Making the most of your visit

Pop up pauper instructing children how to wash clothes

This austere building, the most complete workhouse in existence, was pivotal in the development of our national health and welfare system. For decades it was where the poorest in society had to work in return for food, shelter and medical care. Today, we invite you to explore its atmospheric interiors, dank cellars and enclosed work yards while reflecting on its contemporary relevance through a programme of creative activities.

Why not start your visit by joining a volunteer-led welcome tour at 11am (numbers limited, non-bookable) and explore some of the outside areas not usually seen by the public? Then, when the house opens at 12noon, come and learn about those who lived and worked here, chat to a room guide and visit our café for a snack.

In fine weather you can enjoy the recreated Victorian vegetable garden where you are welcome to picnic. The garden which is maintained by volunteers is planted with heritage varieties and seasonal produce is available to purchase.

There are lots of events for the whole family to get involved in. From 29 April - 22 July, we are running the ‘Faces of Change – Votes for Women’ exhibition in partnership with the National Portrait Gallery. You’ll be able to see well-known but also rarely seen paintings, drawings, photographs and documents from the National Portrait Gallery Collection. It also includes items specific to The Workhouse that illustrate the battles faced by working class women who lacked the power of political representation. 

During the holidays we have family friendly activities including a craft space. Over the May half-term we will be running Workhouse Live where you will find inmates carrying out their daily jobs throughout The Workhouse. Have a go at some of their laborious tasks. Visit our 'What’s on' page for full details.