Dartmouth is in the South Hams area of
Devon, where the River Dart ends its journey from Dartmoor, widens
into the estuary, and finally meets the sea. Opposite, the smaller
village of Kingswear dips its toes into the river, and Dartmouth
Castle still guards the seaward approach to the town. If you arrive
by car, you can use the Park and Ride on the outskirts of the
The river at Dartmouth is the heart of the town, and is
constantly thronged with crafts of all kinds, while the riverfront
leads on to a busy town of shops, art galleries, bakeries, and
restaurants. The Devon hills form the backdrop to the jumbled
buildings, with their long history of seafarers and pirates, and
all are presided over by the Britannia Royal Naval College, on its
What to see
The Butterwalk is a timber-framed arcade of shops that
dates from 1635-40, lovingly restored after it was bombed in 1943.
Follow this down to the riverfront via the Boatfloat, crowded with
small craft, and on to the Dart itself, from where you can walk
along to cobbled Bayard's Cove. The Pilgrim Fathers sailed from
here in the Mayflower in 1620, and it was used in the TV
series The Onedin Line. Take a boat trip up the Dart from
Dartmouth to Totnes if the tides are favourable, or a harbour
cruise if not; or hop on a ferry over to Kingswear, and you can
enjoy stunning scenery on a steam-train ride to Paignton and
Worth a look
A walk out of town takes you, via Warfleet with its lime
kilns and former Dartmouth Pottery building, to Dartmouth Castle.
It was begun in 1388 by the colourful Mayor of Dartmouth John
Hawley, who is said to be the inspiration for Chaucer's "Shipman"
in The Canterbury Tales. On the same site is St Petrox's,
first mentioned in written records in 1192.
In the opposite direction on the Dart is Greenway, the former
home of Agatha Christie. It is now run by the National Trust, and
can be visited by boat or steam train from Kingswear (visit www.nationaltrust.org.uk/greenway for opening
times and visitor information).
Where to eat
For good coffee, and mouth-watering patisserie, try
Saveurs (www.saveurs.co.uk), or Alf Resco (serving from
7 a.m to 2 p.m, www.cafealfresco.co.uk). For lunch or dinner,
try the Galleon Bar in the Royal Castle Hotel (www.royalcastle.co.uk), or, slightly more
expensive but helping unemployed young people, the Dartmouth
Apprentice (this is not open every day; so check for details at www.dartmouthapprentice.com).