Cobbaton Combat Collection – Review for families

Should you visit North Devon's most unusual World War 2 museum? Read our guide to find out

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What is it?

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It’s a rather crazy and vast collection of WW2 memorabilia. Find it in Chittlehampton in North Devon, not far from Bideford. The Sat Nav postcode is EX37 9RZ.

Best for:

9 – 12 / 12+. It’s not really suitable for any children younger than this.

Cost

££ – It’s £7 per adult and £4.50 per child. Under 5’s go free. It seems reasonably priced, but it’s quite expensive for families given how long you’ll be spending here.

What’s on offer

The Cobbaton Combat Collection describes itself as a “hobby that got out of hand”. Now, bear in mind that this is not really a museum. It’s a personal collection of World War 2 artifacts, tanks and kit. They have everything from ration books to gas marks, artillery and grenades to helmets and uniforms from the British, Canadian and Russian armies.  It’s very eclectic and incredibly niche.

There’s a small, pretty cheap refreshments area (which is a working NAAFI canteen wagon). There are toilets (but they’re in a separate building), a small picnic area and an excellent gift shop.

The collection is accessible for disabled visitors and therefore should be pushchair accessible. Dogs are allowed on site, but not in the collection building itself.

Highlights

If you have a strong interest in WW2 or the history of 1939 – 1945, you will definitely feel like this place was worth a visit. If you’ve got children learning about the World Wars at school, then this is a great educational place to bring them. The collection itself is really something and the gift shop is cheap, selling great souvenirs.

What to watch out for

  • There’s a general consensus that the ‘museum’ is not a museum, it’s a collection and that is why it is generally disorganized, a bit “jumbled” without substantial information accompanying each piece of the collection and is sometimes a bit dusty.
  • The facilities aren’t amazing, either.
  • It’s not very interactive, so it’s not somewhere for young children or children who aren’t expressly interested in combat or the World Wars.
  • You’re not allowed to touch anything or climb on anything (of course, by you, we mean your child).
  • Most visitors feel that he entrance fee is too expensive given the attraction.

MFM tips:

It’s definitely an ideal rainy day attraction, that’s for sure, but if you have younger kids or don’t have any war buffs in the family to talk you through the collection you could always visit Bideford attractions like Lundy Island or combine the visit to Cobbaton with a trip to The BIG Sheep or the Atlantis Adventure Park.

Read our essential guides to the rest of North Devon’s attractions:

Lynton & Lynmouth Cliff Railway
Woolacombe Beach
Tunnels Beaches
Quince Honey Farm
Clovelly Village
Combe Martin Wildlife & Dinosaur Park

What the owners say

“Military museum and tourist attraction, this North Devon collection covers mostly World War Two and the years 1939 – 1945, but with exhibits from the Boer War right up to the First Gulf War.

Ranging from military surplus British Army – plus Canadian and Russian Forces – tanks, guns, helmets, artillery, grenades, and bombs to Home Front ration books, gas masks, ARP and Home Guard uniforms and blackout lamps.

In 1981 Preston Isaac’s runaway hobby was opened to the public, and just keeps growing.”

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Visit the official Cobbaton Combat Collection website

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