North Devon EX34 8AF
Tucked away on Ilfracombe’s sea front, in Runnymede Gardens is an old building which has been reborn as the multi award-winning Ilfracombe Museum.
Housed in the former Imperial Hotel laundry, the museum is a fascinating mix of local history, natural history, Victoriana, maritime artifacts, minerals, archaeology, maps, paintings, photos, military items and costumes.
First opened in August 1932, the original curator was Mervyn G Palmer, who started it all following his explorations in South America collecting for the British Museum. Objects include unimaginable finds - from a shrunken head to a collection of pickled bats – just the sort of gruesome objects that appeal to children!
Highlights of the collection include the many drawers of insects and butterflies from Britain and South America, collected by Mr Palmer in the early 1900s. He also collected African beadwork and early South American pottery. Closer to home, there are displays of local maritime and military history, a display about Ilfracombe's railway, and a room devoted to Lundy island.
Families and children can enjoy following a quiz around the museum’s eight ground floor rooms, there are objects for little ones to handle and both adults and children can have a go at brass rubbing. There is a ship to shore radio station where you can try at tapping out Morse code. Many younger visitors are fascinated by the famous two-headed kitten and huge African python.
Step back through time and see how visitors used to arrive in Ilfracombe
, with a collection of model ships and steamers.
First World War Family Tree Information
The museum has transcriptions of letters written by over 270 Ilfracombe
people who served during the First World War. As a fund raiser the museum is offering to send copies of all the letters written by a particular person in return for £5.
This is pot luck, as some of the men were prolific correspondents, others only had a few lines printed in the local paper, but for each one the museum will also look through its photograph collection, and, if there is one will include a photo-copy of it.
April to October
Every day: 10:00 – 17:00 hours
November to March
Tuesday – Friday: 10:00 – 13:00 hours.
Around: Adults £3; Concessions/ Seniors £2.50
Accompanied children under 16: Free
Yes. The museum building is ground floor level only. Disabled Permit Parking directly outside the building.
Toilets and Gift Shop. Pay & Display parking may be available in the Landmark Theatre car park next door.
Researchers into Ilfracombe
's past can access extensive photographic and newspaper archives, parish and census records, by purchasing a researcher's ticket valid for 1 year.
There is a lot to see and the museum organises many special events throughout the year. Visit their website to see 'What’s On'.
Accommodation - Search & Book through Expedia here: External Link
Contact & Further Information
+44 (0)1271 863 541
Once in Ilfracombe
follow the tourist signs to the seafront. The Museum is in Runnymede Gardens, next to the Landmark Theatre & Tourist Information Centre.
Google Maps - Ilfracombe Museum