Museums in Cornwall

It may be a small part of our south coast but Cornwall has a generous history linked to its spectacular landscape. The rich land gave Cornwall its mining heritage, while its coastline has created a strong connection between the people and the sea. Its coastal position has also made it a key location to defend our land from enemies through the centuries.

Sculpture at Barbara Hepworth Museum

Barbara Hepworth Museum image by Herry Lawford is licensed under CC BY 2.0

Popular museums in North Cornwall

  • Cornwall at War Museum – Housing a private collection of memorabilia, this museum is far from stuffy. Take your time browsing artefacts from the two World Wars and the Falklands
  • Museum of Witchcraft and Magic – View history differently with an enchanting trip to this museum full of relics from the weird and wonderful

Learn more about other arts and heritage spots in North Cornwall.

Popular museums in South Cornwall

  • National Maritime Museum – A look into Cornwall’s close ties with the sea and fishing. View the collection of fishing boats through the ages and find out what memories Cornwall’s shores hold
  • Royal Cornwall Museum – Explore Cornwall’s deep history from prehistoric finds through to the Roman era. Collections of fine art, photography and world cultures make this museum a must
  • Polperro Heritage Museum of Smuggling and Fishing – Visit this pretty little museum by the harbour for a glimpse into Cornwall’s smuggler past

Learn more about other arts and heritage spots in South Cornwall.

Popular museums in West Cornwall

  • Porthcurno Telegraph Museum – Cornwall was once at the heart of a global communications infrastructure that connected different parts of the world via undersea cables. Be amazed by this fantastic history, at this must-see museum


  • Barbara Hepworth Museum – The sculptor’s studio has been turned into a memorial of her great life and abstract pieces of art

Learn more about other arts and heritage spots in West Cornwall.

Popular museums in Bodmin & Tamar

  • Lawrence House museum – A small museum set in a Georgian house, which celebrates local Launceston and those who once lived in the three-storey house

Learn more about other arts and heritage spots in the Bodmin Moor & Tamar Valley region.

At a glance

Cornwall has a wealth of museums where you can uncover the rich and varied stories of Cornwall’s history, from the mythical Iron Age, through to the Tudor and Victorian eras

Artists have fallen in love with Cornwall’s setting over the years. Learn more about its place in art history in its dozens of galleries

Learn more about Cornwall's museums

Browse our selection of Cornish highlights for ideas of things to see and do

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