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)
Enjoy 10% off the full price of a boat trip with your Toad Hall Cottages discount card
Giving you an alternative way to explore the interesting towns and beautiful countryside along the River Dart, the Dartmouth Steam Railway and River Boat Company offers many different trips including the popular Round Robin including steam train, river boat and bus taking you from Dartmouth to Paignton and back again !
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Fantastic river boat & steam boat cruise. Helpful friendly staff.
Round Robin wonderful day
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.
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Enjoy 15% off admission for a family of 2 adults + up to 3 children with your Toad Hall Cottages discount card
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Well worth a visit. We walked there and took the ferry back. Best of both worlds!
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.
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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.
Excellent. The mood of the era is captured in the house. Gardens are magnificent.
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 .
Ate here on our last night in Dartmouth and wished we had found it sooner. Excellent meal and good service.
Called in for a quick sandwich as arrived early. Staff very friendly and even gave the dog biscuits.
Excellent for families with out side seating area and food above average. Drinks pricey tho as all pubs in Dartmouth!
A stylish coffee shop on the ground floor of the Flavel Cinema & Theatre which sets itself apart from the big chains by serving delicious own blend coffees along with a wide range of interesting teas, juices and healthy smoothies as well as homemade cakes, Italian and French pastries and light meals. The perfect place for a breather whilst exploring pretty Dartmouth.
Coffee Couture, The Flavel, Dartmouth TQ6 9ND
Enjoy 10% off food & drinks with your Toad Hall Cottages Discount Card
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Not on the tourist trail but good coffee and cakes at a reasonable price
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)
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Fantastic food and drink. Highly recommended
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)
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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 .
Friendly staff and high quality food
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)
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Like a little slice of France, in Dartmouth. Proper french treats are delicious!
Enjoyed the wonderful pastries at Saveurs on two occasions as a special treat and loved the friendly service.
Bread pricey but tasty possibly the best we came across in Dartmouth.. shame they don’t open earlier, Coffee pretty good too,
Far from the bustling crowds of Paignton and Brixham’s bigger beaches, this small pebbly cove is a truly relaxing spot. The calm waters are great for swimming and are said to have been one of Agatha Christie’s favourite bathing spots. Elberry Cove even features in one of her crime thriller novels, The ABC Murders. This picture-perfect cove, surrounded by sloping wooded hillsides and crystal clear water, can only be accessed by the coast path, with the nearest carpark at Broadsands Beach. From here, it is only a 10 - 15 minute walk, but make sure to pack a picnic or grab a bite to eat at Broadsands Beach before you set off, as there aren’t any facilities at here. Dogs are welcome on the beach throughout the year.
In between Brixham and Paignton, this long, sandy beach is a popular spot with families, thanks to its sheltered waters, year-round facilities and easy parking. The Blue Flag beach is perfect for making sandcastles and searching for wildlife in the rockpools. There are toilets, and two places to get ice creams, coffees and soft drinks. What’s more, the car park is right by the beach, so there’s no need to lug your provisions a long way. Behind the pretty row of colourful beach huts, there’s a large grassy area, so don’t forget to pack a ball or rounders bat to keep the whole family entertained. Broadsands Beach is a popular dog walking spot throughout autumn and winter, but there is a seasonal dog ban during the summer months (1st May - 30th September).
The decent to St Mary’s Bay is one of the bet views in Brixham, with panoramic views of the English Riviera. This beautiful, unspoilt beach has a carpark nearby, but we recommend walking there to make the most of the stunning surroundings. The sandy and shingle beach is sheltered by steep cliffs on either side, which means the decent to the beach isn’t easy, especially for those with mobility disabilities. There are no facilities at the beach, but visitors can take the coast path north to Berry Head Nature Reserve, where there is a great café and toilets, as well as stunning coastal views. Dogs are welcome all year, making St Mary’s Bay a great place to take a well-earned rest on your dog walk.
If you’re willing to venture off the beaten track, you’ll discover one of Brixham’s hidden gems, Churston Cove. Surrounded by sloping wooded hillsides, this beautiful little cove isn’t the easiest to get to, which makes it an idyllic, peaceful place to while away the day. The crystal clear water is safe for kids to paddle and play in, and is a popular swimming spot. Parking is available at Freshwater carpark, a 15-minute walk away. There are no toilet facilities or cafes, and the beach is accessed via a long, steep path, which is uneven in places, but this beautiful little cove is worth the effort. Churston Cove is dog-friendly all year round.
Take the coast path from Brixham and escape the crowds at Fishcombe Cove, a peaceful shingle cove, protected on all sides by tall red cliffs. Access to this little cove isn’t easy, via a steep path from Freshwater carpark, but it is definitely worth the effort. The clear, blue sea is sheltered and calm, making it a favourite with swimmers and kayakers. Fishcombe Cove is also a popular place for boats and yachts to moor up and make the most of the beautiful water. If you’re lucky, you might even catch a seal popping its head up to say hello. There is a café and toilets here, but both are only open during the summer months. Fishcombe Cove is dog-friendly all year round.