Your guide to exploring Dartmouth

P erched on the banks of the River Dart, the aptly named Dartmouth is a stunning harbour town, making it a popular destination throughout the year.

Whether you’re craving a little R&R, or a vibrant event calendar to get involved in, Dartmouth offers you the full package, alongside picture-perfect moments at every turn. Discover this hidden treasure in South Devon and check out our ultimate guide to exploring Dartmouth.

From golden beaches and nature trails to action-packed adventures on the Dart and colourful festivals, there’s plenty to explore during your stay. Strike the perfect balance for your days out with a room at the Royal Castle, idyllically set on the harbour front in the very heart of the town.  

 

What's SUP?

Take to the sea with The Paddle Shack team and explore hidden coves you’d otherwise miss. With calm, sheltered conditions, you’ll be up on your feet in no time, ready to take on the adventure whether it’s your very first time, or you’re just looking to refine your skills. Offering a variety of different packages, from an introductory two-hour lesson to ‘SIP and SUP’ – there’s something for everyone to enjoy.  

Explore Dartmouth from a different angle, paddling through the historic harbour and passing by some of the most famous landmarks of the area. With your expert guide by your side, you can enjoy the scenery and learn about the history of the river whilst you’re on it! 

 

Delve into history

A visit to Dartmouth would be incomplete without exploring the picturesque Dartmouth Castle, standing guard at the narrow entrance to the busy port for over 600 years. This fascinating defence complex is not only steeped in history, but it also offers gorgeous views across the estuary – you’ll even be able to see how this pass could have been blocked in wartime by a heavy chain.  

Make a day of it and catch the ferry from the centre of town, dropping you just a minute’s walk from the entrance of the castle. Delve into the interesting, jam-packed history of the fort, and explore some of the coastal and woodland trails surrounding the area – be on the lookout for an array of wildlife. Refill with a cream tea in the sunshine at the riverside tearoom and while away a few hours watching the boats drift by before heading back.

 

Get back to nature

Occupying 43 acres of the secluded Strawberry Valley, Fast Rabbit Garden is one of South Devon’s best-kept secrets. Nurtured from 1991, the garden is home to a vast family of plants, birds and other creatures year-round. Boasting the largest collection of acid-loving plants in the county, you’re sure to be stunned by the vivid blooms. You can easily get lost exploring the trails around the valley for a few hours, the ever-present sound of trickling water serving as the perfect soundtrack to your wandering. 

Just one mile from Dartmouth, this is a gorgeous natural spot you won’t want to miss. Pack a picnic to enjoy on your way around – with such a vast area to explore, you’ll want to refuel on your adventures!

 

Aye aye captain! 

Sitting idyllically on the edge of the water, it would certainly be a shame to not make the very most of this enviable location by taking to the sea. There are plenty of boat tours to choose from, whether it be a private hire on the Escape or ‘Fizz’ Boat or a gentler cruise on the Paddle Steamer or ferry.  

Explore the landmarks of Dartmouth with a unique point of view and breathe in the fresh sea air. Fancy the challenge of captaining your own boat? You’ll find several places to hire from along the harbour front too where you’ll be able to cruise along the River Dart at your own pace, the ideal romantic escape.  

 

Can you escape?

Put your mind to the test with Dartmouth’s Hidden HQ escape rooms. Come rain or shine, this is the ideal activity to bring you closer together as you race against the clock. Over the course of an hour, you’ll partake in one of two escape rooms, challenging you to think outside the box.  

While it may not be your first train of thought, an escape room experience is certainly a way to mark your time in Dartmouth! Just slightly outside the centre of the harbour town, spend your morning wandering though the independent boutiques before and fuel up with a hearty breakfast at the Royal Castle before making your way to the escape room.  

 

A walk around the estuary

When in the South West, the coastal path is, of course, top of the list of must-do activities. The Dart estuary section is a particularly stunning section, that has a little bit of everything, from stunning sea views to sheltered woodland trails. A rather challenging 5.6 miles, the route skirts the River Dart estuary and also explores part of Dartmouth such as Compass Cove. 

It’s certainly one of the more popular routes in South Devon, and for good reason! If you aren’t quite ready for the full circuit, there are several shorter variations suitable for all abilities. Be sure to pack your camera to capture the expansive views across the estuary.  

 

Cook up a storm

Nothing beats a freshly cooked meal, especially when you’ve been a part of the process. The Manna from Devon Cooking School will take you through a delightful range of dishes in a relaxed, welcoming environment in their Victorian home, overlooking the River Dart. Whether it’s preparing freshly caught fish, baking the perfect sourdough, or getting to grips with their wood-fired oven, it’s a delicious way to pass the time.  

Located on the opposite side of the River Dart, hop over on the ferry and spend the day exploring this side of the area. A particular highlight is Gara Rock and East Portlemouth, a stunning walk showcasing Dartmouth Castle in all its glory. You’ll certainly be ready to tuck into a homemade meal on your return!  

 

Find a place to stay

Visit Dartmouth this Summer and get 15% off with our last minute offer at the Royal Castle, for two nights when you book to stay before the 26th August. Simply use the code below when you book with us to redeem your discount:

LASTMINUTE15 

 

Our team look forward to making your stay a memorable one!

Discover the magic of Dartmouth

Whether rain or shine there's plenty to enjoy in the harbour town of Dartmouth. Book your next adventure and fall in love with the hidden gems of the South West today.