A warm five-bedroom property in a great location in Topsham, Quay House sleeps 10 people and is suitable for all ages. Beautifully presented throughout with an eclectic mix of curios curated by the auction house owners, it’s a great base for groups of families and friends to explore the town and south Devon. Situated smack bang in the middle of Topsham with glimpses of the river. No stag or hen parties.
It’s packed full of vintage, retro and antique collectibles, and a stone’s throw from the Quay Antiques building and Casa furniture store, and a host of other interesting independent shops and galleries.
There’s parking for three or four cars, but with Route 2 Bikes cycle hire opposite, there’s no excuse not to hop on a bike and explore all the shops, gourmet restaurants, museum and waterside action straight from your front door. A patio area offers a great space for al fresco dining and there’s a walled garden for children to play in. A few minutes’ walk away, you can take Topsham Ferry to the south bank of the Exe, crossing the river at its narrowest point. Tranquil waterside paths lead two miles downriver to the Turf pub, where the Sea Dream ferry sails back to Topsham.
Described as ‘little Chelsea outside London’, Topsham has an array of shops, galleries and restaurants to rival that of the big smoke – the difference here, of course, is that you are a hop, skip and a jump away from the stunning coast and countryside. The ancient port town was once a lively shipyard, but now the Exe Estuary is now a relaxing haven for wild birds, traditional salmon fishermen and pleasure boats. A sailing club, swimming pool, recreation ground, tennis courts, and the recently completed Route 2 cycle path, which aligns the river to Exmouth, create activities for all ages. Birdwatchers will also enjoy the multitude of avocets and other birds that frequent the RSPB nature reserve along the Goat Walk and the mud flats of the river.
Nautical but nice is the vibe at Quay House – a comfortable, cosy home brought to life by a wonderful collection of antiques, vintage trinkets and retro prints, lovingly put together by the auctioneer owners. From 'Bluebird' and rowing oars on the living room walls to a retro petrol pump on the upstairs landing, the property oozes charm. Decorated in bold blues and reds, there is a real British sensibility here, with nods to the house’s seafaring past and location.
The spacious living room boasts a wood burner at one end – a lovely, cosy space to retire to after a long day exploring the local area in the winter months, or a tranquil place to enjoy a book and a cookie or two. Two distinct zones in this living space are handy for families – grown-ups can mingle at one end on the blue sofas, while children or young adults can congregate on the red leather sofas at the other end to play games and watch TV.
The whole group can come together again in the large kitchen/diner, which easily seats 10 people. The beautiful modern space is fully equipped with everything a keen cook desires, from an Aga to a KitchenAid mixer – perfect for rustling up family feasts with all the beautiful local fresh fish and produce available on your doorstep. An under-the-stairs loo completes the ground-floor picture.
Five beautifully furnished bedrooms offer accommodation for 10 people. Bedroom 1 provides a super king-size bed with a TV and fully modernised en suite shower room with a walk-in shower, basin and WC. Classically decorated in muted tones with elegant antique furniture, including a pretty dressing table, this room is a symphony in understated luxury.
A second bedroom has a luxurious king-size bed with a sumptuous blue bedstead, with beautiful antique bedside tables and lamps.
Bedroom three offers a queen-size bed with contemporary touches.
Bedroom four is ideal for children, with two single beds and vintage boxing prints on the walls, while the fifth bedroom on the ground-floor has another pair of single beds that are perfect for all ages.
A large family bathroom boasts a freestanding claw feet bath with a shower, a walk-in shower, basin and traditional-style, old-fashioned WC.
Outside, there is a safe, enclosed walled front garden – ideal for children and dogs to let off steam or to relax in good weather – while to the rear of the property, a courtyard offers a sophisticated space for 10 people to eat outside.
Guests access the house via the key lock and have open access privately to the entire house and grounds
With sand dunes, thatched villages and tethered yachts, Devon’s Exe estuary is the epitome of nautical loveliness. Wide and limpid, at its top is Topsham, its lanes crowded with Tudor cottages, Dutch gables and peeps of wisteria over high stone walls. Nothing beats strolling through the town yourself or joining one of the twice-weekly free 90-minute walking tours on Wednesdays and Saturdays in spring and summer.
Topsham offers plenty of fancy pubs and restaurants, such as the Globe pub and The Galley. Try a barbecue at the Turf – accessible only by foot or boat – or watch the tide at the Anchor Inn Cockwood. Pebblebed Cellars provides a wine bar and excellent takeaway pizza, the Boat House serves lovely gallettes, and local pub the Passage House Inn – just a minute away from Wixels – is a lovely pub for excellent local ale and hearty food. Head to The Cafe for an excellent brunch. To stock up for a meal in, check out Richard’s greengrocers, Arthur’s Butchery & Delicatessen and Nourish for refillable food and home goods. While you’re there, enjoy wandering around the wealth of boutiques and interesting independents on Fore Street.
Fancy exploring the surrounding area? Head to Darts Farm shopping village – the best farm shop you’ll ever visit! It has good fish and chips, plus a cafe and food hall. For top-flight fine dining for a special occasion at surprisingly reasonable prices and a beautiful place to visit try Lympstone Manor. Visit the cathedral city of Exeter with its cathedral, museum, cimanas, shops and restaurants or Exmouth for the seaside experience. Take the train from Topsham to both Exeter and Exmouth.
Cyclists of all ages will love the Exe estuary cycle path – a newly constructed, almost entirely traffic-free cycle trail that takes you right around the Exe Estuary from Dawlish to Exmouth. The estuary is of international importance for wintering waders and wildfowl, supporting thousands of birds. RSPB reserves near Topsham and Dawlish Warren National Nature Reserve offer some of the best opportunities to view wildlife along the estuary. Bike rental available.
For a good 5km run door to door, try the Goat Walk loop – a circular walk round Topsham taking in the bird hide on the ‘other’ side where Topsham’s hidden second river, the Clyst, loops round.
History buffs will be charmed by the unusual National Trust folly, A La Ronde, an eccentric 18th-century, 16-sided house with fascinating interior decoration and collections.
There are several car parks in Topsham but as with many small Devon towns, parking overall is limited and many people prefer the excellent public transport. Topsham does have a hire by the hour or day car club service too, with a parking space in Tappers Close. This is part of a wider network of cars across Exeter. There is also the local taxi company, Sowton and Topsham Cars on 01392 879090.
Trains between Exeter and Exmouth run half-hourly, and all stop at Topsham. Trains towards Exeter alternately go on to Paignton and Barnstaple.
If you are experienced on the water, why not kayak from Exeter quay? For a very useful guide to the local waters, see Exmouth and River Exe (including Topsham) at visitmyharbour.com. Entrance to the Exe Estuary is quite tricky and tide-critical.
Other Things to Note:
Free offroad parking on the driveway is limited to 3 cars
Interaction with Guests:
Quay House is professionally managed by Fresh Escapes. A Devon based privately owned Vacation Rental and Management company who are here to ensure your stay runs as smoothly as possible.