Adult & school group visits

What is there to see?

We trust that your visit to Talbot House will be a unique experience. You are welcome to visit the grounds under your own steam. Here is an overview of what you can expect.

Most groups start their visit either in the permanent exhibition or (on request) by watching the Happy Hoppers Show before exploring the rest of the site.

"A House of People" Exhibition

The permanent exposition walks you through the history of Talbot House over the past century. Several themes like medical care, pastimes in the soldiers’ camps and the vibrant life in 'Little Paris' are told through over 500 artefacts. Besides the Tales of Talbot House during the war years, we also aim in bringing the story of the pilgrimages during the interbellum, the purchase of the Pool of Peace and Talbot House, the Second World War and German occupation of the House. We finish our story with Harry Patch, the last veteran and Talbotousians of the Great War. 

Extra info for school groups:

  • With the help of interactive tablets, visitors can find out more information on an artefact or story of their choice. 
  • Part of the exhibition showcases medical evacuation and surgical treatment which is covered by various UK exam boards. Please also check out our medical tour and workshop, see info below. Please get in touch to further tailor your tour.
  • Groups interested in the wider history, including life behind the lines in Poperinge, the camps and the hospitals, should opt for our standard story tour: A House of People & their stories  (info see below)

The Garden

The large walled garden of Talbot House was a sanctuary for many soldiers. Recent renovations have given the garden its wartime appearance again. With lots of cosy corners and benches, your group is allowed to have their picnic here on request. Try and spot the unique Talbot House Roses and perhaps pick one up on your out for your own garden.

The Slessorium

Throughout the year, several temporary exhibitions are organised at the former bath house. 

The House

And now on to the highlight of your visit, the Old House. Here you'll breath the atmosphere of the wartime years. We encourage group visitors to go around the House on their own steam. The sayings, maps, artefacts and paintings will tell you about the history. Your discovery tour will lead you to the Upper Room in the attic where you'll walk on some of the most sacred ground in Flanders Fields. In the chapel, where thousands would have had their first and many their last communion, you can reflect on your visit . The chapel is still in use so please let us know if you'd like to hold a service. On the tunes of the old piano, your group can have a singsong and enjoy a cup of tea (don't forget to request in advance!). Or perhaps you'd like some homebacked cake or lunch to as well? 

Extra info for groups:

  • join one of our enthusiastic story tellers on a journey through the property. Explore the various options below.
  • We provide some online tools and worksheets for groups to go around the House. 
  • We ask all group leaders and external guides to take a look at our tips & guidelines below.

The Concert Hall & Oast House

In the WW1 Concert Hall a video introduction about the past of Poperinge and Talbot House is show, followed by a performance by the Happy Hoppers Concert Party. This show takes you back to 1917 and would have been a highlight for the thousands of soldiers that came to see it in this very room. Do take into account the full movie lasts 22 minutes, hence some groups opt to only join in for a few minutes. 

In the Oast House, you enter Tubby's dining room where a documentary on his later life and work is shown.

To help prepare yourself, we offer all group leaders a free prospection visit during which we are happy to answer any questions so to tailor your visit and battlefield tour.
We recommend you to first read up on the history of Talbot House. If you have questions or suggestions, don’t hesitate to contact us.

Tips and requests

  • A visit ideally lasts 90 minutes, but if not possible, can be arranged in 60 minutes also. Talbot House was created as a place to relax and is still that same place as back then, so please don't rush too much. 
  • Don't forget to request your complimentary cup of tea on the booking form! We can also arrange coffee and cake. Or perhaps you would like to picnic or have a cold buffet lunch in the garden or canteen ?
  • Worksheets and extra tools are available to help you prepare your visit. Do not hesitate to get in touch with us to ask extra information.
  • Planning to guide your own group round Talbot House? Due to the limited space, the many visitors and the vulnerable conditions, we must request the following:
    • Delivering an introduction to your group is possible in the Concert Hall (please ask us to briefly pause the concert party for you) or in the garden. 
    • Guiding in Talbot House must be kept to a limit. Ideally groups can be briefly (!) addressed in the Hall on the ground floor or in the chapel. 
    • May we ask you not to take more than 40 adults or 50 students up to the chapel at the same time. This is an absolute maximum for the safety of your group as well as the protection of the site. Thank you.
  • May we ask groups not to take large backpacks onto the grounds. The Exhibition and House have many fragile artefacts on display. 
  • Please make sure to keep an eye on your group in the exhibition space and Talbot House.