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“Could do better...”

Calbourne Water Mill & Rural Museum
Ranked #1 of 3 things to do in Calbourne
Attraction details
West Sussex, UK
Level Contributor
86 reviews
46 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 43 helpful votes
“Could do better...”
Reviewed 17 May 2014

I last visited around five years ago and had expected the promised craft shops to be open only to find it in the same, slightly run down condition with no craft shops. There is a café which made reasonable cream tea. The war museum doesn't appear to have been updated since the day it was originally set up so was all a bit grubby and tired. We didn't see any one in the Mill itself so didn't get any explanation. We purchased a bag of bird seed and a bag of fish food. My husband took the fish food but only saw two fish and they weren't interested so he fed it to the birds instead. I was delighted with my bag of bird food as was immediately surrounded by a flock of ducks, geese, peacocks and doves. Luckily I'm not fazed by birds landing on me which is fortunate as I had them on my head, arms and handbag.
I don't think we will bother going again and can't say it would need to be at the top of your list of things to do on the Isle of Wight.

Visited May 2014
Thank Animale_7
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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238 reviews from our community

Visitor rating
Date | Rating
  • English first
  • Any
English first
Isle of Wight
Level Contributor
29 reviews
3 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 17 helpful votes
“What a disappointment!”
Reviewed 7 May 2014

When my children were younger, Calbourne Mill was somewhere we all enjoyed visiting. It is in a beautiful setting and in theory has a lot to offer all ages. I haven't visited for a few years and wanted somewhere to take my grandchildren on Bank Holiday Monday.
The entrance fee of £7 per adult would have been OK if the attraction was how I remembered it! However, I couldn't believe how run down it is. We purchased some bird and fish food at £1 a bag but couldn't find any birds hungry enough to eat and only saw one fish which had obviously had enough food. The children were very disappointed.
The grass area outside the cafe is where I recall sitting on the grass watching my children play, but it was so covered in duck, goose and animal 'poo' that we didn't dare sit down.
We went in to the cafe for lunch. The staff were very nice but we had to wait 45 minutes for scones, a child's lunch bag and beans on toast. I ordered an adult portion of beans on toast and was flabbergasted to be charged £4.50 for one slice with beans on top - not sure how big the child's portion would be! I would have liked a Ploughman's lunch, but at £9.95 I resisted!
What did the children enjoy? Well, the old fire engine that they can climb in and the mill demonstration were really the main attractions. They were too young to appreciate the war museum and the other outbuildings were a muddle of rusting artefacts.
As an Island resident I am able to reuse my entry ticket for the rest of the season. In past years I would have returned to enjoy the setting and have lunch in the cafe, but not this year!

Visited May 2014
1 Thank Snow-Wight
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Guildford, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
72 reviews
50 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 35 helpful votes
“a lot of potential yet to meet”
Reviewed 1 May 2014

Was an attraction for adults as many barns of old exhibits dangouous for children. We understand the mill but that is obvious but still some displays not complete others had fallen down and not been fixed. War museum great with exhibits labeled clearly and behind glass so safe and clearly visible. Grandmas kitchen sadly jumbled and appeared rushed would benefit from a good sort out and tidy to make it safer and more user friendly, never in your wildest dreams would you get a wheelchair in there. Also pottery lady friendly but pottery a bit space and unwelcoming and next door barns filled with jumbled vehicles a tidy and decent labels needed!

The cafe was new and huge but surrounds need an overhaul more like the war museum part but for £7 and adult steep for what it was :(

Visited May 2014
Thank Katie R
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Level Contributor
9 reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 4 helpful votes
“Lovely people, beautiful birds”
Reviewed 28 April 2014 via mobile

Came with my disabled parents and also my brother. The 'mill man' was not available due to ill health so we were given a very gracious discount. The items on display are in need of a little tlc as some others have mentioned but overall we loved the site. The birds are amazing, and we literally spent an hour with them, feeding them and admiring them. Peacocks, doves, pigeons, ducks and geese! All incredibly friendly and approachable. It certainly made my holiday.
The staff within the cafe were absolutely lovely, it is a little expensive but we thoroughly enjoyed it, and the incredibly friendly staff. We will definitely visit again.

Visited April 2014
Thank lindsey_bridgeman
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Level Contributor
86 reviews
23 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 17 helpful votes
“Shabby and not chic”
Reviewed 17 April 2014

This is part water mill and part rural and agricultural museum. The mill Is very good but the experience of the rest of the very large site is mixed. Most of the machinery on display is in a very poor state and is beyond refurbishing. There is an obvious lack of maintenance , as everything looks really shabby. The restaurant was very expensive and service slow for anything cooked.
We realise that they need to turn a profit but not at the expense of turning people off.

Visited April 2014
Thank moishe1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC

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