We visited the National Maritime Museum Cornwall on a very rainy day during the Easter holidays. The queue out of the door was the first indication that it was a popular family attraction!
We were greeted by friendly staff and my two boys (aged six and eight) accepted a treasure trail worksheet and pencil. Inside the worksheet there were activities for them to do around the museum and clues to hunt down which they both loved, especially because after successfully completing their worksheets they both got a certificate from reception on the way out!
The entrance hall to the National Maritime Museum is vast and full of all different types of boats – there are boats which have won races in the Olympics, set world records, boats made by indigenous cultures and even an RNLI boat that children can climb into and try on a lifejacket. There is also a flotilla of boats suspended overhead which is pretty amazing to see.
The National Maritime Museum has fifteen galleries set over five floors. The displays gave me a much better appreciation for how rich Falmouth, and the UK’s maritime history is. My boys were particularly fascinated by the interactive displays about how boats work and are made and were also keen to take a look at the remote controlled boats in the boat pool (which are £3 each to have a go on).
Upstairs we discovered a small soft play area which is perfect for little ones who need to burn off some energy, a short film about pirates and the Pirate exhibition which runs until the end of December 2024. This fascinating exhibition explores what pirates were really like as well as how they are portrayed in fiction and TV. I was particularly interested in what life was like aboard a ship and the stories of real life pirates, especially those from Cornwall. I find it amazing that there were some incredibly feared, notorious pirates who left treasure hoards which have never been found…
After the pirate exhibition we went to watch the pirate show in the entrance hall which is on during the holidays. This was really popular with lots of families and my kids enjoyed the interactive element. After the pirate show we went back upstairs to have a quick look at the Tattoo exhibition which was fascinating before we went all the way to the top of the very tall lookout tower. We were rewarded at the top with the most incredible view of Falmouth Harbour. I hadn’t realised that Falmouth is the third deepest harbour in the world.
The National Maritime Museum Cornwall has a lovely cafe with brilliant views over the harbour and a separate picnic area for those who bring their own packed lunches.
It is the 20th birthday of the National Maritime Museum Cornwall this year and I highly recommend a visit to the museum for any families who come to the South West. It is super family friendly and is full of fascinating, interactive exhibits. Once bought, tickets are valid for a full year too. More information can be found here: https://nmmc.co.uk
Our tickets were complimentary but all views and opinions are my own.
A mum of two, Naomi Jones is a freelance editor and author of several acclaimed picture books including The Perfect Fit, One More Try, The Odd Fish, How to Catch a Rainbow and How to Make a Story.