Morwellham, Tavistock, Devon

Morwellham Quay Cargo Boat

It might have been over 20 years since I left, but I’m a Devon girl at heart. So taking my kids home for a week every summer always takes me back to my childhood. Morwellham Quay was a staple day out when I was growing up. If we had visitors we took them there, School trips took us there with our friends. And if there was a weekend where we were at a bit of a loss for something to do, it was the perfect place to while away a day.

Morwellham Quay Cargo Boat

A day at Morwellham

I was really interested to go back and see it with my kids. I wanted to see it through their eyes as well as my own, to see what I remembered and what I didn’t, what had changed and what was exactly the same.

If you’ve never been, Morwellham Quay is a small port in Tamar Valley. Now a World Heritage Site, it was once a bustling town supporting the local mines shipping copper and arsenic in the 19th Century. It fell on hard times when the mines closed and more recently has operated as a historical attraction providing educational activities to showcase how life there once was. There is a wide range of activities to do while you are there as well as just walking around.

Many of the activities are at specified times which are clearly explained to you when you arrive. For example, there are “lessons” at the schoolhouse and traditional craft demonstrations (such as mining for copper, blacksmithing and pottery making) periodically throughout the day. You can learn about chocolate making, baking and the brewery – again at clearly stated times.

Morwellham Quay Blacksmith

Other activities can be done in your own time – these include dressing up in Victorian costumes, panning for gold, exploring The Garlandstone (one of the last cargo ships to be built) and enjoying the kids play area. The highlight for the kids, though, was a ride on the copper mine train (extra ticket needed). The train takes you through the old mine while the driver stops at various points along the track to explain what the miners would have been doing and how.

Morwellham Quay Train

About Morwellham

Open from 10-4 in the winter and 10-5 in the summer, we went to Morwellham just before the school summer holidays. We had booked online to save 10% on the entry price. It was pretty easy to do and to redeem our vouchers on arrival. Parking was free and easy to find. Entry, as seems to be the trend, was through the gift shop so it took a while to get the kids going!

We took our own food but some of the people we were with ordered food at The Ship ordered lunch there and enjoyed it. They also had a nice selection of cakes for a mid-morning pick me up. The toilets were easy to find and were clean which is always a bit of a bugbear for me.

There was a school trip there when we were but it wasn’t overwhelming to share the space with them as it can be in some other places. If you check the website you’ll also find details on any upcoming events that they have going on – for example, a Steam Fair or Christmas activities.

Thanks to Emma and her family for this brilliant post about Morwellham

Morwellham Quay Copper Mining

Emma’s a pushing 40, travel-mad mum to 2 young kids (aged 6 and 4) and a crazy dog. Originally from the UK, she’s lived in 10 cities across 5 continents all over the world. She currently lives in Doha, Qatar. Emma started blogging about her family travels in 2017 when she had an epiphany about how to have successful adventurous family holidays. She blogs over at

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Morwellham review


Joanne and the girly gang review family days out around the UK and beyond, with a little help from their friends.

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