Topsham: A Charming Riverside Gem with Timeless Beauty

At A Glance


🏘️ – Charming historic town
πŸ›₯️ – Boating and sailing activities
πŸšΆβ€β™‚οΈ – Topsham Town Trail for walking tours
πŸ›οΈ – Independent shops and boutiques
🌊 – Stunning estuary views
πŸš‚ – Topsham Railway Station
🎣 – Fishing opportunities
🍻 – Traditional English pubs
🍽️ – Award-winning restaurants and cafes
🌳 – Topsham’s Goat Walk and nature reserves
🚲 – Scenic cycle routes
πŸ›οΈ – Historic buildings and architecture
🎨 – Local art galleries and studios
🐦 – Birdwatching spots
πŸ“… – Regular community events and festivals


Nestled in the heart of Devon, England, Topsham is a charming riverside town that exudes timeless beauty and warmth. With its rich history, captivating architecture, and scenic waterfront, Topsham is a hidden gem waiting to be discovered by curious travellers. In this article, we will take you on a journey through Topsham’s fascinating past, offer a glimpse of its vibrant present, and provide insider tips to make your visit an unforgettable experience. So let’s dive in and explore what makes Topsham a must-visit destination!


Founded in Roman times, Topsham has a rich history that dates back over 2000 years. Situated on the banks of the River Exe, this quaint town was once an important trading port and shipbuilding centre during the 17th and 18th centuries. Today, Topsham’s historical legacy can be seen in its well-preserved Dutch-inspired architecture, narrow cobbled streets, and picturesque maritime setting.

Key Features and Highlights

Topsham’s charm lies in its intimate scale and distinctive character. As you stroll along the Strand, a row of elegant Georgian houses overlooking the river, you can’t help but feel the town’s unique sense of place. The Strand is also prone to occasional flooding, adding a touch of drama to the already picturesque setting.

The town is home to several quaint shops, galleries, and cafΓ©s, making it the perfect spot for a leisurely day of exploration. And for those interested in local history, the Topsham Museum offers fascinating insights into the town’s maritime past and the lives of its residents.

The River Exe runs through Topsham, providing ample opportunities for watersports and nature enthusiasts. While swimming in the river is possible, it’s generally advised to do so only under the guidance of local experts due to the strong tidal currents. Rest assured, there are no crocodiles to worry about in Exmouth or the surrounding areas!

Topsham may not have a beach, but it is located just a short drive away from the stunning coastline of Exmouth and other nearby coastal towns. Topsham’s proximity to the ocean – only about 5 miles away – makes it an ideal base for exploring Devon’s stunning seaside locales, many of which are dog-friendly.

With a population of around 5,000 residents, Topsham has a welcoming, tight-knit community feel. It’s considered a desirable place to live, boasting a low crime rate and above-average median income. Part of the larger Exeter district, Topsham offers the perfect blend of countryside tranquillity and city convenience.

Practical Information for Visitors


  • Topsham Museum: Housed in a 17th-century merchant’s house, the museum showcases the town’s rich maritime history and offers stunning views of the River Exe.
  • Wine Tasting at Topsham Cellar: along with a selection of Tapas and Pizzas
  • Goat Walk: This riverside path provides scenic views and a peaceful setting for leisurely strolls. Its name is believed to have originated from goats that once grazed the riverbank, and the walk remains a popular spot for locals and visitors alike.
  • St. Margaret’s Church: A beautiful example of Gothic architecture, St. Margaret’s Church is a must-visit for history buffs and art enthusiasts.


Topsham is easily accessible by train, with regular services running from Exeter St. Davids and Exmouth. The town is just a short drive from the M5 motorway by car, making it an ideal destination for a day trip or a weekend getaway.

Local Accommodations and Dining

Topsham boasts a variety of cosy bed and breakfasts, charming inns, and self-catering accommodations to suit every taste and budget. Some popular options include:

When it comes to dining, Topsham has a diverse range of options that cater to various tastes and budgets. From traditional British fare to international cuisine, the town’s culinary scene is sure to delight your taste buds. Some must-try establishments include:

  • The Galley: This family-run restaurant, situated on the banks of the River Exe, offers fresh, locally-sourced seafood and stunning views. With its warm, inviting atmosphere and mouthwatering dishes, The Galley is a must-visit for food lovers.
  • The Lighter Inn: Overlooking the river, this traditional pub offers hearty British fare and a fantastic selection of local ales. With its cosy interior and friendly service, The Lighter Inn is the perfect spot to relax and soak up the town’s warm atmosphere.

Tips to Maximize Your Enjoyment

  • Venture beyond the town centre and explore the surrounding countryside, including the beautiful RSPB Bowling Green Marsh reserve, home to an array of bird species and stunning landscapes.
  • Rent a bicycle and take advantage of the picturesque cycle paths along the River Exe, offering a unique way to discover the town and its beautiful surroundings.
  • If you’re visiting during the warmer months, consider taking a boat trip along the River Exe to appreciate Topsham’s stunning waterfront vistas and enjoy the tranquillity of the water.
  • Pronounced “TOP-sum,” learning to say the town’s name like a local will undoubtedly endear you to the friendly residents and make your visit even more enjoyable.


Topsham is a captivating town that offers a perfect blend of history, charm, and natural beauty. With its stunning riverside location, distinctive architecture, and warm community atmosphere, it is no wonder that Topsham is considered one of Devon’s most desirable places to live and visit. You’ll undoubtedly fall in love with this enchanting riverside gem as you explore its cobbled streets, savour its delicious cuisine, and soak in its timeless beauty. So why not start planning your visit to Topsham today and experience all that this charming town has to offer?

Check out these other things to do in East Devon and things to do in Exeter

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