Dartmouth

all you need to know

A holiday cottage in picturesque Dartmouth is ideally situated to enjoy everything this vibrant maritime town has to offer as soon as you step outside your front door.

About Dartmouth

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.

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Dartmouth Steam Railway and River Boat C

Dartmouth Steam Railway and River Boat Company
(Less than a mile)

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.

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Dartmouth Castle
(Less than a mile)

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.  

http://www.english-heritage.org.uk/visit/places/dartmouth-castle/

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Coleton Fishacre

Coleton Fishacre
(2 miles)

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. In 2014 it was awarded a bronze award for large visitor attraction of the year at the Visit Devon Awards and has two silver awards at the English Riviera and South Devon Tourism and Hospitality Awards.

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(1)

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.

April 2017



Greenway House

Greenway House
(3 miles)

A National Trust property and former holiday home of Agatha Christie, Greenway House gives an extraordinary glimpse into the life and sanctuary of one of the UK’s best loved authors. Set in the 1950s when Agatha and her family spent summers there, the house sits with riverside views over the Dart estuary and is surrounded by magical gardens and woodland. The inspiration for much of her writing, the house is also brimming with interesting artefacts, archaeological finds, botanical china and books to give a glimpse through the eyes of a spectacular creative mind, before heading into the café for a spot of lunch and a good cup of tea.

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(1)

Excellent and dogs welcomed into the garden as well. Beautiful house and gardens and location stunning. Enjoyed by all ages.

April 2017



Fast Rabbit Farm Garden

Fast Rabbit Farm Garden
(3 miles)

In 42 acres of secluded Strawberry Valley, Fast Rabbit Farm Garden is the largest garden featuring acid loving plants in the county. Founded in 1991, the garden has something to offer visitors through every season, and provides a range of habitats for a vast family of wildlife and plant life. A beautiful sight, showcasing the intricacies of the South Devon climate and the magic it creates, visiting here is about a peaceful wander and experiencing the quieter side of Devon. They have a self-serve refreshment facility and picnic tables to take advantage of, and in the summer they even offer ‘Clothing Optional’ days if that strikes a chord.

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George & Dragon
(Less than a mile)

A large pub with beer garden in a central location serving family friendly meals and roasts.  

George & Dragon Mayors Avenue, Dartmouth TQ6 9NG (T: 01803 832325) 50.352944, -3.579357

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(1)

February 2017



The Royal Castle Hotel
(Less than a mile)

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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(1)

Lovely place for a supper, especially in the winter by the roaring fire. Good, old fashioned pub grub.

June 2017



Saveurs
(Less than a mile)

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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(1)

Like a little slice of France, in Dartmouth. Proper french treats are delicious!

June 2017



Anzac Street Bistro
(Less than a mile)

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) 

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(2)

February 2017


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.

March 2017



Station Restaurant
(Less than a mile)

A convenient place to eat on the water’s edge next to the river boat pontoons serving classic meals and cream teas to eat in or take away.

Station Restaurant Embankment, Dartmouth TQ6 9BH (T: 01803 832125) 

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Blackpool Sands

Blackpool Sands
(6 miles)

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!

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(3)

Stunning beach, and you can get takeaway cream tea from the cafe to have on the beach!!

May 2017


Our family 's favourite beach

June 2017


The cost of the parking steep

June 2017



Slapton Sands

Slapton Sands
(7 miles)

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!

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(2)

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

April 2017


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.

May 2017



Beesands

Beesands
(8 miles)

Close to Kingsbridge and a favourite amongst residents and holiday makers in the South West, Beesands is a wonderful mile-long shingle beach surrounded by fields and a freshwater lake. You get a real flavour of the West Country here with fresh crab sandwiches for sale nearby and lots of Devon holiday cottages within walking distance to make it really convenient. The beach has won awards from the Marine Conservation Society as well as having The Blue Flag marker to attest to its excellence and high standards, so families and swimmers can be reassured. The beach is popular for surfing and body boarding amongst other water sports including fishing, so tackle is on sale close by. You can pick up light bites at nearby cafes as and when you’re ready, making it easy to spend the whole day running around on the sand and enjoying your seaside holiday to the max. Beesands is very much a beach for everyone thanks to its convenient location, easy and free road parking along most of the beach, level access, and the toilets, cafes and pubs close by. Dogs are also welcome on the beach throughout the year so the whole family can enjoy it!

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(2)

Britannia Fish - Great fish - always fresh and lovely family run business. A must for anyone who likes eating good fish!

May 2017


Ideal for quiet and peaceful holiday with two good restaurants both of which are dog friendly.

April 2017



North Hallsands

North Hallsands
(9 miles)

A quiet beach of fine shingle with a reed bed providing the backdrop, North Hallsands is a picturesque place to visit for anyone staying in one of our holiday cottages in Devon. The beach is divided into north and south, and it’s about nine miles from Kingsbridge facing towards Start Bay. There is level access to the sand from North Hallsands car park, although it is small so keep that in mind in busier months, although there’s also another small car park five minutes away for South Hallsands. You might want to note that there aren’t any facilities or toilets close to the beach, which does mean that it’s fantastically peaceful and an experience that’s all about the natural environment, which ultimately is what we all love about a Devon break! For those bringing their four legged friends with them, the beach is completely dog friendly, welcoming them all year round, so just don’t get carried away with all that fun in the sand and get cut off by the tide in all the excitement. The sand stretches a fair distance at low tide and we wouldn’t want you to get wet!

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(1)

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.

May 2017



Mattiscombe

Mattiscombe
(10 miles)

A sandy beach close to Start Point, Mattiscombe is one of those little sandy treasure troves that we all love to find – it’s quiet, peaceful, and without very much around to distract you from the abundant natural beauty. Being a beautiful, secluded beach there aren’t any facilities or activities available here; it’s all about taking in your surroundings, perhaps doing a spot of rock pooling while you’re there, and walking the dog if you have one as they are welcome all year round. The rock formations are interesting and the views are remarkable, so remember to take your sandwiches and really spend some time taking it all in. It isn’t the easiest beach to access as the slope and steps onto the sand are quite steep and parking is at Start Point around a 10-minute walk along the South West Coast Path, so bring some appropriate footwear for exploring!

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(1)

A bit of a walk down from the car park but so worth it, arguably the best beach in the South Hams

December 2016


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