What to expect from your visit to Houghton Mill

Family enjoying a picnic in front of Houghton Mill

From guided tours of our mill to scenic walks along the river and popping into our tea-room for a takeaway treat, here is all the information you need to get the best out of your visit - whatever the weather.

Parking and when you arrive 

There is no need to pre-book a car parking space at Houghton Mill. Our car park is free for National Trust members or £3 for non-members. You can stay for up to two hours and the car park is open daily from 8.30am until 4pm when the gate will be locked. 

Please note the car park is limited in size and during busy periods such as school holidays, we advise using alternative modes of transport. Various car parks are available in the nearby town of St Ives, from here you can get one of the many buses which stop near to Houghton Mill (the closest bus stop is an approximate 5 minute walk). 

There are also cycle routes and walking routes along the Ouse Valley Way which allow you to take in the beautiful scenery on your way to visit the mill. 

Guided tours and Meet the Miller

Houghton Mill offers two pre-booked experiences; Guided Tours, where our knowledgeable tour guides will guide you through the historic watermill and will tell the story of Houghton centuries long history, as well as the journey of the grain as it is made into flour. New for this year we also have Meet the Miller sessions, which are a self-led exploration of the flour bagging floor and the milling floor, allowing you to witness the traditional milling process from our experienced millers and see how real stoneground flour is made. Tickets for both of these experiences can be booked here.

Find out more about the Guided Tours and Meet the Miller below:

Facilities and tea-room

The tea-room is open from Wednesday-Sunday between 10am-4pm. Please check our opening times before you visit. All food and drink items purchased in the tea-room are available to eat-in or takeaway. The toilets are open daily from 10am-4pm.

Enjoy the countryside around us

We have a grassy open area which is perfect for picnics and relaxing with your family or friends. Please remember to follow the Countryside Code and take your rubbish home with you.  

Dog walking at Hougton Mill

Dogs are welcome to enjoy the many walks and meadows surrounding the mill. We ask that dogs are kept on a lead at all times. Assistance dogs only are allowed inside the mill and tea-room. There are water bowls situated outside the tea-room where you can also treat your dog to a dog friendly ice-cream or puppuccino. Please bag and bin your dog poo so we can keep Houghton Mill beautiful for everyone. You will find dog waste bins located in the car park. 

Riverside safety

Visiting the riverside and Mill Pond is a popular activity at Houghton Mill, but it's important to be aware of the risks involved. Get the most out of your day with us by following these safety guidelines. The Mill Pond is deep and contains building debris so is unsuitable for paddling or swimming. Strong currents may also pose a risk so we ask that visitors have the right skills and equipment to stay safe in the water. We also ask that visitors do not bring inflatables as these are not suitable for riverside use or within the Mill Pond. 

We recommend launching canoes and paddleboards from the portage points just through the mill. Please note Houghton Mill does not operate a canoe hire, this service is provided by a local operator. Please see our canoeing page for more details. 

Please don't bring a BBQ

Barbecues are a significant fire risk and can be hazardous for wildlife. The Countryside Code says not to have barbecues or campfires in the open countryside. 

The countryside can become very dry during the spring and summer months, which creates the perfect conditions for fires to ignite and quickly spread. 

Wildfires also put a lot of pressure on the emergency services, and endanger local communities and wildlife. Although we have a very small number of designated barbecue areas at some of the places we care for, for instance on concrete surfaces where the risk of fire is low, these should not be used during periods whilst there is significant fire risk.

Please think of others; think of the wildlife; think of our emergency services; and don’t bring barbecues to the beach or countryside.