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.
A century and a half ago 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 4x4 vehicles parked in the perimeter road, there would have been big 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 probably 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 out of all 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 period the Market will be open on Mondays starting from 23rd July through to 27th August 2012. Photographers, potters, artists, upholsterers, quilters, card makers, wood turners, and metal workers mingle with clothiers, milliners, antique 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 is on a Friday and four different revolving markets take place on each Saturday in the month including Aladdins Cave on the first followed by Craft, Mixed and Victorian Fair.
Feeling 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 and 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 alfesco dining.
As has been emphasised, the Pannier Market itself provides a mind-boggling miscellany of goods and it would be as well to check before visiting to see if your particular favourites are trading on the day in question.
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 “ you will be given a warm welcome.
Loo of the Year 2010
For the second year running Tavistock's Pannier Market has won two 'Loo of the Year' Awards, all thanks to the continual hard work of Tavistock Town Council's very own Alison Ewings -pictured left with Mandy Govier who was the Mayor at that time.
Since 1987 the Loo of the Year Awards have sought to give recognition to the best 'away from home' toilets in the UK.
With over 1500 entries to compete against the Pannier Market loos achieved not only a 5-star rating but also the 'National Category Winner' in the retail and markets category.
The Mayor at the time of the award, Cllr Mandy Govier, on behalf of the Town Council and all users of Alison's immaculate super loos, gives heartfelt congratulations and thanks to Alison for her ongoing contribution to making the Pannier Market one of the best markets in the West.
To contact the Pannier Market
Tel: 01822 611003 or email:firstname.lastname@example.org
Website: Tavistock Pannier Market