Topsham was once an important port and retains a vintage maritime feel with its Dutch-style merchant’s houses, coaching inns, boatyards and busy quayside. Today it’s geared towards leisure with independent shops and galleries alongside cafés, pubs and award winning restaurants. In fine weather visitors enjoy walks around the Bowling Green Marsh nature reserve and along the Exe Estuary Trail, as well as summertime boat trips.

Our trip to Topsham:

We parked in one of the central car parks and then took a side road off the main street to walk down to the riverside where there are lanes and walkways that follow the banks of the Exe. Here we we had a very pleasant lunch at the Passage House Inn on Ferry Road, overlooking the river.

We dodged a shower with an engrossing half an hour in the enormous antiques warehouse on Topsham quay and then wandered along the Strand enjoying the Georgian architecture on one side and views across the river on the other. We interrupted our walk to check out Topsham Museum which is housed in a fantastic 17th Century building complete with tea rooms and a walled garden. The highlight was the lovingly crafted scale model of the town as it would have been in the 1900s.

At the end of the Strand we came to the riverside Goat Walk, apparently named because locals thought it was so narrow only a goat could comfortably walk along it. It’s a great spot to sit on a bench and watch the river go by before heading back to the town.

On the way home we stopped off at the award winning Darts Farm shop. Always a good place to mooch around and pick up some locally produced goodies for later.

Chandler’s Cottage guest, Stuart, visited Topsham in April 2017:

“Topsham is an absolute gem of a small town 10 miles away. Fantastic Georgian houses, quirky shops and a really good antique centre. From there go down the Strand (amazing) and onto the Goat Walk. Fab place for a relaxed sit and view over the river.”

If you’re planning a visit:

How to get there: from Sidmouth follow the A3052 towards Exeter for about 9 miles. At the roundabout take the first exit to Exmouth and Budleigh Salterton on the A376. After about 2 miles take the second exit on the mini roundabout, sign posted Topsham, and follow the road into the town.

Parking: there are 4 pay and display car parks around the town. Road side parking is limited unless you’re prepared to park a fair way from the town centre.

Public transport: there are regular buses and trains from Exeter and Exmouth but no direct public transport links from Sidmouth.

Find out more: there’s a leaflet about Topsham on visitsouthdevon.co.uk  and opening times and directions for Topsham Museum are on devonmuseums.net (mostly afternoons from April to October). Also, more information about the farm shop on the Darts Farm website and the Bowling Green Marsh nature reserve on the RSPB site.

You might also like:

Combine a trip to Topsham with a visit to A La Ronde, a unique 16 sided 18th Century house overlooking the Exe estuary.

Photo: A La Ronde house, near Exmouth

A La Ronde house, near Exmouth

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