Situated just down the South Devon coast from the famous English Riviera, Dartmouth is a picturesque harbour town with an illustrious maritime history. One of the best ways to explore the area is by boat and there are plenty of cruise companies to choose from with tours taking in a number of famous sites along the River Dart. Blackpool Sands, one of South Devon’s finest sandy beaches is also just three miles away and the area is home to a great choice of historical and family attractions to visit.
Enjoy a romantic break in a luxurious choice of apartments situated right on the waterfront and take in the views over the harbour towards neighbouring Kingswear. For families, there is a good choice of comfortable cottages set in either coast or country locations – choose a stylish lodge with private hot tub for an extra special stay! The town is also home to a welcoming range of B&B’s set on or close to the banks of the River Dart or stay in a stylish waterfront hotel with spa facilities and fine dining restaurant. Pets are welcome in many properties but please check individual details for policies/ extra fees.
Boat trips and steam train rides in Dartmouth
A peaceful boat trip along the River Dart or a vintage steam train ride through the South Devon countryside both provide the ideal way of exploring this beautiful coastal area, rich in maritime history. A good choice of package tours including train, boat and bus travel are available and options include a cruise on a unique coal-fired paddle steamer to Kingswear Castle. Other relaxing cruises can take you past the Britannia Royal Naval College, Sir Walter Raleigh’s Boathouse, the Greenway Estate, Dittisham Village and of course, the famous Dartmouth Castle.
Dartmouth Castle has stood at the narrow entrance of the Dart Estuary for over 600 years and offers beautiful views whatever the weather. A day at the castle can include a visit to the Victorian ‘Old Battery’ with remounted heavy guns, the well preserved gun tower and the fine church of St Petroc. The castle has a riverside tea room for snacks and light lunches plus plenty of scenic woodland and coastal walks surround the site.
Other historical attractions to visit include Dartmouth Museum and the Britannia Royal Naval College which both extensively document the town’s nautical past.
A scenic journey up river from Dartmouth brings you to Greenway House and Garden, the former holiday home of much-loved author, Agatha Christie. The property can also be reached by vintage bus or steam train. Greenway is full of collectables amassed by the family and still has the Boathouse – the scene of the crime in Dead Man’s Folly. There is a large romantic woodland and the lovely walled garden has a restored peach house and vinery plus an allotment cared for by local school children.
Please note that if you are arriving by car, parking must be pre-booked online or by telephone. Follow the link at the bottom of the page for further details.
Family days out
Just four miles from the centre of Dartmouth is the all weather attraction of Woodlands Leisure Park. Set over ninety acres, the park has something for visitors of all ages including extensive indoor and outdoor play areas, themed activity zones and rides. Other key features include the falconry centre, pottery decorating, plenty of onsite animals to meet and a regular programme of events. Children’s groups and private parties are very welcome. There are cafes, ice cream kiosks and a diner at the park plus storage lockers, a gift shop and plenty of car parking.
In the summer months from May to September, Dartmouth has a heated outdoor pool where you can spend a fun filled day with the kids. Trained lifeguards are on duty and there is free car parking located nearby. Blackpool Sands, just three miles from Dartmouth, is also a firm favourite for a family day out and you can hire kayaks, boogie boards, wet suits and snorkels nearby. There is a lifeguard at the beach in summer and a no dogs policy applies from Mid march to the end of October.
Events in Dartmouth
Dartmouth’s long naval history is celebrated at the annual Royal Regatta which takes place at the end of August annually. There are plenty of fun events, live music shows, activities and sports for the whole family to enjoy or just relax and watch the sailing races and air displays. The famous Red Arrows are a particular favourite each year. The town also plays host to a Music Festival each May, the Annual Shakespeare Week in August, the Comedy Festival in March and an annual Arts and Crafts weekend which is held in June at the Royal Avenue Gardens. Visitors can also try a host of local cuisine at the Dartmouth Food Festival in October or the Rockfish Crab Party each August.
Ferry Services & Getting here
Dartmouth is accessible by road and ferry. If you are travelling by motorway, the A38 will take you as far as Totnes where you can follow the signs for Dartmouth – around twelve miles. If you are travelling down the English Riviera past Paignton and Goodrington, two regular ferry services are available throughout the day from Kingswear which are known as the Higher Ferry and Lower Ferry. Both foot and car passengers are welcome. The nearest train station is Totnes, approximately three hours by direct service from London Paddington, and National Express coaches also stop in Totnes. Exeter Airport is thirty miles away.