Visit Totnes: Places to stay, things to do

Abigail Whyte reveals why Totnes is the ultimate in Devonshire zest and character


Why go there?


This quirky town in the South Hams is often overlooked by people on their way to more touristy destinations in Devon. The allurements of its unique history and blissful surroundings are combined with the bohemian spirit of its diverse locals, the smell of incense on the winding streets and the independent shops and markets that sell local arts and crafts.

There is so much to see and do for such a small place. The Norman castle overlooking Totnes and the surrounding hills is a fascinating visit, as are the nearby wildlife parks, guided walking routes and of course, the River Dart which tumbles through the town.

Board the steam train and alight at Totnes Rare Breeds Farm where you can feed a red squirrel and cuddle an eagle owl. You may want to hire a bike and cycle the two-mile distance to Sharpham Estate Vineyard and Dairy and sample some English wines and cheeses. To round off the day, sip a cup of coffee and enjoy some live folk or jazz music at The Barrelhouse, a café-bar-restaurant that’s popular with the locals.

Where to stay

There are many unique places to lay your head in and around the town, but we think the Little Riverside is definitely a world-beater. In this self-catering apartment you can wake up and swim in the river at the end of the garden or hire one of their canoes and enjoy a day-trip down stream. It’s just a five-minute walk from the train station and close to the Riverford farm shop where you can buy your groceries.

Where to eat

The Kingsbridge Inn is Totnes’ oldest pub and its relaxed atmosphere and log fires make it the perfect place to enjoy some real ale and a highly acclaimed seasonal menu sourced from local ingredients.

Tell us a local secret


The ancient Leech Wells at the top of the town were frequented long ago by Lepers, who believed the water had healing properties.