Once one of the UK’s most significant ports and dating back to Roman times, Topsham is an attractive, small estuary town with gorgeous architecture, narrow streets and a town centre that is steeped in maritime history.
Located approximately 4 miles South of Exeter on the banks of the Exe Estuary, Topsham was one of the busiest ports in the UK.  It became of providence back in the 13th century, after the then Countess or Devon controversially built a weir across the River Exe for her mills, just a short distance upstream of Topsham at the place that is now known as Countess Wear.  This essentially cut off the port of Exeter for around 300 years, meaning Topsham developed as a port in its own right.
During these times, the port town developed.  As well as a bustling quayside, the maritime trade thrived, with shipbuilding, fishing, and ropemaking becoming significant.
Much of the architecture in the town dates to the time of its heydays as a maritime port.  Somehow, it survived the bombings of World War II that saw so much of Exeter’s architecture destroyed.  Even more remarkably, the town seemed to escape the levels of 20th-century modernisation seen in the larger towns and cities.  Like many maritime settlements, connections to continental Europe have influenced the appearance of many buildings.  There are still plenty of Dutch-fronted houses that provide a further attractive nature to the town.  The net result is a beautifully preserved town that is deemed to be one of the most desirable neighbourhoods in the area.
Whilst it is no longer an active port, trade has given way to leisure, making the estuary side location popular with sailors, kayakers and dog walkers.  The River Exe provides a safe haven for water users and in the summer months, the estuary is the home to hundreds of craft of many forms.  There is an active sailing club and several waterside bars and restaurants making it a great location for water users.
The bustling little town centre mainly comprises independent shops, cafes, bars, and restaurants.  There’s everything from designer clothing stores, galleries and gift shops to pet shops, bakeries and a small supermarket.  On the outskirts of the town, but within easy walking distance is the Darts Farm shopping centre, offering plenty of local produce, as well as homewares, furniture, clothing and even some camping equipment.  The town even has its own outdoor swimming pool.
When it comes to living in Topsham, the range of housing doesn’t disappoint either.  There are plenty of former wealthy merchant’s houses that remain in remarkably well-preserved condition, as well as plenty of smaller fisherman’s cottages and terraced housing.  House prices tend to be significantly higher than surrounding areas, which is unsurprising given that the town has so much to offer.
It is worth noting that due to the well-preserved nature of the town, car parking can be somewhat limited and many properties do not have their own private parking.  Properties with their own parking attract an additional premium.
With regular buses to both Exeter and Exmouth and easy road access to the motorway network, Topsham is extremely popular with those who want to live in a close-knit community, whilst taking advantage of the facilities and employment opportunities of nearby Exeter.  Exeter is reached by a former Roman road and is an easy bike ride away, or why not take advantage of Topsham's railway station, with regular trains to Exmouth, Exeter and Dawlish.

Topsham Characters - Love Topsham

The Globe

Discover the charms of Topsham in a 16th-century, riverside inn. Despite being just four miles from Exeter, you’ll feel worlds apart from the hustle and bustle of urban life. Inside, get comfy and indulge in our contemporary menu of pub classics and seasonal specials. Pair your dish with award-winning beer, fine wine, and barista coffee. There are also delightful rooms available if looking to stay for a little longer.

The Bridge Inn

On the banks of the River Clyst, this charming 16th-century pub retains much of its historic charm and offers a great range of local ales and traditional English-style pub food.

The Boathouse Creperie

Tucked away near the waterside, this little gem is an atmospheric café. A great place for morning coffee or lunch.

The Quayside Antiques Centre.

Situated in a former warehouse on Topsham Quay, around independent 65 traders offer an eclectic range of antiques and vintage wares. It’s a great place to spend an hour or so on a rainy day!

Topsham Outdoor Swimming Pool

Located in the heart of Topsham, the heated outdoor swimming pool is open to the public through the summer months. Check the website for opening hours.
In 1998, Queen Elizabeth II dropped into Topsham for a visit to the Bridge Inn. It is reportedly the first time she had ever been photographed in a pub.
In the late 18th Century and early 20th Century, 27 Naval warships were built in Topsham, including the 500 ton frigate, Fawn.

Why not explore some other areas that Exeter has to offer?