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“Beautifully presented house and gardens”

Gilbert White's House & The Oates Museum
Ranked #2 of 20 things to do in Alton
Certificate of Excellence
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Attraction details
Recommended length of visit: 2-3 hours
Owner description: Gilbert White & The Oates Collections explores the lives of three explorers of the natural world. The historic house was the home of the 18th century naturalist Gilbert White, and is surrounded by 25 acres of restored garden and parkland. The Oates Collections celebrates the lives of 19th century explorer Frank Oates, and Captain Lawrence Oates who travelled with Scott on the ill-fated Terra Nova Expedition. The Museum also boasts an award-winning Tea Parlour, gift shop and plant sales.
Reviewed March 4, 2014

The house itself does not have a car park so one has to park further down the village where there is a free public car park and toilet facilities. The wall up the pretty village of Selborne is nice as there are some interesting shops. There is as nice local pottery chockfull of interesting pieces just past the house on the right near the village church. Fortunately it was a sunny day when we visited so we could go outside into the extensive gardens. Being winter most beds were not in bloom but the snowdrops were out and there was a delightful path through a carpet of snowdrops. The crocuses were out too and brought cheer to the countryside setting for the house. We arrived in the for lunch and there is a superb little restaurant inside the house that serves nice lunches and teas though a tad expensive. One can book this little restaurant for special events if there is a party greater than 8 people. The gift shop and restaurant can be visited without a ticket but to see the rooms and garden one needs to buy tickets. The gift shop is full of excellent souvenir and craft items. The great lounge and library has a good collection of Gilbert White's books and his original manuscript of his famous book. The drawers contain other interesting historical books and letters including a first edition bound on the skin of his favourite dog that died! All the rooms downstairs and upstairs are beautifully presented and his bedroom is kept dark as it contains the original bedspreads embroidered by his aunts, which would fade in bright sunlight. Apart for the bedroom and study the other rooms upstairs have exhibits and children's interactive areas to do with the unrelated Oates family (one was an an African explorer and the other an Antarctic explorer who accompanied the ill fated Shackleton expedition). The reason these exhibits are at the house is because the Oates family were big benefactors who contributed to the restoration of Gilbert White's house. The display of South American stuffed birds that belonged to the earlier Oates explorer is impressive. All in all, a visit to this site will keep all the family interested for several hours including lunch and a walk in the garden and woods. On a sunny day there is a Zigzag path through the woods at the back garden to the top of the hill for the adventurers who have Wellies. The church in the village is worth a short visit as is the local pottery and shop.

2  Thank Ranjan M
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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148 - 152 of 210 reviews

Reviewed March 2, 2014

This is set in some beautiful countryside, in a picturesque village location.
`inside, the museum is very well laid out and there is so much to see, that we are going to come back for another visit.
The shop sold local interesting bits - I now have a chicken tea cosy, and the fudge was yummy.
Thank you to everyone involved in running this place, you obviously care for this museum and the gardens very much!

Thank Amanda F
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed January 6, 2014

We took friends over Christmas, having visited last about five years ago, and were delighted at the extension to the Captain Oates section. Sounds of the Arctic wind played out as we viewed the exhibits, which weren't that different to the real weather outside! Being a garden-lover, I was disappointed not to be able to go outside on a dark, blustery day. I've been in summer and the extensive gardens are stunning with wonderful views to the hangar behind. I also like the Gilbert White house, and it was so well presented for Christmas with authentic decorations from that period. Selborne is a beautiful village, with a proper village shop and two traditional pubs (and parking is available at the rear of one of them). Well worth finding this museum.

1  Thank HazelD633
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed December 9, 2013

It is a little off the beaten track, but is certainly worth the detour!!!
We happened to see the brown sign while on our way to Portsmouth and decided to visit.
The house itself and its gardens are beautiful.
Gilbert White's story and significant contribution to the natural history of the UK (And the world) are very interesting. The amazing book he meticulously researched and wrote - "The Natural History of Selborne" - is one of the books that has been in print for the longest time ever. There is a special room dedicated to the various editions of this book.
I couldn't resist it and purchased a copy with coloured prints from the shop. The language is beautiful and the various letters describing primarily birds, are informative and interesting.
The Gilbert White part is worth coming for in itself.
However, the same house is also home to another fascinating story about a different British pioneer - Captain Lawrence Oates - Explorer, hero and gentleman. His life story is amazing, up to his heroic parting words to his friends of the ill fated Scott team that perished on its way back from the South Pole, before walking out to his certain death.
As I titled this review - A real "Double Feature" - Highly recommended!!!!!

1  Thank Shaked007
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed December 1, 2013

We visited Gilbert White's House taking advantage of the 2 for 1 offer they are running during November and December. The House/Museum is not overly large but well presented. The first couple of rooms give an insight into Gilbert White's life and the following 3 rooms reflect on how they were during his life. The final 2 rooms are the Oates Museum, very interesting but I particularly found the room dedicated to Capt OATES excellent, giving a detailed insight into the bravery of Scott's Antarctic team and the terrible circumstances that ultimately led to their deaths. The house has a tearoom (not used but did appear a little pricey) and a shop. Allowing for the time of year we enjoyed a walk in the gardens, a nice contrast between different aspects. As already mentioned the house is well presented and proved an enjoyable visit although I do think the entry fee of £8.50 is towards the top end of what it is worth. The car park (free) is about 100 yds away behind a pub and it maybe worth doing a little research before visiting as to it's location. Selborne is a lovely village and set in beautiful countryside and I would recommend combing the visit to the House with a walk in the village and/or in the countryside (there are maps set around the village). There are a couple of pubs very near to the House as well as another tearoom and shop. We enjoyed our visit to the house, but we did have benefit of the discounted ticket (printed from their website), that said, we managed to spend 5 hours in Selborne which taken as an overall package was an excellent day out.

2  Thank Dun123
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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