There’s no two-ways about it, Dartmouth is unique, beautiful and inspiring and a perfect destination for a holiday or short break, all year round.
Set in a picturesque location on the River Dart, it is a town steeped in history, and surrounded by the stunning South Devon countryside. You can’t help but be in awe of its beauty.
Dartmouth lies within the South Devon Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, and within the parish of the South Hams.
The River Dart runs from Dartmoor, down through Buckfastleigh, Totnes and ends up at the coast in Dartmouth, where it meets the sea. The River Dart is teaming with natural wildlife, including birds, seals and even the occasional dolphin. As natures playground, it is the perfect spot to try kayaking, standup paddle boarding, or something less active, like fishing or crabbing.
The small naval port of Dartmouth has played an important role in the UK’s nautical history. A deep-water port for sailing vessels, Dartmouth has always been of strategic importance and as far back as 1147 and 1190 it was used as the sailing point for the Crusades, and War fleet Creek is allegedly named after the vast fleets that assembled there.
For over 600 years Dartmouth Castle has guarded the narrow entrance to the port. The Castle’s defenses were started in 1388 by John Hawley, Dartmouth’s most celebrated medieval figure. A wealthy merchant, landowner, mariner and licensed pirate, Hawley was elected Mayor of Dartmouth 14 times and was seen as a local hero. He was the inspiration for Geoffrey Chaucer’s ‘Shipman’ in his great work The Canterbury Tales. Hawley’s tomb resides in the Church of St Saviour.
Bayard’s Cove is Dartmouth’s oldest wharf and the cobbled quayside is where the Mayflower moored up in 1620 as the Pilgrim Fathers made their way from Southampton to America on their voyage to discover the New World. The town itself is brimming with ancient buildings that all have their own stories to tell.
Agincourt House by the Lower Ferry dates back to the 14th Century. Dartmouth’s much loved Butterwalk, with its sloping floor, intricately carved wooden fascia and supporting granite columns, dates back to 1635, while the Royal Castle Hotel on the Quay was built in 1639.
For a detailed account of Dartmouth’s history – please visit our History page.