Want to spend an hour or two in Totnes, Devon? It's a lovely town, full of unexpected delights. Between May and September, each Tuesday morning local residents and traders wear Elizabethan style clothes to the "Elizabethan market." Pictured above is a church tower in the town centre.
The name Totnes derives from the Saxon word for fort or a lookout on a ridge. Originally a fortified Saxon settlement, the town was built to protect upper reaches of the river from Viking raiding parties. It was one of the five Devon towns originally mentioned in the Domesday Book. The town’s medieval wealth and prosperity grew from the export of wool from Dartmoor, as well as locally-mined tin. Totnes's location made it both the highest navigable port and the lowest bridging place on the River Dart.
A World War I memorial in front of the church. Note the arched windows with leaded glass.
The 16th-century Totnes Guildhall on Ramparts Walk was originally part of the Benedictine Priory. The building was constructed in 1533 and still is used as a town council chamber. It also has served as a school and a courthouse. In addition to the council chamber, it contains a mayor's parlour and prison cells. Visitors to the Guildhall can see the table where Oliver Cromwell sat in 1646.
The charming Tudor Cottage, located in a street near the Guildhall.
A Moorish-style door on Fore Street leads to a shop selling Middle Eastern items, including an Egyptian hubbly bubbly pipe. A quick peek in the window is all we have time for today.
A sign on a stone column pointing to "Please's Passage." Shall we go exploring? Oh look at that costume museum! And that antique shop! I wish that tiny sewing machine from the 18th-century would fit into my luggage. Jordana would love it! Hmm, David thinks we should leave before I spend any money.
Are you hungry? Let's stop for a quick bite at Seeds Bakery. All their sandwiches are made with organic ingredients, as are their pastries!
Time to walk off our snack. Doesn't this courtyard have a lovely potted garden?
Ah, the canal! Check out the lavender scaffolding alongside apartments built in converted warehouses. If you look closely, in the distance maybe you can see that bold fuschia Smart car parked on the quay! Smart cars are everywhere in Paris, but typically they're silver and black.
Warehouse residents' boats are linked together to buoys in the canal.
Be sure to follow the rules! The residents in this neighbourhood maintain high standards. But no cycling?
Scenic cruises to Dartmouth six miles downstream are offered several times daily from the Old Steamer Quay on the River Dart. Want to go aboard? On second thought, maybe we don't have time today.
After all that walking, perhaps you'd like some tea or juice at this cheery lemon yellow corner cafe?
Locally-grown asters are sold from a lively market near the cafe.
Check out the hanging beads giving traditional lace curtains a modern edge in this cottage window.
I'd really like to go inside and shop at this charming cottage and boutique, but David says we must be driving to our next destination, where friends await. Thanks for coming along on this quick tour of Totnes!