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Best Museums and Galleries in North Devon

Follow in the footsteps of John Betjeman and visit Ilfracombe Museum.  It’s just like one you might remember from your childhood – a carefully curated jumble of organised wonderland!  Just delightful.

Front of Ilfracombe Museum

North Devon Maritime Museum in Appledore offers ship-building and sea-faring exhibits, including some hands-on stuff.  Turn a ship’s wheel, tie some knots, see how a sextant was used; and admire the tiny details on models of ships from the 16th century to the modern day.

Front of North Devon maritime museum


Museum of Barnstaple and North Devon – the name tells you everything you need to know.  The museum has just been imaginatively refurbished and houses an eclectic set of exhibits about life in North Devon.  Whatever your interest in the area, this museum will have something for you.

Barnstaple museum frontage

The Burton Art Gallery – this gallery, museum and café in Bideford has been going strong since 1951, when it was founded by two philanthropists with the aim of nurturing new talent and show-casing the arts in all forms.  That tradition has carried on and today you could not fail to be impressed by the standard of the oils, watercolours, ceramics, photography …. and so much more on display.  There is also a permanent collection of paintings and silver donated by one of the original founders.

Front of Burton art gallery

Broomhill Sculpture Gardens – set in a beautiful, secluded and wooded valley, this contemporary art collection is not to be missed. Over 150 sculptures have been perfectly set into the landscape to delight the eye at every turn.  In the main house is a Silver Screen Hollywood exhibition as well as an array of paintings and more sculptures. The Broomhill Estate offers a lovely, natural place for artistic inspiration.

Art sculpture in a tree

Arlington Court, near Barnstaple, is the home of the National Trust Carriage Museum.  Here you can see a huge array of (mostly) Victorian carriages and transport vehicles for rich and poor alike, together with all the trappings that went with them.

old car in arlington court exhibit