Totnes has a personality all of its own and this Saxon river-town is quite unlike any other in the South Hams or indeed Devon. There is an impressive selection of independent shops, unique and interesting attractions, and delicious local food. Not to forget its long-standing heritage, dating back to 907 AD.
If you are thinking about making a move to Totnes, either to rent or buy a property, then be sure to contact the experts at Marchand Petit, who can offer their help and advice on the area.
The History of the Area
Totnes, one of the oldest towns in the UK, is steeped in fascinating history. By the 12th century, Totnes had already established itself as an influential market town filled with a plethora of trades, which is a trait that continues to this day. This makes it a magical place for creatives and those who like a touch of something unique.
What is There to Do in Totnes?
While Totnes is small, this town is also mighty. It is a great little spot for those who love to take a trip through history, such as undertaking a trek to spot the holy hidden well, also known as the ancient Leechwell. This mystical area dates back to the 1400s and is said to have magical properties in the water, where many made a journey with the promise of healing. You can also discover the legend of the Brutus Stone, an enchanting Greek mythology story based on a journey from Troy to Totnes.
What is history without some castles? Here you have a few majestic fortresses to choose from. Totnes Castle, a classic Norman motte and bailey castle, is an impressive mass which was founded after the conquest to intimidate the Saxon town. Climb to the top and you will be greeted with a panoramic view of Totnes. Make your way down to the bottom and you will be spoilt for choice for the perfect picnic area!
Totnes Castle is also home to a strikingly unique nod to the past – graffiti by the prisoners of World War II is still legible, etched into trees in the castle grounds. If castles are at the top of your interest list, then you might also be pleased to know that both Dartmouth and Berry Pomeroy Castle are also a very short drive away.
However, for those who are more interested in taking a literal trip ‘on’ history, then you can head over to the Dartmouth Steam Railway and enjoy a traditional steam train journey to Buckfastleigh.
And last, but not at all least, Dartington Hall deserves a mention, as this vast estate, home to 800 acres, offers a medieval courtyard. You can also spend the night here and enjoy a variety of different local walks around the immaculate Dartington Hall gardens, and along the River Dart.
For a more modern adventure, the Woodlands Family Theme Park might just be what you are looking for. This fun indoor and outdoor park is suitable for all ages, which makes it a family favourite that has so much on everyone will be spoilt for choice.
Shopping, Food, and Drink in Totnes
Totnes might not look like your average high street. This little town prides itself in putting a focus on independent shops and boutique experiences, so expect something a little different and unique here. If you head over to the market square, which has been proudly hosting markets for hundreds of years, you will find the Totnes market available for fresh fruit, vegetables, and other produce every Friday and Saturday.
When your food shopping is sorted, it is usually time for a leisurely browse. Take a peek in Me and East, a lovely boutique shop that features plenty of handmade goodies such as ceramics, homewares, jewellery, and beauty products to name a few.
For those who like to combine their love of a light bite and a delicious drink while they peruse bespoke makes, then The Cider Press Centre might just be the next stop you have to make. You can even make a day of it and check what art and craft events might take your fancy!
After you have taken a look around the sweet streets home to some exclusive items, you might be wondering where the best spot is to have lunch.
A wholesome pub lunch is often on the cards in the middle of a day out, and what could be better than a pie? If you feel the same, then head over to the restaurant Pie Street for some outstanding, freshly baked pies for a filling choice. For something just as luxurious but with a few more options, The Cott Inn could be up your street instead. This cosy local country pub is especially popular on cold winter weekends.
Fine dining is also plentiful in South Devon and Gather sits right in the heart of Totnes, with an enviable menu for those looking. Gather’s ethos is one to be admired, as they focus on local produce, often foraged, and create dishes with a fantastic wine list to match.
If you are looking for a sweet treat on your way home, then why not grab yourself some delicious handmade fudge from Roly’s Fudge Pantry? This tasty treasure has been fuelling the Totnes population and its visitors for around 20 years!
Insider tip: Work up an appetite for lunch with a walk from Totnes to Sharpham. Pick up a coffee at The Curator nearby and embark on this scenic six-mile walk along the Dart Valley trail.