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“What a disappointment!”

Calbourne Water Mill & Rural Museum
Ranked #1 of 3 things to do in Calbourne
Attraction details
Reviewed May 7, 2014

When my children were younger, Calbourne Mill was somewhere we all enjoyed visiting. It is in a beautiful setting and in theory has a lot to offer all ages. I haven't visited for a few years and wanted somewhere to take my grandchildren on Bank Holiday Monday.
The entrance fee of £7 per adult would have been OK if the attraction was how I remembered it! However, I couldn't believe how run down it is. We purchased some bird and fish food at £1 a bag but couldn't find any birds hungry enough to eat and only saw one fish which had obviously had enough food. The children were very disappointed.
The grass area outside the cafe is where I recall sitting on the grass watching my children play, but it was so covered in duck, goose and animal 'poo' that we didn't dare sit down.
We went in to the cafe for lunch. The staff were very nice but we had to wait 45 minutes for scones, a child's lunch bag and beans on toast. I ordered an adult portion of beans on toast and was flabbergasted to be charged £4.50 for one slice with beans on top - not sure how big the child's portion would be! I would have liked a Ploughman's lunch, but at £9.95 I resisted!
What did the children enjoy? Well, the old fire engine that they can climb in and the mill demonstration were really the main attractions. They were too young to appreciate the war museum and the other outbuildings were a muddle of rusting artefacts.
As an Island resident I am able to reuse my entry ticket for the rest of the season. In past years I would have returned to enjoy the setting and have lunch in the cafe, but not this year!

1  Thank Snow-Wight
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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207 - 211 of 270 reviews

Reviewed May 1, 2014

Was an attraction for adults as many barns of old exhibits dangouous for children. We understand the mill but that is obvious but still some displays not complete others had fallen down and not been fixed. War museum great with exhibits labeled clearly and behind glass so safe and clearly visible. Grandmas kitchen sadly jumbled and appeared rushed would benefit from a good sort out and tidy to make it safer and more user friendly, never in your wildest dreams would you get a wheelchair in there. Also pottery lady friendly but pottery a bit space and unwelcoming and next door barns filled with jumbled vehicles a tidy and decent labels needed!

The cafe was new and huge but surrounds need an overhaul more like the war museum part but for £7 and adult steep for what it was :(

Thank Katie R
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed April 28, 2014

Came with my disabled parents and also my brother. The 'mill man' was not available due to ill health so we were given a very gracious discount. The items on display are in need of a little tlc as some others have mentioned but overall we loved the site. The birds are amazing, and we literally spent an hour with them, feeding them and admiring them. Peacocks, doves, pigeons, ducks and geese! All incredibly friendly and approachable. It certainly made my holiday.
The staff within the cafe were absolutely lovely, it is a little expensive but we thoroughly enjoyed it, and the incredibly friendly staff. We will definitely visit again.

Thank lindsey_bridgeman
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed April 17, 2014

This is part water mill and part rural and agricultural museum. The mill Is very good but the experience of the rest of the very large site is mixed. Most of the machinery on display is in a very poor state and is beyond refurbishing. There is an obvious lack of maintenance , as everything looks really shabby. The restaurant was very expensive and service slow for anything cooked.
We realise that they need to turn a profit but not at the expense of turning people off.

Thank moishe1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed April 16, 2014

We have visited here in the past and as a local have always been impressed with 'free return' ticket given as standard with the entry fee. On previous visits we have enjoyed the walk through the woods, the museum displays and the food on offer in the café. But today everything was starting to look a bit tired and 'samey'. It occurred to me that a simple 'things to spot' quiz sheet would be a good and fairly easy way to make the visit a bit more interactive for the kids. I appreciate that it is early in the season and they have had some issues with the weather/ flooding etc but the biggest disappointment was the café.
£3.85 for a piece of fruit cake is an outrageous price, as was £5.50 for a medium size bowl of soup and a couple of bits of bread. I had a cheese scone for a reasonable-ish £1.80, but my mother-in-law paid £5.50 for the same thing with a meagre portion of (grated) cheese and small bowl of chutney, sold as a 'savoury snack'. And for it to take over half an hour for these items to arrive was surprising too.
The law of diminishing returns will quickly start to come into force here. In the past we would use our free return ticket to enjoy a visit and always stopped into the café for tea and cake or a spot of lunch. At these prices, we will take our own picnic in future. I understand that they need to make money back to balance out the free return but by over-pricing what is fairly standard fare, they are shooting themselves in the foot.
It is a shame as it is a lovely spot. I really hope they sort themselves out when the season gets underway properly.
One thing I cannot fault them on however is the courtesy, friendliness and helpfulness of the staff. Just a shame that they are let down by the facilities and prices.

1  Thank liz s
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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