Skip Navigation Go to main navigation


Just four miles away from Exeter city centre and served by frequent bus and train services, lies the historic port of Topsham.

Topsham (c) Stonefree Photography Topsham (c) Stonefree Photography

Famed for its shipbuilding and maritime history, Topsham on the Exe Estuary was once a larger port than Exeter itself. Now still delightfully self-contained, it offers a mixture of fascinating architecture including the Dutch style merchants houses is home to antique shops, tea rooms, pubs and restaurants of character.

A Natural Attraction

From the 15th Century church tower at the heart of Topsham a stunning panorama of the Haldon Hills unfolds. Looking down over the estuary you can see small fishing boats in action amongst the sailing craft, whilst at the historic Quay sea-going vessels of all descriptions may be moored. The shores of the estuary are a sanctuary to a large variety of fascinating birds and other wildlife which you can observe more closely either on foot or by boat.

A Heritage Attraction

Topsham Architecture (c) Stonefree Photography Topsham's past as a thriving centre of commerce and its lucky escape from the ravages of World War II have left it with a unique architectural legacy. In the centre, many buildings date from the 17th Century, with some as early as the 14th. Along the well-known Strand, a residential riverside street, are beautiful examples of 17th and 18th century merchant houses built in the Dutch style, with their characteristic curved gable ends.

Topsham Museum

One of Topsham's historic buildings, complete with courtyard and estuary gardens, is home to the Topsham Museum, an enviably large collection which celebrates the town's past glory, portraying many details of life there in previous centuries, when Topsham's maritime, commercial and shipbuilding enterprises were in their heyday.

  • Open: April - October Monday, Wednesday, Saturday and Sunday afternoons 2pm - 5pm. Also Thursdays in August.
  • Admission free

Topsham Pool 

Open daily from mid-May to mid-September, Topsham's open-air pool is a great day out for all the family. Visit Topsham Pool for more information.


Topsham is renowned for its welcoming atmosphere, friendliness and hospitality. The many interesting shops in the main street tend to be small family-run businesses catering for the local community throughout the year. There is a fine selection of antiques shops and centres. Explore cobbled alleyways and independent boutiques.

Eating Out

The town is unusually well-endowed with tea-rooms, restaurants and pubs, many with attractive gardens and terraces! A speciality is the fresh seafood restaurants such as Oliva Restaurant and the Galley. There are coaching inns, bistros, friendly pubs, Italian and French restaurants, and plenty of opportunities for a traditional cream tea.

Boat Trips

Stuart Line Cruises operate regular River Exe boat trips from Exmouth to Topsham. For further information call 01395 279693 or visit Stuart Line Cruises.

Birds & Boats at Topsham - Image

Get a unique view of the Exe Estuary with its rare bird life and ever-changing tides on the Topsham to Turf Ferry. The crossing takes a relaxing 15 minutes each way.

Topsham Passenger Ferry

Topsham Passage Ferry dates back in records to the middle ages when the Port of Topsham was flourishing and Exeter Ship Canal had not been extended to Turf.  This foot ferry was much used by passengers travelling through Exminster Railway Station and to Exminster Hospital.  Passenger numbers reduced during the Second World War and under the Ferries Acquisition Act the local council took over this operation.  Topsham Passage Ferry is most convenient for train and bus connections with a ferry link on Exeter Ship Canal either down to Turf or up to Double Locks where a change of boat can take you on up to Exeter Quay.

The introduction of the new style ferry (Shimmer) gives cyclists the opportunity to ride on the Exe Estuary Cycle Route crossing from Topsham to Exeter Ship Canal and Exminster Marshes.

The Topsham Passenger Ferry is open Easter to 30 September daily 9.30am to 5.30pm except Tuesdays.  From October to March the ferry is open weekends and Bank Holidays only: 

Getting to Topsham

Just four miles away from Exeter City Centre, Topsham is served by frequent bus and train services. The picturesque town is just a few minutes drive from the M5 and junction 30. The Topsham Ferry operates across the River Exe from Topsham to the Exeter Ship Canal and Exminster Marshes.

The Topsham leaflet has information about how to get to Topsham, as well as what to see when you've arrived.

pdf icon Topsham Exeter's Historic Port [527kb]

Visit the Topsham Town Website for more information on things to see and do in Topsham.


Cookie Policy

Our site uses cookies to store information on your computer; this allows us to give you the best experience possible and to continually improve our site by giving us a better understanding of how it is being used.

By clicking Proceed or continuing without changing these settings, you consent to this but if you would like to change your settings you can do so at any time at the bottom of the page.

Proceed Change Settings
Find out more about Cookies