This Itinerary is best for people looking for: History, Walks & Refreshments.
The Bedford Hotel is situated in the heart of Tavistock, boasting beautiful, historic architecture, tranquil gardens, welcome interiors, fantastic food and of course, friendly staff! With its central location and renowned name, who better to show us a perfect day in Tavistock. Mike from The Bedford Hotel is here to take us through his ideal day in the town that both visitors and locals can enjoy.
Q. Tell us a little about yourself and The Bedford Hotel
A. I’ve lived in the area on and off for many years, and now have the absolute pleasure of looking after the marketing for The Bedford Hotel, in the heart of the town, the Two Bridges Hotel on Dartmoor, and Dartmoor Brewery (home of the famous Jail Ale!).
When our guests at The Bedford Hotel ask us what there is to do and see in Tavistock, we tell them they are in for a treat! It’s always a pleasure to introduce first-time visitors to our wonderful town, and many of them come back time and time again – to enjoy the town itself and to explore everything that Dartmoor and the Tamar Valley have to offer.
It goes without saying that Tavistock is my kind of town too! Early morning is a favourite time for a reflective stroll around town – so peaceful, and with a sense of anticipation as all the brilliant independent shops and businesses get themselves ready for the busy day ahead. And of course, an early morning stroll is the perfect excuse for a bacon roll and a coffee – the only decision is where, as there are so many great coffee shops at which to while away an hour.
Q. How would you spend a perfect day in Tavistock?
A. I like to start my morning off with a stroll past the historic Guildhall and Magistrates’ Court to check out the ambitious renovation project nearing completion. The Town Council and the Tavistock Heritage Trust are creating a new “gateway” centre, breathing new life into these stunning buildings as a visitor information point and community hub. It’s set to really transform an already striking part of the town’s heritage backdrop.
A wander around the Pannier Market is a “must”! It’s been going for 900 years and is at the very heart of the town. As well as the permanent traders who are there 5 days a week, there are other stalls which change throughout the week to reflect the different daily themes. It’s a great place to have a browse for gifts, something for the garden, some wonderful locally-made chocolate, or a second-hand book or two from the massive selection.
All that strolling and browsing is bound to work up an appetite – so lunch at The Bedford Hotel calls (though I confess I am biased!). The menus at The Bedford showcase the very best ingredients of the season from local farmers, fishermen and producers, all served in a very relaxed and welcoming setting. Of course, you’ll also find lots of other great places to eat in Tavistock – whether you fancy a traditional Devonshire pasty, a hearty meal, or just a bowl of lovely home-made soup.
For an afternoon walk, I’d heartily recommend the canal side trail, which runs from the Meadows park, past Tavistock College, and into open countryside. Tavistock Canal was originally built to link the town to Morwellham Quay on the River Tamar, where cargo could be loaded into ships. Today the canal side path provides a tranquil walk, with stunning views, wild flower meadows, industrial heritage (including the very impressive but disused Shillamill Viaduct) and glimpses of birds and wildlife (look out for the elusive but beautiful kingfishers). If you try out this walk, you can either walk back the way you came, or look for the steep path to the left, just before passing under Shillamill Viaduct, which leads under the canal and up onto the disused railway line for an alternative (and very beautiful) route back into town.
All that walking is thirsty work, and Tavistock has some great pubs for much-needed refreshment. Be sure to look out for the famous Jail Ale from Dartmoor Brewery – brewed at England’s highest brewery in nearby Princetown.
Enjoy Tavistock... It’s a gem of a town!