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!

    Every 1st Friday of the month (no session in September, next session 2nd October)

  • 10-11am
  • £2 per child
  • Drop-in
  • Suitable for families with children aged 2-4
  • The Pop Up in the Learning Hub, Building 24 on the London Road Campus, (Park, pay and meet at MERL. There will be MERL staff to accompany you to the new venue)

As the Museum is now closed until Summer 2016 to allow work on the Our Country Lives project to take place, our Toddler Time sessions have moved next door! MERL staff and volunteers will be joined by Institute of Education staff for singing, stories and craft.


big draw blue smallThe Big Draw: Every object tells a story

Thursday 29 October

  • 9.30am, 11.30am, 2pm (1.5 hour sessions)
  • £3 per child
  • Meet at the Museum of English Rural Life
  • Suitable for families with children aged 7+
  • Booking essential. To book, email or call 0118 378 8660 

MERL and the University’s Institute of Education Department of Art are hosting a special Big Draw event. Join us for an opportunity to try one of our new object-handling sessions and discover how MERL’s collections have inspired the work of University art students. There will then be a chance to use mixed media and printing presses to create your own artwork.


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
  • Staircase hall, 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.










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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