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“Interesting enough, but not much to do”

Butser Ancient Farm
Ranked #1 of 1 things to do in Chalton
Certificate of Excellence
Attraction details
Reviewed 27 June 2013

I will say, up front, that I have the greatest admiration and respect for the work Butser does in researching and promoting ancient building and farming techniques, and I am very happy to support this work.

Having said that, the site itself isn't a fantastic place to visit: the half-dozen or so reconstructed buildings are undeniably fascinating, with plentiful information on how they were designed and built, but, once you have looked at these, there is very little else to do - no museum or displays of artefacts, few animals (only a small flock of sheep and a couple of sleepy pigs), and, as far as we could see, not even any footpaths to explore the surrounding countryside. The £7 entry fee is really rather steep for so little.

I don't think it helped that we visited at the same time as a couple of school parties - it's great that kids get to visit this sort of place and take part in activities that they were clearly enjoying, but I don't think anyone would argue that the presence of several dozen over-excited, shouting children is particularly relaxing!

If you like ancient history then Butser is certainly interesting, but try to go when they are running one of their occasional special events as this would make the visit more worthwhile and better value.

1  Thank Cat P
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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"roman villa"
in 13 reviews
"iron age"
in 22 reviews
"stone age"
in 6 reviews
"school trip"
in 5 reviews
"staff are extremely helpful"
in 2 reviews
"kids interested"
in 2 reviews
"school parties"
in 3 reviews
"his knowledge"
in 2 reviews
"fantastic place to visit"
in 2 reviews
"explained everything"
in 2 reviews
"all ages"
in 5 reviews
"gift shop"
in 4 reviews
"children and adults"
in 2 reviews
"packed lunch"
in 2 reviews
"excellent value"
in 2 reviews
"few hours"
in 3 reviews
"family ticket"
in 2 reviews
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89 - 93 of 98 reviews

Reviewed 9 June 2013

What a neat idea! Experimental archaeology! The staff were all incredibly keen to share their knowledge, and excited about their latest experiment. I would have loved to go on a guided tour of the sight to really understand what I was looking at. I can't wait to go back during one of their varied workshops, to try my hand at a new skill!

Thank heatheracombs
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 31 May 2013

We took in a visit to the Butser site as part of a walk between Clanfield and Petersfield. We expected to see more visitors around. We arrived mid-morning, enjoyed a cup of coffee from the very helpful lady running the shop/visitor centre and then walked around the site. It was important to buy a guide book in order to appreciate the lay-out of the site and background to the reconstructed structures. Feeding the sheep is a good activity for all ages. The 'Roman family' were very knowledgeable and must be a draw for children visiting the site. We ate our own sandwiches - I had checked to see whether there was a cafe before visiting - and had another cup of coffee before looking around the shop. I purchased some handspun undyed wool but there were a good range of souvenirs beyond the usual range of things provided at other attractions.

3  Thank Jean A
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 25 February 2013

This was a well spent few hours of education and just delight. The farm could be better, but its all down to income. The Roman villa is only one wing of three, on the original. It has a working hypacorse. and depending on when you go lots of intresting functions, as in intrest days in the school holidays.
You could learn a lot of things if you wish to open and fill your mind!! There are other features in the surrounding area, please look on line for these, or ask at the farm.

2  Thank Rory M
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Reviewed 29 August 2012

In Peter Reynold's time the ancient farm was a thriving centre for experimental Iron Age archaeology, with a well-earned international reputation, and it has been featured on television on many occasions. The staff working there now are still true to his memory, and remember him with great affection, and we greatly enjoyed talking with them. However, it's fairly obvious that in the current economic climate it's not easy to fund archaeology projects. In order to survive, the farm is now much more geared to raising income through school visits and special events, using a lot of volunteer help. When we toured the site we could see the evidence of this: and we feel the new visitor centre/toilets will enhance the tourist experience. The roundhouses and Roman villa are ok for a look around. The area set aside for crops seemed to have been abandoned, and there was only one small flock of Manx sheep: apparently the H&S regulations make it very expensive to have animals there, though they were planning to "bring in some pigs for the children in the summer". So - if you're interested in history and archaeology, come at a quiet time when you can talk to the staff. If you want a family day out, come when there are special events on to enhance the experience, and join the crowds. Pay your money and take your choice!

5  Thank Jackie L
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC

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