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Historic Devon: Naval Port to Working Woollen Mill

The House of Marbles in Bovey Tracey is a fantastic place to visit; no matter how young or old you are

Things to Do in Historic Plymouth

One of the largest and most impressive collections is at Plymouth City Museum and Art Gallery. It has nine permanent galleries altogether including “Uncovered” which starts at the beginning of Plymouth’s long history. It has hundreds of artifacts from skulls to coins and explains how the first visitors arrived in Plymouth and what they did when they got there.

Discover Plymouth’s history as a Naval Port, the spotting of the Spanish Armada as Sir Francis Drake played bowls on Plymouth Hoe and the connection between Plymouth and Scott’s Antarctic Expedition.

The “Plymouth: Port and Place” gallery focuses on the early port at Plympton and how the silting of the River Plym caused a move to the historic Barbican, a delightful place to explore later with its old Elizabethan House and Knot Garden. The Plymouth Gin Distillery is still in business and further along the waterfront is the Mayflower Steps and the 17th century Royal Citadel on the grassy Hoe.

Things to Do in Historic Exeter

Within Exeter’s ancient city walls there are a host of attractions on a historical theme. The Underground Passages can be toured (some narrow passages even have to be crawled through!) to appreciate the city aqueducts, a useful legacy of the Romans. At St Nicholas Priory, part of an 11th century Benedictine community, visitors can turn back the clock to the time of William the Conqueror.

Exeter’s largest museum will reopen in December 2011 after an extensive refurbishment program and will once again thrill visitors with over a million exhibits from art to zoology.

In the meantime, enjoy the lovely Guildhall on the High Street, Exeter Cathedral and the House That Moved, a lovely Tudor building which was carefully moved to make way for the new road in 1961 and now has pride of place on Stepcote Hill.

Things to do in Historic Devon

One of my favourite museums, especially when I have children to amuse, is the House of Marbles in Bovey Tracey. This museum is all about marbles (the glass variety not the kitchen worktop!) and has great interactive marble machines to play with and a fabulous array of coloured marbles.

The Cold Harbour Working Mill and Wool Museum at Cullompton shows what happens when you shear all those sheep and the Museum of Barnstaple and North Devon covers topics as diverse as wildlife on the Tarka River and military display of the Royal Devonshire Regiment.

To immerse yourself fully in a day of history, visit the fabulous attraction of Morwellham Quay near Tavistock. This historic port settlement includes seeing Edwardian farm life with costumed guides, horse and cart rides, a ride on the Mine Railway into the copper mine and a host of other lost crafts at this historic self-sufficient community.

About Gillian Birch

Born in Cheshire, Gillian Birch moved to Cornwall at her earliest opportunity and never looked back. After 20 years, her ongoing discovery of popular attractions, quiet footpaths and local eateries has made her a fount of knowledge as she entertains readers with her informative articles on the hidden gems of Devon & Cornwall from a local point-of-view.

Find Gillian on Google+, and Twitter.

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