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Top places to live in Devon Totnes

Totnes was into sustainable living and eco-chic well before the rest of the UK, and now everyone else has caught on, it's looking VERY on-trend. Part of our Top 200 Places to Live series.


Nestled on the River Dart and close to Dartmoor National Park, Totnes is your place if you want the countryside idyll but more than just cows and antiques shops. Here, it’s seven-day a week hustle and bustle with vegan coffee shops, cool indie retailers and talented local producers – vibrant, ethical and alive. Everything a historic market town should be and more.

Sustainability and a local ethic have long been Totnes’ life blood – so much so up until recently it had its own currency and once stopped a major coffee chain having a presence on its high street. But now it’s popularity has grown beyond the tie-dyed-in-the-wool types who have always felt at home here but extended to urban escapees who appreciate the buzzing high street’s likeness to London’s Portobello Road.

That, along with Covid, means house prices are going north – 20% up on 2020 – so take a look at outlying villages, including East Allington, Harbertonford, Blackawton and Cornworthy, all young and happening.


It’s foodie heaven with a strong vegan and organic vibe. Devon Rum is made here from a cleverly curated blend of Caribbean rum, Devon spring water and a top-secret blend of spices. Other notables include Geetie Singh-Watson’s The Bull Inn, on Rotherfold Square (she opened the first organic gastropub The Duke of Cambridge in North London in the 90s) and Ben’s Wines and Tapas, serving up an organic Med-influenced menu. Good cafes abound – grab a smoothie bowl or cream tea (and do some pottery painting) at the Wild Thyme Deli & Kitchen, an Italian-roast coffee at The Curator, or for a vegan latte The Hairy Barista in the Narrows at the top of High Street. Homemade gelato you’re after? Swing by Delphini’s.

The weekly market’s street food is worth a trip alone, especially when Edmond and the World Food team are in town with their Persian wraps, but also for fresh produce, vintage bric-a-brac and indie craft. Fair-trade interiors retailer, Nkuku Lifestyle Store, is just down the road at Harbertford, and it has a great cafe.


So much to choose from and lots of ethical choice, including a Zero Waste refill shop, organic bedding at Greenfibres and Revival for vintage and pre-loved clothes. It’s very self-contained with pretty much everything you might want here – a cool interiors store, Love Frankie, locally-focussed gift shop Me and East, plus a bookshop, deli, wine shop, grocers and a Morrisons supermarket on the outskirts of town, as well as a few excellent art galleries, including The Bowie Gallery.

For rail-riffling, explore Fifty5a with its modern, Scandi vibe, and for natural kids clothes and wooden toys, Small Folk.


The town sits on the River Dart with a lovely waterside walk to Dartington, and there’s the classic motte and Bailey Totnes Castle, just off the High Street. Do NOT miss Totnes Cinema, it’s small and adorably vintage, hidden down a little alleyway off the high street. Sharpham Vineyard (moving to Sandridge Barton in 2022 but the award-winning Sharpham Cheese remains for tours) with award-winning wine and handmade cheese is a couple of miles away, and you can easily while away a few hours mooching around the gardens and shops at Dartington Estate. Dartmoor is on your doorstep, with its wild ponies and awesome granite tors, and here is known as the Gateway to the South Hams, with its golden beaches, and Goodrington Sands near Torquay the best-closest just six miles away.


Think older turn of the century terraced houses, modern 1930s properties plus some detached houses, quirky, old and new. The big sellers are terraces, fetching an average £336,645. Semi-detached properties sell for an average of £371,679, with flats going for £243,760.


This five-bedroom converted barn at Dartington 3 miles away comes with four cottages, and is on the market with Strutt & Parker for £2,250,000


Rated Good by Oftsted, King Edward VI Community College (KEVICC) has Performing Arts College status and a thriving Sixth Form. For private tuition, Stover School is a small co-ed with a strong Christian ethos; for nursery age to sixth form or the more alternative South Devon Steiner School. For clever clogs, Torquay has both a single-sex Boys and Girls school with sixth forms just six miles away.


If you love a reiki sesh, you’ll get on well here – Totnes has more alternative-therapy practitioners than anywhere else in the UK.


Top-notch road and rail links with the train station just 10-15 minutes walks from the town centre and a direct service to London Paddington, three hours away. For those commuting by road to Exeter, Plymouth or Bristol, Totnes is five miles off the main A38 Devon Expressway, midway between the two Devon cities. Regular National Express Coach services run from Heathrow and London Victoria and stop on in the town centre.

View the full Top 200 Best Places to Live

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