The ancient borough of Totnes enjoys a prominent position above the River Dart. The town is one of Devon’s gems; full of both colour and character, that stems from a rich cultural, historical and archaeological heritage.
It is the second oldest borough in England, and is full of interesting diversions for the visitor — museums, a riverside with steamer quay, an ancient Guildhall and Church, a Norman Castle and the North and East Gates. The town is an architectural feast to those interested in historic buildings - with fine examples of properties dating back to Norman, Medieval and Tudor times.
Regularly described as one of England’s “funkiest towns” Totnes also has a fine range of independent shops, restaurants and markets. Handmade shoes, soaps, bags and biscuits - you name it and they make it in Totnes. A weekly market on a Friday sells everything from wood carvings to Thai food, fabulous silver jewellery and a range of antiques. An Elizabethan market on a Tuesday in the Summer sells handmade and second hand items, as well as does craft demonstrations and Elizabethan dancing. Christmas shopping on a Tuesday in December is legendary and you can’t move for shoppers, live music music and mulled wine stalls.
Totnes is part of the Round Robin bus, steam train and boat trips that go from Dartmouth so don’t feel as though you have to drive there! There are plenty of car parks but finding a space is never easy and there are 30 minute restrictions on parking on the steep high street. There is a steam train that takes trips through a village called Staverton and along the river Dart, and onto Buckfastleigh which is a popular day out.
Just a short walk away up the river is Sharpham Estate, with beautiful views and a great cafe and shop for it’s vineyard and own made produce. In the other direction, down the river, is Dartington Hall which is now a centre for arts and sustainability. Set in magnificent grounds (open to the public) and featuring a Medieval Great Hall, a brilliant summer school programme of art and music events, and a lovely bar and restaurant called The White Hart. Dartington Cider Press centre is also nearby which is great for shopping, including of course, Dartington Glass.
There are some great food and drink options too; our sister hotel The Royal Seven Stars can cater for all tastes and needs, from coffees to cocktails and fish and chips to fine dining. Rumour is famous in it’s own right and is the place to go for daily specials and homemade pizzas and a great wine list, but don’t forget to book ahead. Totnes also caters extremely well for vegetarians and Willow is a great option. If a pub is more your thing then try The Steam Packet, right on the river front, with a fantastic outside seating area.
Lucy, General Manager here, grew up in Totnes and recommends her favourite coffee shop Fat Lemons (hidden away on the plains) for the best flat whites and homemade cakes around.
Visit Totnes Website