Things to do in Ottery St Mary

Also simply known as Ottery, Ottery St Mary is one of the most charming villages in East Devon. With a host of traditional events and activities still taking place throughout the year and plenty of history and walking trails to explore, you’ll have a variety of fun things to see and do.  

Enjoy the countryside 

Ottery St Mary can be found on the banks of the River Ottery and with an abundance of surrounding countryside. The riverside offers some lovely walks down to the estuary in Budleigh Salterton where you can also enjoy a few hours on the beach, while the village itself gives you easy access to the East Devon Way and the East Devon Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. With the variety of trails and routes, you can have a different adventure each time you visit!  

One of the best loved outdoor spots is the Tumbling Weir, which you can find by walking along the river. The weir was first build in 1790 and remains one of the village’s most interesting landmarks.  

History and heritage 

Ottery is known as being the birth place of Samuel Taylor Coleridge, one of Britain’s great romantic poets. He spent a lot of time in Devon and was hugely inspired by the beauty of the region. The village is also used as the basis for Ottery St Catchpole which features in the Harry Potter books – which might explain its magical atmosphere! The most important building is the church of St Mary which is a much smaller version of Exeter Cathedral and is worth a visit, especially if you love the weird and wonderful. The church contains a minstrel gallery and an astronomical clock and is regularly used as a venue for concerts as well as the usual services.  

There are two historic houses nearby, a Tudor style manor house and a another with gardens designed by the well-known Capability Brown.  

Support local  

Ottery St Mary has a good selection of shops, many of which are independent and the high street gives the impression of visiting the days of years gone by. You can find everything from DIY stores, butchers, independent clothing stores, book shops and just about everything else you can think of. The high street also has a selection of eateries and a local market which takes place once a month.  

Fascinating events 

Ottery St Mary is best known for its regular traditional events. Every summer there is Pixie Day where the local children dress up as pixies and re-enact an old legend where the resident pixies were expelled from the village centre and sent to live in the surrounding caves. The main event is on Bonfire Night when the traditional Tar Barrel Rolling takes place. This annual event is the only one still remaining in the west country and includes barrels being set on fire and then carried through the streets in a procession.