West Somerset Rural Life Museum, Allerford

The Museum and Victorian School Room are housed in the old school at Allerford, leased to us by the National Trust. The school, built in 1821, was in use to 1981 and then, in 1984, it was reopened as the Rural Life museum.

The museum collection was originally started through the efforts of the West Somerset Archaeological Society members and now contains several thousand artefacts from clay pipes to ploughs, mostly from the Exmoor area. When you enter the museum you will be transported back in time and will probably recognise objects used daily by your parents, grand -parents, local tradesmen and farmers.

Most of the artefacts date from the early 1800s to the late 1950s and are displayed in themed areas covering a very broad range of rural social history. An extensive photographic archive of West Somerset is available to browse and topical exhibitions of memorabilia are organised at various times.

The Victorian Schoolroom has its original desks and benches from 1821 together with slates, text books, toys and examples of school work by the pupils during the Victorian era. Visiting children can dress up in Victorian clothes, write on the slates and play with some of the toys from the period.

Did You Know?

The West Somerset Photographic Archive is housed here.


The Old School
TA24 8HN


01643 862529




Admission charges apply

Opening Times

Open April to October


  • Parking nearby
  • Shop
  • Limited disabled access


The Museum offers pre-booked visits and resources for schools and adult groups. The site offers a Victorian schoolroom experience with an original classroom with desks, slates, textbooks and toys of the period. There are Victorian era children’s clothes for dressing up. The playground is available for hoops, hop scotch, marbles, etc. A small enclosed garden is used for picnics in fine weather.

Depending on the length of the visit there is a charge of between £1.50 and £2 per child, there is no charge for accompanying adults. Please contact the Museum for more information.


The Museum can assist researchers with enquiries about the collection, local history and family history. It holds the West Somerset Photographic Archive that is freely available to visitors and holds hundreds of unique photographs. Please contact the Museum for more information.


  • Agricultural
  • Archaeology
  • Archives
  • Ceramics
  • Costume
  • Industrial
  • Military
  • Social history

Time Periods

  • 20th Century
  • Edwardian
  • Victorian