14 weird and wonderful things to do in Totnes

Totnes is a charming little market town nestled in the South Hams area of Devon.

With a history dating as far back as 907, it has plenty of sites and stories for you to explore. Totnes  even got a mention in the Domesday Book way back in 1086.

But beyond its history, Totnes and its surrounding countryside is a haven for art, food and nature lovers. So, with so much out there for you to explore, let’s get straight to it! Here are my 14 favourite weird and wonderful things to do in Totnes.

 

Best things to do in Totnes for artsy types

Totnes is the unofficial hippie capital of Devon. So if you’re looking for a creative way to spend your day, here are four great options.

1. Experience glass blowing at Fire Work Glass Studio

Next time you’re in Totnes, why not crank up the heat at our Devon glass blowing studio?

Perfect for one or two people, we offer a 90-minute glass blowing session to let you get hands on with the ancient art form. You can create paperweights, vases, or whatever else your imagination can dream up (with expert guidance along the way, of course!)

Once your creations have cooled, you can pop back and pick them up the next day. Or, if that doesn’t work for you, we can arrange to send them to you in the post.

Find out more about our glass blowing experience →

  • Price: £165 for 1-2 people
  • Duration: 90 minutes
  • Distance: 7 miles from Totnes town centre
  • Google review score: 5 stars

 

2. Book a paint your own pottery class at China Blue

If ceramics are more your speed, then China Blue is for you.

Just a short stroll from Totnes town centre, they offer a one-hour session to try your hand at pot throwing. You’ll get to create a number of items during the workshop, and you can even return to paint your creations before they’re glazed.

  • Price: £60 per person
  • Duration: 60 minutes
  • Distance: 0.1 miles from Totnes town centre
  • Google review score: 4.3 stars

Image source: China Blue

3. Browse the art galleries on Totnes High Street

Totnes High Street is blessed with some wonderful art galleries. So if you want to break up your pub crawl with some vibrant paintings and prints, you’re in the right place!

Here’s a list of all the galleries in Totnes:

Wherever you are on the high street, you’re less than a minute away from the nearest gallery. So why not hit them all?

  • Price: Free to browse
  • Duration: 1-2 hours
  • Distance: On Totnes High Street
  • Google review score: 3.7-5 stars

Image source: Yvonne Coomber

4. Get some interior design inspiration at Nkuku

Did you know that Totnes is the home of much-loved interiors brand, Nkuku?

From dinner sets to dog beds, Nkuku offers a huge range of homewares perfect for anyone looking for that earthy vibe. Even if you aren't after anything in particular, it's just a nice place to be. 

There's also a cafe where you can grab some coffee and cake or try one of their homemade soups. A great way to while away an hour before the pubs open!

  • Price: Free to browse
  • Duration: 60 minutes
  • Distance: 3.1 miles from Totnes town centre
  • Google review score: 4.3 stars

Image source: Nkuku

 

Best things to do in Totnes for foodies (and drinkies!)

Wine or beer? Vegan or venison? These three picks have you covered!

5. Indulge in cheese and wine at Sandridge Barton

Looking for a taste of California in the rolling Devon countryside? Then Sandridge Barton needs to be on your list..

With their two-hour Vineyard Safari, you can experience the full winemaking process – from vine to wine. You also get to sample four different wines with a few local meats and cheeses on the side.

And if you really want to push the boat out, you can stay in one of their self-catered holiday properties too.

  • Price: £45 per person
  • Duration: 2 hours
  • Distance: 4.6 miles from Totnes town centre
  • Google review score: 4.5 stars

Image source: Sandridge Barton

6. Slurp craft beer at The Totnes Brewing Co.

If the steep climb up Totnes High Street gets a bit much for you, you can do a lot worse than a pit stop at The Totnes Brewing Co.

Part pub, part microbrewery, they offer a wide range of house and guest beers, which are rotated regularly to keep things fresh. There’s also plenty of cider, wine and fizz available if that’s more your speed.

In the summer, you can kick back in the beer garden and enjoy views up to Totnes Castle. And, in the colder months, there’s an open fire to keep things cosy.

Plus, it’s dog friendly!

  • Price: From £4 a pint
  • Duration: 1-2 hours
  • Distance: On Totnes High Street
  • Google review score: 4.7 stars

Image source: Tripadvisor

7. Feast on ethically-sourced small plates at The Bull Inn

Looking for something a little more refined than fish, chips and pasties? Shake things up with some small plates at The Bull Inn.

To whet your appetite, here are a few dishes from their latest sample menu:

  • Squash, bitter leaves, stilton, candied walnuts
  • Citrus cured chalk stream trout, celeriac remoulade, pangritata
  • Braised lamb, whipped tahini, sumac onions, dukkah

As well as being absolutely delish, all their dishes follow their “Nine No-Bull Rules To Dine By”, including “Organic (Obviously)”, “Genuinely Seasonal” and “Field-grown Not Flown”. So you know you’re getting the freshest produce too!

  • Price: Between £6 to £20 per dish
  • Duration: 1-2 hours
  • Distance: On Totnes High Street
  • Google review score: 4.5 stars

Image source: The Bull Inn

 

Best things to do in Totnes for nature lovers

Totnes is in the South Devon Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. So it stands to reason that it’s got some great options for nature lovers too!

8. Volunteer to plant trees with Moor Trees

Moor Trees is a Devon-based charity dedicated to restoring native woodland on Dartmoor and throughout South Devon. So if you want a rewarding way to connect with nature next time you’re in Totnes, check out Moor Trees’ upcoming events.

You can volunteer at one of their nurseries to sort seeds or plant and protect saplings. Or, if you’re up for a walk and a workout, get stuck in on one of their tree planting excursions on Dartmoor.

  • Price: Free
  • Duration: 1 day
  • Distance: Depends on the site
  • Google review score: 5 stars

Image source: Moor Trees

9. Take a wander through Dartington Hall Gardens and the Deer Park

If weekend walks are your thing, then treat yourself to a stroll through Dartington Hall Gardens – a Grade II listed site that's been tended for over 1,000 years.

There are a few cafes in the grounds serving up coffee, bagels and salads. And, if you get caught in the rain, you could duck into their on-site cinema – which just so happens to be in a barn!

While you're in the area, it's also worth checking out Dartington Deer Park, perfect for a bit of Bambi-spotting with the kids. 

  • Price: Free
  • Duration: 2-3 hours
  • Distance: 3 miles from Totnes town centre
  • Google review score: 4.6 stars

Image source: Dartington Trust

10. Meet goats and donkeys at Totnes Rare Breeds Farm

Open from spring through autumn, Totnes Rare Breeds Farm is one of the best things to do in Totnes for parents with young children.

They’ve got everything from chickens and ducks to Welsh Mountain sheep and Golden Guernsey goats. And if you’re there in the summer, you’ll get to meet the baby pygmy goats – the cutest of the goat family!

There’s also a cafe on site serving up paninis and cakes if you get peckish.

  • Price: £9.70 for adults, £8.20 for children
  • Duration: 2-3 hours
  • Distance: 5.9 miles from Totnes town centre
  • Google review score: 4.5 stars

Image source: Totnes Rare Breeds

11. See everything from giraffes to red pandas at Paignton Zoo

Just a short drive from Totnes is the seaside town of Paignton, where you’ll find the animal lover’s paradise, Paignton Zoo.

With 235 species of animal spread across 32 hectares, Paignton Zoo is one of the biggest and best zoos in the country. You’ll see everything from African lions to armadillos and spider monkeys to swamp wallabies. 

They also offer a range of animal experiences if you really want to get up close and personal with your favourite animals.

  • Price: £22.50 for adults, £16.85 for children
  • Duration: 3-4 hours
  • Distance: 5 miles from Totnes town centre
  • Google review score: 4.5 stars

Image source: Paignton Zoo

 

Best things to do in Totnes for history buffs

From Tudor houses to haunted castles, here are three great ways to soak up the history of Totnes and the surrounding area. 

12. Discover 500 years of history on the Totnes Town Trail

If you're looking for a whistle-stop tour of Totnes’ history, the Totnes' Town Trail is the perfect place to start.

With this free map and guide, you'll discover hidden gems like the Elizabethan House Museum, one of the finest restored Tudor houses in the country. Plus, how the site of Totnes Guildhall dates back as far as 1088.

  • Price: Free
  • Duration: 60 minutes
  • Distance: Starts from Totnes town centre
  • Review score: N/A

Image source: Visit Totnes

13. Explore the haunted ruins of Berry Pomeroy Castle

If you’re into all things spooky, Berry Pomeroy Castle is a must while you’re in Totnes.

Built in the 15th century, it was the home of Lord Seymour during the reign of Queen Elizabeth I. He had grand plans to turn it into the most glorious house in Devon. But he was, let’s say, a tad overambitious.

So the project was left unfinished. And throughout the 18th century, the romantic ruin began drawing in artists and sightseers who were captivated by its stories. Then came the tales of hauntings, ghostly apparitions, and a sinister history. Take the audio tour to hear all about it!

Oh, and it’s dog friendly too.

  • Price: £6.80 for adults, £3.60 for children
  • Duration: 1-2 hours
  • Distance: 2.8 miles from Totnes town centre
  • Review score: 4.6 stars

Image source: English Heritage

14. Look for treasure at the historic Totnes Market

Love shopping for local crafts and antiques? Then you're in luck! 

Every Friday and Saturday, Totnes Market takes over the Market Square and part of the Civic Hall car park towards the top of the high street. Here, you'll find everything from antique rugs to hand-carved wood. And if you stop by at the right time of year, you may find us there with our glass pumpkins and Christmas baubles

  • Price: Free to browse
  • Duration: 30-60 minutes
  • Distance: On Totnes High Street
  • Review score: 4.4 stars

Image source: Totnes Town Council

 

Final thoughts

Whether you're holidaying at home or visiting from further afield, Totnes has a bit of something for everyone.

And if you fancy trying your hand at glass blowing while you're in the area, you can book a glass blowing experience experience here →

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Wednesday, 28 February 2024