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Magical Totnes

Gate House by Night.jpg

You will not find McDonalds or Starbucks here - instead, small local artisan and boutique businesses, ancient historic buildings and a wide range of excellent bars, cafes and restaurants, not to mention its very own zero waste shop.

one of Totnes' many independent shops

Totnes is a beautiful, historic and, we think,  unique town. Set in the beautiful hills and valleys of Devon on the banks of the River Dart is an extraordinary community unlike any other. A busy centre for music, art, theatre and all forms of alternative and natural health, the town is committed to sustainable living and environmental responsibility. It is also full of history and sprinkled with magic.  Totnes is in the South Devon Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty.

Rowing on River Dart, Totnes.jpg
Gift shop in Totnes High St
shared space Totnes
traditional sweet shop Totnes

Totnes has been connected with natural and holistic healing since the 12th Century when the Leechwell Springs in the town were first recorded as having healing properties.  The springs were designated a Holy Well in   2003 when a disused immersion pool was discovered. Today a community garden project looks after the site, which is open to the public.

Today, this unique town is full of natural health practitioners  of  all kinds, from reiki and refloxology to yoga, homeopathy, massage, shiatsu and  art therapy. There are community healing herb gardens and the Incredible Edible project has been growing all kinds of fruit, herbs, nuts, vegetables and edible flowers in public and unused spaces  nearly a decade. This all adds up to make Totnes a remarkable place to  visit.

Totnes is also home to the Transition Town movement, which promotes the conservation, protection and improvement of the natural environment through  raising awareness of climate change and championing sustainable development of the town and surrounding areas to protect  it for future generations. This is largely run by volunteers and anyone can take part.

Walking around Totnes is a great way to experience what it has to offer. The  narrow streets are lined with beautiful, old houses and fascinating shops. There are many different food options  including  vegetarian, vegan, gluten-free  and organic.  Totnes has its own castle too (and there are many more to explore in the  region).

Totnes castle
winding streets Totnes

Take a wander...

Fascinating Facts About Our Quirky Town

World  Famous in Totnes 

  •  the capital of  “New Age Chic” (2004) Time Magazine   

  • one of the Top 10 Funky Towns in the World, alongside Daylesford in Australia and Tiradentes in Brazil (2005) High Life British Airways in-flight magazine

  •  “Totnes, according to Totnesians, is supposed to be the centre of the universe,” (2017), according to an article in The Guardian.  People describing Totnes often use words like  'alternative',   'bohemian', 'forward-thinking' and 'radical' , which gives you a good idea of the kind of vibe to expect.

  •  'Being twinned with Narnia to plastic-free shopping - why is Totnes different from your average High Street?  (October 2018) Devon Live 


In a  World of its Own

In 2007, Totnes was the first town in the UK to introduce its very own currency!  This is an initiative  to support 'economic localisation', strengthen the local economy and make a stand against globalisation. The Totnes Pound is equivalent to  £1 sterling  and is accepted at most local businesses. In fact, it has been so successful that several other towns have followed suit.   And in July 2018, Totnes declared itself a city state in protest to BREXIT- 

Oranges Away!

Every year in August, the Totnes Elizabethan Society organise the Orange Races in commemoration of Sir Francis Drake. Legend has it that the old sea-dog dropped his basket of oranges on Fore Street right here in Totnes and the locals chased them down the slope. Competitors must kick or throw their fruit along the  450 metre course from the Market Square but can’t pick it up and carry it; at least part of the orange must be intact by the finish and there may be disputes over whose is whose!  Strange but true (and they even run along the road right underneath our gatehouse classroom)!

English in Totnes student win race
Totnes orange race winners

Totnes Orange Races: The competitors,  the  race and the prizegiving

We love Totnes, and we're pretty sure you will too...

view of Sharpham woods from Totnes

This really is a perfect part of England. Totnes is far away from the busy life of London  but with a life, heart and soul all of its own and still within easy reach of the capital.


What better place to learn English ?

Bridge over the River Dart, Totnes
Vire Island, Totnes
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