To save your feet there's a vintage bus service and a little train trundling along a line that once served the pit. Picture: Pete Edgeler, flickr.com

London - Tucked away in the South Downs between Storrington and Arundel in West Sussex, Amberley Museum is an amazing place, and quite unlike any museum you have ever visited.

Home to more than 40 buildings that focus on the industrial history of the southeast, and lovingly run by an army of about 400 volunteers, it's a fascinating stash, and scatters across a huge site situated in a chalk pit immediately below the South Downs Way.

To save your feet there's a vintage bus service and a little train trundling along a line that once served the pit, but much of the fun here is derived from pottering around and chancing upon the abundance of relics and bygones, chatting to craftspeople - wheelwrights, blacksmiths, etc - who work here variously restoring machinery, running the hot-metal printworks, making besoms, repairing bicycles in a time warp workshop and much else besides.

Of the many mini-museums within are the Electricity Hall, with a nostalgia-inducing gallery of defunct domestic electrical appliances, a 1950s fire station, a vintage wireless exhibition, a huge collection of narrow-gauge industrial railway locos and rolling stock, and a museum of roads and roadmaking.

 

 

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Further exhibits include a working printshop, lime kilns and more. There's also a café, gift shop, playground, nature trails and picnic areas, and the charitable organisation that runs the museum is also particularly proud of the wildlife that lives hereabouts, including peregrine falcons and no fewer than 129 types of fungi.

* Cool Places is a new website from the creators of Rough Guides and Cool Camping, suggesting the best places to stay, eat, drink and shop in Britain (coolplaces.co.uk).