Avoncroft Museum of Historic Buildings

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We’ve been wanting to visit here for years, and set off with high expectations. We have always enjoyed open air museums with old buildings and loved The Weald and Downland Museum at Singleton in Sussex. We arrived fully expecting to spend several hours here.

The museum is tucked away behind an industrial estate near Bromsgrove, but is an oasis of peace with twenty five old buildings which have been rebuilt on a fifteen acre grassy site set among mature trees. As we drove into the car park, we could see the glorious timber frame String of Horses building. Things were looking good.

Unfortunately the rest of the museum didn’t live up to this. The buildings are nearly all small agricultural buildings. There is only one town house, a splendid timber frame building which is sparsely furnished with a single trestle table. They are missing a trick here. Apart from the windmill, manned by volunteers, there were no staff around the site, apart from a workman carrying out repairs to the threshing barn.

It was the week after Easter and school holidays. The car park was full but there were few people around the site. Perhaps they were all watching the magic show in the Guestan Hall. There was a weaving activity in the threshing shed, but there were no takers.

The buildings had good information boards telling you a bit about the history and function of the building and how it came to the museum. Once reconstructed here, however, little else seems to have been done. The toll house looks as if it was furnished many years ago and has since been forgotten about. The Town House is unfurnished apart from a wooden trestle table. Little was made of the forge, nail shop and brew house and the chain shop felt dusty and forgotten.

At £8.80 or £7.70 for concessions, we felt this was expensive for what was on offer. Apart from the threshing barn with its walls made of woven strips of oak, there was nothing we hadn’t seen better elsewhere. We had finished in 90 minutes and that included tea and a cake in the tea room which didn’t sparkle either.

There is good disabled access around the site but not into all the buildings.

I have written a more detailed review about the “museum buildings.”:http://www.silvertraveladvisor.com/review/attraction/153123-review-avoncroft-museum-of-historic-buildings

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