Welcome to Barnstaple
Barnstaple is situated in the valley of the river Taw, and is surrounded by stunning countryside. The beaches of Saunton, Croyde, Putsborough, Woolacombe, and Westward Ho! are within easy reach, as are the wide-open spaces of Exmoor.
This historic town has much to interest the visitor. The Parish Church of St Peter and St Mary Magdalene, with its twisted spire, stands in the centre of the town. Next-door is St Anne's Arts and Community Centre one of the oldest buildings in Barnstaple, where the poet and playwright John Gay, author of the Beggar's Opera, attended school. Barnstaple Heritage Centre, on the riverside at Queen Anne's Walk, tells the story of over a thousand years of the town's history, where the past comes to life in a fascinating hands-on exhibition.
The Town, said to be one of the oldest Boroughs in England, is the commercial heart of North Devon. Shopping centres and national stores sit easily beside family businesses and traditional markets.
The Pannier Market in Barnstaple recently celebrated its 150th Anniversary. The general market is held throughout the year on Tuesdays, Fridays and Saturdays, while seasonal markets on Mondays and Thursdays specialise in Local Crafts. The popular Antiques Market takes place every Wednesday.
The opening of Barnstaple Fair in September is the major civic event of the year, and the tradition is said to be as old as the town itself. The ceremony takes place at the Guildhall, where civic dignitaries and invited members of the public are guests of the Mayor and the Town Council. A white-gloved hand is suspended high over the street from the Guildhall to symbolise the open hand of friendship, and to welcome all who attend the fair.
Barnstaple has much to offer all year round. With its unique character it remains largely unspoiled and is one of the most delightful towns in the Southwest.
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