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Playing Sat Nav Roulette with the AA and a day at Jodrell Bank Observatory, Cheshire

Playing Sat Nav Roulette with the AA and a day at Jodrell Bank Observatory, Cheshire

Is there anything better than waking up in the morning and having nothing to do? No plans, no work, no commitments. Nothing but a gloriously long day ahead of you, waiting to be filled with an adventure. Oh the possibilities. Oh the excitement!

Sounds great, doesn’t it?

But how many of us actually embrace these days and go out and have an adventure?

In theory, I’m sure we’ll all love to fill these days with a spontaneous adventure. You’d pack a picnic and jump in the car and see where the open road takes you. With your favourite tunes blaring through the speakers, the wind in your hair and not a care in the world, you’d find yourself somewhere amazing; a beach you didn’t even know existed, a quaint little village you’d heard about but never visited, an old castle you’ve wanted to visit for years….

Sounds idyllic!

But this never happens!

You wake up but immediately go back to sleep when you remember you have no plans. You have a long and lazy breakfast, watch TV, do a load of washing, get sucked into that new boxset and….woah, before you know it, it’s dinner time and the day is over and you’ve totally wasted your potentially adventurous day doing nothing!

If you’ve got a bit more motivation you might end up in the car with your picnic but never end up going anywhere as exciting as you’d imagined! (We usually end up at Chester Zoo or doing one of these 100 things to do in Chester!)

Please tell me I’m not the only one who does this!

If you’re in the same boat then today I’d like to tell you about the new Sat Nav Roulette tool by the AA.

Sounds interesting doesn’t it!? And yes, it’s exactly what you’re thinking. It’s like the modern day equivalent of closing your eyes and pointing a finger on a map.

The Sat Nav Roulette tool on the AA’s website will generate a random destination for you and take you on an epic road trip somewhere. It’s all about rediscovering the joy of the journey and the magic of ‘getting lost’ when you have nowhere to be, only without the stress and worry of actually getting lost (we’ve all been there!) because the AA has your back and is sending you somewhere fun!

I was very excited to use the new tool for a family day out with Sam and the boys. We’ve both been so busy recently that we haven’t had a day out with the four of us for so long so the thought of going somewhere, anywhere, was exciting!

And the Sat Nav Roulette tool picked Jodrell Bank Observatory for us! 

A day at Jodrell Bank Observatory

Have you ever been to Jodrell Bank? If you live in the north west then there’s a high chance you visited during a school trip, which was exactly the last time both Sam and I had visited.

Jodrell Bank Discovery Centre is a huge observatory and is home to the third-largest steerable radio telescope in the world. The enormous Lovell Telescope is a familiar part of the Cheshire landscape as it dominates the skyline. The white bowl of the telescope has a diametre of 76.2 metres, which sounds pretty big but it isn’t until you’re stood beneath it that you fully appreciate the enormity of it!

Jodrell Bank Observatory has also been recently listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site and is recognised as a site of Outstanding Universal Value, so now is a really exciting time to visit.

I remember being in awe when I visited Jodrell Bank as a kid, but how would it compare as an adult?

Once our destination had been revealed by the Sat Nav Roulette, we packed up a picnic, herded the kids into the car and set off on our adventure.

Jodrell Bank is about an hour from our home and it was a gorgeous drive through the Cheshire countryside. I love driving at this time of year, when all the trees and bushes have gone wild and the country lanes feel a little narrower thanks to the wild flowers and hedges that are sticking out wherever they can. 

The journey started with a car disco (standard start to a road trip for our family!) before the boys took over with their renditions of The Wheels on the Bus, Twinkle Twinkle, Baa Baa Black Sheep and a mash-up of every nursery rhyme they can remember. There’s a quick game of eye-spy before the boys swiftly fall asleep and Sam and I can have some peace! Sometimes I think it’s worth going for a road trip just to get them to sleep for an hour!

As we approached Jodrell Bank we could see the Lovell Telescope towering in the distance and George woke up just in time to see the ‘alien spaceship’! I could tell he was half excited and half nervous about this enormous thing he’d just spotted!

We entered Jodrell Bank through the Planet Pavillion, where you can see a scale model of our solar system, before we moved on to the Space Pavillion where….all the buttons to press and pull and touch and wiggle! Yes, this was the most interactive section where there were loads of ‘games’. George and Joseph are way too young to understand it all but they loved being able to touch everything and press a button that made you feel like you were taking off in a spaceship. What little boy doesn’t want to take off in a spaceship!?

Now at the risk of sounding like my grandma, my favourite thing about Jodrell Bank was definitely the grounds and gardens. We visited on a gloriously sunny day and it was absolute bliss to have a picnic in a shady spot and explore the 35 acres of gardens. George and Joseph crept through the trees searching for aliens from another planet, leaving us free to relax in the sunshine.

Thanks to the AA and the Sat Nav Roulette tool for leading us on an adventure. Find out more about the tool here and let me know if you use it and where you end up!