A local’s guide to Topsham  holiday cottages

A local’s guide to Topsham

Kate W 30 January 2018

The county of Devon is filled with crooked old houses, tangled country lanes and wide-open skylines, the perfect place to escape for a holiday away from home. Best of all for a country holiday destination, it is scattered with quaint towns and villages full of attractions to explore and wealth of heritage where weary travellers can rest and unwind.

The maritime town of Topsham on the River Exe is a wonderful place to retreat to with the family, a few friends or just you and your partner. Whoever you choose to take with you on a fantastic retreat, we’re sure you’ll have an excellent time in this pretty waterfront town.


Skip to section:


The waterways


The city of Exeter

Food and drink


Walking and cycling


The beaches

The heritage


About the town:

The town

A quaint seaside town with a history as a shipbuilding port, Topsham has many charming pubs, eclectic boutiques, fun attractions, independent shops and wildlife reserves to explore. There are plenty of beautiful holiday cottages throughout the area suitable for large groups or couples looking to get away from it all.

The waterways:

The waterways

Hop onboard the Topsham to Turf ferry for a relaxing, scenic day out taking in beautiful countryside while sailing down the River Exe. The Turf Basin is a historic Exeter ship canal that has been classified as a classified as a Site of Special Scientific Interest making for a scenic few hours on the water, take in spectacular river views and wonderful wildlife. Visit the Turf Inn to dine outside during the summer and bird watch during the winter.

If that sounds a little tame for you take off down the river in a canoe, AS Watersports give you the opportunity to take a canoe tour, looping the Exe Estuary and canal – a fantastic way to see the sights and get close to nature.

The attractions:


Crealy Adventure Park and Resort is an award-winning theme park with over 60 rides and attractions and excellent entertainment and events throughout the year. It’s a great place to go for a family day out and fun for big kids too!

To get hands-on visit the local Go-Ape at Haldon Forest Park, perfect for bigger kids and adult groups looking for adrenaline and adventure while away. There are also music events that go on throughout the year in Topsham, galleries and the historic Topsham Museum to investigate.

The city of Exeter:


It’s not far to Exeter at 5 miles to the city centre where you’ll find the shopping centre and plenty of fantastic pubs, eateries and establishments for fine dining. Discover the magnificent Exeter Cathedral, the Royal Albert Memorial Museum (RAMM), the mysterious 14th-century Underground Passages and the pretty Northernhay Gardens.

The food and drink:

food and drink

There are endless cosy pubs to choose from including The Passage House Inn, Lighter Inn, The Globe Topsham and the old family-run Bridge Inn. For those with a taste for fine dining, you may prefer an evening at The Galley, L’estuaire Restaurant, The Salutation or The Duck.

The high street runs past the waterfront and is also home to various stylish cafes and bars where you could while away a few hours one lazy afternoon or enjoy an evening out.

The accommodation:

The Warren

With its great position on the Exe estuary and close to the city of Exeter, as well as the wonderful English Riviera, staying in Topsham is a great choice for a family holiday. We have a great selection of holiday homes in Topsham and across the surrounding area, offering plenty of options for you to choose from. Take a look at our holiday cottages scattered in beautiful locations throughout the area.

The walking and cycling:


If you enjoy taking in your surroundings by foot then you must use your holiday time to investigate the country and riverside around Topsham. Here is a selection of walks that will take you alongside the River Exe, through town or past the Clyst Bird Sanctuary, so take your pick of fantastic walks! Woodbury Castle is a prehistoric hillfort with extensive views of the surrounding countryside and is popular for woodland walks so head there for a little history and natural beauty.

The bird watching:


Go for more walking as well as bird watching by exploring the RSPB Bowling Green Marsh a bird sanctuary whose migratory birds include Siberian brent geese, osprey, teal and avocet.

For other places to explore the surrounding landscape visit Haldon Forest Park, where there is 3,500 acres of woodland with cycling and walking trails crisscrossing the area. Or take the camera to Dawlish Warren National Nature Reserve on the River Exe where 23,000 wildfowl and wading birds travel each year during the winter to escape the colder climates. Otherwise, you could go for a stroll around the beautiful and ancient woodland that is Stoke Woods.

The beaches:

Sandy Bay

No holiday is complete without a trip to the coast. It’s 8 miles to the closest which is Exmouth Beach and while there you could enjoy a bit of shopping on the high street. The fantastic stretch of sand that is Dawlish Beach (12.5) is one of the best in the south of Devon while Sandy Bay (9 miles) is a beautiful half-mile of secluded sandy beach. Take a trip to either the South Devon treasure that is the tiny Coryton Cove (15 miles) or Holcombe (15 miles) where you can stroll along the sandy shoreline and watch the train pass by on the tracks just behind.

The heritage:

Powderham Castle

The magnificent Powederham Castle (8 miles) offers guided tours of the property itself, regularly hosts events and has an ancient deer park for you to ramble through. You can also visit the house and grounds of the beautiful Poltimore House (7 miles) or go explore the National Trust-owned Clyston Mill (7 miles).

Inspired to visit this riverside town? Take a look through our accommodation in Topsham and pick out a holiday home that will provide you with an amazing holiday.

Discover more of Devon:

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.

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