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.
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.
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).
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-
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)!
Totnes Orange Races: The competitors, the race and the prizegiving
We love Totnes, and we're pretty sure you will too...
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 ?