With boutiques, art galleries, museums, independent eateries and pubs where you can watch the sun setting over the estuary, you might well think that Topsham is no place for babies, toddler or kids. But thankfully you are wrong.
Topsham boasts endless entertainment for every interest and age group and it’s my favourite town to go to with my two children. If you’re on a day-time date with your little one, have a wander, explore and babyccino. In a big group, there are places that can take the buggies and clobber. Park, maize maze, short loop walks, bird hides, lido and more it’s hard to know where it hides it all in such a town. In short, it’s a town well worth a visit with kids.
And just because I love the Quay, here are some more pics of my little ones enjoying life there in all seasons and weathers!
Here are our favourite things to do (just don’t try to do them all in one visit!)
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Things to do
Park: Topsham boast a great park with a zip wire, roundabout swings, climbing frames, skateboard ramp and more – it’s a good one! There’s also an enormous field for games. Location: what3words.com/lungs.obey.couch Parking: there’s a small amount of free road parking next to the park.
Feed the ducks: take some food to feed the ducks or swans (sometimes you’ll even see a black Dawlish swan) on the jetty on the Quay. Location: what3words.com/closes.with.lows
Have cake and lunch: There are many places to enjoy great food in Topsham, whether you decide to take it out to one of the great picnic spots or eat in. Enjoy!
Watch the birds: There are a few fabulous spots at RSPB Bowling Green Marsh, The Board walk and The Lookout which also has a great little bug-friendly garden.
Wander: See the walks section for inspiration for walks long and short.
Shop: If your little ones allow, then Topsham has fabulous independent shops that are well worth a visit. (See shops section below)
Get cultured!: Wander round the treasure trove of the Merchant’s House and Topsham Museum with its furnished period rooms of the original Merchant’s House and the Sail Loft. (Only open at certain times of the year and times of the day – check topshammuseum.org.uk)
Swim: We love the outdoor heated swimming pool that is hidden behind St Matthew’s hall. Run by volunteers and a fabulous little sun trap. On certain days they also have giant inflatables out. (Open April to September topshampool.co.uk)
Celebrate: Topsham loves a celebration. Keep up-to-date with what’s on by visiting the town’s website https://lovetopsham.co.uk/
Dart’s Farm: More than just a farm shop, you could spend the whole day here! There’s a short farm walk, the outdoor play area, the hen hut where you can visit or buy some chickens, the animals in their fields, the shack to grab a coffee, the café for a meal and then the glorious treasure trove of shop itself. Darts’ is also a great place for seasonal fun – sunflower & pumpkin picking and maize maze exploring.
Toddle: Bimble along the Quay, feed the ducks on the jetty and enjoy listening to the tinkling of the halyards against the masts and gentle lapping of the water.
Wander: down the strand to The Goat Walk where the views of the estuary are gorgeous (with a drop on one side to the water so ensure that all children are safe)
Walk: The Goat Walk can be continued to find the RSPB Bowling Green Marsh bird hide and viewing platform where you can (try to) have a quiet moment spotting birds and wildlife.
Extended walk: A fabulous loop including Topsham town, the Goat walk, nature reserve and Dart’s farm. Suitable for buggies and dogs too.
Shops for kids’ stuff
Squid & the Kid: This is an absolute treasure for beautiful gifts, books, and general things for children. The children will want everything, and you will want to buy it all too!
Nest: A homeware shop, but with a gorgeous line of Maileg – if you know you know!
Nourish: A zero waste shop which is great for ‘healthy’ pick n mix. We love the apple rings, yoghurt coated raisins and banana chips.
The Topsham Bookshop: a beautiful second hand book shop which always has a great themed window display (the recent pop up books were a favourite for my children)
The Charity shops: there are a couple of good charity shops too that always have something great for the kids at a bargain price.
There are many great eateries in Topsham, but if your little ones aren’t a fan of sitting in a restaurant then Topsham has some fabulous spots outdoors where they can have freedom and you can enjoy the views. We like to grab a sarnie, sausage roll or cake from a local bakery and while away time in these great picnic spots!
The Quay: There are many picnic benches looking out to the water and the jetty which nearly always is frequented with ducks to feed (this is a firm fav with my children)
The beach: Ok calling it a beach might be stretching it a little. Along The Strand is a small shingle area that my children have whiled away hours finding treasures. There are benches on the quiet road side too.
Merchant’s House and Topsham Museum Garden at No.25 The Strand. Enjoy the free immaculate garden opposite the museum with views onto the estuary. There are benches and a small lawn in a fenced off garden – perfect for a picnic with little ones. Location: what3words.com/stage.legend.trying
Field: If you manage to walk round the nature reserve there is a field with some benches in that is perfect for a pit stop. The children are able to be free and enjoy a snack to perk up their energy. Location: shortens.blueberry.performed
Dart’s Farm: There are plenty of picnic tables out on the field and play equipment and animals to entertain the kids.
Where to eat
Oodles of choice in Topsham for good eateries. I don’t think I’ve had a bad meal there so feel good and eat well supporting the many independent coffee and lunch spots. With crepes, macaroons and pastel de nata – no need to know more. Go. Eat!
The Lighter Inn: This is a pub serving epic fish finger sandwiches with a gorgeous view. Fab to sit outside and enjoy the sunshine and boats.
The Boathouse Creperie: A great selection of sweet or savoury crepes – perfect for a fun lunch with kids
Sara’s Petite Cuisine: a beautifully pink café that is my go to coffee date with my daughter.
Jar: We love to grab a sausage roll or sarnie and take it to one of our favourite picnic spots.
The Café: great for if you have a big group and all the prams. Lovely little courtyard outside too.
How we love to get there
Of course, you can drive and park at either of the three car parks (Holman way, Topsham Quay or Matthew’s hall). But you could make it even more of an adventure and arrive in one of these fabulous ways.
Bike: A fabulous way to arrive in Topsham is by bike. The cycle path from Exeter is along the Exe Estuary and all off road (although some parts are next to the busy Topsham road).
Boat: However, if you’d like to arrive in even more style and less traffic the other side of the Estuary is traffic free and a lovely cycle path and then there’s the fab Topsham Turf ferry to take you across. https://topshamturfferry.com/
Kayak/canoe: Of course you could always paddle all the way there too! Does involve a wear or two from Exeter though!