Welcome to the Weald & Downland Living Museum
“We are an independent Museum, we rescue and conserve historic buildings, we teach traditional trades and crafts to ensure their preservation and we share the untold stories of rural life and those who lived it in the South East of England”
– Simon Wardell, Museum Director –
Come and discover rescued rural homes and buildings set in a beautiful landscape in the South Downs National Park. Our collection tells the stories of the people who lived and worked in rural South East England over 1,000 years.
Enjoy our family-friendly and dog-friendly 40-acre site and visit our collection of historic buildings – we have more than 50 to explore from a replica Anglo-Saxon hall house to an Edwardian tin church.
We hold a regular programme of demonstrations, including milling in our 17th century working watermill; cooking in our Tudor kitchen; plus seasonal demonstrations. Take a walk in the woods, bring the dog, visit our waterside café (it is dog-friendly) or enjoy your own picnic.
Take a look at our what’s on calendar for upcoming events, shows, demonstrations, theatre productions and more.
Interested in historic trades and crafts? We also run a broad range of courses in traditional rural trades and crafts and in historic building conservation, plus two MSc programmes. We welcome school groups and have a fun and fascinating choice of workshops.
- We are delighted to announce that we have been awarded Sussex Life’s ‘Visitor Attraction of the Year’ – click here to read more.
- Visit our last exhibition for 2019 ‘Folklore & Harvest‘ which is on display until 20 January 2020. Make your way to the gallery space in the Michael Burton Gallery within Longport Farmhouse.
- Building closures: the medieval house from Sole Street is shut for re-display (opening soon) and the Carpenter’s Workshop. We apologise for any inconvenience.
The Repair Shop:
The Weald & Downland Living Museum is delighted to play host to the BBC’s The Repair Shop, which is filmed on location at the Museum. The programme is created for the BBC by the production company, Ricochet.
We, and The Repair Shop team, are delighted so many visitors enjoy the programme and are inspired by it to visit the Museum. Please be aware, during filming periods The Repair Shop Barn is closed to visitors and tours are not available. The Repair Shop team of experts are busy fixing things, so unfortunately cannot give you repair advice or assess your item. The Repair Shop production team are not able to accept items bought into the museum. If you would like to be considered for the show, please do fill in the online application form here or email the programme at [email protected] – many thanks for your understanding and support.
“After finding out about this attraction we decided to visit for the day, unfortunately not the best of weather, but on arrival we went to the café as we were early and enjoyed a good breakfast in pleasant surroundings, a bit dearer then expected but enjoyable. The open air museum is in very good grounds with well laid footpaths, and as advertised, there are knowledgeable volunteers in some of the buildings who are happy to explain the period of life and history of the dwellings. Some of the static displays took me back to my childhood in Devon with all the horsedrawn equipment on show. This could be interesting to younger people as well as showing how life really used to be in the country side, including a sample of what early school life was like before computers. The trades area is well worth a visit, the bakery was producing bread on the day of our visit, and we bought a couple of the loaves which were delicious. The BBC were there recording a fresh series of their Repair shop programme so access to that area was restricted. But regardless of the weather it is worth a visit.” Trip Advisor, September 2019
“Fabulous day at the Historic Life event today (1 September), everyone was so knowledgeable and friendly, I loved chatting to your experts and volunteers, I certainly learnt a lot. Well done, one of my favourite museums – maybe even my favourite now.” Facebook message, September 2019
“Beautiful museum set in wonderful grounds. My 2nd visit this month taking a large group of people…all of whom enjoyed it. Lovely to see trades crafts taking place and speak with the volunteers. Will definitely be back again with more groups.” Trip Advisor, July 2019