Bygones

Please be aware of government guidelines before setting off.

Government Guidelines
  • Bygones, Torquay, is a Victorian Museum, and a great place to take the kids, where they can experience what shopping was like in the bygone times of the Victorian era.
  • For one of the best days out in Torquay, check out the features of Bygones, like the Life Size Street which boasts a General shop, an Apothecary and a Toy Shop, plus, with Period Display Rooms, there's plenty to see
  • Don't miss out on the WWI Trench which is home to military displays, the Anderson shelter and a mock trench.

Wander back in time at Bygones if you're looking for places to go in Torquay, for three floors of nostalgia and visit the authentic life-size Victorian street to explore, home to forge and sweetshops galore, all filled with original Victorian items. Escape into the glorious magic lands of fantasy where every generation loves to go, one of the best attractions in Torquay.

If you're after for things to do in Torquay, immerse yourself at Bygones, where you can also experience the history of Torquay. On your trip to this Victorian museum, see the Blacksmith hard at work as they make horseshoes, a master of their trade. Or as you make your way to Bygones tea room, smell the sweet tastes of the treats at the Sweetshop, filling the Bygone air with delightful smells. All members of the family will be enthralled by the hustle and bustle of everyday Victorian life.

This Torquay museum started back in the 1980s, as an obsession with railway memorabilia after a spontaneous purchase of a 27-ton railway tank engine, then sparking the need for a bigger venue, which became Bygones. The old cinema became available in St. Marychurch, so the Cuming family were able to transform their hobby into a business. Combining their passions in railways and objects from the past, they began to invite families, and the public not only to visit, but enjoy the collections, too, and thus, Bygones was born.

See what else you can spot as you walk down these quant Victorian streets, maybe you'll see a lady in Milliner's having a new outfit tailor-made with lace, silk and luxurious at her disposal. As you travel up the next level, imagine being in the nursery looking after as many as 6 young children as many of the Nanny's were employed to do, working for an upper-middle-class family. Get a feel for life back then, as the children would play with expensive toys, bathe and start their education before going off to private school. Take a quick peek at the kitchen, which is situated in the servant quarters, and filled with household appliances, many of which your grandparents will be familiar with. The Bygones Museum Torquay has history, fun, displays and so much to get involved in.

If you're a fan of vintage and model railways, then you can marvel over the completely refurbished model railway. The display pays homage to the First and Second World Wars. If you're after some more model railway sets, and maybe even a miniature English village, then check out Babbacombe Model Village in Devon, only a short distance away. 

For history buffs, wander through the recreated WWII trench for a thought-provoking experience, as you imagine what trench life was like, taking cover, eating and living in the trenches and WWII Anderson Shelter. You can travel through from the Peninsular War and Battle of Trafalgar all the way to the Victorian campaigns and WWI, WWII to the Falklands in 1982. There is a great range of objects and a vast collection of medals, and uniform all for you to spot, from the Boer War Christmas tin issued by Queen Victoria to the troops in the 1900s.

Swing back to the 1950’s and 1960’s, for peace, love and good vibes as you visit the shopping arcade brimming with post-war packaging, household items and more to discover. Plus, don’t forget, you can play on the original peer machines, great fun for all the family.

Don't miss out on the fantastic seasonal activities for children that are run regularly, especially the Victorian Christmas which runs throughout December. A family favourite event at Christmas is breakfast or lunch with Santa, and this needs pre-booking because it's so sought after. If you are lucky enough to attend, you’ll be immersed in a traditional Christmas, with the chance to meet Santa, who will give you a gift if you've been good. 

Looking for more great things to do near Devon? Check out Exeter Cathedral, for a historical trip and a fine example of Gothic architecture.

What to know before you go

  • When you're feeling peckish, upstairs is the Station Café, which serves up a range of cakes, refreshments, High Teas, hot drinks, snacks and more. Plus, it's dog-friendly, so bring your pup and four-legged friends with you.
  • There are toilets and an accessible toilet on site. There are no baby changing facilities.
  • Bygones is set over three floors. Based in a quirky, old building, there are no lifts and few steps between each floor. Buggies must be left at the visitor reception.
  • Bygones do not have lift access due to it being a 1920's building. There are handrails on all the stairs, and there are seats along the way. There is a ground floor rate offered to visitors with disabilities and registered carers. Guide dogs are allowed in the museum.

Getting there

  • If travelling via car, follow the brown signs to Bygones, which is very close to Babbacombe Model Village and Babbacombe Downs. There are two Pay and Display car parks at Hampton Avenue and plenty of on-street parking.
  • If travelling via train, Torre is the nearest station, which is about a 35-minute walk to Bygones, or you can take a taxi. Alternatively take the 31, 35 or 12 bus routes, to West Hill Cross, Chilcote Memorial or Town Hall.
  • If travelling via bus, take the 22 from Paignton and the 32 from Torquay to Babbacombe. The buses all stop close by - please ask the driver to stop near Bygones.

Please follow the latest government guidelines if travelling by public transport.

Government Guidelines

Location

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