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Museum of English Rural Life

Address: Redlands Rd | University of Reading, Reading RG1 5EX, England
Phone Number: +44 118 378 8660
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87%
Ranked #6 of 32 Attractions in Reading
Certificate of Excellence 2014
Type: History Museums, Museums
Owner description: The Museum of English Rural Life at the University of Reading houses the most comprehensive...
More attraction details
Attraction details
Type: History Museums, Museums
Hours:
Tue - Fri 9:00 am - 5:00 pm
Sat - Sun 2:00 pm - 4:30 pm
Owner description: The Museum of English Rural Life at the University of Reading houses the most comprehensive national collection of objects, books and archives relating to the history of food, farming and the countryside. The museum galleries and garden are currently closed until early 2016 for a Heritage Lottery funded redevelopment project. The gift shop, staircase hall and library and archives reading room are still open (Monday 10am to 5pm and Tuesday to Friday 9am to 5pm)

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58 reviews from our community

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Date | Rating
  • English first
  • Portuguese first
  • Any
English first
Berkshire
Top Contributor
112 reviews 112 reviews
21 attraction reviews
62 helpful votes 62 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed December 11, 2014 NEW

A Sunday afternoon visit to MERL was a brilliant way to give my father an afternoon out. He loved the exhibits and the film show slots were extremely interesting. He is of an age that some of the exhibits were commonplace when he was younger.I

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Reading
Contributor
14 reviews 14 reviews
3 attraction reviews
3 helpful votes 3 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed December 3, 2014

We visited the museum during the summer before the renovations so it will be even better when completed. As you walk round you really get the feel for how people lived and worked in the country, lots of machinery, photo's to enhance the experience, we will definitely go back next year.

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Reading, United Kingdom
Senior Contributor
23 reviews 23 reviews
11 attraction reviews
21 helpful votes 21 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed November 16, 2014

This was a great museum, and we really enjoyed our visit. But there isn't much point telling you about it, as the museum has now closed for redevelopment. According to their website, it will reopen in early 2016. Given the length of closure, it will presumably be quite different when it reopens.

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AlisonHilton, Public Relations Manager at Museum of English Rural Life, responded to this review

Thank you for your review! The museum is indeed currently closed for a Heritage Lottery funded redevelopment. The project will transform the way the collections are interpreted and displayed to make them more relevant to today's visitors. The length of the closure is down to the scale of the project. It takes several weeks to dismantle the current displays and... More 

Reading, United Kingdom
Contributor
15 reviews 15 reviews
8 attraction reviews
1 helpful vote 1 helpful vote
4 of 5 stars Reviewed October 28, 2014

Visited this place and really amazed to very nice place on city center There are various places inside where one can take pictures by wearing various costumes which was great Love to visit again as its just in the way towards Reading Station

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Reading, United Kingdom
Top Contributor
89 reviews 89 reviews
62 attraction reviews
43 helpful votes 43 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed September 13, 2014

If you like agricultural history you will love this hidden gem. Never seems to be very busy - so you can wander at your leisure. Young Grandchildren get very "intense and competitive" looking for all the (stuffed) rats that they need to find.

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Reading, England, United Kingdom
Senior Reviewer
8 reviews 8 reviews
4 helpful votes 4 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed August 6, 2014

Lot of gamesgames full of surprises. To visit in a!! Kind of weather.Art and crafts session during school holidays.

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Bracknell, United Kingdom
Top Contributor
94 reviews 94 reviews
49 attraction reviews
82 helpful votes 82 helpful votes
1 of 5 stars Reviewed August 2, 2014

Came here with a friend thinking this museum would be full of interesting antiques from long ago, thinking there would be a great collection of old furniture, came as a shock, only filled with old TOOLS, CARTS and boring old bits of junk. Glad I didn't waste my money looking at what i would call JUNK and stuff that really... More 

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AlisonHilton, Public Relations Manager at Museum of English Rural Life, responded to this review

Dear Melissa, We are very sorry that you did not enjoy your visit to MERL. We are not sure why you would have been particularly expecting to find antique furniture, as I am not aware that we publicise our collections as featuring furniture. However, I am very sorry that you did not see the value of the agricultural tools, wagons... More 

Reading
Top Contributor
67 reviews 67 reviews
29 attraction reviews
29 helpful votes 29 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed June 29, 2014

There is a heck of a lot packed into this fairly small museum just half a mile from Reading town centre. Logically laid out there are tools, machines and information about rural living in yesteryear. To make sure you get the full benefit I can recommend one of the volunteer guide's tour. Helpfully no entrance charge - we were there... More 

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Washington, Dc
Senior Contributor
25 reviews 25 reviews
12 attraction reviews
11 helpful votes 11 helpful votes
3 of 5 stars Reviewed June 25, 2014

This smallish but modern museum is centrally located on the University of Reading campus. It covers the history of English agriculture with displays of tools, plows, wagons and many informative videos. If you have any interest in farming it's worth an hour of your time. While there is no food service some munchies are available in the gift shop.

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Reading, United Kingdom
Senior Contributor
44 reviews 44 reviews
44 attraction reviews
26 helpful votes 26 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed June 2, 2014

Last Saturday 31st May I visited the Annual 'Summer Fayre'. This is the highlight of the year - lots to do for Children and support from the University teaching everyone about making Cheese, Bread and Yeast with lots of hands-on practical experiments. The atmosphere is great with several Morris Dance Groups, Real Ale Tent and Pig Roast, and other entertainments.... More 

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