Beyond Totnes

Totnes is  a world  in itself, but there are plenty of other beautiful and exciting places to explore within easy reach if you 're feeling adventurous. Here is a snapshot of what the  beautiful south west of England has to offer.


Explore the beautiful landscape of the  Dartmoor  National Park - it's  close to Totnes, only about 6 miles away.  Wild ponies roam the wild landscape, which has forests, rivers, wetlands and crazy rock formations (tors). Find the walking trails and look for interesting extras like the Neolithic tombs, Bronze Age stone circles and abandoned medieval farmhouses. The area has picturesque villages, including Princetown and the very small but quaint Widecombe-in-the-moor. As well as the flora and fauna, there is a fascinating history of  ley lines and natural energy associated with the moor.


About 6 miles in the opposite direction lies the stunning coastal area of Torbay. This includes the  bustling town of Torquay, with its colourful nightlife, great shopping and  marina, the smaller town of Paignton with its glorious beaches and iconic pier, and the historical  fishing harbour of Brixham. Torbay is also referred to as 'The English Riviera', and not without good reason. It has a warm, sunny  microclimate and a real holiday vibe.  Be sure to have a look around and enjoy a completely different part of England just down the road! Not to be missed: Paignton Zoo, one of the best in the country, Torquay's Living Coasts aquarium and coastal zoo, Quaywest Watersplash water park at Goodrington Sands, the Golden Hind replica ship at Brixham, Babbacombe beach cliff railway, steam train rides along the coast from Paignton to Kingswear, and a visit to the entertainment arcade on Paignton pier (bring your 2p coins!).


Dartmouth is a busy little town on the banks of the River Dart. Explore the winding Elizabethan streets,  art galleries, gourmet restaurants and cafes, the busy market and delicious ice cream  parlours. Take a trip along the river, visit the castle, walk along the scenic  South West Coastal path or jump on a steam train that travels along the coast to Paignton.

Beautiful historic buildings, parks and gardens galore

There are literally hundreds  of  amazing places to discover in Devon, from castles and abbeys to Georgian manor houses, Victorian waterwheels  and Elizabethan  fortified mansions. There are parklands, botanical gardens, forests, woodlands, gorges, moors and waterfalls. Whether you're into history, architecture, nature or just want to experience some of the  wonderful places England has to offer, there's plenty to keep you busy. Check out the National Trust and English Heritage websites for more ideas and information.

The Jurassic Coast

The stunning coastline of East Devon and  Dorset  is not only beautiful , it is also   a site of outstanding international importance for Earth Science.  Coastal erosion in the area has exposed an almost  continuous sequence of rock formation spanning 185 million years and including the Triassic, Jurassic and Cretaceous periods.  The area contains natural features such as arches, pinnacles, stack rocks and fossil forests.   For this reason it   was designated as England’s first natural World Heritage Site in 2001, and is referred to as The Jurassic Coast. As well as the wonderful beaches and fascinating geology of the area, there is a Jurassic  adventure park at Seaton, just over an hour  from Totnes.


Cornwall is our neighbouring county, situated at the southern tip of England. Like Devon, it is  full of beautiful beaches, fishing harbours, quaint villages and stunning landscapes. Here are  just a selection of Cornish highlights:

The Eden Project

The Eighth Wonder of the World! It is a fascinating and dynamic garden housed in gigantic bido-domes and containing plants and habitats from all over the world. It even has an indoor rainforest.

St Ives

Another beautiful town on the north coast of Cornwall, renowned for its vibrant artistic community. The town has a long history of association with  art, the natural light and beauty of the area attracting artists from  all over the world. The town is also home to Tate St Ives, a branch of the iconic  Tate Gallery, where modern British art with links to the area is exhibited.


Newquay is a vibrant seaside town on the north coast of Cornwall, with beautiful beaches, a colourful nightlife and  the best surf in the country!


Perched high on the rugged cliffs of the Cornish coast, Tintagel is the site of a ruined castle steeped in myth and mystery. The spectacular location and dramatic sea views have inspired artists and writers throughout history who have associated it with the legend of King Arthur.

Further afield


The ancient and mysterious site of Stonehenge is situated in  Amesbury in Wiltshire, about 2 hours' drive from Totnes. Estimated at over 5000 years old and requiring over 30 million  hours of labour to construct, this is the most famous prehistoric site in the world. And still, no one really knows who built it, how or why.


Glastonbury is a small town in Somerset,  about 1.5 hours from Totnes by road. It is of course famous for its annual music festival, but also for its history, mysterymyth and legend, which date back to the Bronze Age and include associations with King Arthur, Joseph of Arimathea and the Holy Grail. Glastonbury Abbey is one of the most important in the country.

Please be climate aware and offset your flight by, for example, planting trees. Or travel by train (or other public transport) for a 10% discount on your course- discount refunded on presentation of your tickets on arrival at the school. And if you could write about your journey, we can share how you did it and encourage others to do the same! Not applicable to pre-booked groups.

© 2020 English in Totnes