• Overview
  • Your visit and COVID-19
  • What's on
  • Gallery
  • Team
  • School visits
  • Previous exhibitions

It's time for great days out!

Great days out are back! The Willis Museum and Sainsbury Gallery is open and we can’t wait to give you a warm and safe welcome! You can book a day and time to visit us here and read on to find out more about the measures we have in place to help keep everyone safe during your visit. We look forward to welcoming you back to the museum soon!

Staying Safe

To help keep everyone safe, we’ve made some changes at the Willis Museum. We have introduced a number of measures in line with government guidelines to help manage our visitor numbers and ensure we maintain social distancing to protect you, our staff and volunteers. Please read on for information about booking your visit and what to expect when you are with us.

What we are doing to help reduce the spread of COVID-19 

  • Giving you a warm welcome at a safe distance
  • Introducing advanced booking to reduce queues 
  • Using signage to help you maintain social distance
  • Asking for cashless payment wherever possible
  • Providing hand sanitiser for you to use
  • Taking away high-contact exhibits and displays

If you have any concerns or questions during your visit, please talk to a member of our team – they will be happy to help you.

You can find out answers to some commonly asked questions in our reopening and coronavirus information and FAQs.

Booking your visit 

We have introduced advanced booking to the Willis Museum to help us manage our visitor numbers. Booking your visit is free. Timed visits to the Willis Museum take place at 10:00am, 12:00pm and 2:00pm. Please book a visiting time for each member of your party, including children.

Book your visiting time

You are welcome to arrive at any time during your pre-booked slot but please be aware you may be asked to queue before you can enter and our team will give you 10 minutes notice before your visit is due to end.

Please do not visit if you or any members of your household are showing symptoms of COVID-19 or if you have been in contact with anyone who has it. Information on how to re-book or cancel your visit is detailed on your booking confirmation.

Opening times 

Our opening days and hours are available to view online. Please check before you visit.

Social distancing and hygiene 

During your visit, we ask that you follow our guidelines on social distancing and hygiene to help keep us all safe. We are operating a one-way system at the Willis Museum, which is indicated by signage. Hand sanitiser stations are positioned at the entrance to the museum and at the bottom of the stairs leading to the first floor. To keep everyone safe, please wear a face covering when visiting the Willis Museum.

Toilet facilities

Our toilet facilities are open for pre-booked visitors only. 


Café Willis is open for pre-booked visitors. Ice creams, pre-packaged snacks and hot and cold drinks are available to take away, there is also limited indoor seating. Please wear a face covering in Café Willis unless seated at a table.  Please use cashless payment for any purchases.

Bring your own cup

Get 30p off your next hot drink in the museum café when you bring your own reusable cup! Simply present your cup to a member of staff to claim your discount. 

Gift shop

Our gift shop is open as normal. Please use cashless payment for any purchases.


To help keep us all safe, we have reviewed exhibits, interactives and spaces which may pose a risk of spreading the virus. The Archaeology Gallery, Story Of Basingstoke and Local History resources are temporarily closed and all family interactives and activities are currently withdrawn. 


Hampshire Cultural Trust is a registered charity. The coronavirus crisis has had a huge impact on all of us. Please donate to help us re-connect our communities through culture.


Risk assessment

In accordance with government guidelines, we have carried out a COVID-19 risk assessment to make our sites COVID secure and identify risk control measures.

We’re Good to Go

Good to go

The Visit Britain We’re Good to Go symbol shows that the Willis Museum and Sainsbury Gallery has followed government and industry COVID-19 guidelines and that we have processes in place to help keep everyone safe.


The museum has ramped access to the front door and automatic and power assisted doors to the Sainsbury Gallery and Café Willis. It has a stairlift to the first and second floors with some restrictions, please ask staff for clarification. Please contact us on 01256 465902 before making a special journey.

Group visits

The Willis Museum has a number of school sessions available or can accommodate other group visits. There are two exciting, self-led programmes available for KS1 and KS2.

How to get here

By car
from the north, take J6 of the M3, or the A33 south of Reading; 
from the south, take J7 of the M3. Follow signs for Town Centre and brown signs to the Top of the Town. Parking is available in several car parks or in Festival Place Shopping Centre.

By rail
the museum is within walking distance of Basingstoke station. 
Follow signs for Festival Place Shopping Centre, walk through Festival Place and out of the south exit into Wote Street. Walk up the hill and the museum is in the town’s historic Market Place.

Venue hire

The 2nd floor gallery will seat up to 60 people in a lecture style layout and 20 people in cabaret/boardroom style.

The 1st floor Ellaway room provides a meeting space for smaller groups and activities. It can comfortably seat 12 people boardroom style, with scope for adapting the layout to suit different activities such as craft workshops.

For more information and to book please call 01256 465902.

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