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A Valley for Travel Trade, Groups and Tours

There are so many reasons why the Tamar Valley is perfect for group travel and coach tours. Not least because of the abundance of wide open spaces that a largely rural location offers, the breadth and depth of history and heritage, and the sheer diversity of the landscape.

The Tamar Valley has so much to offer, whether you’re interested in wildlife and nature, getting out on the water, walking and cycling, mooching about the towns and villages, uncovering your ancestry, or simply chilling out as you admire stunning views and amazing scenery.

The Tamar Valley spans two counties, on one side Cornwall, and the other Devon, and the river Tamar provides a precise border between the two. Have a flip through and download our Group Travel brochure. 

History and Heritage

“I have never seen so many natural beauties in such a limited spot as I have seen here” – JMW Turner

Born in London in 1775, Turner is known to have travelled the Westcountry, with sketchbooks, and pencils in hand, recording anything and everything of interest. His observation was correct, for the area is quite diverse: from high granite ridges and exposed moors to lush, deep wooded valleys, pasture land, rivers, and tidal estuaries. The Tamar Valley is steeped in heritage and was once renowned for both industrial processes and the cultivation of its soil. Dotted with historic Stannary towns, pretty villages, and of course, Britain’s Ocean City, Plymouth, the area offers up many reminders of rich silver, lead, copper, and arsenic mines. Its abundant market gardens producing fruits and flower crops were the envy of the nation.

Shopping

The Tamar Valley is renowned for its unique shopping experiences. With an abundance of towns and villages, complete with independent artisan, craft, and food and drink outlets, those who love to browse for gifts will be spoiled for choice. 

Not to be missed are the many local markets selling an array of delicious local and seasonal produce. Of particular note are Tavistock Pannier Market, and the Butchers Hall. This historic Market is open most days year-round and can trace its roots back to Henry I and 1105 when the town received its Market Charter.  

Places For Groups To Visit

Tavistock Guildhall for Groups

Cotehele Mill

Tamar Lakes

St. Mellion Estate

National Trust Antony House

Bridging the Tamar Visitor and Learning Centre

Dingles Fairground Museum

Bull Pen Gallery, Cotehele

National Trust Cotehele

China Fleet Country Club

Plymouth Boat Trips

Mount Edgcumbe House and Country Park

Launceston Castle

Siblyback Lake

Roadford Lake

Callington Sunday Market

Tavistock Pannier Market

Tavistock Farmers’ Market

Getting Here by Train

Getting here by train couldn’t be easier. The Tamar Valley is well served for rail transport links both in and out of the region. Mainline inter-city services from London, Scotland, and the North of England all stop at Plymouth. Many also stop at the smaller Saltash Station located just across the River Tamar estuary in south east Cornwall, and journey on to Penzance.

The journey from London Paddington takes approximately three and a half hours. In Devon, and at times, the line runs right next to the sea and crosses the beautiful Exe, Teign, and Dart estuaries. Plymouth Station is easy to reach from the rest of the country and once here, explore your onward journey options on the GWR website.  Meanwhile, the newly reopened Okehampton links east to Exeter.  

The Southwest is well connected by a network of scenic main and branch lines, allowing you to enjoy stunning coastal views, verdant countryside, steep wooded valleys, and river crossings. The Tamar Valley line is one of the gems of the country’s rail network linking city, river, and beautiful countryside through one of Britain’s National Landscapes. The line packs a huge amount into is fifteen-mile length from Plymouth to Gunnislake via Calstock. More information can be found on Great Scenic Railways website

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Getting Here by Car

There are several routes into the Tamar Valley by car.  The most direct route is to take the M5 to Exeter, which flows into both the A38 and A30, skirting south and north of Dartmoor respectively. The A38 takes you to Plymouth, and then across the Tamar Bridge to Saltash. The A30 takes you to Launceston towards the upper reaches of the Tamar Valley. The A388 joins Saltash to Launceston and is the main north-south road on the Cornish side of the river.

One can also cross Dartmoor, providing a more sedate introduction to the area, and a true sense of place. This route passes through Tavistock. From there, the A386 is the main north-south road on the Devon side reaching south of Plymouth. Many small roads lead off the three options listed above. These small, winding lanes lead into the heart of the valley through tiny villages and hamlets.   

Getting Here by Sea

Brittany Ferries operates a regular car ferry service to Plymouth from Roscoff in Brittany and Santander in Spain. Once here there are a number of ferry services to explore.

Visitors arriving by yacht will find extensive marina facilities in and around Plymouth, most notably at Sutton Harbour.

Getting Here by Air

The nearest international airport to the Tamar Valley is Exeter International Airport. There are regular scheduled international flights (some seasonal) to and from Cyprus, France, the Greek Islands, Lapland, Portugal, Spain, Spain – Balearics, Spain – Canaries and Turkey. Flights are also available to and from Belfast, Dublin, Edinburgh, Glasgow, Guernsey, Jersey, Isles of Scilly and Newcastle. Isles of Scilly Skybus flies to and from St Mary’s.

Newquay-Cornwall Airport provides routes between Cornwall and London, Dublin, Manchester, East Midlands, Edinburgh, Belfast, Glasgow, Newcastle, Faro, Alicante, Aberdeen, Dusseldorf, Zurich, Malaga, Copenhagen and the Isles of Scilly –  St Mary’s.

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Our Towns

The Tamar Valley boats several unique towns worthy of a visit. Launceston is still known as the Gateway to Cornwall, and the ancient capital of this amazing county! Launceston’s narrow streets cluster around the Norman castle on its impressive hilltop perch with breathtaking views. Once a market town with farmers driving their cattle through its streets, history can be found in every hidden corner.

Tavistock is a vibrant and welcoming market town enticing visitors with a thriving atmosphere. As an ancient stannary town and the origin of the beloved cream tea, Tavistock holds a unique status as the only town in Devon to hold world heritage status.  The undeniable allure of Tavistock is enhanced by an assortment of charming independent shops, and noteworthy attractions include the renowned pannier market and the award-winning farmers’ market. 

Calstock stands as a charming and inviting village deserving the attention of any visitor. With its historical significance and scenic beauty, Calstock holds a unique allure. This village, perched along the banks of the River Tamar, captures the essence of Cornwall’s rich heritage.  

Callington emerges as an enchanting town that beckons visitors with its unique charm. Surrounded by rolling hills, the town showcases a blend of historical character and modern vitality. Callington’s local independent shops add to its appeal, providing a departure from the commonplace high street experience.

Plymouth

Saltash

Calstock

Callington

Tavistock

Launceston

Coach Parking in Plymouth

Coach Layovers, Parking & Driver Facilities in Plymouth

  • Plymouth Citybus depot – PL3 4AA Free

    Coach and lorry daytime and overnight parking Exterior Coach Wash. Toilet Drop. Minor Repairs. Information for Drivers in French and German. Complimentary bus passes for drivers. Tel: 01752 264215.

  • Stagecoach SW Depot – PL9 7JT Free

    Coach daytime and overnight parking. Toilet Drop. Exterior Coach Wash. Complimentary bus passes for drivers. Email: [email protected]. Tel: 01752 495238.

Coach Parking in Tavistock

  • Drop-off point in the town centre, with mobility assistance on request Free

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  • Free coach parking with a 5-minute level walk to the town centre Free

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Coach Parking in Launceston

  • Westgate Street opposite the entrance to the multi storey car park. Free

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  • Phoenix Leisure Centre Free

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  • Cattle Market Paid

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Coach Parking in Saltash

Coach Parking near Torpoint

Other coach parking and drop off

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Places For Groups To Stay

Pentillie Castle

Crylla Valley Group Travel

Honicombe Holiday Village & Leisure Centre

Hotel Endsleigh

St Mellion International Resort

Trevadlock Manor West Wing

Ramblers Rest

Sandhill House Bed and Breakfast

The Bedford Hotel

Two Bridges Hotel

Cottages at Cotehele

The Tamar Valley's Literary and Artistic Heritage

Joseph Mallord William Turner (1775–1851) toured the area in 1813 and his ‘Crossing the Brook’ painting of 1815 is believed to be based on scenes from the valley. A book on the research into Turner’s sketchbooks (housed at the Tate, London) has been published (Diana Cook and Dorothy Kirk, 2009).

David McKee – born in Devon in 1935 and grew up in Tavistock, attending Plymouth Art College, before going on to a career as a children’s author and illustrator for books such as Elmer, Mr Benn and Not Now, Bernard.

Trish Dugmore – author of ‘Larksong’ published in 2020 and set on a Tamar Valley Farm.

Ted Sherrell – was brought up on a Devon farm and served on Tavistock Town Council, where in 2013 he was made the first-ever Freeman of Tavistock. Author of many books about the locality including From the Banks of the Tamar about 1950s life.

Victor Canning (16 June 1911 – 21 February 1986) writer of suspense novels often made into films in the 1950s, 1960s, and 1970s. He grew up in Plymouth and Calstock.

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TV and Film Locations in the Tamar Valley

Beyond Paradise, BBCTV 2023, filmed in Plymouth, St Germans, Werrington, Calstock, Bere Ferrers, Launceston, and other locations in the Tamar Valley as well as locations further afield in Cornwall.

Poldark, BBCTV 2015-19, filmed on Bodmin Moor, particularly cottages and horse-riding scenes near Minions.

Delicious, SkyTV 2016-18, filmed at Pentillie Castle and other locations in the Tamar Valley; also Royal William Yard, Plymouth (actual location now closed).

Sherlock, BBCTV 2012 The Hound of the Baskervilles (Benedict Cumberbatch), filmed at Haytor on the southern side of Dartmoor.

Warhorse, Stephen Spielberg 2011, filmed at Sheepstor and Burrator on the southwestern side of Dartmoor for the early scenes of the story.

Sense and Sensibility 1995, Saltram House, Plymouth, featuring as Norland.

Doctor Who, BBCTV 1975, filmed at Hound Tor, Dartmoor.

Jamaica Inn, Bolventor, the original inspiration, though not a filming location, of the Daphne du Maurier novel which has been dramatised for TV and cinema.

Group Travel Services

Lucy Daniel Guide

Take a Trip on the Tamar Valley Line

Plymouth Boat Trips

Mount Batten Ferry Service – Fishing

About the Valley Tours