Weald & Downland Living Museum
Come and discover rescued traditional rural buildings set in a beautiful landscape, which tell the stories of the men, women and children who lived and worked in them over 1,000 years.
Enjoy the Museum’s 40-acre site and visit our collection of historic buildings – we have over 50 to explore and our exhibit houses are furnished to recreate historic domestic interiors. There is a regular programme of domestic and craft demonstrations, including cooking in our Tudor kitchen; blacksmithing in our Victorian smithy; plus seasonal demonstrations. Take a walk in the woods, bring the dog (we are dog friendly), visit the waterside café (also dog friendly) or enjoy your own picnic.
Interested in historic tools, trades and crafts? Our extensive artefact collection is housed in our award-winning Downland Gridshell Building – take a free tour daily at 1.30pm. We also have a comprehensive reference library.
Perhaps you would like to try a special event day, inspired by the Museum’s collections? We also run an extensive programme of adult education courses in traditional rural trades and crafts, historic domestic life and building conservation.
Museum, Garden, parklands or rural site, Historic house or home, Heritage site
1 March - 23 Dec 2017 Open daily for the main season.
24 Dec - 25 Dec 2017 Closed for the Christmas holiday.
26 Dec - 27 Dec 2017 Open for Christmas at the Museum.
28 Dec - 31 Dec 2017 Closed.
Opening hours: BST 10:30 - 17:30. Remainder of the year 10:30 - 16:00.
Adults gift aid £15.00 (standard £13.50)
Adults gift aid 65+ £13.00 (standard £11.50)
Children 4–15 years / Full time students gift aid £7.00 (standard £6.00)
Family (2 + 3) gift aid £42.00 (standard £36.00)
Family (1 + 3) gift aid £26.00 (standard £23.00)
Children aged 3 years and under £Free
Registered disabled / single helper £5.00 (standard £4.50) each
Free car parking
- Museums Association
The entire collection of this museum is a Designated Collection of national importance.
Over 45 buildings, illustrating the development of buildings in Kent, East and West Sussex, Surrey and eastern Hampshire, have been reconstructed on the Museum's site. They include four medieval houses, seven later houses and cottages (including Tudor and Victorian), a medieval shop, agricultural buildings and craft and trade workshops. The Museum's buildings, together with the expertise gained in dismantling and reconstructing them, are essential for the study of the vernacular architecture in south-east England and of timber framed building. Each building has been carefully reconstructed to a particular period in its history and provides insights into aspects of working domestic life. The primary collection of buildings is supplemented by important collections of building parts, craft and building tools and agricultural equipment. The Museum offers an extensive programme of lifelong learning based on the collections. The Museum's new open-access conservation workshop and artefact store has been supported by the Heritage Lottery Fund and will provide a permanent base for training in historic building conservation.
Rescued from destruction, the buildings have been carefully dismantled, conserved and rebuilt to their original form and bring to life the homes, farmsteads and rural industries of the last 500 years. Wander through these exhibits at your leisure - a majestic timber framed farmhouse from Kent; a striking market hall from Hampshire; a Victorian school; a medieval shop; carpenters, plumbers and brickmakers workshops; barns; a granary and a tread wheel from the South Downs. Many of the interiors have been furnished, recreating the way the buildings were used by their owners centuries ago: seven historic gardens show the herbs, vegetables and flowers grown to meet the needs of rural households from medieval to Victorian times.
See bread, pottage and sweetmeats being prepared in the working Tudor kitchen, you may even be invited to sample the results! Pause at the working water mill where stone ground flour is produced daily, experience a recreated Tudor farm, enjoy a picnic by the millpond or a walk in the woods. Delight in the company of our rare and traditional breeds of farm livestock - working horses, cattle, sheep, pigs and poultry. See traditional farming in action and heavy horses at work. Demonstrators regularly show their skills and everyone you meet will be happy to talk about how people lived and worked. Discover the skills of the early carpenters, find out about traditional building techniques and learn how we help to conserve rural crafts.
Hens peck in the straw, woolly faced sheep chew the downland grass and Shire horses work in the fields. Enjoy the rhythm of the traditional countryside and unspoilt landscape. For a complete contrast visit the Downland Gridshell, the museum's workshop and store for supporting collections - in an amazing award-winning architectural tour de force, the first timber gridshell in Britain. Tours daily at 1.30pm. Children will enjoy the freedom to roam in safety and gain hands-on experience of the museums buildings, gardens and animals.
Social History, Industry, Archives, Architecture, Agriculture
Key artists and exhibits
- Designated Collection
Museum at Night Guided Walk
- 18 — 19 May 2018 8:45-11pm
On Friday 18 and Saturday 19 May 2018 we will open our doors from 8.45pm for pre-booked visitors to experience our atmospheric Museum at Night guided walks.
These enchanting walks offer a truly out of the ordinary experience – you will be guided by lamplight to different spaces around the Museum, to hear a series of short night-time stories. Some will be amusing, some mysterious and some downright odd. Some are definitely not the stuff to ensure sweet dreams. Each story has a historical root, as truth is far stranger than fiction.
At the end of the evening, participants are invited gather around an open fire for a calming spiced warm drink of an alcoholic or non-alcoholic variety, plus a biscuit.
£25 per person
Building Materials - Getting to Grips
A hands-on gallery of building construction aimed at KS2 Science, Design and Technology.
How to obtain
Contact the Schools Service on 01243 811459 or email firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.
Weald & Downland Living Museum
Town Lane, Singleton