"Tavi: Built To Last!" Tavistock by johngayton
Tavistock Travel Guide: 34 reviews and 56 photos
Tavistock is a place which holds many fond memories. In the late 90's I worked for a small hotel group, Warm Welcombe Hotels which own two very individual hotels in the area.
When I worked out at Two Bridges Tavi was the place where I went on my days off to get my laundry done, do my shopping and, of course, have a few beers. I even used to eat here, before, during and after the beers! Having finished my contract at Two Bridges I subsequently rejoined the group when it bought The Bedford Hotel in the town centre - and so more beers were enjoyed and I ended up on first name terms with most of the local publicans!
On this visit however I only had a couple of hours which I spent wandering and reaquainting myself with the town and so only managed one pub visit - to the Tavi Inn in the town centre. Unfortunately the old publican that I knew there has moved on, as have the crowd that I used to catch every afternoon during my break between shifts but the pub still has the friendliness and ambience that I remember.
The town itself has hardly changed, except that my favourite tobacco shop is no more, and walking its streets as a tourist I came to appreciate just how attractive it is. Previously I'd sort of taken it for granted and hadn't really noticed the detail and craftmanship of the buildings, the variety of independent specialist shops and the general feel of civic pride which the place has.
This really is an attractive little town.
Tavistock is West Devon's main market town and nestles in the lush valley of the River Tavy on the Western edge of Dartmoor. Tavistock has a rich history becoming a major town just before the turn of the first millenium when its Benedictine Abbey was built.
It got its charter as a market town in the early 1100's and became a stannary town (where the local tin miners had their metal assayed and sold) in 1281.
Henry the VIII's Dissolution of the Monastaries resulted in the Abbey being demolished in 1539 and the town being essentially gifted to the Russell family who later became the Dukes of Bedford.
During the 19th Century the town prospered as an important copper mining centre whilst maintaining its position as a major market town. The 7th Duke of Bedford, who did quite well out of all this, ploughed much of his profits into the town's development and was responsible for the building of the Town Hall (above), the new bridge (adjacent), the Pannier Market (below) and much of the town's other solid stone buildings.
The modern town has seen very few changes since the 7th Duke rebuilt it (many of the buildings are now listed). The railway came and went, leaving behind its magnificent viaduct towering over the top end of the town, and apart from the rather hideously incongruous new supermarket not much else has changed.
This isn't a stagnant timelessness though. The town is busy, buzy and is even quite trendy with a lively arts scene, excellent independent shops and public spaces and sporting facilities galore.
It says something about a town that when McDonalds opened shop here they had to close quite soon afterwards through lack of business!!!
It's not that there isn't any business, as a visit to any of the thriving and vibrant cafes, restaurants and pubs will attest, but simply that McDonalds just couldn't compete against what is very much a discerning clientele.
There are fast-food places here, such as TJ's Fish & Chips and Warrens Pasties, to name but two, but these are locally-owned and whilst not cheap, cheap the locals would rather spend that little extra and get something decent - Nice One Tavi!
More about "Foodie Tavi" on forthcoming restaurant and shopping tips.
- Pros:Everything You Could Want From Your Local Town
- Cons:There Aren't Any!
- In a nutshell:One Of Devon's Bestest Characters!
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