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Torquay Museum

Torquay Museum

Uncover Local History and Geology at Torquay Museum

Located amongst beautiful subtropical gardens in the centre of Torquay, Torquay Museum is home to fascinating regional collections showcasing art, history and geology.

Spread across two neighbouring Victorian villas, this understated museum contains an abundance of treasures that bring to life Torbay’s unique culture and surroundings. From ancient fossils to Agatha Christie first editions, a visit promises hidden discoveries around every turn.

Here’s everything you need to know to explore over 450,000 years of secrets and stories at one of Devon’s most remarkable small museums.

Torquay Museum charles darwin

Getting There

By car or by foot

Torquay Museum is centrally located on Torquay’s seafront promenade on Meadfoot Beach. The museum sits opposite the historic Torre Abbey amidst palm tree lined walkways.

By Bus

From the town centre buses No 22 will drop you outside the museum From the train station buses No 12 and 200 will drop you in the town centre

By train

Torquay train station is just a 10 minute walk away

Opening Times and Prices

Torquay Museum is open Tuesday to Sunday plus bank holidays:

April – October 10am – 5pm

November – March 10am – 4pm

Entry prices are:

  • Adults £11.00
  • Children £4.50
  • Concessions £9.00
  • Under 3s free

Some special events and talks may incur an additional charge.

Gift aid admission allows free return visits within 12 months.

The Museum’s History

What is today Torquay Museum began life as two grand Victorian villas. The buildings were visionary works by William Kitson, who later converted them into a museum to showcase his personal collections.

The original décor from elaborate plasterwork to fine fireplaces remains intact, adding historic character. Displays inhabit everything from cellars to attics across this deceptively large site.

Local History Collections Delve into the stories of Torbay through the museum’s wide-ranging local history collections spanning prehistory to present day:

  • Ancestors Gallery – Uncover Torquay’s ancient roots from the Stone Age to Roman Britain.
  • Maritime Displays – Discover how Torquay prospered from the growth of sailing and steam ships.
  • Railway Exhibits – Learn about the railways that transformed Torquay into a bustling resort.
  • 1900s Streetscene – Step back in time on this authentic Victorian high street.
  • World War Displays – Learn Torquay’s role housing wartime prisoners of war.

Costumed guides really bring the exhibits to life with expert knowledge on different eras.

football at torquay museum

Geology Displays

Torquay Museum is renowned for its extensive geology collections showcasing the incredible fossils, minerals and rocks of the English Riviera:

  • Dinosaur Fossils – Get up close to a real iguanodon and ichthyosaur.
  • Prehistoric Teeth and Bones – Examine the mammoth molars and giant limb bones.
  • Local Ammonites – Marvel at the spiral seashells of these prehistoric cephalopods.
  • Mineral Collection – Study gemstones, crystals and metals from around the world.

Interactive stations let you touch and study real specimens, bringing the exhibits to life.

Agatha Christie

As Torquay’s most famous resident, the museum has an entire gallery dedicated to crime writer Agatha Christie. Highlights include:

  • First edition novels – Over 80 of Christie’s books in pristine condition.
  • Personal mementos – Jewellery, passport and artefacts belonging to the author.
  • Advertising archives – Vintage posters and merchandising spanning her career.
  • Photo gallery – From childhood portraits to book signings and film sets.

Fans will love this treasure trove of artifacts documenting the life of the Queen of Crime.

While in the area, Agatha Christie fans should take the chance to visit her beautiful home at Greenway.

Agatha christie at torquay museum

Facilities and Shop

The Garden Cafe offers fresh food and Devon cream teas in a subtropical courtyard. The quality museum shop sells unique gifts and souvenirs. Facilities include baby changing and accessible/dementia friendly options.

With its labyrinth of rooms and collections, Torquay Museum always has new secrets and surprises to uncover about the English Riviera’s heritage. Don’t judge this book by its cover!

gift shop at torquay museum

Frequently Asked Questions

Is Torquay Museum pushchair friendly and wheelchair accessible? – Yes, there is plenty of room to move around

Are dogs allowed in Torquay Museum? No dogs, except for trained guide dogs

Nearby Attractions

  • Torre Abbey – Historic abbey founded in 1196, now an art gallery and museum set in beautiful grounds. Fascinating history.
  • Kents Cavern – Extensive ancient caves containing important prehistoric remains and archaeological finds. Guided tours available.
  • Babbacombe Model Village – Charming model village depicting 1940s England. Incredible attention to detail across the intricate buildings and figures.
  • Cockington Village – Quaint village near Torquay with thatched cottages, craft shops and tea rooms. Scenic walks through the estate.
  • Paignton Zoo – Engaging zoo surrounded by lush botanical gardens. See exotic wildlife including giraffes, cheetahs and lemurs.
  • Occombe Farm – Traditional farm where visitors can feed and interact with chickens, goats, pigs and more. Nature trails through the woods.
  • Dartmouth Steam Railway – Vintage steam train rides along the Dart Valley from Paignton to Kingswear. Takes in scenic South Devon views.
  • Goodrington Sands – Family friendly blue flag beach with soft sands, rockpools to explore, and nearby cafes. Perfect for relaxing or watersports.

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