Valhalla Museum - Atlas Obscura

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Valhalla Museum

Isles of Scilly, England

Around 30 ship figureheads are housed at this 11th-century abbey and gardens. 


One might spot a small museum on the map while exploring the beautiful flora and fauna at Tresco Abbey Gardens, a 19th-century garden surrounding a medieval abbey. The Valhalla Museum houses around 30 ship figureheads and other carved decorations from vessels mounted on garden buildings.

Most are from small merchant vessels rescued from shipwrecks on the rocky coasts of the Isles of Scilly, an archipelago off the southwest coast of Cornwall. The Lord Proprietor of the Isles of Scilly, August Smith, started the collection around 1840. His family continued to add further items to the collection after he died in 1872.

All sorts of figureheads are on display, ranging from people to animals, as well as different decorative styles. Everything has been restored and repainted.

Know Before You Go

Visiting the museum requires buying an entrance ticket to the Abbey Gardens on Tresco. Tresco can be reached by boat or helicopter, and the gardens are within walking distance from the jetty and heliport.

A scavenger hunt is available as well at the ticket office.

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May 8, 2024

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