See and Do Category: Group travel

Dartmouth Steam Railway & River Boat

Based on the glorious South Devon coastline in South West England, enjoy your days out in Devon on our steam trains, boat trips and paddle steamer - the only attraction in Devon that lets you enjoy the delights of Torquay, Paignton, Brixham, Dartmouth and the River Dart, Kingswear and Totnes on your day out!

Sandridge Barton Wines

Sandridge Barton is the new home of Sharpham Wine and sits in a south-facing bowl on the edge of the River Dart, the perfect terroir for growing grapes and producing renowned English wines. They offer a range of experiences including guided and self-guided wine tours and tastings, and you can dine in their restaurant Circa or enjoy more casual bar snacks in the tasting barn, walk the woodland trail to visit their new vineyard or simply pop into the cellar door shop to purchase your favourite wines and other local produce. Their self-guided tastings are perfect for those wanting to select their own wines and taste casually with friends, with the help of the accompanying tasting notes leaflet, and you can even pair with some specially-selected bar snacks from Circa. The guided tastings offer more insight into the winemaking processes, where a guide will explain the techniques used from start to finish and take you on a tour around the winemaking facilities. There’s even an interactive nature trail through woodland to the new vineyard, which is a perfect activity for kids.

Guided Walks

Spend a morning exploring historic Totnes on an informal, friendly stroll around town.  Thursdays from April through October.*  Starts 10.30 outside Visit Totnes Office, Market Square.  £8 per person, £4 under 16’s.  Call or text for further information.  Private group tours are available any time of year by arrangement.   *Please note, there are no tours on the following dates:
4th May
25th May (tbc)
29th June
13th July through to 17th August
31st August
21st September

Totnes Guildhall

Totnes Guildhall was built in 1553 on the ruins of the medieval priory, founded in 1088. It has been the heart of the town’s administrative, legal and ceremonial life for centuries, serving as court, prison and meeting place.

The Guildhall has been the home of the Town Council for over 450 years. Take a look at the boards in the Lower Hall on which over 600 mayors are listed in gold leaf. Come and see the beautiful premises, which were rebuilt as the meeting place of the Merchant Guild, and feel the history at the former local Magistrates’ Court which was used from 1624 to 1974. See the original cells where, until 1887, prisoners awaited trial and punishment. Climb the 17th century stairs to the elegant Council Chamber, with its plaster frieze and the table where Oliver Cromwell sat in 1646. Opening hours are 11am - 3pm, Monday - Friday. Closed on Thursday 12 October and Thursday 26 October 2023.      

Group Accommodation

There are plenty of places to stay in Totnes with some independent hotels, b&bs and self-catering properties offering enough space for small and medium-sized groups depending on availability and lots of lovely agencies in the area who may have cottages and apartments large enough.  Dartington Hall is the best hotel in the area for medium-sized groups but for smaller groups, it’s worth trying The Old Forge, Royal Seven Stars, Four Seasons and Aish Cross Holiday Cottages. 

Days out for Groups

1) Markets and shopping day itinerary

If you’re looking for something a bit different, you will find it when browsing in Totnes’ wide choice of independent boutiques and gift stores. Totnes also has a free to enter, vibrant weekly market from 9am until 4pm on Fridays and Saturdays all year round in the Market Square, which brings a continental buzz to the town. From fresh local produce and jewellery to handmade crafts and antiques, there are lots of treasures waiting to be found in 50+ stalls. On the second Tuesday of every month from April to October, the Civic Hall by the Market Square plays host to the Totnes Indoor Artisan Craft Market, where you’ll find over 20 local makers, including jewellery, knitted toys, chocolate, clothes and textiles, mosaic art and dried flowers. And every Tuesday from May to September, the Market Square is home to the Totnes Charity Elizabethan Market, where stallholders dress up in Tudor costume to sell their wares. Both Tuesday markets are also free to enter. For winter visits, the famous Totnes Christmas Markets and Late-Night Shopping events take place on the first three Tuesdays of December.  Free to attend, the festive spirit takes over the whole town with a magical mix of live music and entertainment, the best local food and drink, and craft stalls. [caption id="attachment_13977" align="alignnone" width="300"]Market Totnes Market[/caption]

2) History and heritage itinerary

Coach parties can start their day trip to Totnes at the South Devon Railway (SDR) in Buckfastleigh (located next to the A38 Devon Expressway) and step back in time with a journey on this popular heritage line. The beautiful 14-mile return journey to Totnes runs alongside the River Dart and takes half an hour each way.  The station is a 15-minute walk into the centre of Totnes or it is possible to catch a Bob the Bus (low floor accessible bus) from the mainline station (a 450m walk away from the SDR station). Once in Totnes, you’ll discover a wealth of history as you wander through the streets.  The classic Norman motte and bailey Totnes Castle is managed by English Heritage and offers fine views across the town and towards the River Dart and Dartmoor. Totnes Museum in Upper Fore Street is housed in an Elizabethan merchant’s house and is free to visit (donations welcome).  Inside is a room dedicated to Charles Babbage, the ‘father of the computer’ who was once a resident of the town. The Guildhall offers another fascinating insight into the history of the town and is also free to visit (donations welcomed). [caption id="attachment_10448" align="alignnone" width="300"]castle clip Totnes Castle[/caption]

3) Wildlife and water itinerary

Want to follow in the legendary steps of Brutus of Troy, the mythical founder of Britain? The story goes this ‘first King of England’ first set foot on English soil at Totnes after taking his boat up the River Dart. Today, boat trips from Dartmouth to Totnes take 90-minutes and give you spectacular from-the-water view of the Royal Britannia Naval College, Agatha Christie’s Greenway House, and Sharpham House.  There’s also lots of wildlife to spot along the way – look out for heron’s, seals, and cormorants to name just a few.  The gentle boat trip includes an informative commentary, so you know what to look out for and when, and moors at Steamer Quay in Totnes. Once off the boat it’s a 5-minute walk to the bottom end of Totnes where you can then spend the day visiting the historical sites, savour some of the best local food and drink in the cafes and restaurants, wander around the shops, or take a stroll alongside the river.  Don’t forget to look out for the Brutus Stone, which is set in the pavement in Upper Fore Street (next to Number 51) and claims to mark the actual spot where Brutus of Troy landed and stood to declare “Here I stand and here I rest, and this good town shall be called Totnes.” [caption id="attachment_13621" align="alignnone" width="300"]DEx river boat at Totnes 5 Enjoy a boat trip from Dartmouth to Totnes[/caption]
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