Honiton, Devon

A busy enough town in East Devon that’s well known for its lace making and for its pottery. The town was in recent years regarded as the antiques capital of the South West and though there are still more of this type of shop than you’d usually find in a town this size, the number has dwindled somewhat. On Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday each week, market stalls line the wide main street and the atmosphere is a lively one, with the occasional aroma of hot pies and homemade burgers to tempt you.  

If you like art, the Thelma Hulbert Gallery is well worth a visit; they have regularly changing exhibitions and family workshops, a small café and a gift shop that sells wares made by local artists. Honiton, like a lot of West Country towns, has a carnival once a year. If that was the night that aliens decided to land, they would probably take one look at this, wonder what on earth (excuse the pun) was going on, and turn around pretty sharpish! Decorated floats festooned with bright lights and folk dressed in all kinds of costume parade through the town, but by jove, they raise a lot of money for charity and virtually the whole town comes out to watch it, so it’s a big occasion. If you came on a certain day in July you might stumble across the unusual custom of Hot Pennies Day, when warmed pennies are scattered from windows of pubs in the town, another event that pulls the crowds, and usually a TV camera or two.

Going back to the town’s traditions of lace making and pottery, you can find out more about Honiton lace, which was used on Queen Victoria’s wedding dress, at the Allhallows Museum of Lace and Antiquities, and you can have a go at making or painting pottery at The Honiton Pottery Workshop. If you’re after something more substantial than a milkshake, head for Bella Pizza or The Holt at the bottom of town next to the river.

All information correct at the time of writing

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