Coronavirus (COVID-19) Update

The Museum is OPEN, in line with Government guidance*. Entry is by pre-booked, timed tickets only. Full details about our current opening arrangements and FAQ’s can be found here.

As a charity and self-funded independent museum, we live on what income we make ourselves. 90% of our income comes directly from our visitors through admissions – sadly, whilst we were closed, this income was lost to us and that has had a serious financial impact on the Museum. If you would like to make a donation to support us, please visit our 'ways to support' page.

* The Museum will continue to monitor government guidance and will adapt our opening arrangements to adhere to any new requirements, therefore please keep an eye on our website and social media channels for any further updates.

Education

School Workshops Under Review
Due to COVID-19 we are currently looking at ways to accommodate school groups safely onsite. We are taking bookings for December onwards, however we would be happy to come out to schools in the meantime. Please call 01243 811459 or email [email protected] for details

Watch us on YouTube!

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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.

Updates:

  • We are now open! Entry is by pre-booked, timed tickets only, please visit our FAQ page for further information.
  • Due to COVID-19 we have made a few changes, please read our reopening page before you visit.
  • Museum cafe is open for takeaway service only, between 10.30am-5pm.
  • 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 ‘People’s Show‘ exhibition has been extended! Make your way to the gallery space in the Michael Burton Gallery within Longport Farmhouse.
  • Closures: Please note that the Museum’s sculpture trail is closed until further notice, apologies for any inconvenience.

The Repair Shop:

The Museum’s Court Barn from Lee-on-Solent is home to The Repair Shop series and is closed for private hire (filming). The film set it not open for visitors to explore.

NEED TO CONTACT THE REPAIR SHOP?  For all Repair Shop enquiries, please do not contact the Museum (we are simply the venue) – instead, please contact Ricochet directly.

Please note that the conservators featured in the series come from across the UK and are not resident at the Museum – the Museum is unable to offer conservation advice for the repair of items and unable to accept post or take delivery of items for repair. If you are interested in applying to be on the series please apply via the website https://www.ricochet.co.uk/casting/the-repair-shop.

For all other queries  please contact 01273 224 800 or email [email protected] and liaise directly with Ricochet BEFORE sending your items in the post, to avoid loss or damage.

Recent reviews:

Amazing experience in beautiful spacious surroundings
Intriguing to be immersed in and feel how past lives were lived. Very authentic feeling brought even more to life by friendly guides seated outside some of the buildings. Amazing to see the barn where The Repair Shop is made for the TV series. Good càfe with one toilet and good social distancing. We had a hot pasty and nice fresh baguette. Tables inside and outside next to the large pond with nice views of the beautiful surroundings and water birds. Lots of picnic tables and toilets spread around the large site. Due to Covid-19, only one family allowed per building so plenty of time to take everything in. I’ve always wanted to visit and wasn’t disappointed, in fact it far exceeded my expectations!” – Shirley, TripAdvisor, October 2020

“We came to visit the museum yesterday the 3rd October and just wanted to say what a wonderful day we had. It has been over 40 years since I last came and was blown away by all that was on offer. The buildings and whole site are looked after so carefully. I almost think COVID rules enhanced our experience because we could take our time to appreciate each building on our own and the volunteers were so knowledgeable that we learned loads of facts. It was a wet rainy day but didn’t dampen our experience at all and by the end of our visit the sun came out and we were able to enjoy a delicious coffee sitting looking out at the view across the lake. Thank you!” – Della, visitor feedback, October 2020

“What a fascinating place! The collection of historical buildings is amazing and the guides on site are so very knowledgeable. It is a wonderful place to spend time and set in a very pretty location. Also, very interesting to see where The Repair Shop is filmed!” – DWK14, TripAdvisor, September 2020

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