Nestled on the banks of the idyllic River Dart, Dartmouth is a thriving port town that’s delightful all year round with it’s pretty pastel buildings and brilliant blue water. Whether you’ve got a keen interest in the maritime history of the area or want to get out onto the water itself, we’ve selected some of our favourite things to do in the area with something to keep everyone happy.
Visit Dartmouth Castle
Situated at the entrance to the Dart Estuary, the picturesque Dartmouth Castle has guarded the busy port for over 600 years. Clamber to the top of the battlements for stunning views across the water and town centre. Don’t miss where the impressive harbour chain used to be on the lower floor, that once spanned the entire 250m length of the estuary and would be raised to defend against enemy ships. Learn about the castle’s strategic roles in historic wars and be sure to indulge in a homemade cream tea at the riverside cafe.
Explore the Britannia Royal Naval College
The Britannia Royal Naval College is now the only naval college in the UK and sole centre for officer training. The guided tour is a must for marine enthusiasts, taking you on a voyage through the rich history of the college from the past to present day. The imposing building overlooks the port of Dartmouth with a beautiful architecture designed by Sir Aston Webb, featuring impressive period features throughout. Booking ahead is strongly recommended!
Try Sea Kayaking
If you fancy taking on a new challenge or are a seasoned expert, Dartmouth is one of the UK’s top sea kayaking destinations with plenty of secluded coves to explore and an array of marine wildlife to meet, including seals and dolphins! Sea Kayak Devon provides a range of courses for all abilities and ages, with highly qualified guides to help you learn or progress.
Step back in time at Coleton Fishacre
Coleton Fishacre is the beautiful country home of the D’Oyly Carte family, perfectly preserved to immerse you in the 1920s’ lifestyle. From the decadent Art Deco styling to the smooth jazz echoing through the rooms, you’ll feel as though you’ve been transported back in time. Little ones will love the wild play area and be sure to take in the captivating valley-side garden with far-reaching sea views.
Soak up the sun at Blackpool Sands
Blackpool Sands is one of the most picturesque shingle beaches in all of South Devon, tucked away around three miles west from Dartmouth. Backed by dense evergreens and fragrant pines, the peaceful cove feels like it could be set in the Mediterranean with unusually clear blue water and there’s plenty of scenic walks to discover nearby. It’s privately managed with brilliant facilities including an on-site cafe, beach shop, showers and watersports rental.
Don’t miss the Royal Regatta
Be sure to visit Dartmouth between Wednesday 29th August and 1st September, as the annual Port of Dartmouth Royal Regatta will be taking place to transform the town into a hub of activity. The road along the riverfront is closed off to make way for craft stalls and street markets, with an array of events both on and off the water from steam boat rallies and ice cream eating competitions to a dog show and spectacular firework display.