Steeped in maritime history, Dartmouth lies at the mouth of the majestic River Dart. This bustling waterfront town is overlooked by the famous and somewhat imposing Britannia Royal Naval College, just one hint at the town’s historic and strategic importance. Look around and you’ll notice old fortifications on both sides of the river. Bayards Cove Fort, dating from Tudor times is easy to access just a short stroll from the shops, or you can take the passenger ferry up to Dartmouth Castle, which has guarded the narrow entrance to the port for over 600 years, and then walk along the stunning South West Coast Path towards Stoke Fleming and Strete.
Central to Dartmouth is the “boat float”. From here, take time to explore the picturesque network of streets and alleys with their abundance of independent shops, cafés and restaurants. For art lovers, there are numerous galleries and you may even spot the famous artist, Simon Drew, at work. For a hearty brunch, see if you can squeeze onto a shared table in the bustling Café Alf Resco or for a more continental feel, sample the delights of Saveurs French bakery.
Whether you’re a seasoned sailor or a total novice, a simple must for every visitor is to take to the water. Sailing, kayaking or hopping on a passenger ferry to nearby Totnes, Dittisham or Greenway (once a home of Agatha Christie) will allow you to enjoy this truly idyllic stretch of river. Keep an eye out for wildlife on the way as you may be lucky enough to be accompanied by a friendly seal!
If you’re looking for a day out on the beach, drive along the truly breathtaking coast road to nearby Blackpool Sands (no dogs in high season) and on to Torcross at Slapton Sands, a three and a half mile stretch of beach with a neighbouring freshwater nature reserve, Slapton Ley, which is a haven for bird watchers.
From Dartmouth, you can cross the water to neighbouring Kingswear to walk the Dart Valley Trail towards Greenway, catch the steam railway or take the higher car ferry across for a family day out at Paignton Zoo or Torquay's Living Coasts.
Dartmouth itself literally heaves at the seams during Dartmouth Regatta in late August, but there is also plenty to keep you entertained throughout the rest of the year. And if you prefer simple pleasures, the embankment provides the perfect spot for crabbing. All you need is a bucket, line, net and some bait and it won’t be long before you hear squeals of delight from the whole family!
Picturesque Dartmouth is the ideal holiday cottage location for couples or families looking to enjoy all this lovely coastal town has to offer as soon as they walk out their front door.
Operating from the pontoon at Dartmouth, a trip out on the Picnic Boat is a great way to experience the beautiful scenery of the River Dart and enjoy some delicious food along the way. No soggy sandwiches here, guests can choose from a delicious menu of locally caught seafood; a huge array of salads, cheese and cooked meats; cream teas, breakfasts and lots more. The Picnic Boat is also fully licensed with a selection of wines, champagne and other drinks on offer.
Boat-hire company in the centre of Dartmouth offering a range of rigorously maintained small motor boats and launches, perfect for a day messing about on the river. Boats are available to hire by the hour or by the day with all safety equipment included.
Dartmouth Boat Hire N Embankment, Dartmouth TQ6 9SW (T: 07850 118920)
Giving you an alternative way to explore the attractions of Torquay, Paignton, Brixham, Dartmouth, Kingswear and Totnes along the Rover Dart, the Dartmouth Steam Railway and River Boat Company offers a Dartmouth River Cruise, a Sea Train and a trip to Greenway House, the holiday home of Agatha Christie. There’s also a steam train and cruises on a paddle steamer amongst other options, so take a peak at the website for full details. They have offers and discounts available for groups and seasonal fares as well as membership cards if you are so inspired you would choose to visit again or want to buy the experience as a gift for seasoned South Devon holidaymakers.
Dartmouth Castle has guarded the narrow entrance to the Dartmouth Harbour for over 600 years and today is an interesting and enjoyable attraction for all ages. Thanks to English Heritage’s restoration and careful upkeep, visitors can enjoy the wonderful position with breathtaking views across the estuary whilst learning the fascinating history of this fortress built to protect the harbour from invaders.
There’s plenty to do inside the castle with grisly tales and interactive displays, and if the weather is fine you can take a river boat trip from the town quay up to the castle which makes a nice day out. After you have explored the castle you can visit the Castle tearooms for light lunches, cream teas or a glass of wine in the sunshine.
A 1920s country retreat that takes you back the the age of jazz; this National Trust property was once the home of the D’Oyly Carte family. The house has been built in the arts and crafts style and is imbued with 1920s elegance while the garden is RHS accredited and is brimming with plants from the Mediterranean, South Africa and New Zealand. Taking you back to a bygone era it’s an opportunity to see servants’ rooms and a home filled with a sense of music and joy, echoing the family’s Gilbert and Sullivan connections.
Click here for further details
(1)View all Reviews
An excellent, interesting house which sits beautifully in its fabulous coastal location and with some stunning gardens and grounds - well worth a visit, although when we visited the usually excellent NT café was really struggling to keep up with the number of visitors (in April - heaven help them in the summer!). Parts of the grounds are quite steep, with slopes and steps, but parts are pretty accessible to those with limited mobility or confidence. Thoroughly recommended.
Lovely food and friendly staff
We were a party of eight visiting for an evening meal . We booked beforehand and were greeted immediately upon arrival and shown to our table upstairs . The waitress was pleasant and the restaurant was clean, fresh and had a warm friendly atmosphere . We are a picky bunch , but nothing was too much trouble and our waitress ran backwards and forwards to relay information from the kitchen to us . Having made decisions , and ordered we didn't have to wait long . The food arrived quickly , was hot , well presented , and plenty of it . Our waitress checked on us regularly . The food was tasty , fresh and filling , we had steaks , fish pies , pork , fish and chips , a good selection and everyone was happy . We would definitely eat here again . We loved the furnishings , especially the amazing dragons, one of our party was a seven year old little girl who thoroughly enjoyed going on a dragon hunt .
An independent deli and café offering a wide selection of gourmet local produce, the perfect place to buy a gift to take home or something to remind you of your holiday. Browse the shelves for something unusual, or eat in at the café serving sandwiches, healthy salad bowls and other tempting options, all locally sourced.
The Deli at Dartmouth Duke Street, Dartmouth TQ6 9PZ (T: 01803 833200)
The Grill Room in Dartmouth’s iconic waterfront hotel is a great spot for lunch, dinner or a traditional cream tea with huge bay windows overlooking the water. In addition there are two downstairs bars serving local ales along with bar meals and snacks.
The Royal Castle Hotel 11 The Quay, Dartmouth TQ6 9PS (T: 01803 833033)
(2)View all Reviews
Lovely place for a supper, especially in the winter by the roaring fire. Good, old fashioned pub grub.
We popped here for fried breakfasts , eight of us in total. We walked in and turned left into a restaurant but were quickly met by a waiter that redirected us politely to another room , as this side was apparently for hotel guests only. The other side was more olde worlde and a bit dark , traditional pub with muskets and guns hung on the walls. It was busy and we had to separate our group onto two tables . We placed orders at the bar, and were quickly served with our drinks . Food took a little longer , but arrived fresh and hot and was tasty . The staff were polite and we enjoyed our breakfast . Ideal if you are looking for a little historical , cosy, period quiet retreat .
A traditional French patisserie and café serving breakfast, lunch and early dinner. As well as beautifully created French cakes and pastries, a range of fresh bread, sandwiches, pizzas and light meals are available daily, either to eat in or take away.
Saveurs 3 Victoria Road, Dartmouth TQ6 9RT (T: 01803 835852)
(1)View all Reviews
Like a little slice of France, in Dartmouth. Proper french treats are delicious!
A pretty little bistro serving a Mediterranean menu with Polish influences using local seafood and meat as well as tasty vegan, vegetarian and gluten free options. Live music on Friday and Saturday nights adds to the relaxed atmosphere.
Anzac Street Bistro Anzac Street, Dartmouth TQ6 9DL (T: 01803 835515)
(2)View all Reviews
This is our favourite restaurant in Dartmouth. It's a little gem. Food is superb and the atmosphere always good. The host Simon and hostess Aga are good fun and always bring warmth and charm to the place. To visit Dartmouth and not eat at the Anzac is a crime.
Between Dartmouth and Slapton, Blackpool Sands is a beautiful shingle bay on the South West Coast Path, surrounded by evergreens and pine trees. It really is a treasure of a beach to visit while you’re in the area. Award-winning, the privately owned, blue flag beach boasts a sense of being in the Mediterranean on a good day in the summer, although a good jumper never goes amiss in this part of the world! You will no doubt not be surprised to hear that it is in a designated Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, however it also boasts ample facilities and things to do. There are showers, toilets and disabled facilities, as well as paddle board, kayak and wetsuit hire available for those wishing to earn their visit to The Venus Beach Café, where light bites and refreshments are served. The Venus Shop also sells all the bits and pieces you might want for fun and games on the beach if you have forgotten them or are in need of extra buckets and spades. The water at Blackpool Sands is known for being clean and clear and tested by the Environment Agency, and lifeguards are on hand in the summer (July to September) so there’s every reason to pop in for a dip. However, dogs are not allowed on the beach in the high season (12th March to 30th October) so keep the walking for the cooler months. There is parking available at the beach with seasonal charges, and you can find out more information on those from the Blackpool Sands information line on 01803 771800. This beach is easy to get to and quite literally fun and games for the whole family, as well as a beautiful place to visit at any time of the year to take in the view!
(6)View all Reviews
Stunning beach, and you can get takeaway cream tea from the cafe to have on the beach!!
Our family 's favourite beach
The cost of the parking steep
Perfect venue for a sunny day! Secluded beach which is clean and tidy, with a cafe, snack bar and shop, beach equipment hire too
Beautiful location but shame it a shingle beach and not sandy. Also very disappointed with the £8 fee to park the car .
Beautiful clean beach with excellent facilities.Clean toilets lovely cafe and shop.Lifeguard on the beach.No dogs allowed.Plenty of parking.We enjoyed rock pooling at the far end of the beach.The owner does a great job.You can also visit Blackpool Sands garden but we did not have time.Also a juggler was there on the day we went great fun for everyone.
A long stretch of beach with spectacular views of the sea stretching into the distance, Slapton Sands is in a designated Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, and for good reason. Adjacent to Slapton Ley, a freshwater lake that’s home to an abundance of wildlife and one of the many reasons people come to visit the area, the beach has a history of welcoming families in the summer for long days in the sunshine, building sandcastles, surfing, windsurfing and kayaking. It’s amazing to believe that this peaceful corner of South Devon has its place in military history as in 1943 the beach was taken over by allied forces to use as a rehearsal area for the D-Day landings. However, live ammunition and poor visibility ended in the deaths of more than 700 servicemen, so today there is a stone monument in place for Operation Tiger, as it was called, as well as a Sherman Tank at nearby Torcross. On a more current note, there is a beachside café at Slapton Sands for teas, coffees and other light bites, and there are also toilets nearby. The beach has disabled access, and also allows dogs throughout the year, so it really is fun for everyone and very easy to get to. There is parking nearby and in the summer months from May to September there is lifeguard cover. Last, but not least, a small collection of pubs reside in Torcross for those who are feeling peckish after a long day in the fresh air, or if you have been for a nice walk along the sand!
(6)View all Reviews
Great place for a walk along the beach and had some great events for children at Easter. Great fish and chips in the pub at the end on Torcross
Clapton Sands is beautiful. The rocks are the most beautiful colours, wild flowers abound on the beach, the views in either direction are stunning and it is rarely over crowded.One of the most wonderful areas in the U.K.
Beautiful stretch of shingle beach - dogs allowed all year. Not many facilities - we went to the Strete end of the beach as there is a great little coffee hut there - great coffee and friendly staff.
Wonderful nature reserve with well signposted walks.
Beautiful beach right across from our Cottage
Really interesting area and good walks along the coast and by the Ley. Generous provision of toilets and parking and a number of places to eat. Would particularly recommend The Start Bay Inn, The Boathouse and Seabreeze Cafe at Torcross. Also very handy that there is a bus should you want to walk one way and get a bus back. Very beautiful and peaceful.
(2)View all Reviews
Britannia Fish - Great fish - always fresh and lovely family run business. A must for anyone who likes eating good fish!
Ideal for quiet and peaceful holiday with two good restaurants both of which are dog friendly.
(1)View all Reviews
Gorgeous beach, but be careful if you have a dog that likes to run as our Border Collie got very sore paws on the pebbles.
(1)View all Reviews
A bit of a walk down from the car park but so worth it, arguably the best beach in the South Hams
Toad Hall Cottages
Call: 01548 20 20 20
Toad Hall Cottages
Call: 01503 272303
Devon & Dorset Cottages
44 Church Street
Call: 01297 443550