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Weald and Downland Open Air Museum

Chichester

Type:Museum

Singleton, Chichester, West Sussex, PO18 0EU

Tel: 01243 811363

Weald and Downland Open Air Museum

About

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 a 950-year period.

Enjoy the Museum’s 40-acre site and visit our collection of historic buildings – we have 50 to explore and many of 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 café kiosk 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.

About the museum

The Weald and Downland Open Air Museum was launched in 1967 by a small group of enthusiasts led by the Museum’s founder, the late Dr. J.R. Armstrong MBE. It opened to the public on 5 September 1970.

The principal aim of the founding group was to establish a centre that could rescue representative examples of vernacular buildings from the South East of England, and thereby to generate an increased public awareness and interest in the built environment. Read our founder’s article, Ancient Monument Society – Series 20 1973 – The Open Air Museum Idea and Reality – J R Armstrong, reproduced with the kind permission of the Ancient Monuments Society.

The Museum’s foundation coincided with a growing national interest in historic buildings and this general public interest has resulted in strong support for the Museum from its inception.

The Museum promotes the retention of buildings on their original sites unless there is no alternative, and we encourage an informed and sympathetic approach to their preservation and continuing use. Only a small number of representative buildings can be brought to the Museum for inclusion in the collection.

The Museum offers advice to people involved in the conservation of buildings. Where we cannot give advice ourselves, we will attempt to provide suitable contacts with other experts.

As well as illustrating the history of original building styles and types, the Museum has good collections representing country crafts and industries, building trades and agriculture. Objects from these collections can be seen displayed in buildings on the site, and in the open access store in the basement of the Downland Gridshell.

The Museum is a Registered Charity. It receives no regular grants or subsidies. A large number of volunteers contribute to its daily running and many organisations have helped financially or in kind. If you would like to help, please contact the Museum Director.

Guide Prices

Ticket TypeTicket Tariff
Adult£13.00 per ticket
Children 4 - 17 years/full-time students£7.00 per ticket
Children aged 3 years and underFree
Family (2 adults + 3 children)£36.00 per ticket
Over 65s£12.00 per ticket
Registered disabled/single helper£5.00 per ticket

Annual membership
£34.00 Adult
£31.00 Senior 65+
£17 Child (under 18)/full-time student
£87 Family (two adults, plus dependent children or grandchildren (aged under 18 or full-time students)

Facilities

Catering

  • On-Site cafe/restaurant
  • Picnic Site - Lakeside cafe, or bring a picnic!

Establishment Features

  • Toilets

Specialist Features

  • Marketed Towards Families

TripAdvisor

Map & Directions

Video

  • Weald & Downland Open Air Museum
  • Sussex Oxen Sol and Saxon in the Market Square

Awards

  • Regional and Miscellaneous -Tourism South East Member 2018 Tourism South East Member 2018 2018

Opening Times

Main season (28 Feb 2018 - 27 Nov 2018)
Monday - SundayOpen

* 10.30am - 6pm BST
(27 Mar - 29 Oct 2016)

10.30am - 4pm Outside BST
Event days
Opening times vary - please see What's On pages for details

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