The Workhouse, Southwell – National Trust

134 Reviews

Star Travel Rating


Review type

Things to do


Date of travel

August, 2018

Product name

Product country

Product city

Travelled with


Reasons for trip

It was a television programme, where Alan Titchmarsh was visiting unusual National Trust properties, that got us interested in seeing this one which may be the best preserved of its kind. Owing to various changes of ownership over the years, and no investment in refurbishing or updating it, the National Trust took it on in almost its original state, which means visitors get a genuine representation of what it was like 180 years ago.

The village of Southwell in Nottinghamshire, with its wonderful Minster, is in itself worth a visit, but we’d never seen anything quite like this workhouse. What really made the visit was the introductory talk, which took place outside the building. The guide gave a clear explanation of the purpose of the workhouse, its construction in 1840 and development by the Reverend JT Becher. We were given a comprehensive picture of what life was like for those unfortunate enough to be housed there, which brought to life our tour of the interior.

Conditions for the ‘inmates’ (although they were free to leave at any time) were appalling, but better than the alternative for people who literally had nothing in life. They were obviously worked hard, but at least were fed and had a roof over their heads. The picture was very different to what you may imagine from the depictions given by Dickens, for example, and rather than being a cruel imprisonment, was more the origins of social care for the poor as it exists today.

To complete the whole picture, volunteers work in the garden allotments in front of the house in costume, and (as far as they can) in role as an inhabitant of the workhouse. For the benefit of visitors, their produce is for sale and we were delighted to take home with us lettuce, marrows, potatoes and carrots!

An excellent visit!

“Workhouse website”:


Join the club

Become a member to receive exclusive benefits

Our community is the heart of Silver Travel Advisor, we love nothing more than sharing ideas, inspiration, hints and tips between us.

Come feel the love on a Princess cruise. You’ll enjoy the MedallionClass experience others simply can’t, and it’s exclusively for everyone. Visit incredible destinations and be involved in the best experiences around each one of them.

Experience more with Princess and connect effortlessly with the world around you, spend time away with loved ones, take a moment for yourself, and fall in love with your holiday of a lifetime, every time.

With over 20 years of experience, Wendy Wu Tours has mastered the art of creating exceptional, fully inclusive tours which showcase the very best of each destination.

Each tour is led by a world-class guide, who will highlight the very best of their homeland, and includes authentic cultural experiences so you are not just seeing the sights, but truly immersing yourself in local life.

Say hello to ease at sea. Ambassador’s purpose is simple: they want to inspire every guest to experience authentic cruising, effortlessly and sustainably. Passionate about protecting our oceans and destinations, their ships comply with the highest industry emission standards and there is no single-use plastic on board.

On your voyage, you will receive the warmest of welcomes from the Ambassador community as you sail upon the friendliest ships afloat.

This is a global co-operative co-owned by local partners using real local experts and guides, which supports local communities, environments and wildlife. It offers travellers quirky places to stay, activity holidays and learning experiences. Not In The Guidebooks gets travellers off the beaten track into local culture with day experiences and longer, immersive adventures.

From wild wellness breaks in Wales to painting in Portugal, sustainable adventures in Mauritius to food safaris in Brazil, this is immersive, exciting travel.

Seabourn’s five intimate ships carry guests to the heart of great cities, exclusive yacht harbours and secluded coves around the world, while two new purpose-built expedition ships will combine exhilarating adventures in remote destinations with the sophisticated amenities of the world’s finest resorts at sea.

From the luxury of all suite accommodations to complimentary fine wines and spirits, and a no tipping policy, Seabourn exemplifies the definition of travelling well.