The Workhouse and Infirmary

Upton Road, Southwell, Southwell, Nottinghamshire, NG25 0PT

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The Workhouse | Visit Nottinghamshire


The Workhouse

Built in 1824, this unique attraction is the most complete workhouse in existence. Pioneering in its design and approach it became a blueprint for similar institutions across the country. For decades, it was where the poorest in society could find shelter, food and medical care in return for work.

Once the backbone of the social care system in Nottinghamshire, The Workhouse & Infirmary provided the vulnerable, disabled and out of work a safe place to stay until jobs were available, or until the occupants were able to move on. Indeed, many residents were disabled, elderly, single mothers and out of work farm hands.

This unique venue focuses on the individuals and families who lived here – a wonderful personal touch which you may not expect from a National Trust property. This is also a refreshing take, as history often overlooks stories from normal, everyday people and their day to day struggles. It is estimated that 1 in 6 people have relatives linked to Workhouses, after all, so you do get the feeling that it is your history, too. 

It is impossible to resist putting yourself in the shoes of what it was like to live and work there, and your mind will wander to the pros and cons of such a living arrangement.

Bring the family and experience a full programme of living history events, sesonal events, tours and exhibitions. Younger visitors can enjoy children’s trails, games and dressing up with activities and crafts during the school holidays.

In fine weather you can enjoy the recreated Victorian vegetable garden. The garden, which is maintained by volunteers, is planted with heritage varieties and seasonal produce. You can also reflect on your visit in the café where serve hot drinks, soup, sandwiches, cakes and snacks are served.

The History

The Workhouse was built in 1824 as a place of last resort for the poorest who couldn’t work and for those people suffering from unemployment. Firbeck infirmary, built nearly 50 years later in 1871, provided medical care for The Workhouse. Later it became a care ward in the 1970s but had been untouched for decades after closing its doors in the 1980s.

Visitors can now see inside the Firbeck infirmary after an extensive project to restore the derelict building and unlock some of its secrets. The reimagined building depicts how the infirmary cared for people when it first opened in the 1870s, through to its final residential use. Visitors can access several spaces, including the room of the last resident, which encourages reflection on how we care for vulnerable people today.

If you want to know more about what to expect, read our review here.


Book Tickets

Guide Prices

Ticket TypeTicket Tariff
Family£35.00 per ticket
One Adult and up to three children£21.00 per ticket

*Standard admission prices. Visitors can choose to pay a voluntary 10% Gift Aid donation which are displayed at the property.

Map & Directions



  • Educational Visits Accepted - School visits available – please contact the property
  • Facilities for Hearing Impaired Visitors - Subtitles on introductory video Hearing loop available
  • Facilities for Visually Impaired Visitors - Virtual tour available for cellars and upper floors Guide Dogs Permitted
  • Guide Dogs Permitted
  • Guided Tours Available for Groups - Pre-booked groups welcome - Maximum group size 50, Minimum group size 15 (Please contact the property)
  • Indoor Attraction
  • Marketed Towards Children
  • Marketed Towards Families
  • Marketed Towards Senior Citizens
  • Marketed Towards Students / Youth
  • On-Site café/restaurant
  • Outdoor Attraction
  • Picnic Site
  • Printed Material in Foreign Languages - French, German, Italian & Spanish
  • Toilets for Disabled Visitors - Adapted toilet in car park facilities building and at The Workhouse

Parking & Transport

  • On site parking - Onsite visitor parking - Free parking 200yds from building Seperate mobility parking spaces - please follow signs for 'Staff Car Park' located at the back of the building Drop off point at rear of the building

Payment Methods

  • All major credit/debit cards accepted

Provider Preferences

  • In countryside - Just outside of market town of Southwell, Nottinghamshire
  • In Market Town

Venue Facilities

  • Shop

Opening Times

The Workhouse and Infirmary (14 Feb 2023 - 25 July 2023)
Monday - TuesdayClosed
Wednesday - Sunday10:30 - 16:00
Bank Holiday10:30 - 16:00
The Workhouse and Infirmary (26 July 2023 - 3 Sep 2023)
Monday - Sunday10:30 - 16:00
Bank Holiday10:30 - 16:00
The Workhouse and Infirmary (4 Sep 2023 - 29 Oct 2023)
Monday - TuesdayClosed
Wednesday - Sunday10:30 - 16:00

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