Totnes

all you need to know

The historic, bohemian market town of Totnes provides a great base for exploring the beautiful countryside along the River Dart in any season.

About Totnes

Totnes is a small historic market town located on the River Dart in South Devon. A well-known centre for artists, painters, musicians and its twice-weekly market offering antiques, musical instruments, second-hand books, handmade clothing, and local produce. The town exudes a bohemian feel and boasts a wonderful selection of unique and independent shops, restaurants and delis offering a wealth of different produce to try.

The town is overlooked by Totnes Castle which was built in Norman times and is now run by English Heritage, the castle enjoys far-reaching views of the town as well as the surrounding Devonshire countryside.
 
With fantastic transport links, Totnes is on the main train line from Exeter to Plymouth and is easily accessible from London or the Midlands. The town is also home to the South Devon Railway, one of Devon’s best-loved tourist attractions, with a steam railway which runs through stunning countryside along the River Dart to the nearby town of Buckfastleigh.

Another 'alternative' way to get around is by the River Cruise which runs from Totnes to Dartmouth, taking in the pretty waterside village of Dittisham, and Agatha Christie's scenic estate at Greenway on its route. Dartmouth itself is a historic port town, and offers a great selection of shops, galleries, cafés and restaurants as well as excellent sailing in the sheltered harbour.

For a day trip with a difference, the nearby Sharpham Vineyard is a lovely place for a leisurely stroll and to enjoy locally produced wine and cheese. Alternatively, it's just over 10 minutes' drive to South Brent, a gateway to the bleak rugged wilderness of Dartmoor.

If you're visiting in December, Totnes is well known for its magical Christmas markets which extend throughout the town and serve as the perfect tonic for anyone struggling to get in the festive spirit. Most shops open late and the high-street becomes lined with food and craft stalls, making it a great chance to enjoy some street food and purchase a few special presents.

A holiday cottage in Totnes provides a lovely base for exploring the beautiful countryside along the River Dart in any season.

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China Blue
(Less than a mile)

Searching for holiday gifts for friends and family? Why not create something truly unique in the spacious studio at China Blue, offering lots of themed pottery for you to customise with your own designs. If being creative is not your thing, you'll find the large design-led home interiors store packed full of gifts ideas, luxurious home accessories & furnishings. And after all that shopping & creating, you can sit back and relax in the conservatory café.

China Blue Station Rd, Totnes TQ9 5JR (T: 01803 860908)

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Totnes Guildhall
(Less than a mile)

Totnes Guildhall has nearly a thousand years of history for you to explore with the original priory building dating back to 1088. This fascinating building has been used as the town gaol, boy's school, magistrates court, and is still used today as the Council Chambers and Mayor's parlour for Totnes Town Council. Open to visitors May to October, check website to avoid disappointment.

Totnes Guildhall 5 Ramparts Walk, Totnes TQ9 5QH (T: 01803 862147)

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Timehouse Museum
(Less than a mile)

Accessed via the Narnia Shop on Totnes Fore Street, the Timehouse Museum is a four dimensional installation fusing art, music and film that will engage inquisitive minds of all ages.  Expect the extraordinary!

Timehouse Museum 69 Fore Street, Totnes TQ9 5NJ (T: 01803 862109)

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Totnes Elizabethan House Museum
(Less than a mile)

Travel back in time to the days when Elizabethan merchants lived in this fascinating building in the centre of Totnes.  Kids can dress up in the nursery or discover what people ate in the Elizabethan kitchen and herb garden, and the whole family can enjoy the wealth of interesting exhibits about Totnes through the ages.

Totnes Elizabethan House Museum 70 Fore Street, Totnes TQ9 5RU (T: 01803 86382)

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Totnes Castle
(Less than a mile)

A classic Norman motte and bailey castle within walking distance of the centre of Totnes.  Climb to the top for stunning views over the town and River Dart or enjoy a peaceful picnic in the grounds under one of the ancient trees. 

Totnes Castle Castle Street, Totnes TQ9 5NU

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Wild Fig Café & Deli
(Less than a mile)

A great venue for a spot of lunch while exploring the town’s quirky shops and historical buildings - catering for vegans, vegetarians and meat eaters alike with a great range of sandwiches, salads and soups. 

Wild Fig Café and Deli  53 Fore Street, Totnes, TQ9 5NJ (T: 01803 864829) 

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Cafe Royale
(Less than a mile)

A dog friendly café in the heart of bustling Totnes with a relaxed and welcoming atmosphere.  There’s something for everyone on the varied menu including childrens options and dedicated gluten free and vegetarian menus - even the dogs get a sausage!

Café Royale  67 Fore Street, Totnes TQ9 5NJ (T: 01803 862604)

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Jano
(Less than a mile)

An authentic Italian restaurant and deli championing high quality artisan Italian products and receiving great reviews!  Eat in in the friendly informal restaurant, or take the stress out of holiday catering with their take away gourmet platters or picnic bags.

Jano, 11 High Street, Totnes, TQ9 5NN 01803 863955

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Rumour
(Less than a mile)

A centrally placed restaurant with lots of atmosphere and friendly staff serving high quality, locally sourced food.  Open Monday to Sunday (evenings only on Sunday) for simple yet delicious breakfasts and a good selection of modern lunches and dinners. 

Rumour Restaurant & Bar 30 High Street, Totnes TQ9 5RY (T: 01803 864682) 

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(1)

Had some tea here one night , apart from the slow beginning. The food was delicious and the staff were lovely.

November 2017



Little Asia
(Less than a mile)

Popular East-Asian restaurant and takeaway with an extensive menu

Little Asia 46 High Street, Totnes TQ9 5SQ (T: 01803 868866) 

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Blackpool Sands

Blackpool Sands
(10 miles)

Between Dartmouth and Slapton, Blackpool Sands is a beautiful shingle bay on the South West Coast Path, surrounded by evergreens and pine trees. It really is a treasure of a beach to visit while you’re in the area. Award-winning, the privately owned, blue flag beach boasts a sense of being in the Mediterranean on a good day in the summer, although a good jumper never goes amiss in this part of the world! You will no doubt not be surprised to hear that it is in a designated Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, however it also boasts ample facilities and things to do. There are showers, toilets and disabled facilities, as well as paddle board, kayak and wetsuit hire available for those wishing to earn their visit to The Venus Beach Café, where light bites and refreshments are served. The Venus Shop also sells all the bits and pieces you might want for fun and games on the beach if you have forgotten them or are in need of extra buckets and spades. The water at Blackpool Sands is known for being clean and clear and tested by the Environment Agency, and lifeguards are on hand in the summer (July to September) so there’s every reason to pop in for a dip. However, dogs are not allowed on the beach in the high season (12th March to 30th October) so keep the walking for the cooler months. There is parking available at the beach with seasonal charges, and you can find out more information on those from the Blackpool Sands information line on 01803 771800. This beach is easy to get to and quite literally fun and games for the whole family, as well as a beautiful place to visit at any time of the year to take in the view!

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Stunning beach, and you can get takeaway cream tea from the cafe to have on the beach!!

May 2017


Our family 's favourite beach

June 2017


The cost of the parking steep

June 2017


Perfect venue for a sunny day! Secluded beach which is clean and tidy, with a cafe, snack bar and shop, beach equipment hire too

July 2017


Beautiful location but shame it a shingle beach and not sandy. Also very disappointed with the £8 fee to park the car .

August 2017


Beautiful clean beach with excellent facilities.Clean toilets lovely cafe and shop.Lifeguard on the beach.No dogs allowed.Plenty of parking.We enjoyed rock pooling at the far end of the beach.The owner does a great job.You can also visit Blackpool Sands garden but we did not have time.Also a juggler was there on the day we went great fun for everyone.

August 2017



Slapton Sands

Slapton Sands
(12 miles)

A long stretch of beach with spectacular views of the sea stretching into the distance, Slapton Sands is in a designated Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, and for good reason. Adjacent to Slapton Ley, a freshwater lake that’s home to an abundance of wildlife and one of the many reasons people come to visit the area, the beach has a history of welcoming families in the summer for long days in the sunshine, building sandcastles, surfing, windsurfing and kayaking. It’s amazing to believe that this peaceful corner of South Devon has its place in military history as in 1943 the beach was taken over by allied forces to use as a rehearsal area for the D-Day landings. However, live ammunition and poor visibility ended in the deaths of more than 700 servicemen, so today there is a stone monument in place for Operation Tiger, as it was called, as well as a Sherman Tank at nearby Torcross. On a more current note, there is a beachside café at Slapton Sands for teas, coffees and other light bites, and there are also toilets nearby. The beach has disabled access, and also allows dogs throughout the year, so it really is fun for everyone and very easy to get to. There is parking nearby and in the summer months from May to September there is lifeguard cover. Last, but not least, a small collection of pubs reside in Torcross for those who are feeling peckish after a long day in the fresh air, or if you have been for a nice walk along the sand!

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(6)

Great place for a walk along the beach and had some great events for children at Easter. Great fish and chips in the pub at the end on Torcross

April 2017


Clapton Sands is beautiful. The rocks are the most beautiful colours, wild flowers abound on the beach, the views in either direction are stunning and it is rarely over crowded.One of the most wonderful areas in the U.K.

May 2017


Beautiful stretch of shingle beach - dogs allowed all year. Not many facilities - we went to the Strete end of the beach as there is a great little coffee hut there - great coffee and friendly staff.

September 2017


Wonderful nature reserve with well signposted walks.

September 2017


Beautiful beach right across from our Cottage

September 2017


Really interesting area and good walks along the coast and by the Ley. Generous provision of toilets and parking and a number of places to eat. Would particularly recommend The Start Bay Inn, The Boathouse and Seabreeze Cafe at Torcross. Also very handy that there is a bus should you want to walk one way and get a bus back. Very beautiful and peaceful.

October 2017



Beesands

Beesands
(13 miles)

Close to Kingsbridge and a favourite amongst residents and holiday makers in the South West, Beesands is a wonderful mile-long shingle beach surrounded by fields and a freshwater lake. You get a real flavour of the West Country here with fresh crab sandwiches for sale nearby and lots of Devon holiday cottages within walking distance to make it really convenient. The beach has won awards from the Marine Conservation Society as well as having The Blue Flag marker to attest to its excellence and high standards, so families and swimmers can be reassured. The beach is popular for surfing and body boarding amongst other water sports including fishing, so tackle is on sale close by. You can pick up light bites at nearby cafes as and when you’re ready, making it easy to spend the whole day running around on the sand and enjoying your seaside holiday to the max. Beesands is very much a beach for everyone thanks to its convenient location, easy and free road parking along most of the beach, level access, and the toilets, cafes and pubs close by. Dogs are also welcome on the beach throughout the year so the whole family can enjoy it!

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(2)

Britannia Fish - Great fish - always fresh and lovely family run business. A must for anyone who likes eating good fish!

May 2017


Ideal for quiet and peaceful holiday with two good restaurants both of which are dog friendly.

April 2017



Ayrmer Cove

Ayrmer Cove
(14 miles)

Roughly one kilometre (20 minutes depending on your pace) from the National Trust car park at Ringmore, and with a selection of footpaths to get to it, Ayrmer Cove is a quiet secluded beach on the South West Coast Path. For anyone on holiday in South Devon it’s a peaceful place to sit and contemplate the natural scenery amongst the shingle, pebbles and rock pools, admiring the cliffs. It makes for a beautiful destination to walk to from Ringmore itself, which is a small village (population 230) with views towards the cove itself as well as Bigbury Bay – it makes for a wonderful holiday cottage destination in South Devon as well as a place to visit as part of your day. Walking to the beach allows you to discover the surrounding woodland, wildlife and history of the area – taking in old smugglers’ routes and hedgerows that have been in situ since the 1800s. It is a little tricky to get to so it’s not ideal for wheelchairs, and there aren’t any toilets or facilities at the beach itself so if you want to stay for a little while don’t forget to take snacks or a picnic if the weather is right. This is all about enjoying the environment that’s such a proud part of the National Trust – it’s everything a holiday in Devon is about, and yes, dogs are permitted all year round and will very much enjoy the walk!

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(2)

Gorgeous beach for an evening swim and barbecue. So peaceful and beautiful

June 2017


Simply stunning and well worth the steep (ish) walk down from the National Trust car park at Ringmore. When there - it's hard to imagine the horrors of today's modern world.

September 2017



Challaborough Bay

Challaborough Bay
(14 miles)

Close to Kingsbridge, Challaborough Bay is a sandy beach in an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty that’s perfect for enjoying all the seaside activities nature can afford. At low tide the beach is ideal for visiting families to build sandcastles and explore the rock pools, while the swells and shore breaks also attract surfers and bodyboarders. There are some beautiful walks along the coast path that surrounds it, heading towards Bigbury on Sea in particular. Making it an ideal spot to spend the day, the beach has toilets, a café and a beach shop close by, although access is via steps and small paths so accessibility isn’t wheelchair friendly. There is a car park but it’s rather small, so it’s good to know that a 15-minute walk to Bigbury will see ample parking available – seasonal charges apply so remember to bring cash with you. While four legged friends are welcome in the winter, they are not allowed on the beach between May and September, so do plan their walks with that in mind. It’s a lovely spot along the coast path to bring them to, you can even beach hop from one to the next!

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(1)

Lovely beach

April 2017


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Head Office

Toad Hall Cottages

Church Street

Kingsbridge

South Devon

TQ7 1BY

Email: thc@toadhallcottages.co.uk

Call: 01548 20 20 20

Cornwall Office

Toad Hall Cottages

Talland Street

Polperro

Cornwall

PL13 2RE

Email: polperro@toadhallcottages.co.uk

Call: 01503 272303

Dorset Office

Devon & Dorset Cottages

44 Church Street

Lyme Regis

Dorset

DT7 3DA

Email: dorset@toadhallcottages.co.uk

Call: 01297 443550

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