The Weald & Downland Open Air Museum

Our ancestors’ homes and the way they built them, their animals and the way they raised them, their crops and flowers and the way they grew them…at the Weald and Downland Open Air Museum you’ll discover how the people of south east England lived and worked over the past 500 years. And it’s all set in 50 glorious acres of the South Downs National Park.

At the heart of the Museum’s collection are around 50 historic homes, farms and workplaces that have been rescued from destruction and restored as far as possible to their original form. To demonstrate how the original occupants may have lived, many of the houses contain reproduction period furniture and furnishings, plus the tools and utensils of everyday life. There is an operational 17th century watermill, and a working Tudor kitchen complete with costumed cook.

Children enjoy discovering the differences – and similarities – of our ancestors’ homes and workplaces compared to their own. They can even find out what life may have been like in the Victorian schoolroom! They will love the open space, walking through the woods, meeting the traditional breed farm animals, watching the Shire horses, and picnicking by the lake.

The Museum keeps alive the skills and traditions of the countryside with demonstrations of countryside crafts and skills, and special events throughout the year.

Special countryside events are held throughout the year. For 2012 they include:

Easter at the Museum include Wonderful Easter Wednesdays on 4 & 11 April and Easter Activities on 8 & 9 April, with a bonnet competition and parade on the Monday and the Food & South Downs fair on 6 & 7 May, followed by the Heavy Horse Spectacular on Sat 26 and Sun 27May. Southdown Springtime Half Term Activities take place daily from 4 – 8 June followed by Fathers Day fun for all the family which takes place on Sun 17 June. The lovely Rare and Traditional Breeds Show on Sun 22 July, is followed by the Festival of Steam over the weekend of 18 and 19 August.

Events continue right up to and including Christmas, just visit for details and opening times.