Distance from Cottage Hotel: 39 miles / 63 kilometres (1 hrs 15 mins by car)
Tavistock is a historic market town located in West Devon, and is situated on the River Tavy, from which the town was named. Tavistock's history dates back to at least the year 961, when Tavistock Abbey was founded. It was these monks that gave the town a weekly pannier market, which now runs 5 days a week offering a selection of crafts and antiques, and this has now extended to a farmers' market running every second and fourth Saturday of each month.
Another market that Tavistock is famous for is the 'Goose Fair', originally known as 'Michaelmas Fair'. This is a fair that was originally started in the 12th century to mark the feast of St Rumon on the second Wednesday of October. This provided the traders and farmers of Tavistock to sell their wares. The name 'Goose fair' is believed to have derived from the farmers taking their geese to sell so they had time to fatten them up for Christmas. Today, market traders from all over the country visit the town to sell their goods and provide entertainment. The traditional selling of geese and other livestock is also held at Tavistock's Livestock Centre.
Another great time to visit Tavistock is when Dickensian evening falls. This was traditionally held on the first Friday in December, but now is held on the last Friday in November to coincide with the turning on of the Christmas Lights and to start the Christmas Shopping period. Dickensian evening is where the shops open late, usually until 9.00pm, and the shopkeepers are in Victorian outfits or other Christmas-related themes. There is also street entertainment throughout the town, so there is plenty to see and do!
Throughout history Tavistock has played an important part in both trade and religion until the monastry was dissolved and demolished in 1539; the ruins still lie in the town for all to see. Surrounding Tavistock are a number of granite quarries on Dartmoor, copper, tin and iron to the west towards the Cornish border, these of which are still evident at the mining port of Morwellham Quay. The town also relied on the cloth and wool industry. All of these industries in Tavistock, mean the town had demand for a canal and a railway to ship goods to nearby towns.
Tavistock is also home to Sir Francis Drake, known for helping to defeating the Spanish Armada. He was born within the town, and to the day still stands a prominant figure with a statue upon entering Tavistock from the west. The Duke of Bedford whose family owned the town's wealth between 1539 and 1911, again plays another part to Tavistock's history with a number of the town's buildings being built under his watch and his statue stands pride of place in the town centre with buildings and areas named after him.
Today, within Tavistock Town Centre, are numerous shops, cafes and hotels, all of which are alongside Tavistock's town hall, Pannier Market, the old Magistrates courts, St Eustachius parish church which all fall within the old ruins of the abbey. One shop that has stood its test of time in Tavistock is Crebers' delicatessean. Crebers was established in 1881 as a greengrocer and is one of Tavistock's longest running businesses as it has been trading for over 125 years. Today, Crebers sells a selection of specialist foods, cheese meat, wine, ales, fortified wines and whisky from near and far, as well as roasted coffee, tea, divine chocolates and a hamper service.
Nearby, the town has easy access to both the cities of Plymouth and Exeter, to Dartmoor National Park, and to both the North and South Devon coastline. Attractions near Tavistock include the Historic Mining Port of Morwellham Quay, the Miniature Pony Centre, River Dart Country Park, Dartmoor Prison and museum and Buckland Abbey. Activities within Tavistock include walking - both guided and personal walking on Dartmoor - treesurfing, canoeing, golf, horseriding, clay pigeon shooting and falconery displays.
For the evening, Tavistock has plenty to offer, with a number of restaurants offering a wide selection of food, to a handful of pubs and bars. For evening entertainment, the Wharf Theatre and Cinema often hosts musicals, theatre productions, live gigs as well as film screening.