Topsham, South Devon

Topsham, South Devon
  • Regularly judged to be one of the best places to live in the UK. Situated on the east bank of the River Exe and Estuary where East Devon meets South Devon. Pretty, well-heeled and vibrant. Easily accessible via Exeter. Stunning location
  • Packed with pubs, restaurants and cafes overlooking the estuary. Some of the finest places to eat and drink in Devon
  • Great for walking and cycling on the Exe Estuary Trail. Magnificent estuary views. Exmouth, the South West Coast Path and the start of the Dorset and East Devon Coast UNESCO World Heritage Site (Jurassic Coast) nearby
  • Top shopping destination. Visit Darts Farm
  • Local area known for its wildlife. Discover the many national and local nature reserves lining the estuary. Dawlish Warren National Nature Reserve is situated where the estuary meets the open sea
  • Main photo: the River Exe and Estuary in late afternoon light. Photo taken on Ferry Road below St Margaret's Church looking north west in the direction of Exeter


Topsham is in a sublime location on the west bank of the Exe Estuary. The historic port of Exeter is beautiful and well-heeled and packed with pubs, cafes and restaurants. Topsham is part of Exeter so don’t be surprised when you see signs reading ‘Welcome to Exeter the Regional Capital’ as you enter the town.


Exe Estuary

The River Exe rises on Exmoor, moves through Mid Devon and flows into the Exe Estuary just south of Exeter. Topsham is located when river meets estuary. Exmouth and Dawlish Warren National Nature Reserve are at the mouth of the estuary. It’s a stunning place known for its birdlife, views and leisure activities.


Exe Estuary Trail

The Exe Estuary Trail runs around the edge of the Exe Estuary between Exeter and the South Devon/East Devon coast. Roughly 18 miles (8 miles Exeter to Starcross and its foot ferry. 10 miles from Exmouth to Exeter via Topsham. Measured using Ordnance Survey mapping app). Cycle, walk or run a section or all of the trail.


Exe Estuary Nature Reserves

As mentioned, the Exe Estuary is known for its birdlife. Exe Estuary RSPB Nature Reserves attract huge numbers of visitors every year. Visit RSPB Exminster and Powderham Marshes Nature Reserve, RSPB Bowling Green Marsh Nature Reserve and RSPB Matford Marsh Nature Reserve. Note that Darts Farm is an RSPB centre. Up at the top of estuary, also visit Devon Wildlife Trust’s The Old Sludge Beds Nature Reserve. Down by the mouth of the Exe Estuary, there’s Exmouth Local Nature Reserve and Dawlish Warren National Nature Reserve. The Maer Local Nature Reserve is behind Exmouth Beach.


Goat Walk

Wander down Fore Street or Ferry Street and you come to Topsham Quay. If you then walk down Strand with its amazing 17th century ‘Dutch Houses’ (owing to their distinctive curved gable ends), you’ll come to Goat Walk. The Goat Walk is a path that runs down the east bank of the Exe Estuary to Bowling Green Road. Follow that and you come to RSPB Bowling Green Marsh. There’s a super bird watching hide by the side of the road.



The Topsham/Topsham Lock Ferry runs from Ferry Road in Topsham across to Topsham Lock.

The Topsham/Turf Ferry runs from Topsham across to The Turf pub.

See Exe Estuary and Exmouth Ferries and Boat Trips for more information on Exe Estuary ferry annd boat trips.



There are plenty from which to choose. Try The Lighter Inn, The Salutation Inn, The Globe Inn and The Passage House Inn in Topsham. The Turf Hotel is on the Exe Estuary and Double Locks on Exeter Canal.



Head for The Boathouse Creperie on Ferry Road near Topsham Quay.



The Pig & Pallet, The Galley Restaurant and L'estuaire Restaurant are all in Topsham. For excellent take away fish and chips, try The Fish Shed at Darts Farm. There's also the award-winning Rockfish in Exmouth.


Topsham Museum

Excellent local museum on the Strand.



Look out for the superb mural on Fore Street near the Parish Church of St Margaret. ‘The Topsham News Mural. This Mural was painted by Kathryn Wragg and commissioned by Sue and Roger Bendell. It depicts River Exe Salmon Fishing, which was a thriving industry from the historic port of Topsham.’ (Plaque on site.)



Great place to watch boats move up and down the Exe Estuary. Sit on the side of the quay or relax at The Lighter Inn. Topsham Quay Antiques Centre on Topsham Quay across the way from The Lighter Inn.



We’d recommend shopping on Fore Street. Topsham Quay Antiques Centre is excellent. Darts Farm is becoming a Devon institution.


Darts Farm

People travel from far and wide to shop at Darts Farm. Pricey but top quality food, household goods and outdoor clothing. Includes Cotswolds Outdoor and Fired Earth. There’s a restaurant, brilliant take away fish and chips shop called The Fish Shed and an RSPB centre.