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.
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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Went there twice this week with friends for coffee and ceramic painting with the children. Often busy but food and coffee is very good.
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)
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)
Looking for something to take home to remind you of your stay in South Devon ? At this gorgeous interiors and gift emporium in Totnes you'll find beautiful ceramics in easy muted colours, soft throws and blankets to cosy up with, kitchen enamelware to parade on your worktops, pretty glassware for outdoor dining and a unique range of creative activities for kids that will keep them busy if the sun goes away.
Enjoy 15% off with your Toad Hall Cottages discount card too !
Click here for further information
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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Lovely peaceful comfy cottage yet just a few steps from Totnes High Street.
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)
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
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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Had some tea here one night , apart from the slow beginning. The food was delicious and the staff were lovely.
Nice little restaurant, need to book. Service rather slow when we were there, it was an hour before starters arrived. Steak very over cooked. But we would return to give it another go.
In between Brixham and Paignton, this long, sandy beach is a popular spot with families, thanks to its sheltered waters, year-round facilities and easy parking. The Blue Flag beach is perfect for making sandcastles and searching for wildlife in the rockpools. There are toilets, and two places to get ice creams, coffees and soft drinks. What’s more, the car park is right by the beach, so there’s no need to lug your provisions a long way. Behind the pretty row of colourful beach huts, there’s a large grassy area, so don’t forget to pack a ball or rounders bat to keep the whole family entertained. Broadsands Beach is a popular dog walking spot throughout autumn and winter, but there is a seasonal dog ban during the summer months (1st May - 30th September).
Far from the bustling crowds of Paignton and Brixham’s bigger beaches, this small pebbly cove is a truly relaxing spot. The calm waters are great for swimming and are said to have been one of Agatha Christie’s favourite bathing spots. Elberry Cove even features in one of her crime thriller novels, The ABC Murders. This picture-perfect cove, surrounded by sloping wooded hillsides and crystal clear water, can only be accessed by the coast path, with the nearest carpark at Broadsands Beach. From here, it is only a 10 - 15 minute walk, but make sure to pack a picnic or grab a bite to eat at Broadsands Beach before you set off, as there aren’t any facilities at here. Dogs are welcome on the beach throughout the year.
If you’re willing to venture off the beaten track, you’ll discover one of Brixham’s hidden gems, Churston Cove. Surrounded by sloping wooded hillsides, this beautiful little cove isn’t the easiest to get to, which makes it an idyllic, peaceful place to while away the day. The crystal clear water is safe for kids to paddle and play in, and is a popular swimming spot. Parking is available at Freshwater carpark, a 15-minute walk away. There are no toilet facilities or cafes, and the beach is accessed via a long, steep path, which is uneven in places, but this beautiful little cove is worth the effort. Churston Cove is dog-friendly all year round.
Take the coast path from Brixham and escape the crowds at Fishcombe Cove, a peaceful shingle cove, protected on all sides by tall red cliffs. Access to this little cove isn’t easy, via a steep path from Freshwater carpark, but it is definitely worth the effort. The clear, blue sea is sheltered and calm, making it a favourite with swimmers and kayakers. Fishcombe Cove is also a popular place for boats and yachts to moor up and make the most of the beautiful water. If you’re lucky, you might even catch a seal popping its head up to say hello. There is a café and toilets here, but both are only open during the summer months. Fishcombe Cove is dog-friendly all year round.
One of the cleanest beaches on the English Riviera, Breakwater beach is a Blue Flag, shingle beach right next to Brixham’s bustling harbour. With disabled ramps to the promenade and beach, as well as toilet facilities, adjoining parking and a café, this lovely, family-friendly beach is accessible for everyone. Hire out a deckchair and spend the day watching the kids splash about in the safe, clean water, or if you’re feeling more adventurous, learn to scuba dive! Breakwater beach is a great place to learn how to scuba dive, thanks to some of the warmest and calmest waters in the country. Whilst dogs are welcome out of season, there is a dog ban in place from May to September.