Beautiful Tavistock is just 20 minutes from My Sleepy Hollow, and there's so many reasons to visit..
The beautiful town of Tavistock, a world heritage site, is a wonderful day out and just a 20-minute drive from My Sleepy Hollow.
Tavistock is the gateway to the breath-taking Dartmoor National Park and is a vibrant town brimming with local history. It is a unique town, offering a fantastic shopping experience within its many independent shops on the high street. Visitors can also find a shopper’s paradise within the famous pannier market.
Whatever your reason for visiting Tavistock, be it the architecture, the shops, the local food, the local history, or the easy access to Dartmoor, you’ll be delighted with them all.
There’s always a full calendar of events happening in the town, with notable dates being the Colour Festival in June, and the Dickensian Evening in December. There are also regular events like the farmers market where you will find lots of scrummy local produce.
Tavistock has so much to offer visitors, including the park through which the River Tavy runs… great for an easy stroll but only five minutes away from the open moorland.
Overlooking the town is Brent Tor, photographic opportunities are magnificent for those daring enough to trek to the top of the 1130 foot Tor. Once there, you will be greeted by the Church of St Michael, with truly spectacular views of moorland in every direction.
We’ve put together a list of some of our favourite things to do in Tavistock… we’re sure you’ll find others (please let us know if you do; we’d love to hear all about them)
Some of our favourite things to do in and around Tavistock:
1. Pannier Market The tradition of the weekly Pannier Market has lasted over 900 years after the right was granted by Henry I (the name Pannier comes from the baskets that were used to transport goods). Here you’ll find lots of deliciously tempting local produce, along with other special treats like freshly ground coffee and olives straight from Spain. There are different focuses to the market on different days, including collectibles and arts and crafts. 2. Tavistock Museum Housed beside the Town Hall, the town museum is run by a team of local volunteers Most of the main exhibitions are housed on the first floor between two rooms. You’ll be able to discover lots about Sir Francis Drake’s connections to Tavistock, and learn about the town’s mining history. There’s a fascinating display of rock specimens mined from the Tamar Valley, as well as some preserved mining tools and equipment. You can also enjoy a video presentation about the Benedictine Tavistock Abbey, dating back more than a century before the Norman Conquest. 3. Tavistock Canal Built in the early years of the 19th Century, the waterway was constructed to move goods (limestone, slate and copper ore) ten miles to the south of Tavistock, to Morwhellam Quay on the River Tamar. Tavistock Canal does not have boat traffic, but you can walk the tow path and enjoy old locks, stone bridges and waterfront cottages. 4. Farmer’s Market In front of the Town Hall, you can enjoy the Farmer’s Market on many Saturdays. The market provides a sustainable supply chain, with the added satisfaction that you are supporting the local economy. 5. Town Hall Tavistock’s Town Hall was gifted to the town in 1860 by the 7th Duke of Bedford. The Town Hall is an eye grabbing building, showcasing impressive decorative brickwork. It often hosts weddings and local activities, but is a regular favourite with markets and art exhibitions. 6. The Garden House Within in a valley in Dartmoor, this is a truly magnificent sight. The Garden House is a horticulturist’s delight with more than 6,000 varieties of plant on view to give you real inspiration for your garden. Countless varieties of plants and flowers mingle together to showcase informal planting and how it can deliver unusual colourful displays. The walled garden is the heart of the garden, and is looked over by the ruined tower of a vicarage dating back to the 16th Century… come here and make the most of every season including March crocuses, Spring Azaleas and Rhododendrons, and Autumnal Japanese Maples. 7. Dartmoor Prison Museum More than 200 years old, HMP Dartmoor is truly infamous and provides a dominant figure within the National Park. 19th Century dairy buildings house the prison museum and provide an insight into the prison’s origins as a former prisoner of war camp. There are many displays including uniforms, prison memorabilia and arts and crafts created by former inmates, as well as seized contraband and crude weapons. The First World War within Dartmoor sets the tone for a moving display on the stories of conscientious objectors. 8. Cotehele Cotehele is a Medieval and Tudor Grade I listed property owned by the Edgcumbe Family until the 20th Century. Tours of the house can be undertaken between the months of March and October, and this is when you grab the opportunity to view centuries old fixtures and furniture. The grounds of Cotehele are open all year round and you can take an enjoyable walk down to Cotehele Quay on the Tamar. 9. Buckland Abbey As the name gives away, the house was renovated from a former monastery; arches and pillars can still be seen from the previous adjoining church. Francis Drake lived here for 15 years, with his descendants remaining until 1946 when the property was sold and handed to the National Trust. The property itself is steeped in magnificent museum pieces and has period detail from Elizabethan to Victorian times. 10. St Michael’s Church, Brentor Brentor is a village at the foot of Brent Tor which stands at a mighty 300 metres. Brent Tor is a weathered Carboniferous volcano, comprising of breccia and lava which millions of years ago burst through the sea. It later became an Iron Age hillfort. The volcanic stones date back to the 13th Century. On the outer south wall you can still make out a slate sundial comprising of the 12 signs of the zodiac dating back to 1642. It wouldn’t be right to plan a day trip without the mention of somewhere to eat. There’s lots to choose from in Tavistock, here’s 3 of our favourites:
The Kitchen (2 Russell Street PL19 8BD. Tel: 01822 614149) They do a wonderful Eggs Benedict, amongst other delicious meals made with fresh produce (the Croque Monsieur is pretty awesome too).
Church Lane (1 Church Lane PL19 1AA. Tel: 01822 610413) Their pizzas and sharing boards are truly mouth-watering! Set in the old telephone exchange, the atmosphere is beautiful, historic and not to mention friendly. It also overlooks the Churchyard and the Town Square, offering a perfect scenic spot of the town.
The Cornish Arms (15 West Street PL19 8AN. Tel: 01822 612145) This is a great spot if you are looking to give yourself a real treat for lunch, dinner or just a couple of drinks. They have won so many awards for their fabulous food and are one of the Top 50 Gastro Pubs in the UK.