Where is Totnes (and how to get there in 2024!)

If you’re planning a Devon holiday, you might be wondering where is Totnes and how do I get there?

Totnes is a market town located in South Devon, approximately 30 miles from Exeter and 24 miles from Plymouth. 

In this blog post, we’ll look at Totnes’s exact location and transport options to the town. 

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Where is Totnes? 

Top of Totnes castle, Claire is smiling in the selfie with Totnes below her
Claire at Totnes Castle!

Located in the southern part of Devon, the town of Totnes is strategically positioned along the banks of the River Dart. 

The town is approximately 30 miles south of Exeter and 24 miles east of Plymouth

Here’s a table detailing the distance between Totnes and nearby Devon tourist towns: 

LocationDistance from TotnesApproximate Travel Time by Car
Paignton6 miles15-20 minutes
Dartmouth14 miles25-30 minutes
Torquay9 miles20-25 minutes
Buckfastleigh (for Dartmoor)7 miles15 minutes

For travelers coming from London, Totnes is roughly 180 miles southwest of the capital. 

Here’s another table detailing the distance between Totnes and major cities in the UK: 

LocationDistance from TotnesApproximate Travel Time by Car
Bristol110 miles2 hours
Birmingham194 miles3 hours
Manchester265 miles4.5 hours
Bournemouth110 miles2.5 hours
Edinburgh472 miles8 hours

Is Totnes a beach town?

Totnes isn’t a beach town, as it’s inland on the banks of the River Dart.

Its closest beach town is Paignton, around a 15-20 minute drive away. My favourite beach in Paignton is Goodrington Sands.

It’s also not too far from beaches on the west of the River Dart, including the famous Slapton Sands, a scenic pebble beach and nature reserve with WW2 history.

How to get to Totnes

Totnes is well-connected by car, train and bus. If you really want to fly, it’s not too far from Exeter Airport. 

How to get to Totnes (driving directions)

Totnes is easily accessible by road. 

If you’re driving from London, hop onto the M3 and then transition to the A303, following signs for Exeter. 

From Exeter, the A38 dual carriageway leads towards Plymouth – follow this road until turning off to the A384.

The journey from London takes approximately 3.5 hours without heavy traffic.

Coming from the North, such as Birmingham or Manchester, you’ll mainly use the M5 motorway and then again take the A38 and A384 to reach Totnes.

The drive from Birmingham usually takes around 3 hours, while from Manchester, you’re looking at about 4.5 hours.

To reach Totnes from Cornwall, your best bet is the A38, often referred to as the Devon Expressway

This road runs parallel to the south Devon coast, eventually leading you to Totnes. 

How to take the train to Totnes

GWR train

Totnes is well-served by the UK’s rail network, making it a convenient destination whether you’re coming from London, the Midlands, or even further afield. 

Totnes railway station is often a stop on the Great Western Railway line that goes to Plymouth and ultimately, Penzance (although do note that not all trains to Penzance stop at Totnes).

If you’re starting your journey in London, you’ll typically board a train at London Paddington. 

Direct trains to Totnes take roughly three hours. 

If you’re coming from Birmingham or Manchester, you’ll usually have to make a change at Exeter St Davids before proceeding to Totnes. The total travel time from Birmingham is around 3.5 to 4 hours, and from Manchester, it’s about five to six hours. 

If you’re closer, perhaps in Exeter or Plymouth, the train to Totnes is quick and straightforward. From Exeter, the journey is just about 30 minutes, and from Plymouth, it’s around 40 minutes.

You can buy tickets online in advance from various providers or directly at the station. 

Buying in advance is often cheaper, especially during peak travel seasons.

I’d also always recommend purchasing a Railcard if you’re eligible (if you’re aged under 31 or over 60, often travel with another person, have a disability or are a veteran you’ll be able to get one). With one, you’ll get a 30% deduction off train fares – mine’s saved me hundreds of pounds.

Which London station goes to Totnes?

You can catch a train to Totnes from London Paddington Station. The train services are primarily provided by Great Western Railway. It’s one of the main stations in London and well-connected to various parts of the city.

Does Totnes have a station?

Yes, Totnes has its own railway station, making it easy to reach the town by train. The station offers various amenities like ticket machines, waiting rooms, and taxi services.

Which line is Totnes on?

Totnes railway station is on the Exeter to Plymouth line, also part of the longer London Paddington to Penzance route. You’ll have good connectivity to several key destinations across the country.

How long is the train journey from London to Totnes?

The train journey from London Paddington to Totnes typically takes around 2.5 to 3 hours. The duration can vary depending on the number of stops and the specific train service you choose. You’ll want to check the timetable for the most current information.

How far is Totnes railway station from the town centre?

Totnes railway station is about a 10- to 15-minute walk from the town centre – a straight path down Station Road. Taxis are also readily available.

How to take the bus to Totnes

Totnes is a well-connected town served by a variety of local and national bus routes. 

One of the primary bus companies operating in the area is Stagecoach South West. They offer a range of services connecting Totnes to nearby towns and cities such as Exeter, Plymouth, and Torquay. 

Other local buses connect Totnes to places like Paignton, Dartmouth and Newton Abbot. Single journeys on many of these are just £2 thanks to the current government cap on bus fares.

Buses usually depart from central bus stations or key transit points, making it easy for you to find your boarding location. 

The services are fairly frequent, especially during weekdays.

If you’re coming from London, Bristol, or Birmingham, National Express coaches offer direct or one-stop services to Totnes. 

The coaches are equipped with amenities like Wi-Fi and power outlets. 

The bus stop in Totnes is conveniently located close to the town centre, making it easy to transition to local transportation or walk to nearby attractions.

Book on the National Express website in advance to secure your seat.

Flying to Totnes (via Exeter or Bristol)

While Totnes doesn’t have its own airport, the closest and most convenient option is Exeter International Airport, which has flights to places like Glasgow, Edinburgh, Belfast and Newcastle.

Exeter is about 30 miles to the north of Totnes, with an approximate driving time of 45 minutes to an hour. You’ll need to take bus 4A to Exeter city centre and then change to train to reach Totnes by public transport.

Bristol Airport flies to a larger range of continental locations and is 92 miles to the northeast, taking around 1 hour 45 minutes by car. You’ll need to travel from Bristol Airport to Bristol City and then transfer to train to Totnes if travelling by public transport.

What is the closest airport to Totnes, Devon?

The closest airport to Totnes is Exeter International Airport, approximately 30 miles away.

You’ll find several domestic and a few international flights operating from this airport.

Boat to Totnes

Boat to Totnes

This isn’t a form of transport many take to Totnes, but there is a boat connecting Dartmouth with the town.

It’s not a passenger ferry, it’s a sightseeing cruise, but if you’re on holiday in Dartmouth (or Kingswear) you could technically use this as your transport to reach Totnes!

These cruises are operated by the Dartmouth Steam Railway and River Boat Company.

You can purchase one-way or return tickets for the boat between Dartmouth and Totnes OR make use of a Round Robin ticket, which includes the ferry, bus to Paignton, steam train between Paignton and Kingswear and ferry between Kingswear and Dartmouth.

Are you ready to visit Totnes?

Tucked into the heart of Devon, Totnes is relatively easy to reach by road and rail and there are even bus and boat connections!

And once you’re here, there are oodles of things to do, including the ancient castle, quirky shops on the high street and lush river – it’s a West Country town like no other!

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