If you are looking for places to go in Torquay or a wet day (or you want to avoid the sun) then Torquay Museum is a brilliant. Expand your children’s knowledge of natural history and excite the explorer in them with plenty of hands on exhibits and challenges at Devon’s oldest museum.

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About Torquay Museum

Torquay Museum was set up by the Torquay Natural History Society in 1844.

It really is a treasure trove with more than 300,000 specimens in its stores; one percent of which are on display. The 2021 temporary exhibition ‘Secret Museum’ is helping to share some of the lesser seen items in the collections.

Torquay Museum exhibits

Ancient Egyptian child's coffin in Explorers Gallery at Torquay Museum
Ancient Egyptian child’s coffin in Explorers Gallery

There are eight exhibition areas including displays about:

  • natural history and the environment
  • the English Riviera’s unique geology
  • local history including a recreated Devon farm house kitchen
  • the finds of explorers like Torquay born Percy Fawcett who inspired the Indiana Jones
  • and the best selling author of all time, Agatha Christie, another famous Devonian. 
Props used the Poirot ITV series in the Agatha Christie Exhibition
Props used the Poirot ITV series

Family-friendly things to do

When you arrive at the museum pick up activity sheets at reception. When we visited there were sheets about the permanent and temporary exhibitions.

You’ll find holes for children to peek through around the galleries, as well as codes for them to crack, buttons to be pressed and brass rubbings. 

Interactive display in the Ancestors Gallery
Ancestors Gallery

We spent lots of time in Time Ark natural history gallery and the Explorers Gallery where there are artefacts that have been collected from around the world.

My eldest daughter enjoyed finding out about the ‘Agents of Decay’ – things that threaten historic collections – in the the museum’s 175th anniversary exhibition ‘Secret Museum’ (on until 5 September 2021). This showcase items usually in storage.

During the school holidays there are lots of special events that you might not expect at a museum, like animal handling sessions. Find out what’s on now.

We spent a great 1.5 hours in the museum.

Child touching anaconda snake model
Anaconda snake model

Facilities at the museum

  • The museum has accessible toilets on the ground and first floor. Find out more about accessibility at the museum
  • The cafe was closed when we visited in July 2021, but you’re a short walk from lots of places to eat around Torquay Harbour
  • There’s stairs and a lift to all floors.

Torquay Museum opening times and prices

Old Devon Farm House
Old Devon Farm House

The museum is open from 10am unit 4pm, seven days a week over the school summer holidays. At other times of year it is open Monday to Saturday.

You can book your admission tickets in advance online or turn up on the day (subject to availability).

When we visited a family ticket for two adults and two children cost £19.70. Your tickets are valid for a year and if you live in a TQ postcode you can get half price entry.

Find out more on the museum website.

Handy things to know

  • There’s pay and display and on road parking is close by (download the Ringo parking app)
  • Numbers are being limited during 2021. You can book online in advance to secure your visit.

Where is it?

You’ll find Torquay Museum on Babbacombe Road, TQ1 1HG.

More things to do in Torbay

Read my guide to the things to do in Torquay and the neighbouring towns of Paignton and Brixham in Torbay.

Got a while to stay? Here’s our BIG guide to family holidays in Devon.

Bust of Charles Darwin
Charles Darwin