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Topsham is a town of 3,700 people (2011) in Devon in England's West Country. Formerly a major seaport, the town is now of interest for its architecture, scenery and proximity to nature reserves for wading and migrating birds, such as RSPB Bowling Green Marsh on the Exe Estuary, the whole of which is a Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI). Topsham has become a desirable and high-value residential location. In the 21st century development has expanded into the 'Topsham Gap' – greenfield land between Topsham and Exeter.

Topsham Sunset


Topsham is now a part of Exeter, but was formerly a town in its own right, and most locals to the area consider Topsham separate and distinct from Exeter. Before the arrival of the railway, situated as it is on the Exe estuary, it was a busy port concerned with fishing and shipbuilding and the import and export of goods of all description.

Get in[edit]

The M5 motorway crosses the Exe estuary just north of Topsham. Exit 30 is a couple of miles away. From Exeter there is a rail link running down the Exe estuary to Exmouth. Topsham has its own railway station. There is a frequent bus service from the Quay into Exeter.

Get around[edit]

Ferry slips at Topsham

Topsham is small enough to walk everywhere.


On a sunny day, it's enough just to stroll around. Take a turn to the end of the Strand, as far as the Goatwalk. Venture up some of the side streets, perhaps Higher or Lower Shapter Street. If you choose Monmouth Street, walk as far as Monmouth Avenue on the left and cross the bridge over the road which once was the spur rail link to the Quay. Walk a few yards and find your way into White Street, where many of the fishermen used to live. Follow it back to the shore. Stroll along the Underway where, near the spot where the fishermen used to dry and repair their nets, you might like to climb the steps to St Margaret's Church. Or go further, past Trout's boatyard to the ferry. Make your way out to Fore Street and do a little window gazing.


Sit and enjoy.


  • Antiques - on the Quay is a large warehouse converted into an antiques market.


For its small size Topsham is littered with a number of great eating venues. With an ever growing reputation for quality so does the number of dining options.

In 2006, Topsham was judged Best Small Town for Food in the Western Morning News annual food awards. The Georgian Tearoom once won the 'Best Tearoom / Cafe in Devon' award, the Galley Restaurant 'Best Restaurant in Devon', La Petite Maison (since closed) 'South West Restaurant of the Year', Denley's Essence of India the 2007 Exeter Curry Chef award, and Oliva the Devon Life Restaurant of the Year award.

  • The Galley, 41 Fore Street, +44 1392 876078. A seafood restaurant.
  • 1 Lighter Inn, The Quay, +44 1392 875439. M-Sa 11AM-10PM, Su noon-10PM. The Quay, the former Customs House. Local ales and global dishes in quayside inn with candle-lit, rustic-chic interiors, plus terrace. Sit out on the Quay with your meal when the sun shines - lovely!
  • 2 Passage House Inn, Ferry Road, +44 1392 873653. M-Sa 10AM–11PM, Su 10AM–10:30PM. Cosy, relaxed English pub with fantastic food, plus an outdoor patio area with ample seating and stunning views across the Exe Estuary.
  • 3 Plum Café, 86 Fore St, EX3 0HQ, +44 1392 877827. 10AM-4PM. Beautiful ice cream and coffees too
  • 4 Salutation Inn, 68 Fore St EX3 0HL, +44 1392 873060. Meals W-Sa noon-4:30PM, 6-8PM; Su noon-4PM. 18th-century pub, but it no longer has a bar, and it's become a restaurant with six rooms. Double (room only) £140.


  • The Bridge Inn. An unspoilt, old-fashioned ale pub owned by the same family for over 111 years, and the only pub officially visited by HM The Queen. No lager, no mobile phones, no fried food. The locals are friendly and talkative. Opens limited hours (noon–2PM, 6–10:30PM, pork pies are the only food available in the evenings).


Go next[edit]

  • Exeter — the big city. 4 miles to the centre. Forget the car and use the train or bus.
  • Exmouth — a traditional seaside place. 5 miles away. Use the train.
  • Lympstone — a pretty place about 3 miles away downstream. Another former port and fishing village. Use the train.
This city travel guide to Topsham is a usable article. It has information on how to get there and on restaurants and hotels. An adventurous person could use this article, but please feel free to improve it by editing the page.