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The Museum has now reopened, following a major redevelopment, supported by the Heritage Lottery Fund.

Free Admission

The Museum of English Rural Life

University of Reading

Redlands Road



Plan my visit

The Museum of English Rural Life

University of Reading

Redlands Road



Need directions?

Getting here

The Museum of English Rural Life is located on Redlands Road, on the University London Road Campus.

  • Car
  • Train
  • Bus
  • Bike

Sat nav users, please use the postcode RG1 5EX


We encourage visitors to use alternative methods of transport to get to the MERL, but if you need to come by car, some parking is available:

There is a small car park for Museum visitors at the front of our building. Spaces are limited and we ask visitors to find a space, collect a permit from the Museum reception. Please display the permit clearly on your dashboard as the car park is monitored by security contractors.

Visitors are also welcome to use the University Acacia Road car park adjacent to the Museum. Visitors without a University parking permit must collect a permit from the Museum reception, to be displayed in your car. During University term time, this car park can be very busy.

Some street parking is available on Redlands Road. There is a maximum stay of 2 hours. Due to the proximity of the Hospital, this parking is in high demand.

The closest public car park is the Queens Road car park.

Reading's mainline station has recently undergone a major refurbishment, making travelling to the town by train easier and more enjoyable. Reading is easily accessible by regular, fast trains from London Paddington, as well as via London Waterloo. It is well connected by routes from the North, South and West via Bournemouth, Bristol, Oxford, Guildford and Basingstoke.

The MERL is a 20 minute walk through town or a short bus ride from the station. See instructions on getting here by foot or bus for details.

Taxis are available from the station. Please ask for 'the Museum of English Rural Life on Redlands Road' to make sure you are brought to the right museum! To return from the MERL to the station, please ask at reception and we will be happy to book a taxi from Yellow Taxis who are based in the University building next door.

Reading Buses operate several services which stop close to the Museum.

From the station and Reading town centre:

Leopard 3 or Scarlet 9 from stop AS at the station.
Get off the bus outside the Reading Berkshire Hospital on Craven Road or as soon as the bus turns right onto Addington Road. From there it is a 3 minute walk to The MERL. Go to the end of Addington Road and turn right on to Redlands Road. Walk down and cross at the zebra crossing. Walk 200m down the road and you will find The MERL on your left.

Claret 21 or 21A from stop EJ.
Get off the bus at Crown Place passage stop on Kendrick Road. From there it is a 3 minute walk to The MERL. Continue a few metres up the road and turn left into Crown Place passage, just before the Abbey School. The passage becomes Acacia Road car park. Continue down the side of the Museum building to the end of the road and the entrance is on the right.

Visit Reading Buses for details or use Google maps to plan your journey by bus

We have a secure bike rack in the car park by the main entrance to the museum.

The 'UoR London Road' Readybike station is at the end of Acacia Road, right outside the entrance to our car park, so you can pick up a bike at any station across Reading and leave it right here!

The MERL is about a 20 minute walk from Reading station:

  1. Head left out of the station towards the Town Hall
  2. Walk down from the Post Office towards Jackson's Corner and straight over onto London Street
  3. We recommend the route along the side of the River Kennet which avoids most of the main road
  4. Turn left onto the footpath by the river after crossing the bridge by the London Street Brasserie
  5. Follow the footpath until you come to another road bridge, and take the steps up to the main road bridge and cross over to the Lyndhurst pub
  6. Follow Watlington Street and cross London Road at the crossing to your left in front of the Royal Berkshire Hospital
  7. Turn right and then left onto Redlands Road. The Museum will be on your right.

Alternatively, from the back of the Oracle / Vue cinema in the town centre:

  1. Cross at the junction and walk up London Street
  2. Turn left at the crossroads (by Tesco Express)
  3. Continue past The Turk's Head, cross at the traffic lights and walk up Kendrick Road
  4. Just before the Abbey School, take the alleyway on your left which brings you onto Acacia Road. The Museum is at the end of the road on the right.

The walk from The University's Whiteknights campus takes 15-20 minutes.

Use Google Maps to plan your route to The MERL.

Opening Times

The new museum galleries are open Tuesday to Friday 9am to 5pm, and at weekends 10am to 4pm.

View Opening times

Free Admission

There is a charge for some events.

Museum reopens October 19th, 2016

The MERL is currently closed for redevelopment and will reopen to the public on October 19th.