Totnes is a trendy Devon market town with a rich cultural, archaeological and historical heritage and has become something of a self-styled ‘Glastonbury of the west country’, with its thriving arts community, shops and New Age ambiance. Totnes has a long history and a prosperous past; it was once the second most important borough in the county, thanks to wealth created from the woollen industry from nearby Dartmoor sheep, and today still holds many delights for a visitor on a cottage holiday.
Lovers of architecture and casual visitors alike will appreciate the mix of architectural styles on display; merchant houses dating from the Elizabeth era, the Norman fortifications of the castle and the simple diversions of a pleasant English country town – museums, the ancient Church and Guildhall, the North and East Gates and a riverside setting. The river makes a good starting point; from here steamers ferry summer holidaymakers on pleasure cruises from Totnes to Dartmouth. The town rises uphill; features include the Butterwalk and Poultry Walk- two pillored arcades with overhanging houses above, named after the markets, which would once have taken place beneath their arches. The Brutus Stone is located here, uncover the legend as you wander through the pleasant streets and browse the shops for unusual arts and crafts. Take in the Totnes Museum, to learn more of the local history, visit the castle with its fine Norman fortifications, the Guild Hall and the old jail and the town’s Leech Wells. Totnes Costume Museum has a variety of displays, but make time to experience the Elizabethan period come to life each Tuesday during the summer, when an Elizabethan market is held alongside the main craft market and locals and traders dress in period costume. Regular markets are held on Friday and Saturdays. For railway enthusiasts, Totnes’ Steam Railway makes a scenic nostalgia trip to the pleasant nearby town of Buckfastleigh.
Visitor attractions close to Totnes include the Dartington Cider Press centre, with its shops and visitor centre, Berry Pomeroy Castle, a reputedly-haunted castle and mansion house set on hillsides above a steep ravine and Woodlands Leisure Park, the latter a particularly good day out for all the family. It has more than 60 acres of dedicated family entertainment, including slides and toboggan rides, water-coasters, bumper boats, numerous play zones, a Big Fun animal farm centre and indoor adventure play areas, falconry displays, tractor driving and much more for wet and sunny weather days.
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