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Newton Abbot Museum

newton abbot museum

Discover Local History and Heritage at Newton Abbot Museum

Based in a handsome 17th century building in the heart of the town, Newton Abbot museum promises a fascinating family day out uncovering the area’s rich history and heritage. With varied collections spanning prehistoric times to World War Two memorabilia, Newton Abbot Museum brings the local history vividly to life through interactive displays and hands-on activities.

Alongside the permanent exhibits, kids will love getting creative in regular museum craft sessions. Here’s all you need to know for an immersive day out discovering Newton Abbot’s past at this diverse district museum.

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Getting There

Newton Abbot Museum is centrally located on Newton Abbot’s main high street in Devon. It’s directly opposite the town’s pretty Victorian Market House.

On foot, the museum is 5 minutes from Newton Abbot train and bus stations. Limited street parking is available or use public car parks.

Opening Times

Newton Abbot Museum is open year-round:

Tuesday to Friday – 9.30am to 4.30pm

Saturday 9.30am-1.30pm

Closed Sundays, Mondays and Bank Holidays

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Admission Fees

Entry to Newton Abbot Museum is free for all visitors, with donations welcomed. Special activity sessions may have a small additional cost.

The Museum Collections

Spread over two floors, the museum’s collections let families discover over 300,000 years of Newton Abbot’s history:

  • Ancient Stone Age and Bronze Age tools excavated locally like axeheads and arrowheads
  • The changing local landscape shown through geological remains like fossils and minerals
  • Victorian toys and clothes showing glimpses of domestic life through the ages
  • Historic artefacts relating to the Newton Abbot railway, from Brunel designs to WW2 loco parts
  • Recreated rooms like an Iron Age hut, Victorian parlour and 1940s war room
  • Local regiments’ military uniforms, documents and equipment from 1600s onwards
  • Interactive exhibits like 1970s household appliances to play with
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Family Activities

Alongside exploring the main collections, the museum also hosts regular family activity sessions:

  • Object handling allowing kids to examine museum pieces up close
  • Crafts using traditional methods like rag rug making and embroidery
  • Quizzes and challenge trails around the exhibits
  • Costumed re-enactment days bringing history colourfully to life
  • Storytelling linking to artefacts like WW2 gas masks
  • Temporary exhibitions focusing on local history topics
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Facilities

The museum has toilets and baby changing facilities. They have a tea / coffee machine, but no food is sold. They say that you’re welcome to picnic in the small garden. Wells Park a few minutes away also has playgrounds and a cafe.

Newton Abbot things to do

Pair a visit to the museum with other Newton Abbot attractions like:

  • The Markets – browse Devon produce and antiques in Newton’s indoor markets
  • St Leonards Tower – The Clock Tower, from the 13th Century is one of the most recognisible landmarks in Newton Abbot.
  • Wheels Festival – held annually in summer with Ferris wheel, music and food stalls
  • Stover Country Park – cycle the trails and refuel at the cafe just 2 miles from Newton Abbot

From prehistoric arrowheads to wartime memories, Newton Abbot Museum lets your family discover how the generations lived, worked and played in this classic Devon market town through the centuries.

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Frequently Asked Questions

Are dogs allowed in Newton Abbot museum? Assistance dogs are allowed, but otherwise, no animals are permitted in the museum

Is it wheel chair accessible? – Yes, the staff have worked hard to make sure that the whole building is wheelchair accessible, with a lift to all levels and ramps within the main museum space. Wheelchairs are available to use if required. The entrance doors are automatically operated. There are disabled car parking spaces next to the building in the adjacent Newfoundland Way car park.

How long should I allow for a visit to the museum? – About 1-2 hours will be enough to get a good look at most of the exhibits

Other nearby attractions

When in Newton Abbot, there are a number of other places to visit, including:

  • Go Ape Haldon Forest – Treetop ropes course adventure with zip wires, Tarzan swings and obstacles set in Haldon Forest. Thrilling family activity.
  • Torquay Museum – Diverse collections related to local geology, archaeology, history and ethnography. Extensive reference library onsite.
  • Kents Cavern – Extensive ancient caves containing important prehistoric remains and archaeological finds. Guided tours available.
  • Powderham Castle – 600 year old castle near Exeter, home to the Earl of Devon. Guided tours offer a glimpse into stately living.
  • Pennywell Farm – Traditional farm where visitors can feed and interact with chickens, goats, pigs and more. Indoor play areas too.
  • Canonteign Falls – England’s highest waterfall set within a lush wooded gorge. Viewing platforms provide scenic vantage points.
  • Occombe Farm – Farm attraction where you can get hands-on with animals. Nature trails through the woods and along coast.
  • South Devon Railway – Heritage steam railway with scenic journeys along the Dart Valley between Totnes and Buckfastleigh.

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