Bygones in Torquay is a treasure trove of historic curiosities. Some of it you may have once seen around your granny or great-granny’s home. It’s fascinating, educational, surprising and, in some places, a little gory! Here’s what to expect when visiting this Tardis-like attraction in South Devon.
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Bygones was set up by the Cumings family when their memorabilia collection became too large to store at home. This is when they moved into the old cinema building in St Marychurch, Torquay, and opened their display to the public.
You can now visit to see thousands of pieces of memorabilia presented in scenes from the Victorian era though to the 1960s.
It’s an excellent experience for children doing Victorian, World War I or World War II topics in school. They’ll get to see real artefacts from text books and TV shows, as well as recreated scenes from the past.
Bygones is also one of Devon’s dog-friendly attractions and an ideal place to visit on a rainy day as it’s all under cover.
Things to see and do
Bygones is mainly a walk through experience, with your route taking you from era to era. There’s so much detail in the reimagined shops, homes and scenarios from the past.
Keep an eye out for wedding dresses from the 1860s and 1940s, a Victorian cucumber straightener, 15 meticulously recreated shops and a 27 tonne steam engine. Yes, a real one!
Most exhibits are viewable through windows or from behind barriers but you can walk through the Victorian street and exchange £1 for six old pennies to play some vintage amusements.
We spent an hour and a half looking around as a family including a six-year-old, eight-year-old and two grandparents.
My eight-year-old spotted lots of things she’d heard about during history lessons in school, like the gas masks being carried by evacuee children and the Anderson shelter.
Bygones is not somewhere I’d recommend visiting with pre-school children. It’s best suited to kids who have a longer attention span and enjoy spotting detail and reading facts.
I’d also dash past the Victorian dentist’s chair with tiny tots (and anyone who’s got dentophobia) as it’s little gory.
More handy things to know
Here’s some information about accessibility and facilities at Bygones:
- This attraction is set over three floors of a historic building, so there’s no lift and quite a few steps. The stairways have hand rails. Find out more about accessibility at Bygones.
- The museum is not accessible with a pushchair. These must be left in reception.
- There’s a single toilet towards the back of the Victorian Street on the ground level. Bygones does not have baby changing facilities.
- There’s a cafe serving light meals, drinks, cakes and snacks.
- Dogs are allowed to visit Bygones. They must be kept on a lead. Be aware this this attraction is indoors only.
Where is Bygones in Torquay?
You’ll find Bygones on Fore Street in St Marychurch, Torquay, TQ1 4PR.
Where to park
There’s no parking at Bygones so you’ll need to use a public car park or find on street parking. This is time limited, so check before you leave your vehicle.
We used the Hampton Avenue Car Park, which is a short walk from Bygones (see map above). You can pay using the Ringo App.
Bygones prices and opening times
Bygones is open seven days a week, all year round. Opening times vary depending on the season, so check the website for the latest information.
In 2022, a family ticket costs £29.95 for two adults and two children. Additional children cost £6.
Discounts are available for military personnel and residents with a TQ postcode.
Find out more about current prices and visiting Bygones on its website.
More things to do in Torquay
Here’s some more attractions to visit in nearby Babbacombe and Torquay:
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