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

26 March 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


Getting there

Rail: Topsham Station, take Holman Way to Quay, turn left on Strand
Bus: T or 57 from Exeter or Exmouth
Cycle: Route 2

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.

Shopping in Topsham

  • 30 July — 31 October 2016 *on now

Topsham once supported a multitude of different shops and tradesmen. Do come and see photographs from the Museum collection showing how these shops looked,where they were, what they sold and who ran them. We will be using many oral history recollections as well as census information, photographs, newspaper advertisements and even printed paper bags to trace the history of some of the buildings in Fore Street and High Street.

Suitable for

  • Any age

Black and White

  • 1 August — 31 October 2016 *on now

Late in the 2016 season we are presenting an art exhibition entitled 'Black & White' in the Tea Room. This will feature varied woodcuts produced by artists Hester Holman and Barbara Vincent and other contemporaries.

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.

Lunchtime Lectures 2016

  • 26 April — 25 October 2016 *on now

The Lunchtime Lecture programme for 2016 begins on Tuesday 26th April with a lecture by Bernard Hughes (County Councillor and Canal Enthusiast!) entitled 'The Inland Waterways of England and Wales' (see webpage), Lectures remain on Tuesdays. Doors open at 1045 with coffee available and the lecture begins promptly at 1130 or beforehand if all the seats are taken. Do come early as lectures are always very popular and seating limited. Briefly, the 2016 programmes is as follows. A full list in pdf format can be downloaded from the Museum website (Our Downloads). Tuesday 31st May: Devon during World War 1 - Dr David Parker, Historian, Tuesday 28th June: Finds from Shipwrecks in Devon - Charlotte Coles (Osteoarchaelogist, Exeter Archaeology), Tuesday 26th July: The Seaton Down Hoard - Thomas Cadbury, Royal Albert Museum, No Lecture in August, Tuesday 27th September: Ernest Shackleton and the James Caird - Professor Herbert Macgregor, academic and yachtsman, Tusday 25th October Topsham's Shops - Then and Now Mark Dant, Topsham Museum & Liz Hodges, Route 2 Bike Shop,

Suitable for

  • Not suitable for children

Getting there

Rail: Topsham Station, take Holman Way to Quay, turn left on Strand
Bus: T or 57 from Exeter or Exmouth
Cycle: Route 2

Topsham Museum
25 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.