Family-Friendly Museums in Cornwall: a Top Five

With a second Falmouth museum having scooped the Telegraph Family Friendly Museum Award in 2014 – the UK’s biggest museum award and the only one across the arts where the winner is picked by families – we thought the time was ripe to ask family holidays, breaks and days out experts for their pick of the very best museums, large and small, in Cornwall with kids.

National Maritime Museum Cornwall, Falmouth
This treasure trove of the oceans, a relative newcomer to the museum scene, has just been named the winner of the Telegraph’s Family Friendly Museum Award 2014. Family highlights include its 120 days a year of free activities plus displays that kids are free to clamber over at will, including a life raft and a helicopter in the Survival Zone.

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National Maritime Museum, Falmouth

Falmouth Art Gallery
Strangely, for a town with only two museums (it must be something in the sea air!), Falmouth’s Art Gallery is also a past winner of the Family Friendly Museum Award – not even London, with all its museums, has achieved this feat. The Falmouth Art Gallery is tiny, but even kids who usually find art venues a bit of a snore can’t help but be drawn in, whether it’s by activities such as mask-making or thoughtful considerations such as footstools so very small children can see the major works.

Tate St Ives
This famous modern and contemporary art gallery is as family-friendly as its London siblings, with family trails of the artworks and buildings, weekly toddler sessions and a packed program of seasonal events for various ages. It’s also home to the Barbara Hepworth Museum with its gorgeous sulpture Garden.

Royal Cornwall Museum, Truro
The county’s largest and oldest museum is a must for those looking to get to grips with Cornwall’s history and culture, and there’s always lots of family fun to be had, whether it’s having a go in the mummy factory, playing the ‘Ancientopoly’ board game or building a Greek temple – to name just three of the innovative, imaginative activities.

Bodmin Jail
Bursting with atmosphere, this part-ruined 18th-century prison has displays on its history and former inmates – expect gore and gruesomeness. The museum is situated at the head of the Camel Trail, so is great for full days out combining time indoors or out – or older kids might like the overnight paranormal ghost walks at the jail!

by Rhonda Carrier