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The Workhouse

Upton Road, Southwell, Southwell, Nottinghamshire, NG25 0PT
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Tel+44 01636 817260

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The Workhouse


The Workhouse

Built in 1824, this austere building 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 had to work in return for food, shelter and medical care.

Today, we invite you to hear its story, told from the perspective of those who lived and worked here. Bring the family and experience a full programme of living history 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.

From summer 2019, visitors to The Workhouse will for the first time be able to see inside the Firbeck infirmary after an extensive project to restore the derelict building and unlock some of its secrets.

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.

The reimagined building will depict how the infirmary cared for people when it first opened in the 1870s, through to its final residential use. Visitors will have access to several spaces, including the room of the last resident, which encourages reflection on how we care for vulnerable people today. As part of the project, a new library will be open to the public in the infirmary for the first time. 

Guide Prices

Ticket TypeTicket Tariff
Family£26.25 per ticket
Family (with 1 adult)£15.75
Group Adult (minimum 15 people, pre-booked only)£9.60 per ticket
Group Child (minimum 15 people, pre-booked only)£4.95 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
  • Outdoor Attraction
  • 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

Provider Preferences

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

Opening Times

The Workhouse (23 Apr 2019 - 3 Nov 2019)

* Workhouse open – 12(noon) - 5pm
Cafe open – 10.30am - 4pm
Welcome Tour – 11am - 12(noon)

Welcome tour of the outside and other buildings at 11 (places limited, book on arrival).
Last admission 1 hour before closing time. Early closing may be necessary due to low light levels.

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Saturday, 19 October 2019 - Saturday, 19 October 2019

Apple Day at The Workhouse, NottinghamshireApple Day at The WorkhouseThe ancient Bramley apple trees are starting to bear fruit. Every October, Southwell holds The Bramley Festival to celebrate the origins of the Bramley apple in Southwell. On Saturday 19 October, The Workhouse will be joining in the town's festivities with a host of apple themed events. Have a go…
more info

Wednesday, 18 September 2019 - Wednesday, 18 September 2019

Wednesday, 25 September 2019 - Wednesday, 25 September 2019

Workhouse Live - Becher walks
Workhouse Live - Becher walksStep back in time and join Reverend John T. Becher, founder of The Workhouse, on a walking tour of Southwell.
more info

Sunday, 8 September 2019 - Sunday, 22 September 2019

The Workhouse Poetry Festival, Southwell NottinghamshireThe Workhouse Poetry FestivalThis autumn, discover the smells and senses of poetry at The Workhouse. This year the theme is around care and creativity with the poetry reflecting the flavour of the garden and natural world.
more info

Saturday, 21 September 2019 - Saturday, 21 September 2019

Heritage Open Day at The Workhouse
Heritage Open Day at The WorkhouseThe Workhouse are delighted to provide the opportunity for visitors to discover The Workhouse, Firbeck Infirmary and kitchen garden for free as part of Heritage Open Days.
more info

Saturday, 21 September 2019 - Saturday, 21 September 2019

Saturday, 19 October 2019 - Saturday, 19 October 2019

What's in store at The Workhouse
What's in store at The WorkhouseDiscover the history of The Workhouse's collection and go behind the scenes with a member of the conservation team.
more info

Saturday, 2 November 2019 - Sunday, 3 November 2019

Pesky Pests at The Workhouse
more info
Street Art

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