NORFOLK Museums Service
Gressenhall Farm and Workhouse

Gressenhall Farm and Workhouse

Gressenhall Farm and Workhouse is a truly unique museum. Visit its 50-acre site and discover the:

    • Historic workhouse

    • Museum of life on the land

    • Traditional farm with rare breed animals

    • Beautiful, unspoilt grounds

The museum is a great day out whether you want to learn about the lives of Norfolk people in the past or relax and have a good time with your friends and family. You’ll need a whole day to begin to discover all its wonders.

Use the navigation links to plan your visit, find out more about the museum and for details of events and exhibitions. To access a copy of the site map, please click here.

Spring has Sprung!

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Roll up, roll up – it’s almost time for the ever-popular Spring Fair at Gressenhall Farm and Workhouse!

Conquer the exciting inflatable obstacle course and see who can stay on the rodeo sheep for the longest. Marvel at the talents of the Spirit of Carnival stilt walkers and practice your circus skills with Foolhardy Circus Arts. Have your fortune read by Fiona from Star Tarot.

Discover the hidden natural world with stunning photographs by Wild Norfolk and go on an adventure to the Curiovan, an explorium of natural wonderment. Inside the Curiovan nests, skulls and specimens in jars jostle for attention alongside tiny skeletal fairies, singing mechanical birds, and clockwork ladybirds! This is a ‘museum’ with a real difference!

Get crafty in Art Attack! and make a green man mask to show off in the Grand Gressenhall Parade. Step in time to the tunes of the Smokehouse Blue Marching Jazz Band.

Watch artist Sally Hirst demonstrating traditional printmaking techniques with the aid of her etching press. Step inside Cherry Tree Cottage and see Lucy from Lulu Makes creating her beautiful rag rug wreaths. Explore the surreal creatures and abstract creations crafted from scrap metal by talented sculptor Bernie Marfleet.

Meanwhile, Spring is in full swing on Gressenhall Farm, from the spring flowers to the new lambs and chicks. Watch the museum’s Suffolk Punches and other visiting teams of heavy horse carry out the seasonal tasks in the fields: ploughing, harrowing, drilling, and rolling. Hear horseman’s tales, meet different breeds of heavy horses and find out about the work of the Eastern Counties Heavy Horse Association.

The site is bursting with things to see and buy, from delicious cakes to colourful stained glass ornaments. With lively performances from Golden Star Morris and stalls selling beer from local breweries, produce, crafts and plants, there’s sure to be something for everyone!

I’m in the Workhouse – get me out of here!

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Find out if you have what it takes to escape the workhouse as Gressenhall Farm and Workhouse sets visitors a special challenge this Easter Holiday.

To have a better chance of escaping, you must know your surroundings. Explore the workhouse and discover what life was like for the inmates. Mr Scraggs, the Workhouse Master, has hidden all his keys where he thinks no one will find them. Hunt for the right key to unlock the door.

Perhaps if you could find a good job beyond the Workhouse walls, the Master would let you leave. Discover how to set the table for dinner – the perfect skill needed to get employment in service in a grand stately home.

Could you imagine living on a workhouse diet? Gressenhall’s Live Interpretation Officer, Rachel Duffield is planning to do just that, working her way through three workhouse diets from different periods. You can follow her progress on Twitter @Workhousediet Take home a gruel recipe and see how you get on.

If all else fails, visit Art Attack! and make a disguise to sneak past the Master!

I’m in the Workhouse - Get Me Out of Here! runs from Saturday 5 to Tuesday 22 April, 10am to 5pm with the exception of Bank Holiday Monday 21 April which is our Spring Fair event, with a carnival atmosphere to welcome in the new season.

An Inspirational Place to Learn – short courses at Gressenhall

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Inspired by the site and its rich and varied collections, the museum offers a range of short courses. This spring there are opportunities to learn how to work with horses, in a practical day learning basic handling and grooming and harnessing, working with Gressenhall Farm Manager Richard Dalton and our Suffolk Punch.

Inspired by our exhibition of embroidered Letters from the Workhouse, you can learn how to ‘Stitch Like Lorina’, or discover more about workhouses in general with a special day devoted to exploring the history of these intriguing organisations and the people who lived within the walls.

Get creative and try your hand at flower arranging or confectionary making, screen printing or botanical illustration. Looking to redevelop your garden to make it a haven for wildlife? Join us for a day of garden design, using the Gressenhall Wildlife Garden for inspiration.

For full details of these courses and how to book a place, please visit our Short Courses page.

More to see with our special exhibitions

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This year Gressenhall Farm and Workhouse is proud have an exhibition dedicated to Norfolk’s Last Horseman, Ray Hubbard. Ray is a regular face at Gressenhall events, and has recently donated much of his fascinating collection, amassed during a life spent working with horses, to the museum. Come and explore the tricks and tools of the trade.

The new displays continue with the chance to see Lorina Bulwer’s amazing embroidered ‘Letters from the Workhouse’, recently featured on the BBC Antiques Roadshow. An inmate of Great Yarmouth Workhouse, Lorina poured her heart and frustrations into the ‘letters’ which are over three meters long. Letters from the Workhouse is on display until 1 June.

The First World War affected everyone. Discover the impact on the people of Norfolk in our special exhibition to commemorate the centenary of the start of this conflict.

For more information on these, please see our Exhibitions page.

Object of the Month

Each month, we pick one of the many fascinating items from our collection as our Object of the Month. With over 50,000 objects to select from, we are really spoilt for choice! You can find out more in our Collections Corner.

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