Days Out: Amberley Museum, West Sussex [AD - Press Trip]
Over the past few months, we haven’t really ventured to cafes, pubs or restaurants and excursions have been limited ones that are primarily outdoors – such as a National Trust location. That’s not to say that we haven’t desperately wanted to visit our favourite museums and galleries, but we’ve personally felt safer just staying away.
When half term started to near though (some several months down the line) we were interested to see how our local attractions have now adapted to COVID guidelines. It’s been a while since we’ve visited a few of them, and I’m now at a stage where I’m worried about their survival! We’re now also in a pretty decent routine when it comes to wearing masks, washing hands and applying hand gel when we’re out. I’d even go as far to say that these changes are starting to feel like normal, which has certainly lowered our anxiety.
For Half Term and Halloween, we were recently invited to Amberley Museum, which is now becoming a regular haunt. Whilst we’re still not venturing out too often, because we’ve visited a few times previously and know what to expect, we decided to pay them a visit and see how they’ve adapted.
Amberley Museum is an open-air, working museum, located near Arundel, West Sussex. The last few times we’ve visited have been to visit Father Christmas, and we’ve always had a nice time. There’s so much to see and do here.
The 180 year old site is “a Victorian period time capsule of original buildings, kilns of various ages and a settlement that had been created by its industrial and transport facilities.”. The 36 acre site sits within original pits, mines and quarries, and boasts a number of exhibition buildings and working sites. It truly celebrates everything that Sussex had to offer from 1840 onwards.
As well as buildings that are still being worked in today, from broom-makers and wheelwrights to wood-turners and craftspeople, there are also a number of buildings home to vintage vehicles and specialist exhibitions. There’s also a small railway that takes you from one end of the site to the other – T’s favourite part – and a nature trail.
For our visit, we also took part in their Where’s Wally Spooky Search Trail; an activity where we had to find a variety of letters dotted around the site. Eventually, they spelt out a spooky-themed word.
We really enjoy taking part in these kind of ‘treasure hunt’ trails. It often results in finding places you may not have otherwise found. Despite visiting a few times previously, thanks to the trail we managed to find a number of new exhibits!
Despite it being half term, it wasn’t overly busy. We were able to explore some of the more compact exhibitions with ease, and they felt clean and tidy at all times. It certainly made me feel more reassured about visiting and happy to think about visiting other locations nearby.
Before we even ventured into Amberley Museum, walking from the car park to the entrance, there were signs reminding visitors to wear a face covering and to practise safe social distancing. They have even gone to effort of using vintage “Coughs and Sneezes Spread Diseases” to spread the message, which I thought was pretty clever.
In addition to this, I saw the following adaptations:
- Timed entry slots.
- One way systems in all indoor locations.
- Hand Sanitiser dispensers generously located throughout the site.
- Lots of signage advising visitors whether a building is ‘Keep it in the Family’ (ie. one group at a time) or ‘Keep Your Distance’ (ie. practise social distancing).
- Surfaces being regularly wiped clean, with staff not touching exhibit items until after a talk had finished so they could clean the item before the next talk.
Whilst some locations were still open to touching (for example, the electricity museum), within other locations some exhibits were completely shut off to the public still. For us, we limited what we touched, and if T wanted to explore something we limited him to a knuckle and made use of their sanitiser stations before and after. We also saw other visitors do the same.
If you’d like to visit and would like to know more about how they’ve adapted to fit government guidelines, you can read more here.
We’re so glad to be back to visiting our local attractions. After today, we’re certainly going to think about other places we could visit nearby.
As mentioned previously, we’re definitely concerned about their survival (especially as a lot of them rely on visitor donations). Therefore, it was a relief to see one of our favourites back and ready to welcome visitors.
Have you visited any local attractions yet? If you’re in Sussex, where have you visited lately?
We were given complimentary tickets to Amberley Museum in exchange for an honest review. All thoughts, opinions and images are our own.