“ A seaport town on the South Devon coast, famous for yachting with a fantastic harbour. „
I love visiting Dartmouth, especially on Market day or in the sunshine! The Market is every saturday morning and is very popular. As other people have mentioned, parking in dartmouth can be difficult but we've never experienced any problems, for events such as the dartmouth regatta you cannot drive into dartmouth and will need to get the park and ride in which is just up the hill from dartmouth (by sainsburys). From Dartmouth you can take the ferry across the river and catch the steam train which is always fun to do. The shops is Dartmouth are very "sailing type shops" such as musto, Crew clothing etc... there are lovely coffee shops and restaurants around dartmouth and of course you can have the gorgeous salcombe dairy ice cream on the harbour front. Dartmouth itself is very clean and tidy ( I think the seagulls help with that) and is beautiful in the summer. The downside to dartmouth is the hill you have to go up to get back out (towards totnes) and some cars, well mine, really struggle with going up the hill and get over taken by buses.
We have visited dartmouth twice once arriving by train and once arriving by boat. This place is one of my mums favourite places. Parking in dartmouth can be a nightmare and hard to find so it may be best to find an alternative way of arriving to dartmouth. There are plenty of boats in the harbour many of these offer boat trip to places such as totnes and dartmouth castle. There are plenty of indvidual shops in dartmouth that sell a range of different things. While on our visit we tried out one of the local fish and chip shops. There was a big queue in the chippy and while not cheap the fish especially is good. There is a wide choice available. Near to this chippy is small park which over looks the river dart and is an ideal place to eat your fish and chips. Beware of hunngry seagull though! Also two places to visit are dartmouth castle and the royal naval college although we didnt have time to visit either attraction. I'm not sure how you visit the naval college as it may have be booked in advanced and you need some photo id. The castle is located on the mouth of the river dart. There may be many other things in dartmouth worth mentioning but we only had two hours stop over time as we were doing the round robin trip (train, boat -bus) which was excellent.
As you all know, as July is now upon us quickly come the summer holidays and weekends away. This June I took a week’s holiday with my Boyfriend to Dartmouth and stayed in a self-catering “Hut” for four nights. During my week in Dartmouth I had some time to explore the area and explore the south’s way of living. For any of you looking for going on holiday to Dartmouth in the near future, here is a bit of information about the sleepy town. The first thing you should know is that Dartmouth is far from being the next Ibiza, it is a very sleepy town with 99% of the population looking like they are over 60. Don’t get me wrong, it’s a great little town but don’t go there expecting your nightclubs, high street fashions and latest copy of vogue. In most of the holiday parks they will ask prior your holidays what the ages are of the party, how many there are and what sex they are, so not to have loud groups of clubbers. Dartmouth is great for couples and elderly people, but mostly I used my holiday park as a base, somewhere to sleep and store my oversized suitcase. **** Shops **** In the centre of Dartmouth is a pretty park full of flowers, memorial benches, water features and a bandstand. (Don’t worry you don’t get the dodgy music to follow suit!) Don’t expect to use this as a short cut as you will most probably get held up by a band of Zimmer frames. On Friday expect to see the local bring and buy, full of hideous plates and knitted jumpers. Each to their own I suppose. Surrounding the park are a few shops, including Boots, Woolworths, Ladbrokes and small family shops that all seem to specialise in sweets and bakeries. One interesting thing to notice about all the shops is the buildings. All of them seems to date back and tell a story giving the place a very ancient and atmospheric feel. Very captivating. There is a market on Tuesdays where you buy fruit and Vegetables, underwear (It’s no Ann Summers- think belly warmers.) music and a few clothes. All shops tend to be small and quite behind with trends but everything is fairly priced and everyone is very friendly and everyone knows everyone. There are a couple Internet café’s so it is cheap and easy to find near by attractions, check e-mails and check your dooyoo! Dartmouth has a big Information office where you will find maps of Devon and friendly staff catering for all ages. **** Travelling **** If you are thinking of staying in Dartmouth, it is very advisable that you have a car or some means for long distance travelling. Most holiday camps are just outside of the centre down many narrow country lanes, which are very secluded. There are some pretty hotels on the waterfront but you will pay the price. Most web sites give information of directions to camps, but most road signs are very clear and easy to follow. I also suggest you drive very slowly as the narrow windy roads are just waiting for accidents. Try sounding your horn on corners. There are many elderly drivers and overtaking them is not advisable due to the vast number of tractors and speeding cameras at every bend. If you wish to park in the centre of Dartmouth, try leaving early as parking spaces are limited and are quickly taken by shop staff and delivery vans. Parking is cheap but hard to find. While travelling around the centre, always have change on you, as there are two main sources of transport, the higher and lower ferry. Each costs £2.50 single but around mid-day you may be expected to wait up to three hours. An alternative is going cross-country that will add an extra ½ hour on your trip and that’s not including the amount of time it takes reversing because of other cars and tractors. Not recommended! The lower ferry takes you directly to Kingswear and over the Paignton and Dartmouth steam railway. **** Eating out **** You would think that because I was staying in self-catering that I would always be eating out but I tended to stay in and have BBQ’s and spend 1 hour and a ½ cooking potatoes and baked beans! (God, that was really annoying) On our first whole day my boyfriend and I went in search for a big breakfast but by the time we had searched it was time for dinner. Unless you want a small rushed lunch, I advise you go in one of the many pubs for a meal. All of the pubs are very friendly and most have a television for the football but I recommend a pub on the same street as Boots (you cant miss it) called the Market Place. There are no really oriental restaurants, it’s mainly fresh fish and chips but we did manage to find a lovely little Italian called Pizzazz that is situated on the waterfront. It is a family business with the waiter being extremely friendly, and what was best is they didn’t rush us and it had a great atmosphere. The carbonnela (Sorry I cant spell!) was exceptional and for such high quality food, it was very reasonably priced. The only fault was that the cream on their Irish coffee didn’t float, tusk! By our second day we had found the one and only visible place to buy a breakfast (Note to any business people- there is a great gap in the market!) it was called the seafront café, and funnily enough it was on the seafront, what an original idea! Their breakfasts catered from a small continental breakfast that included two croissants, orange juice and tea or coffee. Other breakfasts included tomatoes, bacon, mushrooms, black pudding, but being the fussy individual I am, I recommend the Detroit breakfast, baked beans, two sausages, hash browns and an egg all for £4.50, pricey but more than worth it. The service was very friendly and the décor was fascinating with real boats, fishnets and fishing rods all hanging above you. Just on the outskirts of Dartmouth is a pub called the Sports mans arms, which I recommend for a quiet evening drink. Most of the pubs have pool tables, darts and machines. * *** Day’s out **** As I have said before, it is easy to find things to do in the Internet cafes and information offices and my boyfriend and I found many interesting things to do. Our age average is 22 so we were looking for fairly active days out that would fill the day and keep us occupied. Other then active things to do around Dartmouth, there are many things to go and see. I recommend trying Dartmouth castle, the marina, Maritime collage and nautical. You may wish to go on the Paignton and Dartmouth steam railway where you will be taken along the spectacular Torbay coastline to the Olde Worlde port of Dartmouth and the fascinating River Dart Estuary. The English Heritage Dartmouth Castle is brilliant as it stands guard over the narrow entrance of the Dart Estuary. A few things I found out was that the castle was the inspiration for Chaucer’s “A Shipman’s Tale” and it was one of the first castles built for artillery. One place I went to, which if I’m honest I was disappointed with, was Blackpool sands. It is beautiful and the water is wonderful but it was described as “Golden sand” when in reality it was just pebbles. Humm, someone needs their eyes tested! At the beach there are not allowed any dogs due to them wanting to maintain the clean standards. There is shops where you can buy take always and there is hire of boats, deckchairs and water sports are available in main seasons. But if you are like me and like something a bit more active there are also many places to drive to and visit. Around Dartmouth is a family park called Woodlands, which is said to be “60 Acres of fun”. It includes the normal water coasters, play zones, cafes, toboggans, bumper boats and animals and birds. I would recommend this for anyone with children of a young age. Although it is aimed at all ages, I think this would appeal more to younger parties. To get most active days out, you will have to travel and the closest attractions seem to be in Torquay and Paignton. As well as there being a famous Abbey in Torquay there are also caverns, which are interesting and aimed at all ages, a Victorian street and model village. I went to the model village before and to be honest, I didn’t think much of it. It wasn’t very big and the models seemed old and dated. The main things to do in Torquay is look around the shops. There is a big arcade, big high street names, a peer, cinemas and lots of pubs and clubs. Torquay seems a very active and lively place with a great nightlife. As you walk along the docks, you can’t help but think you are in Spain due to the palm trees and the general atmosphere of the town. If you go to Paignton with young children, there is a big zoo there that explores 6 of the World’s habitats over 75 acres. The zoo is very interesting and educational and even appeared on BBC1’s “The zoo keepers.” If there was one place I would recommend for most ages, it would be Paigntons Quaywest. It is very easy to find due to road signs and it is placed on the wonderful Goodrington Sands. Quaywest is a water theme park with lots to do in and out of the water. It is only £7.50 for adults to go in and it’s well worth it. Uni-sex changing rooms and then a set of showers with warm water greet you. If there is one fault, I would say the teenage assistant chewing vigorously who was rude to me wasn’t the best first impression. The park is huge with many slides. I loved the rubber ring slides, which were fast, but after 10 seconds rapids stopped you where everyone gathered. I fell off my ring many times to the amusement of my boyfriend and on lookers. There are two rides where you shoot down. I only went on one, as I was scared of the other! The one I went on was long with a small vertical drop. I advise you to be careful and do lie down and not sit up as I was thrown around like a rag doll and my swimming costume got lodged up my b um- lovely! Also any girls with big chests be careful as some people fell out of their tops! On the one vertical drop, do be careful as my boyfriend cut his arm and when he reached the bottom, everything was on show! The best rides though were the mat rides even though I kept losing my mat! They were fast and exciting each time. There are refreshments and also swimming pools to have fun in. All the water is heated to 80oF. When you have finished in the water I advise you go on the beach or to the pub for a lovely meal or quiet drink. All is on the site. I went go carting and playing crazy golf after, all was very fun and the bumper boats provided many giggles, especially for the granny on lookers! In the centre of Dartmouth there are many boat trips that will take you around the beaches. Most boats include entertainment, meals and a bar. So I suppose all that’s left to say now is, if you are going to Dartmouth, I hope you have a great time, and if you are thinking of going, I hope my points have helped. Dartmouth really is a lovely place and worth far more recognition. For some places to go in and around Dartmouth see below some useful links; ) Cockington Court craft studio- 01803 606035 Bygones Life size Victorian street- 01803 326108 www.bygones.co.uk Babbacombe Model Village- 01803 315315 www.babbacombemodelvillage.co.uk Kents Cavern- 01803 215136 www.kents-cavern.co.uk Torre Abbey- 01803 293593 www.torre-abbey.org.uk Paignton & Dartmouth steam railway- 01803 555872 Quaywest- 01803 555550 www.quaywest.co.uk Paignton zoo- 01803 697500 www.paigntonzoo.co.uk Dartmouth Castle- 01803 833588 www.english-heritage.org.uk Blackpool sands- 01803 770606 www.blackpool-sands.co.uk Woodlands- 01803 712598 www.woodlands-leasurepark.co.uk
If you want a place for a break or a base for touring south Devon and Cornwall coast, try Dartmouth. The town is marvellous. Row upon row of twee streets with houses and cottages gaily painted in different colours - some so old that they lean at crazy angles. There are sufficient shops to satisfy the whim of every tourist and local alike. One I must mention is a delicatessen in the main square which sells more types of foodstuffs than you can imagine, the smell of the cheese and sliced meats is so delicious that it can make your head swim. An old cobbled yard houses a market on Tuesdays and Fridays. I found the most amazing candle shop, where the array of wax sculpture is breathtaking. Places to eat and drink abound. The fresh cod here is a must, but there is something for everyone. Food of every nationality - fresh cream teas to die for, and children catered for almost everywhere. This is also a dog friendly town - something of a rarity these days. The town is situated on one side of the steep banks of the River Dart and the most magnificent Britannia Maritime College dominates the skyline. The views in every direction here are simply tops. For most of the year the river Dart is like a millpond and has three ferries which operate well into the night. The crossing costs £1.70 single for a car or 25p for foot passengers, takes only 4 minutes. You really ought to try it, one of the vessels (Higher Ferry) is a steam paddle chain boat. From the promenade, there are several cute kiosks from which you can book circular cruises , hire bikes or buy theatre tickets and the like. Crab fishing from the quayside is very popular. This is very much a nautical town and everywhere you go reflects that. All the pubs and inns have seafaring artefacts hanging from the walls and ceilings. This town is clearly very proud of it's considerable heritage. My favourite pastime in Dartmouth is an evening stroll along the promenade alongside the vast marina. All year round you will find 100's of craft moored of all different sizes and types. - During my last trip, early Nov 2000, it was possible to view the worlds largest catamaran yacht - the so far ill fated Team-Phillips. Accommodation in the town is plentiful. It is definitely on the expensive side, but that has served to create an atmosphere of exclusivity. At one end of the marina and seemingly the most expensive, is the Forte Dart Marina Hotel which has a top rack room rate of £130.00 per night for a mini-suite. There are various types of deals which are cheaper though - one of which even provides binoculars! The rate at other establishments varies in proportion to the distance from the marina and whether or not they have a 'view'. Apart from cost, there is one other thing that lets Dartmouth down - parking - there simply isn't enough. The town council recognise this and have implemented a park and ride system, but it still remains a problem. Overcome this however, and you wont be disappointed. I think the town has something for the young and old (mainly old mind you!) but if you want to venture further afield, Brixham, Paignton and Buckfastleigh are all in easy reach. I used to drive through Dartmouth on my way elsewhere, but now I have stayed awhile, I shall be returning time and time again.