A Day Trip to Beautiful Tavistock the Home of Crafts in the Heart of Devon
Written by Imogen Ramsden and Edited by Alison Jane Reid
Tavistock is a beautiful, quaint town nestled in the heart of the Devonshire countryside. It oozes character and quirkiness, and is well-known for its abundance of local craft shops and producers. Somehow, wandering the streets of Tavistock feels somewhat like being in another world; the pace is slow and relaxed and the sun seems to always be shining. It captures escapism with its cobbled streets and luscious greenery, surrounded by buildings of the finest brick in hues of chocolate brown and stone. Multi-coloured bunting adorns the streets, draping between shops and gently blowing in the breeze, capturing the tranquillity of this little town. It is the perfect place for an exciting day out or life-enhancing weekend break.
Look one way and you are greeted by the famous town hall, a focal point of the town centre. Constructed with Gothic influences, and made out of local stone, this hall has battled the elements for over 100 years, enduring through history to remain standing tall and proud today…
… Look the other way and you will see the St Eustachius Paris Church, a vision of antiquity settled amongst picturesque greenery, like an image out of a greetings card. The bells of the Church still chime today, their peals echoing through the town and adding to the magic of Tavistock.
One of the most iconic features of the town is the Tavistock Pannier Market, a treasure trove of authentic handmade goods, showcased by local artisans. It is an iconic, traditional feature of the town that contributes to making it precious and distinctive and a must-see feature during your visit here. The first ever Pannier Market was held 900 years ago, and since that day there has been not a single break in this vibrant community tradition. The grand market archway stands tall and proud, welcoming hoards of customers day after day, as if to mark its presence as an important landmark of the town.
Markets are held every week from Tuesday to Saturday, and range from antiques and collectables to bric-a-brac and crafted wares, all showcasing some of the finest talent of local craftspeople the county of Devon has to offer. The market is the perfect place to come in search of the unique, the unusual and exquisitely crafted gifts, such as jewellery, heavenly scented candles, soaps, and decorative object for the home.
Explore Tavistock the Home of Handmade Crafts and Exquisite Gifts
Delight your senses with ‘Dotty Candles’, a regular star producer at the market. They supply handmade eco soy wax scented cupcake candles and melts. The aromas are divine, and tantalize the senses as if they were of the finest cuisine. The Lemon Sherbet candle could be mistaken for being the real thing, with its zesty, sugary scent keeping you going back for more. These special gifts are packaged with love; candles sit in the most adorable miniature cup and saucer sets, while heart-shaped wax melts are wrapped with pretty bows and beads. Lovingly made and eco-friendly too, ‘Dotty Candles’ offers gifts that are sure to put a smile on the face of someone you love.
If you’re looking for quirky, personal, handmade decor and gifts, S.O House and Home is the stall to visit. The ditsy prints and vibrant primary colours inject fun and warmth into the most simple of home furnishings. From gingham printed cushions to ice-cream coat hangers, there is no doubt you will fall in love with something one-of-a-kind to take pride of place in your home.
On many occasions the market is graced with surprising, fun and original stall ideas, such as the ‘Big Knitting’ products at Sarah Rose Textiles. Showcasing the idea formulated by Ingrid Wagner, the stall features ‘Big Knit Yarn’, which is made from 100% recycled wool fabric, taken from the selvedge of industrial fabrics, otherwise discarded as waste. It is then used to knit products such as shaggy rugs and cushions, for a fun twist to interiors with an eco-friendly back-story.
Sarah Rose Textiles also produces beautiful handmade cards with playful and unusual prints-they are the perfect accompaniment to a crafty gift.
Just when you thought you had seen all Tavistock has to offer in the world of crafts with your visit to the market, an abundance of more independent retailers lie ahead. There are gems tucked away in side streets and stumbling upon these shops is like uncovering hidden treasures. Here at the Ethical-Hedonist, we have delved into the history of two distinctive and well-renowned jewels at the heart of this town’s crafting heritage.
Delight in a Treasure Trove of Fair Trade and Local Crafting Gems
‘Here and Far’ is a gift, interior and craft shop nestled in a quaint, cobbled side-street named Paddons Row. Its products are either Fair Trade, or created by local craftspeople in the Devon and Cornwall area, a concept central to the passionate ideas of founder Katarzyna Piper, who believes that people producing beautiful goods should be paid a fair amount for their work and talent.
The delightful Aladdin’s cave of trinkets and treasures began as a market stall in the Tavistock Pannier Market, while also operating as an online shop. But with constant positive feedback from eco-conscious locals and tourists, enough demand and support was generated to open the shop a year ago. Popular with young people for buying second-hand furniture to upcycle, and older residents who buy Fair Trade paint supplies to facilitate their retirement hobbies, Here and Far offers a diverse array of lovely bits and bobs for the home.
Clocks Galore at ‘ashortwalk’
Sample the work of local craft companies, such as ‘ashortwalk’, which produces a range of eco-friendly outdoor and indoor clocks galore. Try the recycled statement clocks, made with vending machine coffee cups right here in the UK.
Or choose from a plentiful variety of unique Fair Trade goods, all sourced from Fair Trade suppliers such as Namaste and Ian Snow. Quirky coat hangers, pretty photo frames and beautiful summer drinking glasses line the shelves; with so many beautiful treasures on display it’s hard not to want to buy them all at once! With their rusty colours and natural prints, these authentic homewares transform ‘Here and Far’ into an indoor wonderland that you could wander around for hours, despite its jewel box size.
Feeling inspired by all this talk of creative crafts? Go along and take part in a Here and Far workshop and learn the art of craftsmanship for yourself. Currently holding screen printing classes and lamp-shade making courses, these workshops are held in the shop itself, complete with tea, coffee and cake for a truly intimate and interactive experience. Visit http://www.hereandfar.co.uk/workshops.html for more information on the workshop schedules this summer.
Paddons Row, Tavistock, Devon
Take a Trip to the Home of Beautiful DIY Craft and Upcycling
Last on the Ethical-Hedonist’s Tavistock must-see checklist is ‘Treasured Forever’, an independent shop run by jewellery-maker Alison Bickell. Opened in Tavistock four years ago, ‘Treasured Forever’ began life as a craft stall in the Duchy Centre in Princetown. A love for shop-keeping and fast-selling unique jewellery designs drove Alison to expand her crafting empire, which continues to grow day-by-day.
Alison makes her own jewellery, using beads sourced from local crafting friends. No two pieces are the same, as Alison orders only enough beads to make one of every design, making Treasured Forever the perfect place to come for one-of-a-kind, unique gifts. Customers regularly recognise these jewels from the former Duchy collection due to their distinctive designs and vibrant colours. Pay a visit to Treasured Forever and witness Alison working her magic, producing jewellery at her very own workshop on the shop floor. You have the pleasure of watching as your very own piece is lovingly brought to life; an ultimate keepsake item that truly will be treasured forever.
Alison also stocks an exciting new upcycling solution called Decopatch. A French product made out of plastic, this revolutionary new product moulds to the shape of any surface to restore even the most tired-looking items of furniture. It can be used on chairs, light switches and even skirting boards, to add a touch of glamour and quirkiness to your home!
Vibrant patterns and colours line the walls, providing an array of choices for rejuvenating your home. It is a genius solution to fixing damaged or tired-looking furniture, preventing the need to throw it away.
Upcycled, Decopatch goods adorn the shop, demonstrating the remarkable transformation this simple craft tool can achieve. Innovative ideas like this make Tavistock the most wonderful and inspiring place to visit.
18 Brook Street, Tavistock, Devon
Experience the Food Wonders of Tavistock’s Local Community
In addition to its crafting heritage, Tavistock also boasts a wonderful array of delectable local food producers. Many cafes line the market side selling scrumptious food, such as Duke’s Coffeehouse, with meat, bread and cheese is all sourced from small, local producers. If you want to have a true Devonshire experience, indulge in a heavenly cream tea, and sit back and relax as the world goes by.
The famous Farmer’s Market is also held in Tavistock on the second and fourth Saturday of every month, where you can delight in the sensational array of the freshest, local food produce the town has to offer. From an aromatic crusty French stick and traditional cakes, to the finest selection of meat and fish, the Farmer’s Market will certainly succeed in tempting your senses and tantalizing your taste buds.
Spend the Night in Countryside Bliss
In search of somewhere to stay in Tavistock? Look no further than the Bedford Hotel, a historic residence in the heart of Tavistock’s hustle and bustle. With a wide variety of room options and even exciting themed events such as Murder Mystery and Jazz Lunches, this is the perfect destination for enjoying the delights Tavistock has to offer. Delight in an array of exquisite meals, using produce sourced locally from Devon and Cornwall whenever possible, such as the succulent Roast Lump of Devon Lamb, fulfilling you with the ultimate West Country experience.
With its picturesque surroundings, iconic history and traditions, and plethora of crafting treasures, Tavistock is the perfect Devonshire town to visit for a marvellous day of shopping, relaxing and treasure hunting.