Just a fifteen-minute walk from the bustling New Forest capital town of Lyndhurst is the little village of Emery Down. Surrounded by open forest you’ll often see ponies, cattle, donkeys and maybe a deer or two walking past your window. This village is a wonderful location for wildlife, nature, walks and cycling.
Emery Green has an outstanding pub called the New Forest Inn, which has a lovely beer garden for those long summer days and two homely logs fires during the winter months. They serve hearty, good food all day including a specials board. In the main street, past some impressive timbered Alms Houses, visitors can see a delightfully quirky idea the locals came up with for keeping their traditional red phone box, after the line was disconnected. The community now have a cherished and popular phone box full of local information, leaflets and sometimes even a range of fruit, vegetables, home-cooked cakes and jams! For more comprehensive shopping and dining options just pop into Lyndhurst, one mile away.
Emery Down has a village hall, village green and 19th Century church known for its lovely stained glass. The village has strong connections with Alice Liddle, who was the inspiration for the well-known novel ‘Alice in Wonderland’ written by family friend, Lewis Carroll. Alice and her family frequented the church when they lived in their mansion ‘Cuffnells’ in Swan Green, a short amble from the village between Emery Down and Lyndhurst. The mansion has sadly been demolished, but its grounds provide a pleasant spot for a picnic.
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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Round Robin wonderful day
Fantastic river boat & steam boat cruise. Helpful friendly staff.
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.
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!
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
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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Excellent. The mood of the era is captured in the house. Gardens are magnificent.
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.
A historic waterside inn with a tempting lunchtime and evening menu including sharing plates, burgers, steaks and seafood. Cream teas and an extensive range of coffees and teas are available during the day.
Bayards Cove Inn 27 Lower Street, Dartmouth TQ6 9AN (T: 01803 839278) 50.348931, -3.577976
Light and airy, beach shack style fish restaurant overlooking the River Dart, serving sustainable locally-caught fish and chips and seafood. The warm and friendly service, delicious food, children’s menus and activity packs will keep the whole family happy.
Rockfish, 8 South Embankment, Dartmouth TQ6 9BH (T: 01803 832800)
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This a great fish and chip shop that we use every time we holiday in Dartmouth. We visited it twice during the last week and the fish quality and size is excellent together with lovely cooked chips and has friendly efficient staff.
Quality food. The choice of how you want your fish of the day cooked lifts it above the run of the mill fish and chip restaurant
Great selection of fresh fish. Unlimited chips. Nothing more to say!
A great mix of delicious food, vibrant atmosphere and live music make Alf Resco’s a popular choice for breakfast or lunch in the heart of Dartmouth. Famous for their full English breakfasts and locally roasted coffee, along with their large sunny outdoor seating area and quirky décor.
Café Alf Resco, Lower Street, Dartmouth TQ6 9AN (T: 01803 835880)
Enjoy a complimentary cinnamon toad for each guest with your Toad Hall Cottages Discount Card
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We had to wait for half an hour for a table for 8 as the cafe was full when we arrived and joined the queue at 10am. Tables for 2 were available quite quickly though. The customer collects drinks at the servery where the food is ordered and paid for. A good system as the waiters do not have to deal with money, cards etc and the customer does not have to wait for a bill. There was a good range of food on the menu. A pile of toast was delivered to the table while we waited for our food to arrive. Alf's breakfast was delicious and the cheese and ham toastie filled the plate. Service was very quick considering how busy it was. I would advise booking although bookings are not accepted for the same day. Next time we will know!
love this place. Quirky, vibrant and a great breakfast. Highly recommend it
Unable to get a table on Sunday morning so returned during the week. Had Alf’s breakfast which was delicious.
Simply the best place to get a breakfast in Dartmouth. Quirky surroundings, but what a perfect breakfast.
Local chef Mitch Tonks’ award-winning seafood restaurant on the banks of the River Dart. The warm and friendly service, combined with delicious local fish and seafood and extensive wine list make for a hugely enjoyable meal out.
The Seahorse, 5 South Embankment, Dartmouth TQ6 9BH (T: 01803 835147)
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.
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.
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Lovely quieter beach, dog and BBQ friendly. We had teens that hired kayaks from nearby Broadsands beach and paddled around the coast to meet us. Very accomodating kayak hire and not too expensive.
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).
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.