Gateway Project buildings

Gateway Project

The Gateway Project has been our most ambitious development project, and is now transforming our visitors’ experiences from the moment they arrive, with a fantastic new waterside café, shop and visitor centre.

The Weald & Downland Living Museum received a £4 million award from the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF), towards its Gateway Project in November 2014. The Gateway Project aimed to transform the way in which visitors experience the Weald & Downland Living Museum from the moment that they enter the site.







About the Project

Three Main Strands

The building project is now complete and opened to the public on 19 May 2017.

The Gateway Project had three main stands:

A Better Museum

New visitor facilities, including an attractive café and visitor centre, are making a visit to the Museum more relaxing and enjoyable. In addition, the Sargent Room learning and community space (adjoining the café) has extended our facilities for our many education and local interest groups.

We will also be adding improved signage, trails and historical interpretation across the site to help all of our visitors make the most of what the Museum has to offer.

Fresh Interpretation

New interpretation within the galleries and the Museum site will enhance your understanding of the Museum and its purpose. Two new areas for families will offer hands-on interactive displays, which encourage activity and learning for all ages. Links to the South Downs National Park will help you to understand the connection between the landscape and the rural buildings of our area.

Three new exhibits

The new development has released three important vernacular buildings from their functional purposes as visitor centre, café servery and refectory. Sole Street hall house has been moved and reconstructed (it opened in Autumn 2018 as a hands-on activity space), the ground floor of Longport farmhouse has become a new gallery space (the Michael Burton Gallery) and the Pallingham Quay wagon shed was moved to a new site near May Day barn and stable in 2018.

Each has its architecture and social history fully explored for the first time, providing three new exhibit buildings ready to be discovered.

We are very excited about this next exciting chapter in the life of the Museum and hope you are too.

If you have any queries, please get in touch with our team via

Top 3 Interesting Facts

Gateway Project at the Weald & Downland Museum

Architectural Concept

The design is inspired by traditional farmstead building clusters, with opening views and materials that are part of the collection.

Waterside café

Wooden Shingles

60,000 hand-cleft chestnut shingles form the covering to both anchor buildings, which house the café and shop.

The South Downs National Park

A New Entrance

The buildings include a community space and introductory galleries, which are also a Gateway to the wider landscape and National Park.

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