Trip Planner:   Europe  /  UK  /  England  /  Berkshire  /  Reading  /  Museums  /  Museum of English Rural Life

Museum of English Rural Life, Reading

4.5
#4 of 15 in Museums in Berkshire
History Museum Museum
The Museum of English Rural Life is a museum dedicated to recording the changing face of farming and the countryside in England. It houses designated collections of national importance that span the full range of objects, archives, photographs, film and books.The museum is run by the University of Reading, and is situated in Redlands Road to the rear of the institution's London Road Campus near to the centre of Reading in southern England. The location was formerly known as East Thorpe House and then St. Andrews Hall.History of the museum and its siteThe museum's site was originally occupied by a house known as East Thorpe, designed in 1880 by Alfred Waterhouse for Alfred Palmer (of the Reading biscuit manufacturers Huntley & Palmers). Palmer was an important early benefactor of Reading University and in 1911 East Thorpe was extended to become St Andrews Hall, a hall of residence for women attending the university.The museum itself was founded in 1951, growing out of the university's long academic connections with agriculture. It originally occupied premises on the University of Reading's main Whiteknights Campus.St Andrews Hall closed as a hall of residence in 2001, despite some opposition from current and former members. The site was then redeveloped for the use of the museum, with the cost of £11m being shared by the university, the Heritage Lottery Fund and public donations. The redeveloped museum opened in 2005 and retains the original East Thorpe building, with the addition of an adjoining new building. The two contrasting buildings overlook restored gardens, providing a setting for a rural collection in an urban environment.
To visit Museum of English Rural Life and other attractions in Reading, use our Reading trip generator.
Source
Create an itinerary including Museum of English Rural Life
map
Reviews
TripAdvisor Traveler Rating
95 reviews
Google
4.6
  • Definitely a gem! I loved everything about this museum. It gave my sister and I a thorough understanding of everyday activities during the time of our English grandparents. We saw this museum during o...  more »
  • I took two children age 9 and 12, they chose an activity pack to take round the museum which they enjoyed completing as well as the interactive displays, I found it interesting, there was also a place...  more »
  • This museum is on our doorstep so I thought it was time to visit and see what they had to offer; I am glad we called in as my daughter enjoyed it. Not only do they have displays of items related to ru...  more »
Google
  • Recently refurbished & updated museum focusing on all aspects of rural life. Interesting exhibits highlighting different facets of agriculture through the seasons & at different time periods.
  • It gives a fascinating insight into rural life, plenty to see and you can also look at records salvaged from various places
  • It was a nice museum pre-October 2014 and it remains a nice museum today. It is slightly bigger and stuff has been re-jigged around a bit and I understand the full collection is now on display. As someone who was very familiar with the old layout and displays, it isn't that different. As a family we have massively missed being able to use MERL and its garden over the past two years, its closure has been a big loss to local residents. Personally, I wish they had just left it alone and open! Blooming lottery funding!
  • Interesting place if you like museums and history. Free.
  • Lots to learn about times past. Very well set out. Plenty to read and see. Good experience for the whole family.

Plan your trip to Reading

  • Get a personalized plan

    A complete day-by-day itinerary
    based on your preferences
  • Customize it

    Refine your plan. We'll find the
    best routes and schedules
  • Book it

    Choose from the best hotels
    and activities. Up to 50% off
  • Manage it

    Everything in one place.
    Everyone on the same page.

Where to stay in Reading

Browse hundreds of hotels and read guest reviews on the world's leading online travel agency website.
CHECK IN - CHECK OUT
TripAdvisor
Millions of travel reviews
on TripAdvisor

Plans in Reading by other users

5 days in Reading BY A USER FROM UNITED KINGDOM August, popular PREFERENCES: August ATTRACTION STYLE: Popular PACE: Medium 27 days in Reading BY A USER FROM PALESTINE October, outdoors, romantic, shopping, popular & hidden gems PREFERENCES: October, outdoors, romantic, shopping ATTRACTION STYLE: Popular & hidden gems PACE: Medium 2 days in Reading BY A USER FROM UNITED KINGDOM August, popular PREFERENCES: August ATTRACTION STYLE: Popular PACE: Medium 3 days in Reading BY A USER FROM INDIA October, popular PREFERENCES: October ATTRACTION STYLE: Popular PACE: Medium 7 days in Reading & Wokingham BY A USER FROM UNITED STATES October, popular PREFERENCES: October ATTRACTION STYLE: Popular PACE: Medium 3 days in Reading BY A USER FROM UNITED KINGDOM October, popular PREFERENCES: October ATTRACTION STYLE: Popular PACE: Medium 2 days in Reading BY A USER FROM UNITED KINGDOM August, hidden gems PREFERENCES: August ATTRACTION STYLE: Hidden gems PACE: Medium 2 days in Berkshire BY A USER FROM UNITED KINGDOM August, hidden gems PREFERENCES: August ATTRACTION STYLE: Hidden gems PACE: Medium 2 days in Reading BY A USER FROM UNITED KINGDOM August, teens, fast-paced, popular PREFERENCES: August, teens ATTRACTION STYLE: Popular PACE: Fast-paced 15 days in United Kingdom BY A USER FROM DENMARK August, relaxing, beaches, historic sites, popular PREFERENCES: August, relaxing, beaches, historic sites ATTRACTION STYLE: Popular PACE: Medium 7 days in United Kingdom BY A USER FROM HUNGARY October, popular PREFERENCES: October ATTRACTION STYLE: Popular PACE: Medium 12 days in Reading & Newbury BY A USER FROM INDIA October, popular PREFERENCES: October ATTRACTION STYLE: Popular PACE: Medium
View more plans