Newton Abbot is a market town in South Devon, UK, close to the tourist resort of Torquay. It is often considered to be the most boring town in Britain.

A bit of background

The town is divided by the River Lemon. In 1220, a new town was founded on the South of the river by the Abbot of Torre Abbey in Torquay - the owner of the land. He was allowed to hold weekly markets in his new town, causing the place to flourish and to receive the imaginative name Newton (new town) Abbot.

The land to the North of the river was owned by a family known as the Bushels. In 1246, the Bushel family founded their own new town with its own weekly markets; this town they called Newton Bushel.

Despite relatively successful markets and fairs, the two towns stayed small even when, in 1663, the Bushel market was moved to be combined with the Abbot one.

Things pretty much stayed this way until the 19th century. The towns prospered with the coming of the railway in 1864; they were an important stop on the way to Torbay or Plymouth and Cornwall. Their combined populations exploded from 2,400 to over 12,500 by 1901 and it was around this time that that a new council joined the two towns together, they would take the name of the larger Newton Abbot.

Today, the town has grown to be home to 25,00 very bored people

What is there to do in Newton Abbot?

Almost nothing. There is one club, Enigma (avoid!), one bowling alley and the worst cinema in the Western world. The town centre is small, although it is quite pleasant. The town seems to be full, mostly of elderly, retired people. There is very little reason to go there unless it's to visit somewhere. Abbotonians themselves, tend to come to Torbay or up to Exeter for amusement.

There are, however, a surprising amount of rather good pubs. The most well-known part of Newton Abbot is, of course, the racecourse - which is also home to a very large and successful CAMRA-organised beer festival.

Anything else of interest?

Apparently, it was home to John Lethbridge who invented the first underwater diving machine - trialling it in his garden pond. So, no.

Where can I go from here?

Devonlink (
BBC Devon. (
Local Histories - Newton Abbot (

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