There are so many Christmas things to do in Devon! This year in particular, the festive season is firmly...
Totnes oozes creativity, charm, history and a fantastic vibrant atmosphere. The perfect antidote to characterless cities, this idyllic market town is proud of its heritage. What was once a bustling trade town in the Elizabethan era is now a thriving artistic hub. Boasting the beautiful meandering River Dart, a fairy tale castle, independent boutique shops and art galleries, fabulous eateries, stunning walks and so much more – there are so many things to do in Totnes!
Looking for something in particular? Use our quick links below, or read on for our comprehensive guide on the best things to do in Totnes…
Step back in time at one of our favourite must-visit castles in South Devon. This classic Norman Motte and Bailey castle stands tall, within easy walking distance of the heart of Totnes. Originally built in the 13th century to crown its man made mound, and then later rebuilt in the 14th century to what you can see today, explore the history of the iconic Totnes Castle. Walk the castle steps up to the top of the mound where the panoramic view of Totnes, rolling countryside and the River Dart rewards the eyes. Children love to unleash their imagination and act out their inner royal knight or princess as they explore the striking remains.
The Totnes Elizabethan House & Museum is located on Fore Street in the heart of Totnes. A highly interactive experience, dress up in the Victorian nursery, get up close to smell herbs and spices in the medieval kitchen, and learn about Charles Babbage – a computer pioneer and inventor who was the mayor of Totnes in 1754. For fun activity the children will adore, ask the volunteers for a quiz sheet where they can ‘find the artefact’ throughout the museum.
A boutique shoppers delight, Totnes is jam packed with independent stores, so pack your shopping bags and head to what’s possibly Devon’s most creative town. With Totnes’ thriving art scene at the heart of its community, the high street is bustling with independent clothes shops, homeware boutiques, individual jewellery and silver shops. amazing art galleries, natural wellbeing stores and local farm shops. Boasting a variety of stores, you are sure to find something wonderfully unique, making for a refreshing break from high street chains. Some of our favourites include Me & East, Busby & Fox and Love Frankie, to name a few!
It is no secret that Totnes is a haven for foodies, and you will find an array of food and farmers markets throughout the year, always boasting fresh, local, feel-good food at the heart of each event. Every Friday and Saturday throughout the year there is the Totnes Market where you can buy a variety of delicious local produce, handmade gifts, clothing and homeware. Each market takes place in the Civic Square (located at the top of the high street).
If you’re looking to really get a taste of the region’s best food and drink, visit the Totnes Good Food Market, which takes place on the third Sunday of every month throughout the year – it is one of the most popular things to do in Totnes! This is the ultimate place for exploring south Devon’s natural larder – expect mouth-watering, fresh and deliciously tempting goodies. To find out more about Totnes Good Food Market, and others in the surrounding area, read our blog ‘5 of the best Devon farmers markets’.
What better time of year to absorb yourself in the bustling market scene than at Christmas, where the enticing scent of roasted chestnuts and mulled wine fills the air, and carol singers provide the perfect musical backdrop. Totnes is particularly renowned for its amazing Christmas market, which attracts visitors from far and wide to celebrate the festive season. With lantern parades, a Santa’s Grotto, performances from local musicians and schools, as well as local traders, there is so much to see and do. Running from 15:30 to 21:00 on the 3rd, 10th and 17th December, don’t miss out on this wonderful event.
Totnes is full of trendy eateries, from casual coffee shops such as The Hairy Barista and The Curator to award-winning restaurants – Rumour Restaurant and Wine Bar is a great place for stonebaked pizza, and the Cafe Mumbai serves fresh mouthwateringly delicious curry. For something totally organic, seasonal and locally sourced, head to The Bull Inn, and for those after a solely vegetarian menu, Seeds 2 Totnes and Willow provide an array of menu options. There’s plenty of places to lose track of time indulging in delicious food, so to help you find the perfect place to suit your taste buds, our team have put together a guide to 7 of the best restaurants in Totnes.
Totnes certainly packs a punch with regard to its walking routes, all of which start straight from the town itself – walking is one of the most popular things to do in Totnes, and once you’ve trodden the paths, it’s easy to see why. As you would expect, these walks navigate the River Dart, and take in breathtaking scenery rejuvenating the soul. One of our favourite walks has to be the Totnes to Sharpham trail, a moderate 6 mile stroll where you can enjoy a well-earned plate of Sharpham Wine and Cheese at the end. After you’ve indulged in your delicious lunch, we highly recommend walking down through the vineyards to the breathtaking river banks below, or heading into Ashprington for an explore. Oppositely, you can walk to the Dartington Estate, stopping along the river for a swim if you’re feeling brave!
Read our South Devon Walking Guide for the best walks in South Devon.
Get up close to rare farm animals including the star of the show, Wizard the eagle owl. From stroking pygmy goats to handling all 9 owls, the Totnes Rare Breeds Farm encourages getting hands on with the animals, just remember to wash your hands between meeting different animals. The real icing on the cake is that the farm is situated adjacent to the South Devon Railway, so you can watch the steam trains too!
Unleash your creativity by making and painting your very own china. Whether you want to try throwing pottery or paint an already made piece of ceramic, China Blue is a must-visit family-friendly destination! With a café and gourmet burger bar, homeware gift shop and hairdressers to explore within the vicinity, you can easily lose track of hours, and it is the perfect bolthole for a rainy day when looking at things to do in Totnes. The pre-made ceramics vary from plates and mugs to figurines and money boxes, and to help paint the perfect piece of art you will find stencils, stamps and fine ceramic pens to help you keep to a neat design. Costs for pottery painting vary depending on your chosen china piece, pottery throwing costs £25pp for ½ hour or £45 pp for 1 hour.
Hop on the Dartmouth Riverboat from Totnes and venture along the water to see some of South Devon’s most stunning sights. Find out about the wonders of Totnes, Dittisham, Greenway and Dartmouth as you listen to the fun and informative commentary on route. Enjoy marvelling at the breathtaking Sharpham Estate and all its vineyards, Agatha Christie’s holiday home at Greenway and the iconic Dartmouth Naval College. The riverboat moors up at Steamer Quay Totnes before cruising along the water, and you can purchase either a one way ticket to Dartmouth or a round robin ticket for a circular trip back to Totnes. Visit the Dartmouth Riverboat website to view the Dartmouth Steam Railway and Riverboat service timetable.
All aboard the South Devon Railway, which runs along the River Dart through the picturesque, leafy countryside between Buckfastleigh and Totnes. Not only can you enjoy a steam train ride along this picturesque route, but South Devon Railway have also teamed up with Totnes Rare Breeds Farm, as well as Buckfast Butterfly Farm and Dartmoor Otter Sanctuary, so that you can enjoy three amazing attractions in one fun-filled day out.
Coast & Country Cottages have a wealth of self-catering holiday cottages near Totnes, perfectly placed for exploring all the things to do in Totnes that are on offer. Whether you would like a country escape, a property with a view of the River Dart, or even a luxury holiday cottage, we have the property for you. Browse our website, or call our friendly team who will happily help with your search.