Torquay
Dartmouth
Devon TQ6
 
 
 
 
Dartmouth, as the name suggests is where the River Dart exits on the South Devon coast.
 
It is an attractive small town, now relying mainly on tourism.  The coastal A379 road stops at Dartmouth but regular ferries across the river take tourists to Kingswear where they can again pick up the A379 and continue east towards Brixham, Torbay, Paignton and Torquay.
 
A little time spent in Dartmouth exploring the old town is worthwhile and makes for a leisurely day out.  It could be combined with a trip up the Dart River to Totnes or a run on the heritage Web: Dartmouth Steam Railway    External Link
 
This heritage railway runs from Kingswear, right at the Dartmouth/ Kingswear ferry terminal.
 
The town is probably best known for being home to the Royal Navy’s Officer Training College.  On the hillside overlooking the river stand the imposing buildings of the Britannia College.  Tours can be arranged through the Dartmouth TIC.
 
Ever since the 12th century Dartmouth has been a deep river port and assembly point for the English navy’s sailing ships.  It was from here the 1149 and 1190 the Crusades sailed.
 
Pilgrim Fathers
It also received a visit from the Pilgrim Fathers who put in to Bayard's Cove on their way to Plymouth.  Castles at Dartmouth (Dartmouth Castle) and Kingswear were built in the 15th century to protect the estuary mouth.
 
The narrow streets with their pastel colour-washed 18th century houses lead down to Bayard’s Cove and the embankment where busy ferries scuttle across the river to Kingswear.
 
The cobbled Quay and buildings may look familiar to fans of the BBC Television 1970s maritime series The Onedin Line.  The Dartmouth and Kingswear wharves were film locations.
 
Agincourt House next to the Lower Ferry is a 14th century building. The Royal Castle Hotel on The Quay was built in 1639 although an 18th century front covers the original building fabric.  The oldest building in town is The Cherub Inn in Higher Street.  It was originally a merchant’s house built in 1380 and still retains many of its original features.
 
Opposite the colourful Royal Avenue Gardens is the 17th century Butterwalk.  Built between 1635 and 1640 the carved wooden façade is supported on granite columns.  It is home to the Dartmouth Museum, where the visitor will stand in the very room where King Charles II held court.
 
Accommodation - Search & Book through Expedia here:    External Link
 
D-Day Landings & Utah Beach - American Forces
During the Second World War, Dartmouth was a base for American forces and one of the departure points for ‘Utah Beach’.  A new monument on the harbour side marks the departure spot.
 
The town, the surrounding coast and villages played a very important role in the invasion preparations.  There are several memorials commemorating the part South Devon played in the D-Day Landings.  Slapton Sands on the A379 just west of Dartmouth, in particular, has a memorial to the American soldiers and sailors who lost their lives in the tragic Tiger Operation training incident.
 
Much of the surrounding countryside was closed to the public, while whole villages were evacuated for up to six months to allow the invasion troops to practise landings and manoeuvres.  A US Memorial commemorating this sacrifice has been erected at Slapton Sands.
 
Royal Regatta Week
The most important event in Dartmouth is the Port of Dartmouth Royal Regatta which takes place in the last week of August.  This is a truly spectacular event including not only sailing and rowing boats but visits by a large naval ship, and displays by the Red Arrows aerobatic team and other defence aircraft.  Land-based activities are also held such as markets and road races.  Visit the following web link to see what is on Web:  Dartmouth Regatta    External Link
 
The Dartmouth Tourist Information Centre (Dartmouth TIC) can help with accommodation, excursions and advice on what to see and do. 
Website   Dartmouth Tourist Information    External Link
 
Industrial History Surprise
Right next door to the TIC is a surprise for lovers of industrial history – an 18th century working model of the Newcomen Engine – atmospheric pumping engine invented by Dartmouth ironmonger, Thomas Newcomen.
 
Plan Your Visit 
Accommodation - Search & Book through Hotels.com here:    External Link
 
Getting There
- By Car
 Three ferries link the south side of the River Dart to Kingswear on the north side of the river. The Higher Ferry and the Lower Ferry are both vehicular ferries. The Passenger Ferry, as its name suggests, carries only passengers, principally to connect with the Paignton and Dartmouth Steam Railway at Kingswear station. The nearest bridge across the Dart is in Totnes, some 11 miles (18 km) away by road.
 
The A379 highway runs through Dartmouth, linking the town to Slapton and Kingsbridge  to the southwest and to Torbay to the east across the Higher Ferry.
 
The A3122  connects Dartmouth to a junction with the A381, and hence to both Totnes and a more direct route to Kingsbridge.
 
- By Rail
From London to Paignton – From London Paddington station take the First Great Western train to Paignton. Journey time is approximately 3 hours.
For timetable, fares and bookings go to: Web: National Rail Enquiries    External Link
 
From Paignton walk across to the independent Dartmouth Steam Railway   External Link
 
The platform entrance on the south side of the British Rail station. Take that heritage train to Kingswear and take the ferry across the River Dart to Dartmouth. Visitors can purchase an inclusive steam train and ferry ticket.
 
Google Maps - Dartmouth