If you love exploring the past as well as the present, Topsham is THE place to visit. Only four miles from Exeter yet feeling like a world away, this quaint estuary town has an impressive story to tell as you while away a very pleasant day out from the city. But is the town pronounced Top-sham or Top-sam? Now there’s a question. Ask a local if you dare!

The town on the Exe Estuary is easy by public transport as well as by car and on foot and has a fascinating maritime history. It was once Britain’s second busiest shipbuilding port and its docks - some still there - saw fishing boats, passenger steamers and vessels from around the world. But there’s much more to Topsham’s past than that. There’s stunningly well-preserved architecture from Dutch-influenced terraces to Georgian mansions, the houses that once were nail factories for the town’s shipyards, and many homes big and small that began life as sail-lofts. Don’t just stay waterside. Make sure you spend time along the shopping areas and winding streets too, as you’ll discover old pub names above doorways, water pumps and even a 19th century wash-house. 

A must-do is to pick up a Topsham Town Trails guide outside the Museum on Strand – itself an old Merchant’s house – and become an instant aficionado on the town’s glorious (and sometimes rowdy) past. And you won’t go hungry on your day trip. Independent and award-winning cafes and restaurants are in abundance between the quirky gift shops and unique clothes stores - you’ll find everything you need for a perfect day out.


Topsham Museum
Sail Loft

Topsham’s Museum has many things to learn about for those visiting including the town’s history, shipbuilding & Exe Estuary’s wildlife.


A fascinating and quaint historic estuary port, Topsham has some fine architecture. There are Dutch traders’ houses and fine examples of buildings from Georgian and Edwardian times.

River Exe Estuary
River Exe & estuary

The Exe Estuary is of international importance for wintering waders and wildfowl, supporting 1000s of birds. One of the best opportunities to view the wildlife of the estuary is at the the RSPB's two nature reserves.



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