Lauren Heath shares why a visit to Topsham will tickle your tastebuds.
Topsham is a quaint estuary town, full to the brim with history, tasty treats and treasure troves. A compact and easy to navigate long main stretch of well stocked charity shops, a three storey Topsham Quay Antiques, a bounty of boutiques mixed with an eclectic mix of food and drink venues all creates a popular shopping and eating hotspot.
A must visit for both the Lyme Regis to Exeter or the Exeter to Dartmouth route, Topsham lies on the Exe estuary, with great transport links thanks to the Exeter railway line and proximity to the M5. With electric Co-bikes on offer too to nip to Exmouth or Exeter, it’s a perfect place to visit for a delicious day out whether by car, train, or on two wheels.
Fancy a caffeine fix to get you going? Pop into the quaint The Boathouse Café or head to the popular Route 2 Café, and add a hearty breakfast to the mix. If the weather is nice, then grab your coffee to-go, and head to The Goat Walk, quayside or Ferry Road, taking advantage of the estuary views and wildlife whilst you contemplate the world from a well-placed bench.
Get out on the water
A little boat ride may be exciting; you could hop on the Topsham to Turf ferry which departs from Trout’s Boatyard, and head to the delicious destination that is Turf Hotel. This unique seasonal pub with accommodation is only accessible by boat, bicycle or on foot and offers wonderful views of the Exe estuary from its lovely large beer garden or cosy rustic interior seating. With a couple of bedrooms, a Yurt and Shepherds Hut on offer, why not stay the night and rest your well-travelled head and full tummy.
How about a flying visit to Portugal but without the need for a passport? Portuguese born pastry chef Sara has not one but two delightful offerings on the main stretch that is Fore Street – Sara’s Petite Cuisine and Mercado Topsham.
Small but perfectly formed yet not shy of wow factor, her petite pink café offers beautiful, fresh homemade pastries, cakes and light lunches with British, French and Portuguese influences along with a delicious variety of hot drinks including the trendy turmeric latte. Just further up the road its sibling, Mercado Topsham, offers a taste of Portugal in the form of dried goods, tinned fish, snacks, meats and more.
A few doors up, be sure to pop into Topsham Wines, where you’ll be certain to find a tempting tipple, and have an experienced shop owner at hand to help you decide whether to buy global grape varieties or as local as award winning Pebblebed Vineyards, which happens to be just 1.5 miles up the road, offering vineyard tours May to September.
For a good selection of meat, expertly butchered, then find Arthur’s Butchers where you can buy your favourite cut, or grab a delicious pasty. If your sweet dreams are made of cheese, then head to Country Cheeses, where you can enjoy many tasters to find your perfect smelly or mellow picnic companion.
If you want to eye up the estuary over a local drink and great pub food, then head to The Passage House Inn and cross your fingers and toes for one of their alfresco tables (although highly recommend booking ahead). My top tip is to secure a table by the wall and aim for sundown – you’ll be rewarded by delicious dishes with a side of epic sunset.
Fancy something a bit more special? Perhaps a superb fish supper, or excellent locally sourced and cooked meat, then be sure to book at the well renowned Salutation Inn. An 18th century building with a modern offering, you can enjoy a top-notch lunch or afternoon tea in the Glasshouse and historic courtyard or dinner in their more intimate restaurant. If one day in Topsham isn’t enough, then why not extend your visit and book one of their rooms?
Fish To Go
If you’d prefer your fish to-go, then visit their very own in-house deli called SALT. A boutique fish counter offering a fresh bounty from the sea, you can bag the latest catch, superior sauces or a homemade ‘ready meal’ to take back to your holiday home or stow away for dinner at home at the end of your road trip. They will even give you some ice packs to keep it chilled for the duration.
Topsham is a special place, and is definitely worth adding to your itinerary. To find out more it’s worth visiting Love Topsham website for up to date information, upcoming events as well as their local discount card.