Nestled behind the Town Hall, and just off the busy high street, there is a shoppers’ paradise and one of the hidden gems of Tavistock. In the centre of this beautiful pedestrianised area you will find the historic Pannier Market surrounded by some fantastic independent shops and cafes. Inside the Market building itself you can discover a wide range of traders, artists and crafts people offering a personal service with quality goods at competitive prices. Market days: Tuesdays: Antiques and collectables; Wednesdays and Thursdays: Crafts and mixed market; Fridays: Traditional charter market, fresh produce; Saturdays: Regular themed markets, 1st Saturday of the month is Aladin’s cave colletables, 2nd Saturday is crafts and the others are mixed.
The town received its Market Charter from Henry I in 1105 and the town prospered from its weekly markets, being the centre of a large farming district. The town’s Market used to be held in Bank Square, now a car park, but in 1860 the Seventh Duke of Bedford moved the River Tavy sideways and built a magnificent Market Hall surrounded by delightful small shops.
It is not difficult to imagine similar protestations then to those we now hear about a proposed new supermarket and, indeed, that is exactly what this beautiful Pannier Market was all those years ago.
However, instead of supermarket trolleys inside and 4×4 vehicles parked in the perimeter road, there would have been horses, asses and ponies with panniers (big baskets) tethered to the many rings still to be seen in the building.
The surrounding villagers and townsfolk would come every Friday to purchase their weekly shopping, the wealthy by horse-drawn transport but others mostly on foot.
Around 150 years later many markets have fallen by the wayside as shopping habits have changed, but Tavistock Pannier Market has faced the challenge head-on and adapted beyond recognition, as some long-standing traders will confirm, and now when you visit us you will be met with a vibrant, colourful and varied choice of goods covering an amazing spectrum.
The Market opens every day from Tuesday until Saturday and prides itself on the eclectic range it has to offer. During the Summer Holiday period the Market is open on Mondays too. Photographers, potters, artists, upholsterers, quilters, card makers, wood turners, and metal workers mingle with clothiers, milliners, antiques experts and furniture-makers.
There is a great selection of five day traders, who are always present in the Market, selling a diverse mix of products and services ranging from antiquarian and second-hand books, pet food, watch batteries and repairs, engraved gifts, delicious cakes and sweets to DIY tools and sundries, fashion jewellery and garden plants, plus so much more.
In addition to the regular five day stall holders, there are many traders who change throughout the week to reflect the different daily themes.Tuesday’s Market includes craft, antiques and collectables, a Mixed Market with a varied range of goods and crafted wares on Wednesdays and Thursdays. The traditional Charter Market takes place on Fridays, with four different themed markets taking place on each Saturday in the month. These themes include Aladdin’s Cave on the first Saturday, followed by Craft, Mixed and a Victorian Fair on the following Saturdays.
eeling peckish? Every day there is a wide selection of food on offer in and around the Market including specialist wholefood, olive and fudge stalls and shops, plus cakes, pastries, jams and chutneys amongst the other tempting delicacies. You can also choose from a selection of cafes providing freshly prepared local produce with a choice of both indoor and alfresco dining options.
As the Market has steadily progressed into a brighter and more attractive centre, so the many shops in the perimeter have widened their appeal to a far greater audience. Among the shops surrounding the Market are to be found two very good and yet very different cafés, quality butchers, a traditional barbers, cheese, specialist gifts and quality clothing and footwear.
In addition to the daily markets, special events take place from time to time including many special pre-Christmas Markets with free wine and mince pies, special charity Markets and an exciting medley of fairs and displays in the adjoining Town Hall, combined with an award-winning Farmers’ Market twice a month. There is always something to make your visit worthwhile and you will always be given a warm welcome.