Topsham Museum

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Topsham Museum is housed in one of a group of late 17th century buildings overlooking the Exe Estuary. Following completion of a stunning River gallery, the Museum was 'long-listed' for the Art Fund Prize in 2008.

Part of the Museum's focus is on Topsham's maritime history - one particular showpiece is the River Gallery, completed in 2007, featuring unique historic river craft. Visitors can also enjoy the furnished period rooms of the original house and the Sail Loft with its historical timeline of the town's general history and new display about HMS Terror, a Topsham built ship lost in the Artic. Other interesting exhibits include wildlife of the Exe Estuary, local trades and organisations and a small collection of memorabilia of the film star Vivien Leigh.

Topsham's position as a sheltered harbour enabled it to thrive as a port, a centre for fishing and shipbuilding. In a largely forgotten period the Exe was thronged with sailing vessels and its shipyards were major employers in the town and the trade at its height rivalled that of London.

The Museum incorporates pleasant gardens and a tearoom.

Venue Type:


Opening hours

1 April to 31 October
Sun Mon Wed Thu Sat (and Tuesday through August) 14.00-17.00

Group visits at other times by prior arrangement.

Closed: 1 November 2015 to 26 March 2016

Admission charges


Collection details

Archaeology, Archives, Natural Sciences, Costume and Textiles, Decorative and Applied Art, Fine Art, Personalities, Social History, Land Transport, Maritime

Exhibition details are listed below, you may need to scroll down to see them all.

Exhibitions 2015

  • 1 April — 31 October 2015 *on now

We have three exhibition spaces which we are using for changing and guest exhibitions, as well as displaying pictures from our reserve store. The Local History Room starts with an exhibition celebrating the fifty years the Topsham Society have been in existence, showing some of their achievements and concerns. In July this will change to an exhibition 'Wild about Topsham' showing the wildlife,foliage and rocks found in our area in conjunction with the RSPB. The Entwistle room will revisit the displays about the Civil War, and the connections with Monmouth and William Orange and then in June, an exhibition called Crossing the Exe will be put up. The Tearoom will initially show a selling exhibition of paintings of Topsham and estuary scenes before pictures from the reserve store are revealed.

Suitable for

  • Any age



Crossing the Exe

  • 1 June — 31 October 2015 *on now

A new exhibition celebrating 800 years of ferry services on the River Exe. It features Topsham's ferry and the River Exe Bridges. , Ferry crossings on the river downstream of the ancient fording locations in Exeter have naturally over the centuries been of significant interest to travellers, as well as being of strategic importance. At times in the past crossings could be very hazardous. All are now primarily recreational trips, with few passengers crossing to get to work. , Topsham Passage ferry probably dates back to the Middle Ages, when the port of Topsham was flourishing and the ship canal did not extend to Turf Locks. This foot ferry was much used in the recent past by people travelling to and from Exminster station and to work at Exminster Hospital. The crossing linking Exeter Quay to Haven Banks (Butts Ferry) is also of medieval origin. It is technically a floating bridge, of which there are only five in this country.

Suitable for

  • Any age



Events details are listed below. You may need to scroll down or click on headers to see them all. For events that don't have a specific date see the 'Resources' tab above.

The Woollen Cloth Trail

  • 31 March — 31 October 2015 *on now

Follow the Cullompton Cloth Trail, around Cullompton town centre. Serges produced in the area were exported to the Continent from Topsham Quay. By visiting the places in this trail you will build up a picture of how Culm Valley cloth and clothing was produced, financed and distributed around the world over many centuries.The river Culm flows from the Blackdown Hills into the Exe and out to sea through the ports of Exeter and Topsham. There is a long history of cloth and clothing production in settlements and mills using water power along the Culm, with exports from Exeter and Topsham. The production and distribution of cloth in theCulm Valley is situated within a wider area, with links to clothiers, manufacturers and financiers in Wellington, Tiverton, Crediton and Exeter. New Cloth trail and quiz, Copies of a Cloth trail are available from CullomptonTown Hall and other venues (the Community centre, the Walronds, the Hayridge and Coldharbour Mill). The Trail has two parts:, 1) A tour around the towns and villages of the Culm Valley to places which, taken together, show you a great deal about the history of the cloth trade in Devon, 2) A walking tour around CUllompton town centre highlighting 20 places with cloth and clothing trade connections. There is also a quiz, designed for children but also fun for adults. The quiz visits the same 20 places in Cullompton town centre as the walking tour. Over Easter a competition is on for children and young people (judging categories under 12
12-18) to complete the quiz and return to the Town Hall by 17 April. A prize will be awarded in each age category,

Suitable for

  • Any age



Lunchtime Lecture Programme 2015

  • 28 April — 27 October 2015 *on now

The popular Topsham Museum Lunchtime Lecture programme begins this year on April 28th. Please note that Lectures will now take place on TUESDAYS. Doors will open at 10.45 a.m. and coffee will be available beforehand.

2015 Programme: Tuesday 28th April Re-visiting Exeter's Roman Baths: recent plans to display the legionary baths Speaker: Professor Valerie Maxfield, Archaelogist, Tuesday 26th May The Newlyn School and other art colonies of the late 19th and early 20th centuries Speaker: Professor Sam Smiles, Art Historian, Tuesday 30th June Crossing the Exe -Topsham's Ferry & River Exe Bridges Speakers: Anna Adcock & Mark Dant, Topsham Museum, Tuesday 28th July The Nature of the Exe RSPB speaker, NO LECTURE IN AUGUST, Tuesday 29th September Charitable Activities in Exeter during the First World War Speaker: Dr Richard Batten, Historian, Tuesday 27th October Lighting the Darkness: exploriing RAMM's magic lantern slide collection Speaker: Jenny Durrant, Royal Albert Museum,

Topsham Museum
25 The Strand
Topsham, Exeter




01392 873244

All information is drawn from or provided by the venues themselves and every effort is made to ensure it is correct. Please remember to double check opening hours with the venue concerned before making a special visit.