The Willis Museum and Sainsbury Gallery

Due to the coronavirus, museums and galleries across the country may be closed or you may have to book a timed ticket in order to visit. Please check their websites and social media channels for up to date information.

Market Place
RG21 7QD

Since 1984, the Willis Museum has been housed in this impressive early Victorian building that was once Basingstoke’s Town Hall. It is named after George Willis, a local clockmaker, antiquarian and former Mayor of Basingstoke, who became the first honorary curator when the original museum was established in the Mechanics Institute in New Street in 1931. The building you see today replaced the original Mote Hall (meeting place) where Jane Austen attended dances. This replacement Town Hall was designed by Lewis Wyatt and was open on the ground floor, serving as the town’s Corn Exchange and Market. Centrally located at the Top of the Town, in the Willis Museum you will discover Basingstoke and Deane’s past, from the rich archaeological heritage beneath our feet right up to the modern day. Throughout the year, we also run a programme of touring exhibitions, as well as fun events, workshops and activities for all the family to enjoy.

Further information

Opening Hours:

Monday: Closed Tuesday: 10:00am - 5:00pm Wednesday: 10:00am - 5:00pm Thursday: 10:00am - 5:00pm Friday: 10:00am - 5:00pm Saturday: 10:00am - 4:00pm Sunday: Closed


Free entry.

Travel directions:

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.

All information is drawn from or provided by the venues themselves and every effort is made to ensure it is correct. Please remember to double check opening hours with the venue concerned before making a special visit.

Facilities and services


  • Cafeteria
  • Education facilities available
  • Facilities for private functions and events
  • Shop
  • Study facilities
  • Wheelchair access to some public areas
  • Wheelchairs available for loan

Facilities information:

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.


  • Academic publications and resources available
  • Activities for pre-school children
  • Adult lectures and courses held
  • Brochure or leaflet available with directions to museum
  • Events and resources for children and families
  • Foreign language leaflet or brochure available

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