Activities for Kids



Craft Courses

Group Visits

Venue Hire



Rustics Volunteers

Visiting Us

Contact Us

Useful Links

Facebook Twitter Youtube

Trip Advisor Certificate of Excellence 2014

News from The Rural Life Centre


Don't forget to try 'clicking' on the images - it just might do something!

2017 News


March 1st : Summer Opening

Summer Opening

The Museum has enjoyed a Winter Rest with reduced opening time, but now things are back to normal.

We hope to welcome YOU to one of our Events for this year and to see you regularly throughout 2017. Remember that annual passes are available at very competitive prices, should you wish to visit more than once.


April 6th : Activity Thursday

Activity Thursday

The first Activity Thursday of 2017.

What an amazingly good day! The sun shone brightly and the sky was blue all day.

Normally the first Activity Thursday of the year is not so well attended, since only one of the local schools has begun the Easter Holiday - but this time we were amazed by the quantity of children and their parents who came along to join in with all the many events put on specially for them!
All the normal attractions were there, and although Daisy the Cow didn't have her 'voice' this time, everything was very popular.

The next Activity Thursday is just a week away, on 13th April. Come along and enjoy it!

April 9th : Vintage Tractor Road Run

Tractor Road Run

The Spring Vintage Tractor Road Run was held today (9th April) by the CSVAC (Central Southern Vintage Agricultural Club) on a beautifully sunny day.

Vistors to the Museum saw the impressive collection of vintage tractors and could chat to the owners.
The roads around the area were filled with the sight and sound of many tractors travelling around their set route, before they returned to the museum to finish the journey.

Of course, all the normal museum attractions were open and visitors could enjoy these too!

April 13th : Activity Thursday

Activity Thursday

This is the second of the two Activity Thursdays for children that Ian arranged for the Easter holiday. We were fortunate that the day turned out to be warm and sunny - this no doubt contributed to the record turn out of children and their guardians arriving to enjoy the day.
When we first started Activity Thursdays back in 2013 we had 47 attend our Easter events - this year we saw 127 and hope that this total will continue to rise as ever more children come to enjoy the day.

All our most popular activities including: build and fire a rocket, pole lathe turning, plaster casting, Victorian school class, Victorian wash day and more were available, together with some new activities. One of our volunteers had made a woven wood partition for the children to experiment with the ancient craft of wattle and daub walling. The clay was suitably messy but fortunately without the usual cow dung added to the mix!

Children were introduced to ways of decorating eggs, very appropriate for Easter. One method was to bind flowers to the egg shell and then hard boil them in a solution of onion skins to produce beautiful patterns on the shell; this was very popular on the day.

At the end of the day many parents had difficulty persuading their children to leave the play ground to go home for tea! It was encouraging to hear so many parents and children say how much they had enjoyed the day - for many it was their first visit and they said they will return.
Our next Activity Thursday is during the Spring half term, on 1st June. Come along and join in!


May 6th & 7th : Village at War

Village at War

Once again the museum has been turned into a battlefield 'somewhere in England' during the Second World War.
Everything that can be done is done. Winston Churchill is there to ensure that his troops do all the right things, but fortunately they are perfectly disciplined and know exactly what to do.

The Police Station is manned and the policemen and ARP Wardens are looking after the wellbeing of the public, ensuring that everyone is aware of air raids. When enemy planes arrive, the air-raid sirens are sounded and everyone directed to shelters where they will be safe, as the bombs drop and anti-aircraft guns are fired.
Even the visitors to the museum have to shelter during air raids, but there are plenty of shelters available, which double as viewing space and tea-rooms at the rest of the time.

While the troops are marching to defend the countryside, some buildings are used by NAAFI staff to ensure that no-one lacks the essential foodstuffs and cups of tea, while the Village Hall is set up as a Plotting Centre, staffed by enthusiasts under the watchful eye of their superiors, tracking the movements of friend and foe.

As the days of war draw to a close, the re-enactors remove their temporary changes to the buildings, close down their tents and temporary exhibits, pack up their guns and tin mugs, put away the mortars and bombs, tidy away the mobile exhibits they have brought and return to life as we know it today.
After over 70 years, we are helped by the re-enactors to look back at the events of WW2 and recall for ourselves the terrible conditions in which our soldiers served us. Few amongst us were old enough to remember first-hand the hardships and deprivations, loss of loved ones and destruction and fear of the last War - many of the Rustics were children during WW2 and will recall some of the horrors of war and the relief that followed the announcement that, at long last, hostilities have ended.


June 3rd & 4th : Tractor & Machinery Rally

Tractor and Machinery Rally

The CSVAC held their Tractor and Machinery Rally at the RLC, with very impressive displays of tractors and engines. We were treated to a very polished (literally) display of air-cooled and water-cooled stationary engines running calmly as they pumped water and drove generators, looking as if they could carry on doing it for years.

Many of the tractors of yesterday were on show, reminding us of how these mechanical horses evolved into the functional farm machines of today. Side by side we could see the broad spectrum of these powerful machines and get a better appreciation of how and why they displaced animals and became the work-horses of our farms


July 2nd : Polish Day

Polish Day at the RLC

Once again we hosted the Polish Day, celebrating the entire Community and with a special bias towards our own Polish Building, with Weis Rogalski describing the Wartime conditions through which he lived and the work he has done since to preserve that knowledge for us all.

This year the museum was full of people of all ages, celebrating their Polish ancestry and enjoying the sounds and food of Poland. Coaches brought children from Polish schools to the museum, where they were presented with their certificates. Everyone had a most enjoyable day and many joined their countrymen in celebration.
For the visitors to the museum, it was an ideal opportunity to become immersed in the culture and traditions of the Polish people.

July 23rd : Ford MKII Rally

Ford Rally at the RLC

The Ford Rally was once again at the museum; well attended by enthusiasts and visitors.

Although some notable 'other cars' had again visited us (was that a Rover that I saw, and an MG, a Chevrolet and a few others), there were enough Fords to please anyone! They were all in exceptionally good condition - maybe a surprise for those of us who remember the rust and corrosion of yesteryear.
The club had a superb display outside the RLC Schoolroom, of items for sale including spare parts. We hope to see them (and you) again at the museum.

July 30th : Rustic Sunday

Rustic Sunday

Rustic Sunday is the flagship day arranged by the Rustics Volunteers of the museum, aided and abetted by the staff and many visiting craftspeople, without whom it would be far less spectacular! It is always always held on the last Sunday of July. This year, it seemed as though we were in for a wet day – the previous day it rained almost continually, and during the night it was so windy that an established apple tree next to our Prefab was blown down. However, like magic, Rustic Sunday remained clear and sunny; nothing (except the apple tree) had sustained damage, and everyone enjoyed an absolutely wonderful day!

Rustics and loads of exhibitors turned up to sow the seeds for a great day. It was rounded off by the hundreds of visitors who came to enjoy themselves – so many that we ran out of wrist-bands for them and had to break out the rubber hand-stamp again! Rustics removed the branches from the apple-tree casualty, and the Woodies finished constructing the new fence outside the Shop – a great bit of work! The fence was built entirely from wood they got from trees at the museum - much of it was from the overgrown fir trees that the fence replaced!

Several "first-time" stalls came to us this year; thanks to them for enhancing and experiencing our Day. We also had the opportunity to welcome back the many "regulars" – thanks to each and every one of you – you all made the day truly memorable with your excellent exhibits and demonstrations of your expertise. We hope you enjoyed the day as much as we did!

Visitors to the museum may notice us tidying all the stuff away for a few days yet. Once it is done we can begin thinking of the 2018 Rustic Sunday, which will be a special one for us since it will be 40 years since it was first held at the Rural Life Centre!


September 2nd & 3rd : Vintage Revival

Rural Life Vintage Revival

Katie did a super job of organising the weekend, and many visitors came to the museum to join in. The stallholders dressed in period clothes, as did many visitors, and everyone had a great time!

Visitors had plenty of choices, with stalls selling clothing and wares from the early to mid century. Live music was provided by The New Hawleans Jug Band, Steve Conway, and The Riverboat Ramblers.
On the evenings of Friday and Saturday, there was an open air cinema experience (showing David Lean's classic film Brief Encounter) followed by a spirited performance from The Vic Cracknell Swing Band.

Vintage enthusiasts, many in 40s and 50s outfits, admired the cars on show and browsed the stalls, as well as taking part in Lindy Hop dance lessons by The Dance Movement.

A thoroughly good time was had by all at this pioneering event.
Rural Life Vintage Revival will be back next year.

September 10th : Donkey Day Out

Donkey Day Out

John & Rosemary Porter, of the Donkey Breed Society, kindly sent us this report of the day:

Donkey Day Out was again a wonderful day. The weather was just about as good as we could expect for the time of year. A small light shower at one time was soon blown over and it was otherwise quite sunny and fine. We managed to clear up and get the donkeys home and as they reached their stables, the rain fell and quite heavily. We were so lucky.

We had an excellent turn out of donkeys from across the South East Area and beyond. We also had a good attendance by the Public which made for a good gate for the Rural Life Centre.

The farrier was kept busy showing trimming of the donkeys' feet and was able to help out one of our members who had problems with one of their donkeys feet. He also demonstrated some Blacksmith work. The Tombola made a profit - 50% of which was returned to the Rural Life Centre towards the cost of the horse brasses that were given to members that attended with their donkeys.

The Donkey Sanctuary Christmas card stall took over £300 so were very pleased and the Donkey Breed Society shop also sold a few items. The Donkey rides proved popular. Members enjoyed the walk and drive with their donkeys across the adjacent RSPB heathlands and also the fun Activity Course which kept the public entertained and showed the versatility of our donkeys.

We also had a visit from the London New Years Day reporter and photographer who presented a plaque to the Donkey Breed Society for our continued entry to the parade for the last 25 years. They took photos and enjoyed the surroundings of the museum. The report will be in their publicity which goes out especially in America as some 10 or so university bands (up to 280 persons in each) participate in the London Parade each year and compete against each other. Television coverage of the event is widely shown especially in America. This year is the 50th anniversary of the Donkey Breed Society so we are also entering the Lord Mayors Parade which takes place on 11th November. The last time we participated in this was our 25th anniversary. Please look out for us!


October 1st : Harvest Home

Harvest Home

Despite the wind and the drizzling rain, the Rustics donned their caps and added an extra layer under their period costumes to celebrate the harvest.

Harvest Home, our annual seasonal celebration, is a quieter event to follow the hectic summer season. The Frensham Building was merry with traditional English folk music, provided by the very talented Phil & Su Gaillard. Our very own Judy Hewins joined in for the opening number.
The Woodyard created a very different sound throughout the day… The Woodies were demonstrating their work and running various heavy and loud machines, much to the delight of the craft enthusiasts!

There were many activities for all to try; from cider making to weaving to scarecrow constructing! It was a fantastic opportunity to attempt something new. In the afternoon, a small congregation joined Deacon Michael Phillips in our chapel for the Harvest Service. The chapel is used only a few times a year and it is a delight to see it come to life. Both the Chapel and the Frensham building were adorned in foliage, fruit and veg. provided by our keen gardeners.

We were delighted to welcome the RSPB to our event.

A huge and special thank you to all the Rustics for their invaluable time and hard work.

October 26th : Activity Thursdays

Activity Thursdays

Today was the last of ten Activity Thursdays of the year covering the school holidays and half-terms right the way through from Easter.
We have been particularly fortunate with the weather with only a couple of days overcast and rainy. Even this does not stop the fun, as we can move nearly all the activities indoors under cover. The exception is rocket launching, which is best kept outdoors!

It has been a record year with visitor numbers again showing an increase on previous years as more and more people learn what we have to offer. All of the activities are run by a small band of willing volunteers who give their time and enthusiasm to ensure the children have a great day. Our most popular activities include – building and firing a rocket, pole lathe turning, plaster casting, Victorian school class, Victorian wash day, all of which are usually available on each session. We include many regular favourites and some new activities such as Easter egg decoration, besom broom making, corn threshing, apple bobbing and so on.

We are grateful to the organisations that share our lovely site: the RSPB, who arrive with an army of volunteers to give the children an opportunity to learn more about nature in a fun way, and The Farnham Beekeepers, who put on displays of various aspects of beekeeping and, often, an observation hive full of bees for the children to 'find the Queen'.

For our volunteers, it is always rewarding to hear so many parents and children enjoying such an enjoyable day. One French family were on holiday locally and happened to drive past the museum on a Thursday and decided to investigate — their children did not want to leave at the end of the day, stating it was the highlight of their holiday! Perhaps next year we will have a few more of their friends come to visit?

We are already planning next year's events for the School Holidays. Remember to check our pages for 2018 to be sure of the dates. We hope to see all the old faces – and plenty of new visitors!

October 28th : The Big Draw

The Big Draw

Thanks to a grant from the South Street Trust, the museum was able to join in with the prestigious national event "The Big Draw." This festival is held chiefly in October, to celebrate all aspects of Art.

Our event comprised 4 workshops which explored the given theme of “Living Lines.” It was a great opportunity to showcase the museum’s diversity from living art in the arboretum, rural crafts of corn dolly making, spinning and weaving and not forgetting, early moving images, toys and drawing interesting artefacts.

Visitor numbers for the Saturdays were greater than previously and the variety of things to do, along with the volunteers on site were greatly appreciated. All visitors had a thoroughly enjoyable time.

Watch out for this event next year, in a somewhat different form. It will be great fun!

October 29th : Hallowe'en


Our brand new venture was to put on a Halloween event - a couple of days early, but just in time to round off the Schools Half-term Holiday!

The clocks 'went back' today, so it was already darkening when the event began. The witches, warlocks, models of injured children, gravestones and all the rest were in place, as witnessed by visitors for the previous few days, who may have noticed the preparations.

Everyone enjoyed being scared by the apparitions, hearing the spooky wailing sounds, and joining in with the event. Many people dressed up for the occasion – not just the Rustic Volunteers (who really got into the spirit of the event, if you will forgive my pun) but many of the visiting ghouls and apparitions, too!
Whether wandering around the museum site looking and listening for spooks, or joining in with some of the games and pastimes, everyone had a great time.

The Rustics worked very hard to ensure an environment of just enough fear, without it being too scary. Thanks to you all for your efforts and to all our visitors for coming along. Keep an eye out for another 'fright night' in a year's time – hopefully I'm not 'spooking' out of turn!


November 2nd : Winter Opening

Winter hours

The Winter season has arrived and the museum is only open for a couple of days a week.

To celebrate, we have REDUCED our standard admission prices for the whole of this Winter Season! Be sure to check on our Winter opening times to ensure that your journey is not wasted — and to see how much you can save!

We still have a few Events to come this year, so be sure not to miss them!

We all look forward to seeing you at the Museum. Remember - 2018 will have the 40th Rustic Sunday put on by the Rural Life Centre (held on the last Sunday in July, as always) – don't miss it!

November 11th : Christmas Craft Fair

Christmas Fair

Today the museum held the annual Christmas Craft Fair. This year we had 58 stall holders - the most we have ever had. There was a fantastic range of unique, handmade items for sale, and many demonstrations going on around the museum, varying from woodworking to glasswork.

The Haslemere Rock Choir joined us to provide uplifting and joyful music which everyone enjoyed. Thank you to everyone who braved the rain!


December 9th : Santa Special

Santa Special

Today the museum held the first of four Santa Specials, each being an event especially for the young and young-of-heart. There were many things for visitors to experience, culminating with a visit to Santa himself in his Grotto, where each child was presented with a gift.

The weather was good, but cold, and many of Santa's Helpers were doing their best to keep warm by keeping busy. It is even rumoured that one of them carried a hot-water-bottle 'diguised' as Paddington Bear, to the delight of all!
The donkeys on view in Frensham building were a refreshing sight, (tomorrow you will see sheep and calves) and there was plenty to do for all youngsters, beginning and ending with a ride on Santa's Express, specially provided for the event by the Old Kiln Light Railway.

This year saw an online booking scheme, which, amongst other benefits, showed what visiting slots were still available and allowed you to choose your day and time for visiting Santa. This was very successful and resulted in a completely full booking for this year, which is the first time it has ever happened as far as I am aware. We intend to repeat this next year!

For the parents and grandparents who brought their children to the event, there were warming drinks and refreshments to help keep them going throughout the excitement.

News Archive: 2016 | 2015 | 2014 >>