The interesting little town of Totnes is steeped in history and legend
With a population struggling to reach 7,000 the interesting little town of Totnes is steeped in history and legend (it’s here that a Trojan prince named Brutus is believed in folklore to have founded Britain in the 11th century). Set in the pavement opposite Atherton Lane, is the Brutus Stone, which according to legend is the place where Brutus, founder of the British people, first stepped ashore. He is reputed to have proclaimed ‘Here I stand and here I rest and this place shall be called Totnes’. This is the stuff of legends!
Present day Totnes is a bustling market town with charming views and splendid architecture with plenty of listed buildings for such a small place.
Totnes main street has a wide spread of delightful restaurants for visitors to pick and choose from – the choices range from traditional English tea rooms and bistros that are simply brimming with character to foreign-cuisine restaurants. You don’t have to travel far for meals as there are ample eateries in and around the town to suit every taste and pocket. In Totnes you’ll be truly enjoying local foods as many of the eateries pride themselves on the use of locally sourced seasonal ingredients and organic produce.
Things to See and Do in Totnes
The first thing that strikes you about Totnes is the pure charm and elegance of the town – a walk up the steep streets is highly recommended. In many ways it’s typical of the small English town experience and the narrow streets are dwarfed by ancient, historic buildings (quite a few dating back to the 16th century). Local historian, Bob Mann, has put together a heritage walk which points out these historical buildings within a small area. The historic walk starts at the Town Mill, which houses the Information Centre.
Totnes Castle – First built in the 11th century by Judhel, the Norman overlord of Totnes, the castle has dominated the town for centuries. The remains of Totnes Castle today are thought to be from the 13th century. The castle is well worth visiting and offers some spectacular vistas of the town, the River Dart below and views in every direction.
Other points of interest
Climb the steps to Ramparts Walk and the Guildhall is in a quiet area behind St Mary’s Church. The Guildhall holds some interesting exhibitions including Oliver Cromwell’s table. This is no ordinary council headquarters and a visit to Totnes Guildhall promises to be a major experience. The Totnes Museum (located in a beautiful old Elizabethan style house) has a room devoted to the mathematician, Charles Babbage, who is regarded as the pioneer of modern computers.
Yes, Totnes has its dark secrets and those brave of heart can join the Totnes Ghost Walk which begins from outside the Town Mill. Other activities to do in and around Totnes include visits to adventure parks, agricultural shows, environmental parks and wildlife, guided walks, river trips and steam train rides along stunning stretches of coastline and countryside.
Whether you’re looking for classy hotels in Totnes, friendly guesthouses, cosy cottages, inns, or the warm welcome of a farm, you’re sure to find something to suit your style and budget in Totnes and the surrounding area.
Close to Totnes is the village of Dartington, boasting some fascinating medieval buildings. Dartington also has 25 acres of lovely gardens and a famous music school.