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Tavistock, an ancient stannary (tin-assaying and tin-marketing) town, lies on the south-west edge of Dartmoor National Park , about 24 km (15 miles) north of the maritime city of Plymouth. The name "Tavistock" derives from "Tavy", the River on which the town lies, and "stock" indicating that the town became a prominent agricultural market for the area, after its progressive development around a Benedictine Abbey, founded in AD974.
The importance of Tavistock's market was recognised by the granting of a Market Charter by King Henry I to the town in 1105. The 900th Anniversary of that Charter and also the 700th Anniversary of Tavistock as an official Stannary Town was celebrated in the town in 2005 by a programme of history, musical and artistic events running from the start of the year to the 30th August, the latter being the day of St Rumon, the patron saint of Tavistock.
A further part of Tavistock's history is that Britain's great seafarer hero, Sir Francis Drake, was born at Crowndale Farm, just south of Tavistock, in 1542. A fine statue of him can be seen not far from the town centre, on the road to Plymouth, the port from which he set sail to confront and beat the Spanish Armada.
This fine and flourishing town, the largest in West Devon (population approximately 11,000), with its architecture of local stone, wide range of interesting and practical shops, market, riverside park, leisure centre and theatre, is excellent for visitors, both to see the town itself and as a base for exploring the surrounding beautiful countryside, the wild Dartmoor scenery, the many nearby pretty villages of Devon and Eastern Cornwall, and a variety of National Trust properties, including beautiful Buckland Abbey, Cotehele and Antony House with its breathtaking gardens designed by Repton.
- Enjoy a day out in Tavistock, an ancient stannary town, chartered in 1105, that is famed for its food and independent shops and its covered Pannier Market which opens daily Tuesdays to Saturdays
- Visit Buckland Abbey, its magnificent Great Barn and recently discovered Rembrandt self-portrait. Home to the Cistercian monks who built the Abbey and the incredible Great Barn and farmed the then huge estate in the 13th Century, breathe in 700 years of history including ownership by Sir Francis Drake and his family from 1581 to the middle of the 20th Century
- Visit Cotehele, situated in a picturesque riverside location, a magnificent Medieval manor house and considered to be one of the least altered medieval houses in Britain
- As you cross minutes away into neighbouring Cornwall, enjoy the splendid gardens at Antony House. Overlooking the Lynher River with landscaped gardens by Repton, Antony House stands on a peninsular formed by the confluence of two estuaries - the River Tamar to the east and the river Lynher to the north; the sea forming the southern edge
- Enjoy the wild open spaces (and ponies) of Dartmoor National Park. With over 450 miles of public rights of way, there is no shortage of wonderful walks or bike rides in this spectacular National Park
- Just over an hour's drive away in Cornwall, the Eden Project remains a must-see for new visitors to the West Country. It has the world's largest rainforest in captivity, inspirational architecture and educational facilities and stunning garden displays
On the map: You can find us on Plymouth Road, dubbed “the Champs Elysees of Tavistock” when it was first developed in the 19th Century. Number 58 Tavistock is directly opposite Meadowland Park and the Sir Francis Drake Bowls Club – named after, arguably, Tavistock’s most famous son.
By car: A 4 hour drive from London, 2 and a quarter from Bristol but only an hour from Exeter
By train: 3-3 and a half hours from London Paddington to Plymouth, then rent a car
By air: To Exeter or Bristol International Airport, then a 1 to 2 hour drive respectively
Number 5ifty 8ight Tavistock
58 Plymouth Road