In the wise words of Ghandi, ‘Where there is love there is life’…well we believe that love is in the air all year round here in Totnes, but if you want to get particularly romantic around Valentine’s or just spend time with your family or friends during the school holidays we have lots of charming things to do.

With the sentimental day itself falling into February Half Term there are many attractions open offering you the chance to spend a delightful day doing something a little bit different. I mean surely there’s nothing more romantic than taking a ride on an old steam train?! Running along the stunning valley of the River Dart between Buckfastleigh and Totnes, the South Devon Steam Railway is perfect for couples, families and friends and offers a great day out whatever the weather.

If you want to get creative (and escape the rain if the weather doesn’t behave itself) you can visit China Blue and spend some time exploring the unique gift shop, treat yourself to a tempting treat in the cafe and of course paint your own ceramic souvenir or have a go at pot throwing. Alternatively on Valentine’s Day itself there is a 2 hour Evening Taster Class by Steve Robinson Glass at Coombe Park Craft Studios near Ashprington, where you can make a fused glass tealight panel to take home making the perfect experience and gift all in one. The class will run from 7 – 9.00 pm and costs £45 per person.

You can’t beat the cinema for a few hours escapism and entertainment, and as one of the top dating destinations it’s a great place to take your Valentine or somewhere to meet up with friends. Totnes Cinema offers a unique and very romantic evening unlike any other. Playing films on a classic 35mm movie projector for authentic viewing and offering a fully licensed bar serving fine wine, local craft beer and themed cocktails within the cinema itself it offers a relaxed and intimate experience. The Valentine’s Day screening will be Baz Luhrmann’s passionate musical Moulin Rouge at 8.00 pm, or there is Romeo and Juliet on Sunday 11th February and Little Shop of Horrors on 16th if you prefer something more light-hearted.

Alternatively, the quaint Barn Cinema sits in the stunning grounds of the Dartington Estate which will be playing A Woman’s Life at 8.00 pm on 14th February, a French tale of tormented love in 19th Century Normandy (subtitled). Why not combine this with a delicious meal at the White Hart Inn or one of the many other relaxed cafes, or take a walk around the beautiful gardens.

There are many other pretty walks around Totnes if you’d like to take your loved one for a romantic stroll, with an interesting walk around the historic town or a gentle stroll along the banks of the River Dart, or if you’re feeling more adventurous there are longer routes to Sharpham or Dartington, all perfect for those hand-holding connections or view finding moments.

For those who would like to be wined and dined, Totnes is full of interesting places to eat and drink. Whether you want the romance of a river view or the hustle of dining in the heart of the town there’s a wide range of dynamic cafes, intimate restaurants, cosy pubs and quirky bars to choose from for delicious meals, friendly drinks and family dining. Many places are offering special Valentine’s menus or have meals aimed at the little ones for the school holidays.

Why not combine your trip with an overnight stay? There are plenty of places with rooms still available for the holidays or Valentine’s. And if you’re still looking for the perfect Valentine’s gift, Totnes is full of independent shops with unique, handmade items for that special someone.

For more information please contact Samantha Branch on info@visittotnes.co.uk

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Focus on Fitness!

Totnes Pavilion Leisure Centre has seen many changes in the last twenty months with these being extremely positive in the last six months. They are offering you a chance to register for a free day pass so that you can try the facilities for yourself and find out more about what they have to offer. Before the current management structure under Fusion Lifestyle was agreed in 2017 the site was being managed by two separate organisations. The Pool, Gym and Sauna by Totnes and District Swimming Pool Association (TADpool) and the Reception, Sports Hall, Dance Studio, Meeting Room, Tennis Courts and outdoor pitches by Tone Leisure Ltd. Even prior to 2006 the site had been under the control of TADpool and South Hams District Council. Despite the dual management arrangement having many positives over a number of years the flaws in the partnership started to show. A combined approach under the management of one organisation was the ultimate solution which has now enabled a longer-term business plan to be activated allowing some previously hard to come by investment. Fusion Lifestyle, a London based not for profit organisation with over 80 sites in their portfolio, were contracted to take on the management of the site and to draw up plans for updating the facilities. This has led to the following investments so far with the expectation of more to come in a phase two development (tbc). May 2018 o New pool filters and a circulation pump which has improved water quality, temperature and reliability issues o New Sauna installed and opened July/August 2018 o Main entrance/facade repainted o Fitness Class Studio extended and redecorated o New equipment added for fitness classes o Fitness suite redecorated and a completely new set of equipment installed September 2018 o New accessibility Hoist for the Swimming Pool installed To register for a free day pass and to find more information on the centre click here

Our visit to Totnes by Conversant Traveller

It had been a day of dappled light and dragonflies. A day of strolling beside sun drenched vineyards, lazy meandering rivers and fragrant herb gardens alive with butterflies. As Hubbie and I sipped chilled glasses of sparkling wine and tucked into tranches of local cheese, we could be forgiven for thinking we were in the south of France, rather than southern England. We’d been exploring Devon, a county famous for it’s mysterious moors, sandy beaches, and national parks, yet it was a medieval market town that had our full attention today. It turns out there are plenty of fun things to do in Totnes, without a moor, beach or park in sight! Totnes has a colourful and legendary history, packed full of mythical kings, lords and rebels, and merchants and soldiers. Today it’s known more for its cultural scene, independent local shops and a rather unique cosmopolitan countryside vibe. The town sits on the picturesque River Dart, the sort of tranquil pastoral scene where you’d expect to encounter characters from Wind in the Willows. There are lots of things to do in Totnes, from castles and museums to steam trains and boat trips, but we had our eye on something a little different. Vineyards, ghosts and lettuce! Saxon in origin, Totnes has been known for both craft and industry, and was once an important and prosperous centre for trade. Although it is still a thriving market town, the Totnes of today is more popular with the artistic community and attracts visitors from near and far to enjoy the buzzing cultural scene and picturesque countryside. The focal point is Totnes castle, commanding a dominant position overlooking the town, and the intriguing range of independent shops, cafes and galleries are all within easy walking distance. There is also plenty to do in the surrounding area, so we spent a fun filled day checking out the best things to do in and around Totnes. Read more about Conversant Traveller

Support local businesses

We may still be asking visitors to #ComeBackLater due to the latest Government advice to #StayAlert and #StaySafe however you can still support many of our local, independent businesses by shopping online with many offering free postage, or if you're local you can take advantage of some of the home deliveries available.

As always, let me know if I've missed anything. Local businesses, if you have any updates or NHS / key worker special offers please DM me and I'll add them to the list, thanks.

nhs.uk OFFER

China Blue - they have been giving away a little box of treats to the NHS army in blue, carers, police force and all other key workers in the area to say thank you. You can collect from the front door

The Kitchen Table - they are offering free stews to Torbay and South Devon NHS Foundation Trust paid for by the lovely community members. They can be claimed at any time but need to be collected

Devon Yurts - will offer special discounts to NHS workers as soon as they're able to re-open. Get in touch with owner Liz to find out more, discounts depend on the length of stay (ID to be presented please)

TTS Tyre Services - offering NHS workers free puncture service, free tyre safety checks & discounts on purchases

A Choice of Gifts from Out of the Blue - they will be offering 20% off to all NHS staff as soon as they are able to re-open (ID to be presented please)

Canoe Adventures Devon - watch this space for their NHS offer for as soon as they're able to open again.

Smitty's Hairsalon - watch this space for their NHS offer for as soon as they're able to open again.

JazKids - watch this space for their NHS offer for as soon as they're able to open again.

FAB Totnes - watch this space for their NHS / Key Worker offer as soon as they're able to open again with a discount and relaxation package

GIFTS / HOMEWARE

ME AND EAST - check their website or send them a DM. FREE postage with orders over £50 or £2.95 https://meandeast.com

China Blue - online shop including paint your own kits https://china-blue-shop.co.uk/collections/arts-crafts/products/paint-your-own-kit-mug-1

A Choice of Gifts from Out of the Blue - buy online www.a-choice-of-gifts.co.uk

Yvonne Comber - offering a 25% discount off her prints, hand embellished canvases and original paintings. www.yvonnecoomber.com - enter code LOVEISTHEANSWER at the checkout

Love Frankie - buy online https://www.lovefrankie.com

Little Blue Budgie - buy online https://www.littlebluebudgie.co.uk/ or phone 01803 847800 / message via facebook

Penelope Tom - buy online https://www.penelopetom.com/

Pagoda Interiors - free delivery for online orders https://www.pagodainteriors.co.uk/

FASHION

Colony Life Store - online orders via their website with FREE delivery on orders over £20 https://colonyshops.com

Conker Shoes - UK customers get FREE UK delivery for all orders made online including shoes, belts, bags, use code FREESHIP20 https://conkershoes.com

Salago - check out their online shop with this season’s ADINI and the 2020 sandals by Earth Spirit all with BIG DISCOUNTS. https://salago.co.uk

Fifty5a and Fifty5a men's store - offering free p&p and personal Totnes delivery via their telephone ordering - 01803 866681 or DM or email shop@fifty5a.com

SMALL-FOLK - check their online shop & free UK shipping (no end date). Use code POSITIVITY at checkout for the free postage https://small-folk.co.uk

ART

White Space Art - check out their online gallery. Offering 10% discount & free delivery on all artworks in the Easter exhibition (and across the site) while the gallery remains physically closed. Use discount code SPRING20. https://www.whitespaceart.com

Eastgate Gallery in Totnes - contemporary art and craft from local makers including jewellery, textiles, ceramics and much more. Shop online with FREE delivery https://eastgategallerytotnes.com/shop/

the bowie gallery Totnes Devon - the gallery lights are on daily during normal working hours (pre lockdown) so you can window shop at leisure. Contact Annie Bowie if there’s something you want to inspect closer or buy. Soon open by appointment!

TAKEAWAYS & HOT FOOD COLLECTIONS

The Cott Inn - open 7 DAYS A WEEK Monday to Saturday 4 - 8 pm and Sunday 12 - 3pm for takeaway services, drive through collection in the car park

Willow Vegetarian Restaurant - they will be offering take-aways from 3rd June. They're asking you to 'Keep your eye out for menus and details on ordering'

Waterside Bistro Totnes - their take-away menu is now open from Wed-Sat 5-8pm. Please order online https://www.watersidebistro.com/

Totnes Grill – Kebab and pizza delivery, call 01803 863835

Cafe Mumbai – From 5.30pm Tuesday to Sunday call 01803 866171

Room 101 – pizzas for delivery Tuesday to Saturday from 5pm, call 07727 278428

The Kitchen Table - still offering dairy, gluten & nut free stews and some houmous. Order for delivery call/ text Sima on 07583400998 or email sima@thekitchentable.org.uk to collect from the Totnes Indsutrial Estate kitchen

Pie Street - from 13th May take away & delivery Wednesday to Sunday 1pm-8.30pm. Call 01803 868674 to order http://www.piestreet.co.uk/

Lamaro Bakery – Italian food on Friday and Saturday 5-9pm, call 01803 862288

Silver Grill - The Totnes Chippy - Opening hours Tuesday - Thursday 16:45-20:00 Friday - Saturday 11:45-14:00, 16:45-20:00 with orders taken over phone and social distancing with one entrance and one exit

tamarindtree.totnes - on the Industrial Estate next to Kitchen Table with superb Indian food on Friday 1-8pm or Saturday 4-8pm. Let them know what you want by DM, phone 07768964024 or email tamarindtree.totnes@outlook.com

Taguchi-ya Canteen - Japanese food on Friday and Saturday collect 5-9pm, order online by Wednesday 12pm https://www.taguchiyacanteen.com/takeaway

Good Food House – Delivery from 6-10pm every day (except Tuesday when closed), call 01803 864696https://goodfoodhouse.co.uk/

Back for 2 Seconds – daytime opening in Fore Street

Pizzaside – Thursday to Sunday 5-8.30pm for collection or delivery. https://www.pizzaside.co.uk/

FOOD & DRINK

Sharpham Wine - grab a few bottles at sharpham.com at 10% off with the code sharpham10 on checkout

Roly's Fudge Totnes- buy online https://rolysfudge.co.uk

Ben's Farm Shops - Order and Collection service available via their website. Go to the collections form and add your order, they we will call for payment the next day and tell you to collect. https://bensfarmshop.co.uk/self-isolation-collection/

Earth.Food.Love - free delivery on orders over £20. Full product & price list on their website. Order via email. Click & collect option for those not in the delivery area. http://thezerowasteshop.co.uk

The Happy Apple - open with social distancing rules in place

A W Luscombe Butchers - delivering their products and a range of products from other local businesses including Annies Fruit Shop, New Lion Brewery, The Almond Thief, The Wild Fig Deli and more - check their FB page for more details and list of products in one of the images

Bridgetown Butchers - call 01803 866165/863323 to order where possible to help reduce waiting times in the shop. Minimum order for delivery £25 - free delivery within the Totnes area

McCabes and Halls Butchers are both also operating

Majestic Wine - email for delivery or call if over 70. tot@majestic.co.uk

Annies Fruit Shop - online with delivery to Totnes & the wider area www.anniesoftotnes.co.uk

The Refillery Totnes - daily deliveries to Totnes & Dartmouth areas, visit the website or call Tracy 07950 269955

Dartmouth Dairy - deliver to Totnes & surrounding villages on Monday & Thursday 🐄https://www.dartmouthdairy.com

Wine & Greene - delivering nationwide via courier and doing local drops every weekday (free over £20 to TQ9) - www.wineandgreene.com

Seeds 2 Tonnes - delivery service available, check their FB page

Bridgetown Stores - open Monday - Friday 2pm - 6pm Saturday & Sunday 11am - 3pm and delivering

Follaton stores - open normal hours 7am-8pm mon to sun with social distancing rules in place

Dartmouth Fine Foods - home delivery of frozen ready meals, alongside boxes of veg and essentials to Totnes and the surrounding areas - www.dartmoutfinefoods.co.uk

SERVICES

Barnes the Cleaners - free deliveries & collections daily for Totnes residents

The Potting Shed Totnes - email thepottingshedtotnes@gmail.com with your order, name, address and PHONE NUMBER and they will call you back

PHARMACIES

Most pharmacies are open with reduced hours and social distancing - please check each page and site for more details. Keep safe and well everyone 🌈🧡

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