The Workhouse, Southwell
The Workhouse, Southwell
4.5
10:30 AM - 3:30 PM
Wednesday
10:30 AM - 3:30 PM
Thursday
10:30 AM - 3:30 PM
Friday
10:30 AM - 3:30 PM
Saturday
10:30 AM - 3:30 PM
Sunday
10:30 AM - 3:30 PM
About
Built in 1824, The Workhouse is the best preserved workhouse in England. A place of despair or a beacon of hope? Visit and decide for yourself.
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  • Caroline S
    1 contribution
    Great Day Out
    Fabulous visit with our grandchildren aged 8 and 10 years old. Grandad and the 10 year old enjoyed the guided tour and found the guide excellent. The 8 year old and myself chose to try the Victorian games such as whip and top, skittles and roll the hoop which were great fun. There was lots of written information provided giving a clear insight into how people used to live whilst staying at the Workhouse. The children particularly enjoyed the interactive areas such as the kitchen and the school room. We enjoyed a tasty and reasonably priced lunch and the whole visit took over 3 hours. This did not include a visit to the Infirmary, which we intend to do next time. The highlight of the day was the excellent story telling by the three volunteer actors each giving a brief history of their stay in the work house. All the volunteers throughout the day were extremely helpful and we will return.
    Visited February 2023
    Written February 20, 2023
  • poolehornet
    Poole, United Kingdom276 contributions
    Thought provoking time in History
    Fascinating but sorrowful experience telling the story of a victorian workhouse,the workhouse was an interesting but harrowing tour of the building. The Infirmary told the story of which brought back memories of my childhood. Thought provoking period in our history.
    Visited March 2023
    Traveled as a couple
    Written March 12, 2023
  • crushertim
    Leicester, United Kingdom507 contributions
    Interesting place
    Not normally a NT visitor but had a free ticket so decided to pay this place a visit. It is a large building with many rooms, some empty and others reconstructed, overall it does show how desperate people must have been to end up in there. Staff very friendly and full of information. Had lunch in the cafe which was very good.
    Visited March 2023
    Written March 18, 2023
  • Descu
    Scunthorpe, United Kingdom154 contributions
    VERY THOUGHT PROVOKING PLACE
    Visited on a lovely sunny day to this interesting place which surprisingly enough was still used in the 1980's in some form or another. We took the outdoor guided tour on our visit and this is a must as the gentleman who took us was very informative and delivered the talk with a touch of wit. There is an outdoor picnic area for those who don't wish to bring there own food but the indoor café had good quality cakes for sale. All the staff we spoke to were very pleasant and helpful.
    Visited March 2023
    Traveled as a couple
    Written March 26, 2023
  • Mindy1001
    Walsall, United Kingdom486 contributions
    Brilliant visit
    Incredibly well maintained building and grounds. Informative staff dotted around the workhouse and helpful ‘iPad’ you can scan for additional info. The most up to date part is new from my last visit- used right up until the 70’s-80’s for families until the council could home them!.. must’ve been quite horrific. I would be interested to know the reality of what life was like for those in the late 19th century, early 20th however.. Altho I doubt we’ll ever have that in terms of who wrote history back then and who was illiterate. I’m sure these reform ideas were ‘great’… but what about those on the receiving end. Good Easter activity for kids. Cafe was nice- food was tasty.
    Visited April 2023
    Traveled as a couple
    Written April 1, 2023
  • ScarlettH
    Shepshed, United Kingdom21 contributions
    interesting visit
    The workhouse was a vast and domineering building. It was fascinating to walk around, we went over Easter where there was live characters in period dress made it all more real and engaging for the children. there was also an Easter hunt -not as good as previous NT hunts but was ok for 1 of our children who is (3) There is lots of reading to do as you go around helped with a little tablet to connect to each room. but our 2 of our children (11 & 8) remained engaged.
    Visited April 2023
    Written April 14, 2023
  • Flossie F
    Nottinghamshire, United Kingdom65 contributions
    Exceptional experience.
    Highly recommend this attraction. So well curated with exceptional volunteers, going the extra mile for children. I shall go again without children so I can read all the fabulous information boards and really experience the place. It's an absorbing and thought-provoking experience.
    Visited April 2023
    Written April 18, 2023
  • DRMTJ
    Henley in Arden, United Kingdom382 contributions
    A must do
    A really interesting visit where you learn lots about the realities of the workhouses. We chose to do the tour which was brilliant our guide (Janet) was excellent and bought the place to life in an entertaining way. Since our last visit the infirmary has opened so even more to see. Highly recommend a visit even if you aren’t NT members.
    Visited April 2023
    Traveled as a couple
    Written April 21, 2023
  • mrsflight
    East Grinstead, United Kingdom228 contributions
    Full of interesting history
    Really enjoyed our visit today. The staff were friendly and knowledgeable about the history of the building and it's inhabitants. The kids really enjoyed exploring and playing the kids games, and I enjoyed dressing up! If your interested in social history or the Victorian age this is a must visit
    Visited May 2023
    Traveled with family
    Written May 3, 2023
  • Ann P
    Southampton, United Kingdom97 contributions
    So much history
    Our visit was really good. So much history. Rosemary the lady that did the tour was really good. Explained things and answered questions. All the staff were accomodating and they answers all our questions. I can't imagine their life during those times.
    Visited May 2023
    Written May 29, 2023
These reviews are the subjective opinion of Tripadvisor members and not of TripAdvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.
Detailed Reviews: Reviews order informed by descriptiveness of user-identified themes such as cleanliness, atmosphere, general tips and location information.
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4.5
1,163 reviews
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Poor
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PBPG
Yorkshire, UK6,007 contributions
Jul 2021
A huge magnificent building telling the story of how this model of how workhouses should be. It all felt a little too comfortable, the dormitories whilst packed with beds didn’t tell the story of how many people to a bed. The days were apparently filled with boring work so as to discourage people from moving in. It needed more information boards. The handheld devices which you activate by scanning a symbol at various places didn’t give much detail and rooms quite often didn’t have descriptions At £8 for an adult it is not cheap and I left feeling somewhat unfulfilled but worth the visit.
Written August 2, 2021
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Emma
20 contributions
Sep 2023 • Couples
This was a really interesting trip out. The interpretation was very nicely done, and the recreation of old photos kept things relevant to today. The projector in the cellar made me jump though! There was a nice trail for £2 to get a prize at the end and outdoor games (splat the workhouse rat for example) to help lighten the mood. It was a little expensive for 2 adults, but the National Trust have clearly spent money, time and effort into this attraction so we didn't mind.
Written September 8, 2023
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

AmieE
10 contributions
Oct 2022 • Family
We visited the workhouse as my 9 year old is learning about the Victorians at school and we I’ve always wanted to visit as I love history. We were not disappointed. We had a tour with a guide, I think her name was Angela, and the information was perfectly aimed at the range of ages in the group. All of the staff we encountered were knowledgeable. My children (9 snd 7) loved the school house and dressing up as Victorian school children. We visited on a lovely October day and we were able to enjoy the picnic benches outside. We spent a full day there and learned so much.
My only criticism is that the gift shop was located in the entrance building, and as the last entry was 3pm, when we left the workhouse at 4pm, the entrance building was already closed so we couldn’t visit the gift shop. Had we known, we probably would have visited the gift shop earlier, then gone back to the workhouse. It didn’t spoil the day, I just want other people to be aware of this when they visit.
I’d definitely recommend this property for anybody wanting to learn more about the Victorians and workhouses. It really is set in a beautiful location, easy to find too.
Written October 25, 2022
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Sarah Elliott 19
3 contributions
Aug 2022
I loved going to the workhouse, Southwell as it was an insight to what life was like for people back in the Victorian era and what they went through. I loved how the building and all the rooms were not touched and you got a real feel of what the sleeping arrangements were for the people that were at the workhouse. If I were to give any tips for people going to the workhouse, Southwell that they were trainers or some comfortable shoes as I wore crocs when I went as it was a hot day and I didn't have trainers to wear. I loved the house as it made you not think of a workhouse but of something else like it made me think it was a stately manor from all of the windows and rooms that were there. I would also recommend when you go to the gift shop you pick up a copy of the book called The Workhouse, Southwell and that you can find out more information about what it was like and how the rooms looked. The Workhouse is a great place to take your children to learn about history if they are studying the Victorian era at school/college ( depending on their age) even I'm not studying history but I loved the Workhouse. Would 100% come back again
Written August 21, 2022
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Midwinter Family
Stowmarket, UK22 contributions
Aug 2021
This is a very interesting piece of English history that has been preserved superbly. The building is extremely atmospheric and the effort that has been invested to keep original features should be commended. The car parking is easy and the staff very friendly and welcoming.
Written October 28, 2021
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Andythebaggie
Birmingham, UK2,326 contributions
Aug 2021 • Couples
This austere building is an important monument to social care from the 1830’s until relatively modern times. It’s a big property and there’s lots to see on several floors. You get a personal audio device which you scan on codes scattered around the building to get history and context. There are also friendly well informed staff. The majority of the rooms are as they would have been in the workhouse era, though some of the upstairs bedsits are as they were when last used in the 70’s. The building is deliberately lacking in decor, though not in interest. Well worth a visit if your interested in social history.
Written September 7, 2021
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Jeremy M
Kidderminster, UK31 contributions
Jun 2022
My wife and myself were lucky enough to visit the Workhouse on Sunday June 26th.
What a fantastic place!
The lady who conducted us on an outdoor tour at 12:30 of the building before we went inside was absolutely superb and held everyone's attention for almost an hour.
Once inside everyone realised how the poor used to live years ago with families separated except being allowed to meet for 1 hour a week.
Well done all the volunteers inside as well as the lady outside.
Written June 28, 2022
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Discerning-diner2014
Birmingham, UK260 contributions
Aug 2022 • Couples
The workhouse itself was very interesting and well worth a visit and would get 4 stars from me although it’s in such a lovely setting it is hard to imagine the horrors that went on there. Like other reviewers say it was rather sparse so you can’t get to grips with how cramped and awful it was. I think if they had packed out one of the men’s bedrooms as it would have been that might be better.
A lot of the descriptions are on items of clothing in the workhouse and you have to use hand held tablets. Whilst good for younger visitors these might be more difficult for older or visually impaired visitors so an audio tour might be made available?
I have had to deduct a couple of points as I arrived as part of a coach tour. I don’t drive so it was just easier for me. On arrival we were told they were short of leaflets and they spilt us down the coach into two groups like children and said half had to go to the house and half had to go to the infirmary and cafe. We were frogmarched off to the cafe and told we couldn’t go on the tour of the grounds and it wasn’t that great anyway (or we weren’t missing much). I was very annoyed. Firstly, they knew we were coming and we must have made up at least 50% of the custom at that time so they could have arranged an extra tour for us or just left us to our own devices. If you have thirty people some will naturally go to the toilets, some will head for the cafe, it was a beautiful day so some will sit outside, some will go to the house and some might do the tour. Given most of the group were pensioners they might have benefitted from the organised tour especially for those with sight problems. If that’s what I have to look forward to as a pensioner then I’m not happy. Remember customers are adults and we have free will. You might be able to do that with school trips but leave adults to their own devices and consider putting on extra tours for coach trips. It marred what would have been a lovely day.
Written August 2, 2022
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Midlandsman56
Mansfield, UK541 contributions
Jul 2021
me my wife, son with autism and his girlfriend with special needs visited on Friday 2nd July 2021, we booked to visit at 2pm but wish we had booked earlier. The young receptionist explained that the cafe closed at 2.30pm so we headed straight up to the cafe, I wanted a cream tea but sadly they had no cream, but hey ho, I had a scone with jam, we then popped up to the infirmary and a kind gentleman took us a on tour, before we headed to the main house, where a gentleman gave us a guided tour of the downstairs, but sadly couldnt go upstair due to the closing time..we will go back again and see the parts we didnt have time to go round..A enjoyable few hours here and may I thank all the staff for being patient with my 2 children with special need and me on crutches
Written July 2, 2021
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Kirky
Green Hammerton, UK302 contributions
Aug 2021
This was my first visit to an attraction since everything closed down and it reminded me of how I've missed them.

Most rooms are presented in their restored form but others left bare as they were found when the NT acquired the property. Information is written onto bed clothes and recreations of old outfits as well as accessed via a handheld device you hover over big dots.

I found the recent history of the workhouse particularly interesting. Part of it was used as a women's refuge in the 1970s and a bedsit has been recreated from that era. The workhouse strongly evokes all its various guises and uses, eg the infirmary where there's now a cafe. It really makes you think about sometimes conflicting Victorian attitudes towards punishing and helping poor people.

You will be offered an exterior tour. I went on it and slightly regretted it. Interesting in parts but a little slow, lasting 1:15. I was short for time and subsequently had to rush some of the rest of the rooms.
Written September 22, 2021
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

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The Workhouse, Southwell is open:
  • Wed - Sun 10:30 AM - 3:30 PM



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