Family-Friendly Museums in Cornwall

Whether you’re looking for something to do on one of Cornwall’s rare rainy days or you just fancy trying out something a little different during your break, then a good old museum may well be the answer.

There’s so much choice on offer! Whilst this might present you with plenty of options, it can make things quite difficult when it comes to picking out which you fancy visiting with the family. That’s why we’ve done a quick roundup of our favourite family friendly museums in the area, so take a look and see what you think.

The National Maritime Museum

 A family inside the Maritime Museum© 

When you’re looking at family friendly museums in Cornwall, there’s nowhere better to start than with the National Maritime Museum in Falmouth. Named as the best Family Friendly Museum by the Daily Telegraph just a couple of years ago, the NMM impressed the judging panel with its wide range of interactive exhibits and activities perfect for piquing the interest of visitors of all ages. What’s more, throughout this year you’ll be able to take the family along to the specialised Viking Voyagers exhibition. It showcases one of the country’s most colourful periods with themed “make and take” activities, a new Nordic café menu and Viking battle re-enactments every “Thorsday” (or every Thursday during the school holidays for you and me).

Contact:, 01326 313388

Opening Hours: Open daily from 10am-5pm

Prices: Adults - £12.00, children (5-15 years) - £8.50, children under 5 go free, concessions - £10.00

Check out our top 10 things to do in Falmouth and discover more exciting things to get up to in the town.

The Royal Cornwall Museum

A child playing with pottery at The Royal Cornwall Museum©

Alternatively, there’s the Royal Cornwall Museum in Truro. With a wide range of exhibitions and attractions ranging from a rare unwrapped mummy from ancient Egypt, all the way through to the museum’s famous mineral collection that comprises of over 1000 unusual specimens. But that’s not it, there are also plenty of displays that outline some of the highlights from Cornwall’s long and varied history, from the Cornish Giant to the Mynor Hoard and plenty more. As well as this, there’s also a year round family trail that is specially designed to bring the museum to life for the little ones, as well as the superb British Museum Partnership Gallery where you can build your own Greek temple, try out the Mummy factory and even attempt to decipher some ancient codes.

Contact:,, 01872 272205

Opening Hours: Monday – Sunday 10am – 4:45pm (last admissions at 4pm)

Prices: Adults - £4.50 for an annual pass, children (18 and under) go free

The Smugglers Museum

The Jamaica Inn sign"Jamaica Inn" by Javier Carcamo licensed under CC BY-ND 2.0

Located at the famous Jamaica Inn on the eerie Bodmin Moor, you’ll be able to find the wonderful Museum of Smuggling. It might not be on the same scale as that of the National Maritime Museum or the Royal Cornwall Museum but that doesn’t make it any less worth a visit! Not only does the Smugglers Museum feature many artefacts that hark back to the heydays of the Cornish smuggling industry, but there’s also the feeling of knowing that you’re walking in the footsteps of the smugglers who used to use the inn to hide from the authorities way back in the 18th century. However, that’s not all that Jamaica Inn has to offer, if you’re feeling peckish you can pop into the inn itself and treat the family to a hearty homemade meal in either the Smuggler’s Bar or the Pedlar’s Restaurant, or take an invigorating hike up Brown Willy, Cornwall’s highest peak that’s just down the road.

Contact:,, 01566 86250

Opening Hours: Open daily from 8am-9pm

Prices: Adults - £3.95, child/concessions - £2.95, family pass (2 adults and 2 children) - £9.95

Fancy getting something to eat after checking out the Jamaica Inn? Look through our guide to 5 of the best restaurants in Bodmin Moor & Tamar Valley to find the perfect restaurant.

Wheal Martyn

An old workshop at the Wheal MartynImage by Edward Webb licensed under CC BY 2.0

And finally we’ve got Wheal Martyn, the only museum that is dedicated to the China Clay industry in the whole of the United Kingdom. Located at the heart of a 26 acre country park, Wheal Martyn occupies a stunning location in the countryside just north of St Austell. Between the children’s challenge trail, play area, discovery centre filled with interactive displays and collection of vintage vehicles there’s bound to be something that will keep the family occupied. And that’s not it, Wheal Martyn is also home to Cornwall’s largest working waterwheel and a fully functional clay pit, allowing you the perfect opportunity to see how the industry has developed over the years.

Contact:,, 01726 850362

Opening Hours: Opening times vary check before visiting.

Prices: Adults - £9.50, children (aged 5-16) - £5.00, concessions - £7.50, under 5's go free.

So hopefully you’ll find this list of Sykes’ favourite family friendly museums in Cornwall useful for your next trip. But if you’re still looking for some things to do with the family whilst you’re on your Cornish break, then don’t forget to check out some of the best family attractions in the area where you’re sure to find some fun things to do or take a look below to find more of our guides.

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