Visiting the Museum of British Surfing with a child or adult with autism or other needs
We understand that people with autism can find busy, crowded environments difficult. This means that a visit to a museum could be challenging.
We want to accommodate visitors the best we can and be inclusive for all so we will endeavour to make changes to ensure your visit is as comfortable and enjoyable as possible.
Pre-booking for a visit outside of our normal opening hours is probably the best way to arrange a visit. This way we can understand your individual requirements and make simple changes in the museum to avoid any sensory overloads.
Museum pre visit guide
The Museum has developed a pre visit guide, designed to help those on the autistic spectrum make the most of their visit. This photographic guide shows what to expect from their visit to the Museum.
Download the Pre Visit PDF guide here
About the museum
The Museum of British Surfing is a national registered charity and fully accredited museum set up to preserve and display our surfing heritage and culture and is staffed and managed entirely by volunteers.
The Museum of British Surfing is located in the centre of Braunton in a converted railway engine shed with a high ceiling and is brightly lit.
When you arrive you will enter through the doors into the shop and reception area. The volunteer on duty can also meet you outside and explain about the museum and what you will expect to see.
The layout of the museum follows a logical timeline charting the history of surfing from the start of the 20th century through to modern times.
We also have a small additional room that includes private collections of surfboards. Note, this room is quite small so may feel a little enclosed. You can view the surfboards on display from the door to the room.
As you move around the museum you will see displays of surfboards and memorabilia, small video screens showing old photographs of surfing and larger video screens playing surfing films and movies. We can turn down the sound on these screens, or turn them off if required. We can also play some quiet ocean sounds if that helps with the visit experience.
We also have various display cabinets containing surfing memorabilia.
Many of our surfboards are quite large and some are hanging from the rafters.
We are happy for you to touch the surfboards and wetsuits but remember these are quite old so please be careful with them.
We have an interactive “First Wave” display with audio recordings of people talking about the history of surfing.
We also have a fully working pinball machine that you can play if you want to. Ask the volunteer on reception to give you a demonstration on how it works.
We have an area with a surfboard bench where you can complete your surfboard and surf clothes designs.
Frequently asked questions and answers.
The Museum is an inspiring place for adults and children to visit, however, we do understand that public outings with family members on the autistic spectrum can often be challenging.
By working with families with autistic children, the Museum has created some useful resources, designed to help families with members on the autistic spectrum make the most of their visit.
How can I prepare for our visit?
We recommend that you visit the Museum on your own in advance. The museum is quite small and compact so it is easy to find your way around. You can still plan a route around the Museum that best meets your needs. Download the Pre-Visit Booklet to help you prepare for your visit in advance. You can also contact us by phone, email or on Facebook to discuss any specific needs or concerns.
What are the Museum’s opening times?
The Museum of British Surfing is open Tuesday to Sunday, 11.00am to 3.00pm. We are also open Bank Holiday Mondays. The quietest times to visit are usually 11 to 12am or 2 to 3pm. We can open outside of the normal visiting hours by prior arrangement (10am to 11am or 3pm to 4pm). Please use our contact form on the website or message us on Facebook.
Can I park at the Museum?
There is a public car park right outside the Museum. There is a reasonable charge for parking Monday to Saturday. Parking on Sunday is free.
Do I need to book my visit in advance?
You do not need to book in advance, as you can visit any time during our opening hours. The quietest times to visit are usually 11 to 12am or 2 to 3pm.
However, we can open outside of the normal visiting hours by prior arrangement (10am to 11am or 3pm to 4pm). Please use our contact email on the website or message us on Facebook to make arrangements. We can also open for larger groups at other times by prior arrangements.
My child gets distracted by the shop. Can I avoid the shop when I visit the Museum?
Sadly no. You enter and leave the museum through our reception and retail area. We can meet you outside and then guide you straight through the shop into the main museum area.
Are there any activities available for my child in the Museum?
Yes, there are a range of activities available to enjoy during your visit to the Museum. We have a very popular spotters trail, a design a surfboard or surf clothing colouring competition. All children receive a prize to take away with them. You can also take home your designs or leave them to be displayed on our wall in the museum.
Is the Museum noisy and crowded?
Sometimes at peak times and during school holidays it can be busy. The quietest times to visit are usually 11 – 12am or 2 – 3pm. We can open outside of the normal visiting hours by prior arrangement (10 to 11am or 3 to 4pm). Please use our contact email on the website or message us on Facebook to make arrangements.
The Museum has ear mufflers available to borrow during your visit if needed.
Is there a place to go if my child is distressed?
Sadly no. The museum is quite small so we don’t have a separate room available. There are small areas of the museum where your child might feel more comfortable. We are happy for you to leave the museum and return later if needed. We are autism aware at the Museum of British Surfing so please don’t worry if your child becomes upset.
Can we bring our own food to the Museum?
We are happy for you to eat snacks or drink whist visiting the museum. We do not have an area for picnicking inside the museum but there is an outdoor picnic area close by.