Coronavirus (COVID-19) Update

In line with Government guidance the entire Museum site is currently closed. We are however, delighted to announce that we will be reopening to the wider public from Monday, 6 July*. Full details can be found here. Whilst we get ready to reopen, we will continue to monitor the guidance and keep our social media channels and FAQs updated.

As a charity and a self-funded independent museum, we live on what income we make ourselves. 90% of our income comes directly from our visitors through admissions. Whilst we are closed this income is lost to us, and that has a serious financial impact on the Museum. If you would like to make a donation to help us, please click here.

Please view our reopening page and FAQs for further information.

We are truly sorry for any inconvenience caused and we look forward to welcoming you onsite again very soon.

In the meantime, please stay safe.

* The Museum will continue to monitor government guidance during this time and we 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.


Calling All Teachers: Shakespeare Week in March
Book now for a special day of literacy, drama and history activities. In a full day of workshops, groups will learn about everyday life in Shakespeare's England.
£9.50 per pupil. Call 01243 811459 or email [email protected] for details

Watch us on YouTube!



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 now open to members only from 22 June to 5 July and we will be opening to the wider public from 6 July onwards. 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.
  • If you have any questions regarding the temporary closure of the Museum, please visit our FAQ’s.
  • 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 is on display until 11 May 2020. Make your way to the gallery space in the Michael Burton Gallery within Longport Farmhouse. NB: access to this exhibition is currently unavailable, please keep an eye on our website for further updates.

The Repair Shop:

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

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:

“Excellent place to visit and relax. So much to see and enjoy. Around 50 historic buildings to walk around. Fascinating.” Charlie Fraser-Fleming, Facebook Review, Feb 2020

“Vivid memories of my school outing about 30 years ago. We were fascinated by how people lived all those years ago – especially remember the large building with the huge fire and best of all for us kids was the loo hanging out of the side of the window!” Instagram comment by south_scenes, Feb 2020

Winter Visit – “This is a fantastic place and has a wealth of homes and facilities from many years. On site demonstrations are worth watching as they take you back in time with both an excellent commentary and display of older techniques. Also visited the gridshell exhibit, this has to be seen to be believed. Following the guides talk you are given access to the artefacts store, where items not on display are stored, truly amazing”.  Andy, Tripadvisor, Feb 2020

A fantastic Day Out“We had a wonderful day, even in January. There was so much to do and see and it was very interesting. The staff are so friendly and knowledgeable. It is their 50th anniversary this year and I would recommend everyone supports the venture to continue to save these lovely buildings and crafts. The Repair Shop was filming the day we were there too. Good, reasonably priced lunch with great views from the restaurant – what more could you want?” Margaret, Tripadvisor, January 2020

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