The Shopper’s Guide to Topsham

If 2020 has taught us anything, it’s that good shops – distinctive, independent ones that showcase top quality locally-sourced products – are a real joy.

And so it is with Topsham, where over 40 independent stores and many more local businesses create a slice of retail heaven like nowhere else in the Exeter area. A vibrant mix of old and new independent shops, the town has its own timeless charm.

Hop off the Number 57 bus or try the half-hourly train service from Exeter, and then aim for Topsham’s main shopping areas – High Street, Fore Street, The Quay and Ferry Road – where buildings date back to the 1700s.

A few retailers reflect Topsham’s maritime history (anyone for a deckchair made out of old sails?) while others offer contemporary furniture and clothes. You’ll also find a bookshop, clock shop, butcher, greengrocer, a cheese shop, zero waste shop, kitchenware, galleries, gift stores, arts and antiques, and many more.

Visit on a Saturday to enjoy a market or come in the build-up to Christmas to see a town combining Dickensian charm with a very 21st century enthusiasm for retail therapy.

If that all sounds like a unique combination at a time when clone towns are all-too-common, you’ll be right – many of Topsham’s traders have been operating in the town for decades, while some new ones are opening even in these tougher times.

All the shops are safe: social distancing and cleanliness are the order of the day, and for visitors who want a pitstop for the very best in local food or drink there are many options for takeaways to enjoy by the estuary if you prefer not to eat-in.

Too good to be true? Try it and see – there’s nowhere quite like Topsham.

Here’s a list of some of its wonderful shops

Thanks to Topsham copywriter Ben Masters for his help with this guide