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Sidmouth Museum

sidmouth museum

Step Into Sidmouth’s Seaside History at Sidmouth Museum

Celebrating the unique heritage of the Regency seaside town of Sidmouth, Sidmouth Museum takes visitors on an interesting journey from prehistory to the present day. Interactive exhibits and rare artefacts immerse you in everything that has shaped this scenic East Devon resort across millennia, from its geological beginnings to years as a fashionable destination for the aristocracy.

From early fossil discoveries to Victoriana and iconic beach memories, Sidmouth Museum reveals hidden layers of intrigue behind the town’s tranquil facade. Here’s everything you need to plan an illuminating trip into Sidmouth’s past.

inside sidmouth museum

Getting There

Sidmouth Museum occupies an elegant historic building on Sidmouth’s seafront, beside the ramp up to the esplanade. Well signed from the A3052, it sits close to the triangle of the town beach, swimming pool, and Ham pub. Street parking spaces surround the museum.

By Train

Sidmouth is accessible by rail with the station only a 7 minute stroll from the Museum along Station Road and The Esplanade. South West trains run direct from Exeter.

Opening Times and Prices


Sidmouth Museum is open from Easter until October:

  • Easter to June – Tuesday to Sunday 10am – 4pm
  • July to October – Daily 10am – 4pm

The museum is closed during the winter months outside peak season.

Admission prices are:

  • Adults £2.50
  • Children under 16 Free

The Story of Sidmouth

Spread across 3 floors, the Museum’s wide-ranging collections take you through significant eras in Sidmouth’s past:

  • Jurassic Coast Fossils – Remarkable 186 million year old finds including marine reptiles.
  • Victorian Times – Learn how Sidmouth prospered as a desirable resort for the gentry.
  • The Great War – Discover Sidmouth’s role as a hospital town for wounded WW1 soldiers.
  • Folklore and Traditions – Delve into stories like the area’s mysterious hairy hands.

From the exhaustive geology displays to Edwardian beach scenes, revelations about the town await around every corner.

sid museum

Historic Collections


Remarkable objects help visualize Sidmouth’s bygone days:

  • Rare Circus Memorabilia – Documents and costumes from Pablo Fanque’s theatrical troupe who pioneered circus entertainment.
  • Exquisite Beaded Dress – An extraordinarily detailed antique gown made from hand-sewn antique glass beads.
  • Regency Artefacts – Instruments, entertainment programs and costumes from Sidmouth’s days as a fashionable resort for the elite.

It’s a treasure trove of rarely seen coastal heritage waiting to be uncovered.

sidmouth history

Hands-On Exhibits

Interactive elements make Sidmouth’s history fun for younger visitors:

  • Fossil rubbing – Make brass rubbings of ancient fossil finds.
  • Victorian classroom – Dress up for lessons with a strict governess!
  • Beach hut activity zone – Beach games and building fun with a seaside twist.
  • Rockpool touch pool – Get hands-on with crabs, starfish and sea creatures.

Children can let imagination run wild while developing a deeper connection with Sidmouth’s past through the exhibits.

2023 Quiz and Trail

Facilities

The gift shop stocks unique souvenirs, mineral specimens, books and keepsakes ideal for reliving your Sidmouth journey. The museum has toilet and baby changing facilities onsite.

Whether you’re a Sidmouth local or visitor, the town’s museum makes an illuminating dive into the lesser known history behind the genteel resort’s façade.

sidmouth

Frequently Asked Questions

Are dogs allowed in Sidmouth Museum? – No

Is is wheelchair accessible? – The ground floor is accessible for wheelchairs and pushchairs, but the upper floors are not

How long do the walking tours last? – Every tour is slightly different, depending on the guide, the number of visitors and any particular interests they may have. On average, allow about 2 hours.

Other nearby attractions

  • Otterton Mill – Historic working flour mill alongside the River Otter containing craft shops, art gallery and eateries. Picturesque spot for coffee.
  • Bicton Park Botanical Gardens – Beautiful ornamental gardens from the 18th century containing glasshouses, woodland walks, play zones and railway.
  • Donkey Sanctuary – Charity donkey sanctuary in Sidmouth where you can meet and learn about the rescued residents. Fun and educational visit.
  • RSPB Darts Farm – Nature reserve with trails winding through wetland, grassland and woodland habitats. Spot birds like cirl buntings. Family activities available.
  • Pecorama – Quirky miniature world near Beer with model railways, gardens and exhibitions. Ride the narrow gauge railway for scenic views.
  • Seaton Tramway – Nostalgic narrow-gauge tramway between Seaton, Colyton and Colyford offering delightful Axe Valley views.
  • Axe Valley Wildlife Park – Family friendly zoo with over 100 species including big cats, primates, reptiles and more. Walk with lemurs too.
  • Beer Quarry Caves – Fascinating ancient manmade caves near Beer used to mine Beer stone since Roman times. Guided tours available.

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