Somerset Rural Life Museum
Somerset Rural Life Museum reopened in June 2017, following a major £2.4 million redevelopment led by the South West Heritage Trust. Situated just beneath the Tor on the edge of Glastonbury, the museum is a family-friendly destination that appeals to visitors of all ages, telling the story of Somerset’s rich rural and social history.
On the site of the former Abbey Farm; visitors to the Glastonbury museum can explore rural life from the 1800s onwards and discover more about the county’s heritage including its landscape, food and farming, working life and rural crafts. The farmhouse and cowsheds are now home to a series of galleries and exhibition spaces, including both permanent displays and temporary exhibitions.
As well as the indoor galleries, the museum site has plenty of outdoor space to explore, including the beautiful 14th Century Abbey Barn in the museum courtyard, which forms the centrepiece for the site. The courtyard also offers seating for picnics and plenty of space for little visitors to run around. Just off the courtyard, visitors can discover the cider orchard; which includes a recently developed First World War style allotment, exploring Somerset on the Home Front. Throughout the Spring and Summer, the orchard is also home to Exmoor Horn ewes and lambs, as well as beehives.
Celebrating the seasons is a rural tradition that is still a key part of life at the museum. There are seasonal event days throughout the year; from the New Year Wassail celebration, to a festive, ‘A Very Victorian Christmas’. The museum also hosts regular themed ‘Family-Fun’ days, which allow children to get creative with craft activities whilst exploring the museum collection. There are also monthly ‘Toddler Explorer’ sessions, which engage younger visitors with a collection through play and active learning.
The on site Grain Store Café offers a freshly prepared seasonal menu throughout the year. Even if you just happen to be passing by, the café is free to enter and offers both indoor and outdoor seating. Hot and cold drinks, cakes and light snacks are available through the day, as well as light lunches and ice creams.
There is an admission charge to the museum, with various day and season ticket options available, as well as discounted entry for groups. The museum gift shop is free to enter and offers the chance to browse a wide range of souvenirs and gifts, including locally produced arts and crafts. There is also a free car park on site for up to forty cars, with disabled spaces also available. There is a lift available to enable access to all floors of the museum and there is both an accessible entrance, as well as steps, into the orchard.