Find out about: Topsham Museum

About Us

Topsham Museum

Topsham Museum is housed in one of a group of late 17th century buildings overlooking the Exe Estuary. Following completion of a stunning new 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. Other interesting exhibits include wildlife of the Exe Estuary, local trades and organisations and memorabilia of the film star Vivien Leigh.


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  • Toilets On-Site

    Toilets On-Site

  • Wheelchair access

    Wheelchair Access

  • Cafe on-site

    Refreshments On-Site

  • Childrens activities

    Family friendly

  • Gift Shop

    Gift Shop

The beautiful riverside garden is open all year. During the season, home-made teas are served in the cafe or gardens. Visit our gift shop. Group visits of up to 15 can be arranged for guided tours between April and October by prior arrangement.

Exhibitions and Projects

  • Shipping the Serge   Topsham and the woollen cloth trade

    Shipping the Serge Topsham and the woollen cloth trade

    31 Mar 14 to 28 Jul 14

  • Mapping Topsham

    Mapping Topsham

    02 Aug 14 to 30 Oct 14

  • Interpreting Flowers: Anna Donovan and Sue Thomson

    Interpreting Flowers: Anna Donovan and Sue Thomson

    01 Jun 14 to 30 Jul 14

  • Exploring our collections: pictures from the Museum Reserve Store

    Exploring our collections: pictures from the Museum Reserve Store

    01 Jun 14 to 31 Jul 14

  • Topsham   Maine, USA

    Topsham Maine, USA

    05 Jul 14 to 30 Oct 14

  • The Vigilant Story

    The Vigilant Story

    30 Mar 14 to 30 Oct 14

  • HMS Terror:  a Topsham boat

    HMS Terror: a Topsham boat

    30 Mar 14 to 30 Oct 14

Our Next Event

Gavrillo Princip   the assassin who started the First World War

Gavrillo Princip the assassin who started the First World War

When: 30 July 2014
Where: Topsham Museum, Underloft

For our lecture on 30th July we will turn our attention to war in Europe with a lecture by Peter Villiers concerning Gavrillo Princip, the assassin who started the First World War.

 One hundred years ago, in June 1914, he shot dead the Archduke Franz Ferdinand in Sarajevo. We have only to look at the War Memorial outside Topsham church to realise the impact this eventually made on our local population. Princip was a teenage Bosnian Serb student who was neither insane nor a lone assassin. Why did he open fire?  Why did the murder of an unpopular archduke in a recently acquired province of the Austro-Hungarian Empire lead to the First World War, the collapse of four empires and the re-drawing of the map of Europe?

Peter Villiers is a Devon author whose previous publications include books on leadership, ethics and human rights and a marine biography of Joseph Conrad.

As always, the lecture will start at 11.30am with the doors opening at 11am and will be followed by soup and crusty bread for those who wish to stay on for lunch.  

more events

Our Collections

The museum houses a comprehensive collection of artefacts, documents and photographs that tell the fascinating story of the port of Topsham and its links with the maritime trade.The main areas featured are:


The Sail Loft

Displays the history of Topsham from Prehistoric times: Shipbuilding, fishing and maritime trade, including ship models, shipwrights' tools, maps, photographs, paintings, documents etc. Other exhibits include a model of Topsham as it was in 1900.

The Sail Loft

The River Gallery

The Gallery holds a collection of historic Exe river boats. Four boats were saved after the closure of the Exeter Maritime Museum: the Cygnet, the Market Boat, "Ruby" (a salmon boat) and a Skiff.

The River Gallery

The House

Dates from the late 17th century and two rooms are furnished in that period. The kitchen of Miss Holman, the founder of the Museum, has been preserved. Memorabilia in the Vivien Leigh Room (her sister in law) includes the nightdress Vivien wore in the film "Gone with the Wind".

The House

The Underloft

The Underloft houses the popular Museum Tearoom, temporary exhibitions and the Museum Shop.

The Underloft

Local History Room

A comfortable study space for consulting our extensive public collection of local reference materials, including census indexes and details of over 100 Topsham family trees. It is also the venue for our seasonal exhibitions.

Local History Room
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Our Latest news

  • Town Fayre Coffee Morning

    19 August 2014

    10-12 noon on 19th August in the lovely Museum Gardens. Enjoy a coffee, buy cakes and more

  • Lunchtime Lecture Gavrillo Princip, the assassin who started the First World War

    30 July 2014

    July's Lunchtime Lecture by Peter Villiers is about Gavrillo Princip, the assassin whose more

more news

Admission & Prices

During the 2014 season, the Museum will be open in the afternoons on Saturday, Sunday, Monday, Wednesday and Thursday, (plus Tuesdays in August), 2pm-5pm from 31st March until 30th October.

Last admission 4.30pm.


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Topsham Museum

25 The Strand
Topsham, DEVON EX3 0AX