hunt is out of the question apparently!

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  10. Sounds like fun – you must have ended up with loads of photos after all that. Well done on taking them.

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  11. Well done you. Never mind what other people do, whenever you do something new or out of your comfort zone, it’s always a worry. I followed your fab day out on Instagram too x

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  12. It sounds like you had an amazing day out, and go you for pushing yourself out of your comfort zone!

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  13. Thanks very much, everyone! It really was a fantastic day out and I would definitely recommend it to anyone living not too far away. I think the transatlantic trip probably would be a bit much, Lou!
    Glad I’m not the only one who feels they have to push themselves a bit to use public transport or drive. But I’m inspired now! I’m brave enough to take the kids out again.

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  14. 25 in a day! I’m impressed. The most we managed in one go was 17 and we were exhausted! We’ve only got 25 more to find now

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  15. Good for you, it sounds like it was worth it too. What a great idea – my husband would love it ๐Ÿ™‚

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  16. Thanks, everyone! It really was amazing. I’d like to go and hunt for a few more, but there’s not much time left now.
    Impressed that you’ve only got 25 left to find, Kath!

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  17. Wow what a lot of Gromits! Well done on bringing them back intact from your exciting trip out ๐Ÿ˜‰

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  18. I went pig spotting in Bath once, but nowhere near as exciting as Gromit! Wish I lived nearer!

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  19. Thanks very much, everyone.
    Nice idea to plan some Gromit days, Jo! I would love to go back, but don’t think we have the time.
    We did racehorses in Cheltenham a couple of years ago, Sarah, but they weren’t a patch on the Gromits!

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  20. Aww sound like you all had a great time, I would be worried on a crowded train too, glad you all had fun ๐Ÿ™‚

    Thanks for sharing at welcome to the weekend blog hop

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  21. WE love the Wallace and Gromit dvds! (And Peter Sallis!!) Love seeing all of these. Your trip and pics will have to suffice for us. The transatlantic crossing would take while….

    Good for you for making the trip! I’m sure your kids will remember it for along time. ๐Ÿ™‚

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  22. Thanks very much, everyone! It really was great fun and I’m glad I braved it! Glad I’m not the only one who would get nervous on a crowded train, Claire!
    Brilliant as it was, it would definitely not be worth the transatlantic flight, Mary!
    Really appreciate all of your comments ๐Ÿ™‚

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  23. Wonderful post and my hubby told me to ‘be careful’ when I told him I was taking my gang into London by myself – since then I’ve become an expert at this operation.
    Wis they brought the Gromits here – I’d love to go spotting! xx

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  24. Well done, Emily! We can cope better than these husbands think we can! Although I reckon coping with the kids in London is taking it up to a whole different level! Thanks very much for commenting. x

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  25. Great photos. We really enjoyed it too… until the buggy tyre burst a couple of miles from the car. We saw one on a boat, but it wasnt the newfoundland one. We saw that one next to a shed. Sadly one was gone due to vandalism Nr queens square too, which I think is very sad. and we couldnt get in Mshed as they shut fifteen mins early ๐Ÿ™

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  26. Thanks very much, Emma. It’s strange that Newfoundland had moved! There was a logic to its location – as explained by my clever son. Shame about MShed and about the vandalised one – there was a different one missing when we were there.

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