Famous for its romantic castles, historic houses and fascinating heritage, Tiverton is a town that will take you back to another era. Watch handsome Shire horses pulling painted barges along the side of the Great Western Canal, discover the magnificent Tiverton and Bickleigh Castles and follow the fascinating merchants’ trail around the town.
Located right in the heart of Devon, Tiverton is also a great base from which to explore the excellent Devon and Somerset countryside and coastline. Walk or cycle the canal path from the town to the Somerset border, discover the semi-wild ponies of the Exmoor National Park or take a lazy beach day at the nearby North Devon coast.
When you come to Tiverton, you will discover a much simpler way of life. Find out below why so many people choose to visit this Devonian delight.
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The country and coast
The shire horses
Food and drink
About the town:
Tiverton is a typical market town, centred around a traditional high street with some lovely independent shops as well as a Pannier Market – here you can pick up some of the excellent local produce at the Farmers' Market held on the third Wednesday of every month. If you are looking for some Devon souvenirs to take home or just fancy choosing some gorgeous gifts, take a drive to Bickleigh Mill on the outskirts of the town, home to a whole range of beautiful products from all around the globe.
Between the early 16th century and mid-18th century, Tiverton was a hub for the woollen cloth industry. Discover the story of the wool merchants who made their riches from this trade, by following the Tiverton Merchants’ Trail. Connected by six panels linked by pavement medallions dotted about the town, it allows you to see the beautiful merchants’ buildings that were built during this time. Take the West Exe Trail to find out more about the area’s architectural heritage.
The historical attractions:
This area is packed with interesting history. Start by visiting the National Trust property of Knightshayes Court, one of the finest surviving Victorian gothic revival houses in the country. Then pop along to the Tiverton Museum of Mid Devon Life with its interesting exhibits of agriculture, industry and transport.
Discover more of the area’s heritage with a visit to Tiverton Castle, a royal fortress which was commissioned in 1106 by Henry I. Those who like a romantic touch with their history, should take a trip to the moated Bickleigh Castle which dates back to the 11th century and boasts a medieval hall, chapel, gardens and shop (booking essential). A visit to Tiverton Church is a must if you love beautiful old buildings – said to be the finest Georgian church in Devon, it was erected after the terrible fire of Tiverton in 1731.
The country and coast:
Situated in the heart of the Devon countryside, Tiverton is surrounded by pretty villages simply bursting with thatched cottages and traditional country inns. Winding country lanes will take you past rolling countryside to some lovely countryside walks, perfect for those with or without a four-legged friend. Drive the 30 miles up to the North Devon coastline where you can spend sunny summer days splashing about and rock pooling or winter days exploring the coastal path.
If you fancy taking in the beautiful Devon scenery from two wheels rather than four, take a ride along the Grand Western Canal cycle route which takes you on an 8-mile journey from the town to the Somerset border – it runs adjacent to the canal towpath so you might spot one of the famous horse-pulled barges on your way. You also can’t leave Tiverton without a visit to the spectacular heather-clad moorland of the Exmoor National Park or the brooding moors of Dartmoor, both excellent walking and riding country.
The Shire horses:
One of the first things you’ll want to do in Tiverton is head towards the Grand Western Canal where magnificent Shire horses with feathered legs can be seen pulling coloured barges along the 11-mile stretch of water. Originally built to transport lime, it is now a beauty spot home to a great array of local wildlife. Walk along the paths counting the amazing 24 bridges as you go, and if you fancy seeing the area in style, take a trip on one of the boats at the Tiverton Canal Co.
Tiverton is possibly best known for the Mid Devon Show held every July. A true representation of everything the countryside has to offer, you can sample some tasty local food and drink, listen to local bands and get a taste of farm life with everything from fun demonstrations to ferret racing!
The National Trust’s Knightshayes also has lots of fabulous events on offer, including spring seed swaps for adults and Easter egg hunts and garden trails for little ones: great during long holidays when you need some fun activities to fill your days.
The food and drink:
Early evenings will call you to one of the bistros or brasseries in the town - the popular Frou Frou Bistro is one to remember - and there is always a seat at one of the town’s pubs for a new visitor if you prefer to sit back with a pint of real ale. Being nestled between two coasts, there are some good fish and chip restaurants - perfect for a takeaway when you don't feel like cooking.
Out of town, a country inn is the perfect solution when you need to refuel after a long walk or a busy morning’s sightseeing. Drive out to the village of Rackenford where you will find the renowned 12th-century Stag Inn with its original cobbled hallway, open log fire and excellent food. Another laid-back Devonian experience comes in the form of Fisherman’s Cot in Bickleigh, where legendary pub classics come with a fresh modern twist and a great wine list.
If you need somewhere to rest your head when the day comes to an end, we have a great selection of cottages in and around Tiverton. From country cottages with roaring log fires, perfect for a secret weekend escape to contemporary family houses just waiting for a long-awaited get-together, we will have something in our portfolio for you.
For a real country experience, why not hire a shepherd’s hut just outside of Tiverton? The Shepherd’s Hut at Lower Chapeltown (above) is not only set in 300 acres of stunning farmland but also has a wood burner to cosy up to and a bubbling hot tub, perfect for romantic nights under a star-filled sky. For larger groups, you will love the gorgeous restored farmhouse of Gracious Ford Farm which sleeps up to ten guests and two dogs. Why not have a look at all of the properties that we have in and around Tiverton?
Disclaimer: Whilst every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy of the information at the time of writing,
please ensure you check carefully before making any decisions based on the contents within this article.