See and Do Category: Find out about the history of Totnes

Explore St Mary’s Church

National Churches Trust 'Explore Churches' presents St Mary’s - the jewel in the town of Totnes and is a must during your visit. From whatever viewpoint you look, whether from the many surrounding hills or from the river Dart which made Totnes such an important trading town, the church dominates and defines the town.

Timeless Totnes

From Saxon beginnings to today’s vibrant market town, Totnes has a national reputation for its diverse and lively community.

Totnes is a captivating town set on one of Britain’s most picturesque and historically significant waterways, the River Dart. Its cosmopolitan population generates an exciting range of cultural activities and fosters passionate exploration of new ideas. The locals pride themselves on being a little different.

High quality cafes and bistros, traditional inns, special places to stay, award-winning food markets and great attractions combine to make Totnes a wonderful place to visit anytime of the year.

Totnes retains a strong hold on its heritage. Framed by a beautiful rural Devon landscape, the town is full of character with many notable buildings and monuments. Explore the town’s rich history and charming architecture; lose yourself in its ancient passageways.

There’s no shortage of things to experience and do. Totnes is packed with interesting features, a fascinating past and a thriving selection of independent shops and businesses to seek out during your visit.

The Sharpham Trust

An internationally-renowned mindfulness centre sits on the edge of Totnes, on the beautiful Sharpham Estate. The Sharpham Trust administers three retreat venues on the Estate, where participants stay and learn mindful meditation techniques amid breathtaking natural scenery. Grade 1-listed Sharpham House is a Palladian villa high on the banks of the River Dart, at the centre of the Estate, and it hosts retreats all-year-round. Visitors can also stay in Sharpham’s woodland campsite, meditating close to nature, and at the acclaimed Barn Retreat Centre. Sharpham’s retreats have featured in national and international media. The whole Estate is within the South Devon Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, and much of it is run using sustainable and organic practices. It is home to rich flora and fauna – including the endangered Cirl Bunting. Although Sharpham House is only open to the public on certain days (see our events listing here), the Estate is also home to the award-winning Sharpham Wine & Cheese. You can walk or ride there from Totnes, taking the National Cycle Route 28 towards Ashprington. The Sharpham Trust, a registered charity administering the Estate, also operates Sharpham Meadow Natural Burial Ground. You can get married in Sharpham House too. If you’re interested in volunteering weekly on the Sharpham Estate, read more on the website or email     Google map for The Sharpham Trust:     Google map for Sharpham Meadow Natural Burial Ground:

Totnes Fashion & Textiles Museum

Situated on Totnes High Street in a Grade 1 listed building with fine original Tudor plaster ceilings, the Totnes Fashion & Textile Museum is home to the Devonshire Collection of Period Costume, the largest private collection of its type in the UK. The collection holds tens of thousands of objects and items of clothing, the earliest dating from about 1650, although most come from the 18th century to the present day. With more than 100 storage boxes each holding multiple hats, and eight boxes simply storing shawls, there are legions of accessories, handbags and shoes, and clothes ranging from the sumptuous to the everyday. The Trustees have taken the difficult decision not to mount an exhibition this year, as extensive structural work is required on the building, so that the Fashion Museum itself will remain closed during 2018. However, the museum intends to offer talks and other events throughout the year. Please look out for announcements on the Visit Totnes website, our webpage at or on our Facebook page. The museum is also fortunate to have a team of committed volunteers and an experienced curator who will work with schools, colleges and other groups to tailor presentations as required, and bring out everything from corsetry to evening wear. While of particular interest to those studying textiles or fashion, the collection also provides a rich source of material for those interested in social history. Research enquiries or requests for talks should be directed to Julia Fox on (01803) 862857.

Totnes Rare Breeds Farm

The Totnes Rare Breeds Farm started life as a muddy field and a forest of brambles. After much vision and a tremendous amount of hard work, June 2002 saw the opening of the Totnes Rare Breeds Farm to the public. In January 2015 Samantha Adams took up the reins. With a fantastic team of volunteer helpers, the Totnes Rare Breeds Farm continues to be a very special place and a joy for all ages. Look forward to seeing you soon in this little slice of heaven within the Devon countryside!

English Heritage Castles of Devon

Castles of Devon - Experience a day out with a difference at the Castles of Devon. Totnes Castle Is a focal point of Totnes and stands as a mighty legacy to the power of the Normans. It is one of the best surviving examples of an early Norman motte and bailey castle. Berry Pomeroy Castle Tucked away in a deep wooded valley, and reputed to be one of the most haunted castles in England. Dartmouth Castle Discover the castle's colourful history including how it was besieged during the Civil War.