Ottery St Mary

10a Broad Street, Ottery St Mary, Devon, EX11 1BZ

Tel: 01404 813964

Ottery St Mary Church


With its glorious church and cluster of picturesque buildings, Ottery St. Mary has given literary inspiration to Coleridge, Thackeray - and JK Rowling!

Ottery, once chiefly known as the birthplace of Samuel Taylor Coleridge, the poet who penned The Rime of the Ancient Mariner and Kubla Khan, is now known to a generation of Harry Potter readers as Ottery St. Catchpole.

Ottery's most important building is the parish church of St. Mary, a magnificent scaled-down version of Exeter Cathedral, developed as part of the College of Canons founded by John de Grandisson, Bishop of Exeter, in 1337. It contains many treasures including a minstrel gallery built on pillars, and a wonderful 14th century astronomical clock, and is an atmospheric setting for organ recitals and concerts.

The town's good selection of shops is well worth exploring, but don't forget to take a gentle stroll beside the river Otter to admire the unusual Tumbling Weir with its swirling "water down the plughole" effect, constructed in 1790. Two other shopping experiences just outside the town are popular Otter Nurseries with thousands of choice plants and gardening-related items, and Joshua's Harvest Store selling delicious West Country food and drink.

Two interesting historic houses are located nearby. Cadhay is a tranquil Tudor manor house with a courtyard ornamented with striking statues of royal Tudors, while Escot offers gardens designed by Capability Brown, woodland walks, a pet and aquatic centre, and an intriguing maze.

Events in Ottery St Mary include the unsual Pixie Day in June, where children dress up as pixies and re-enact an old legend, capturing the bell-ringers and spiriting them away to their "cave". The Ottery St Mary Tar Barrels are the town's most famous event where men shouldering flaming tar barrels run through packed crowds - a somewhat terrifying spectacle! Escot also hosts a wide range of events including plays, opera, live music, and the Beautiful Days Festival.


Road Directions

Follow brown signs from the A30 for Ottery St Mary. The village is located on the B3174 / B3177.


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Tuesday, 5th November 2019 - Tuesday, 5th November 2019

Tar BarrelsOttery St Mary - Tar Barrels
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Friday, 16th August 2019 - Monday, 19th August 2019

Beautiful Days Festival
more info