Our guide to holidays in the Tamar Valley
Tucked between Devon and Cornwall, The Tamar Valley has to be one of our favourite places. You know, it’s the kind of place you hop in the car and drive to when you just fancy some time in sun-dappled woodland, beside peaceful beaches and with hearty meals. A designated Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, the valley stretches its sleepy way from Bodmin Moor to Dartmoor, and it’s home to ancient mines, historic houses and beautiful gardens.
Don’t be fooled though, because although the valley’s all about unspoilt countryside and rolling South West landscapes, there’s plenty to see and do. For one thing, the thriving foodie scene attracts those of you with a passion for local produce with flair all year round, and there are some fantastic foodie pubs for those meals out.
The Tamar Valley’s comprised of Tavistock, Saltash, Plymouth, Callington and Launceston, and each one has its own character and some unique attractions for visitors. The ancient market town of Tavistock in particular, has something for everyone. So close to Dartmoor that you can almost hear the ponies neighing, this friendly town’s home to the infamous pannier market, and it’s the perfect place to pick up local food and drink and browse the boutique shops.
Days out in The Tamar Valley
With so many days out in The Tamar Valley, it’s pretty much a question of thinking about what you fancy. THE Forgotten Garden of Lewtrenchard has a magical feel all year round, and it sits patiently in the Lew Valley waiting to be discovered. If you’re a fan of Doc Martin, book yourself on one of the guided Doc Martin tyours, which takes in the sights that form the backdrop to the ITV series – including Bodmin Moor and the coastal resort of Port Isaac. Or, if you’re hoping to bump into Poladark during your time in Cornwall, you can pick up a Poldark tour at Launceston, and follow the footsteps of Ross and Demelza themselves…
So that’s the energetic days sorted, but we know there are those holiday days that are earmarked for an amble out in the car with some stop offs for mooching around. We’ve covered the picturesque market town of Tavistock, but if you fancy a taste of the city during your Tamar Valley holiday, you need to head to Plymouth.
Things to do in The Tamar Valley
There are two main ways to explore The Tamar Valley in style, and that’s either on foot or on two wheels. If it’s been way too long since you gathered your favourite people and set off on a cycling adventure, now’s your chance. You’ll find a landscape effortlessly criss-crossed with bike trails and walking routes, and that means plenty of opportunity to enjoy the fresh air and those views. And there’s more good news – you can barely turn a corner without passing a friendly local pub with a reputation for its food…yum.
Now, it’s one thing to while away the odd afternoon sampling the food in one of the locals, but what’s a holiday in the Tamar Valley without taking in the views from its scenic railway? The Tamar Valley Line runs from Plymouth to Gunnislake, and you’ll chug your way through some of the most breathtaking landscape the region has to offer. You’ll pass rolling fields, grazing sheep and sleepy villages, and the highlight of the journey is when the train slowly makes its way across the Calstock viaduct, 120m above the shimmering river below. Maker sure you look for the National Trust’s Cotehele as you make your way across…
Places to eat in the Tamar Valley
There are some cracking places to eat in the Tamar Valley, so this corner of the South West’s quite a hit with foodies from all over the country. Perched right on the border between Cornwall and Devon, The Horn of Plenty has a 2 AA Rosette to its name, and if you’re after some fine dining during your holiday, you may want to book yourselves in. The restaurant proudly serves up British food with a little taste of France thrown in, and the menu uses seasonal and local produce.
Sometimes, the best meals can be those ones where you’ve walked your socks off and you need a warm welcome and a menu crammed with tempting offers, and that’s where The Tamar Inn comes in. Set right on the banks of the River Tamar, this 17th century inn has the kind of character that makes you feel as though you’re a local, and it serves up home cooked, traditional food with an a la carte menu.
And then there’s the Arundell Arms…another one with the 2 AA Rosette fine dining award under its belt, this beautiful restaurant makes the perfect choice for that special holiday meal. One of the most popular places to eat in The Tamar Valley, this one’s perfect for a special occasion.