Family events

Our Country Lives logoThe Museum galleries and garden are now closed until mid 2016 for work on Our Country Lives, an exciting Heritage Lottery funded redevelopment project.

As part of the project, we have set up a new Family Forum so that we can consult with families to make sure that the new displays are relevant and interesting to families. Visit the MERL families page for details of how you can get involved.

The events below will take place in parts of the building not affected by the closure, or off site.

If you have any questions, please visit the FAQs page on the MERL blog, call us on 0118 378 8660 or email


MERL Families Jethro rat logoToddler time on the move!

    Next session 4th December*

  • 10-11am
  • £2 per child
  • Drop-in
  • Suitable for families with children aged 2-4
  • *This month's session will be in the new Studio space at the Museum

As the Museum is closed until Summer 2016 to allow work on the Our Country Lives project to take place, some of our Toddler Time sessions will take place at The Learning Hub at the Institute of Education, rright next door to the Museum! On these occasions, you can still park and meet at the museum.

Join MERL & IoE staff and volunteers for singing, stories and craft.


Huntley Palmer Christmas biscuitsOur Christmas Traditions

Sunday 13th December

  • 2.30pm – 4.00pm
  • £3 per child
  • Suitable for families with children aged 5+
  • Booking essential. To book, email  or call 0118 378 8660
  • Museum of English Rural Life*

How does your family celebrate Christmas? Do you have any special family traditions? Have you ever wondered where they came from and if they're shared by others? At this event, we explore Christmas traditions past and present from around the country. Join us to enjoy singing, food, games and a craft activity.

*Although the museum galleries are closed for redevelopment, this event will take place in our new Studio, welcome space and our Victorian staircase hall.










Important note:

There is no need to book for our drop-in events. Activities take between 10 and 30 minutes. Come along at any time during the session. Timed tickets may be issued at busy times as space is limited, and you may need to wait for the next available session. Once you have a ticket, you don't need to queue. There is plenty to see and do in the Museum while you wait, and a member of staff will call you when you session is starting. On very busy days, sessions may fill up completely and though we do our best to accommodate everyone, we can not guarantee a space.

MERL welcomes children of all ages but they must be accompanied by an adult at all times. Our fun events and activities are designed so that the whole family can enjoy interesting and informative new experiences together. In order for everyone to get the most out of the workshop activities, we ask that there are no more than two children (of the appropriate age for the activity) per adult in your group, and thank you for your cooperation in this.

Please see our  Terms and conditions for bookable events


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