With the River Tavy flowing through its heart, Tavistock is a centuries-old market town and a gateway to the UNESCO World Heritage-listed Cornwall and West Devon Mining Landscape. It centres around the ruins of the 10th-century Tavistock Abbey and is famously the birthplace of Sir Francis Drake, who circumnavigated the world between 1577 and 1580.
Things to do in Tavistock
Hidden behind the Town Hall is the Tavistock Pannier Market, a pedestrianised area home to independent shops and cafes. In addition to antiques and collectibles, you’ll find fresh produce, locally made handicrafts and second-hand books. Potters, artists and woodturners all set up shop here, alongside traders selling house plants and sweet treats.
You can learn about the town’s monastic, market and mining past at the Tavistock Museum, which occupies the historic Court Gate. It once served as the main entrance to the Abbey of Saint Mary and Saint Rumon, with exhibits detailing the history of this Benedictine monastery and Tavistock’s links to the English naval officer, Sir Francis Drake.
Sprawling along both banks of the River Tavy is The Meadows, a leafy green space with a children’s playground, a bandstand and plenty of grassy picnic areas. You can challenge your family and friends to a game on the tennis courts and stroll through the Sensory Garden or take a spin on the BMX track. Traversing the park is the Tavistock Canal, which is fringed by the Cherry Walk that ignites with fragrant blossoms in the spring.
Getting around Tavistock
Tavistock is a 30-minute drive from Plymouth and 45 minutes from Exeter. Exeter Airport is one hour away and has flights to destinations across Europe. Buses connect to Tavistock from towns and villages across West Devon while most of Tavistock’s attractions are easily accessed on foot.