Reviewed by Sarah Hills
Having visited the maritime museum on previous occasions I was looking forward to returning with an eye to writing a review for What’s Good To Do. I looked at the website before visiting and found this quote. “The museum’s purpose is to engage; to entertain; to collect and research our maritime heritage; and to provide enjoyment.” I can state that our visit proved this statement to be true and would whole heartedly recommend the museum as an attraction to be visited. I even say this despite feeling that this visit was our least favourite and I will explain why below.
We were greeted by friendly reception staff where we picked up a book on Maritime in Cornwall. Entry costs £12 for adults, £8.50 for children aged 5-15 years and under 5’s going free. The bonus of this is that they give you a card stamped for a year of free entry once you have paid. This is brilliant if you are local but obviously not too helpful if you are on holiday and the price then becomes quite expensive for a one off visit. We then headed into the main hall which is visually fantastic with a multitude of boats hanging above your heads. Everything in the museum is well signposted and there is a good amount of information about each item/exhibit.
We then headed into the new Viking experience which included a 14m climb aboard boat, a hands on display about fabric and dressing up opportunities (although one box remained locked). I must be honest at this point and say it didn’t really engage my children as much as the previous air sea rescue exhibition had but it was still well organised and informative.
Highlights of our trip were the lifeboat and rescue craft that can be climbed in, the beautiful views from each window of the museum and the boats on a pulley that meant my kids could get wet. I was also fascinated by the mock-up of Tony Bullimore’s stricken boat and his video re-enactment of the accident. Unfortunately on a Saturday in term time the children activities don’t run but the programme of events and crafts for the holidays was very impressive. I was able to print off a children’s quiz from the website to do around the museum but was not offered anything at reception. The other favourite part of the museum for us is being able to go under the water line and see the fish and crabs under the water. Unfortunately on this visit the tide was extremely low and so all we saw was mud. It also seemed a shame on such a sunny day that we were unable to get onto any of the balconies but there was a sign saying staff could open the pontoon for you if the conditions were appropriate.
I had taken a packed lunch with us to eat and according to the literature and on previous occasions there had been lecture room that was open as a venue to eat food from home. This however appeared to be closed on this occasion and so we sat in the cafe and I purchased a tea, some chips as an accompaniment and a cake for the boys. The cafe was lovely and clean and the service was prompt but the prices to me seemed expensive with sandwiches around the £5-6 mark and main courses at £8-10. Again, the views cannot be faulted!
Despite the niggles that we had I would definitely go back to the museum especially on a Thursday during the school holidays, now named ‘Thorsday’ which includes a Viking battle re-enactment and crafts.
I rate the museum a 4 out of 5 and think they do a great job at preserving maritime heritage for the next generation.
Tickets cost £12 (adult), £8.50 (children 5-15 years), £10 (seniors 60 years +), £33.50 (family, 2 adults and up to 3 children) and under 5’s go free. Children under 16 must be accompanied by an adult. Purchasing a full price tickets gives you access to the museum for a year.
For more information visit www.nmmc.co.uk or call 01326 313388.
National Maritime Museum Cornwall, Discovery Quay, Falmouth, Cornwall, TR11 3QY