The Eastgate Arch is a prominent feature of the town; it is an arch spanning the middle of the main street. This Elizabethan entrance to the walled town was destroyed in a fire in September 1990, and had to be rebuilt. The actual arch lies in the ownership of the Duke of Somerset; part of this building was leased by the Town Council in 1879 in order to provide a clock for the town. It is still maintained by the Town Council to this day.
The building of St Mary’s Church was completed in about 1450 by the townspeople although the site is where Christians have worshipped for over a thousand years. Visitor attractions include the magnificent 15th century sandstone roodscreen; the Kempe stained glass window; the Willis organ built in 1861; the restored oak wagon roof; the fine brass candelabrum in the nave; the Blackhall monument and the memorial plaque to Walter Venning (1781-1821), Russian prison reformer.
Sunday to Saturday: 8:45 am to 5:00 pm
Totnes Castle is a classic Norman motte and bailey castle, built soon after the Conquest to command over the Saxon town. A later stone shell-keep crowns its steep mound, giving sweeping views across the town rooftops to the River Dart. The surviving stone keep and curtain wall date from around the 14th century. The impressive motte on which the present day castle stands, is the original Norman earthwork and would have been topped by a wooden castle and later replaced in stone
March to September: 10:00 am to 6:00 pm
October to November: 10:00 am to 5:00 pm
Children (5-15): £2.20
The castle here is regarded as one of the best examples of a Norman "Motte and Bailey" construction. The "Motte" is the earthen mound on which the castle sits whilst the "Bailey" is the enclosed courtyard surrounding it.
The original castle was built in 1068, soon after the Norman conquest when the town was gifted by William the Conqueror to one of his lieutenants, Judhael. The castle would have served two purposes - firstly by using forced labour in its construction Judhael would have effectively demonstrated his power over the locals and secondly because of its position would have been an easily defended stronghold with commanding views over its approach.
The first castle was probably a simpler affair than its present-day incarnation with the existing stone keep having been dated to the early 14th century.
It is now maintained by English Heritage and is open to the public - but during the winter only at weekends. I of course was there mid-week in November :-(
Website has details of opening times etc.
For a friendly local boozer the King William IV Hotel is perfect. This is a no-frills town centre pub but very convivial, with excellent beer which was very reasonably priced and a laid back ambience. It might look a little scruffy but is immaculately clean and serves good honest pub grub at once again very reasonable prices.
I only popped in for a quick pint, which turned into two - well the first one seemed to just disappear and I was still thirsty ;-HIC!
Longmarsh is situated downriver, on the left bank, from the town centre. This was formerly a rifle range (and before that the town butts where the archers practiced) and is now a marshy nature reserve. A fully-accessible path runs along the river bank for about a mile from Totnes Bridge from which several footpaths lead into the marsh itself - a common sight is kingfishers (but not in mid-November) and other aquatic wildlife.
in times gone by Totnes and Dartmouth were connected by a river-going paddle steamer which would ply between the two ferrying people and goods - hence the name Steamer Quay. Nowadays there is a seasonal diesel ferry running the route (from April to October) which takes a leisurely one and a quarter hours. This is run by the Dartmouth Steam Railway and River Boat Company who also run the heritage railway line between Kingswear and Paignton. For an interesting day-out you can buy a "Round Robin" ticket which allows you to go from Totnes down to Dartmouth by their boat, across to Kingswear on the passenger ferry, take the train to Paignton and then return to Totnes using the public bus - details are on the website:
I just couldn't resist using this pic. The sign is located at the entrance to the pub car park which from this photo angle makes it look as if it refers to the pub but in fact it refers to the riverside walk which borders the pub's car park and patio.
The Steam Packet is a good-looking pub and despite being in Totnes centre it feels more like a country pub than a town one. The riverside location, even on a slightly overcast November lunchtime, is unbeatable whilst inside is warm and cosy with a real fire, traditional furnishings and fittings and friendly staff.
The food menu looked good but as I'd had a late breakfast at the Signal Box it was a bit too early for a solid lunch - the beer was spot-on though!! The pub is also where the river taxis have their rank (dock??) along with the contact numbers should you wish to use them.
Totnes has a wonderful range of shops. It is a wonderful place to find something a bit different.
Bishopston Trading Company is a lovely shop which only sells Fair Trade clothes. Most of them are georgeous especially the childrens clothes. I have bought Freya quite a few bits from here.
The River Dart is a substantial river starting high in Dartmoor & entering the sea at Dartmouth.
This the stretch of the river which passes through Totnes, flowing under Vire Bridge. It is possible to have river cruises up the Dart from Dartmouth. There are several riverside walks both up & down the Dart.
My personal favourite is the riverside cycle path upstream to Dartington.
Totnes Castle first built in 1110 is set upon a small but high hill. The Castle is one of the most intact and largest examples of a Norman motte and bailey in left in Britain. Not the most impressive castle, but worth a visit.
Certain days of the year they put on reinactment days, where everyone dresses up & stages mock battles etc.
As mentioned above, here is part of the notice board at Arctaurus. Loads of business cards & leaflets. The majority being for all sorts of weird & wonderful therapies & services. Also events happening with in the totnes community & surrounding area are advertised here.
Above the book shop are therapy rooms.
Arctaurus is a wonderful book shop half way down the High Street. If you are looking for anything inspirational then this is the place for you! Great range of cards, jewlery. music, alternative books & magazines. The shop also seem to double as the Totnes alternative information centre. If anything is going on, you will find a leaflet or info here.
I can think of at least 4 traditional Olde Worlde Cafes in Totnes. They display their delicious cakes in the windows to tempt you in. These are ideal places for a Devonshire CreamTea too. Walking in these places are like stepping back in time 100 years! They are usually quite small but a couple have a garden at the back.
The main high street in Totnes is on quite a steep hill. There are a couple of stopping places with benches on the way up if need be.
The old clock tower in the photo burnt down a few years ago & was restored to its former glory. Further down the hill on the right is Totnes Museum.