Visit us

Visit Us

The Museum is currently closed for redevelopment, reopening 19th October 2016

Free Admission

The Museum of English Rural Life

University of Reading

Redlands Road

Reading

RG1 5EX

Plan my visit

The Museum of English Rural Life reopens on October 19th, 2016


The MERL will reopen this Autumn after a £3million redevelopment project, Our Country Lives, which has radically transformed our public displays.

The new museum aims to challenge perceptions about rural England by revealing the historical and contemporary relevance of country life. Come and discover our new interactive, immersive galleries which explore questions of identity, environment, technology, culture and health.

  • The Museum is currently closed for redevelopment, reopening 19th October 2016
  • Free Admission
  • Redlands Road, Reading
    Get Directions

What's on

Teachers' Panel Launch

  • October 5th 2016
  • 4pm to 6pm
  • Free

To register your interest in taking part, please e-mail Phillippa Heath at p.heath2@reading.ac.uk by midday on Friday, 23rd September. Places are limited and will be allocated on a first come, first served basis.

Grand Opening Festival

  • October 22nd 2016
  • 10am to 4pm
  • £3 per adult, children free

Book tickets via the link below

Friday Fledglings

  • November 4th 2016
  • 10-11.30am
  • £3 per child (includes drink and snack)

No need to book

Did you know

...Lady Eve Balfour (1898-1990) was one of the earliest organic farmers and co-founded the Soil Association?

Women continue to play a key role in this movement, with organic farms employing significantly more women than chemical farming.

Did you know

...farmers used to sow seeds by fiddle?

Sowing by hand can be slow and inaccurate. Seed drills were developed in the 1800s to sow seeds quickly in a straight line at regular intervals.

Did you know

...Elizabethan mattresses were used for both childbirth and corpses?

Mattresses, plaited from sedges, were made to support a mother during childbirth or a corpse after death. After use it would have been burned.

Learn More

Did you know

...villages often used to run their own fire services?

The National Fire Service was only created in 1941.

Did you know

...city families used to pick hops on holiday?

Hop picking holidays allowed city families to earn money. Pickers were paid with tokens, which were used in local shops or exchanged for wages.

Did you know

...Suttons Seeds invented the seed packet?

The local Reading firm, founded in 1806, popularised paper packets of seeds for gardeners.

Our Country Lives - Latest Blog Posts

Sharing insights into the activities of The MERL staff, volunteers and visitors during a period of change and transformation...

Food takes first prize at the Berkshire Show

23 September 2016 Events

Science engagement officer, Robyn Hopcroft, gives a recap of a busy weekend for The MERL at the Royal County of Berkshir...

Discovering the Landscape: Preparation, progress and preservation – 3 years on

22 September 2016 Archives

Plans, papers, press cuttings and publications…. we have spent a busy three years working on the Landscape Institu...

Ladybird books needed!

22 September 2016 Our Country Lives project

Do you have any Ladybird books at home that you no longer want to keep or that your children no longer read? Would you l...

Pledge your apples!

1 September 2016 Events

Do you have an apple tree? Do you hate to see rotten apples on the ground going to waste? We have a solution!!   At...

The Museum of English Rural Life

University of Reading

Redlands Road

Reading

RG1 5EX

Need directions?