Dartmouth Things to Do

  • Things to Do
    by EasyMalc
  • Things to Do
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    Dittisham
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Most Recent Things to Do in Dartmouth

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    Walk along The Embankment

    by EasyMalc Written Mar 22, 2014
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    Dartmouth’s main attraction is undeniably the River Dart and if you’re a first time visitor to the town it’ll be the first thing you’ll want to see.
    The Embankment is the promenade that runs alongside the river and it would be easy to think that it’s always been here, but that’s not the case.
    In the Middle Ages present day Dartmouth consisted of two settlements - Clifton, and Hardness - which were separated by a creek known as the Mill Pool. A Foss (dam) was eventually built across this stretch of water and after further reclamation the two settlements became one.
    The Boat Float, or Inner Harbour, is where the North Embankment and South Embankment meet and can be regarded as the town’s main focal point. The South Embankment especially, took an enormous amount of will and effort to construct and wasn’t finished until 1885.
    Strolling along the riverside admiring the views up and down the river and across to Kingswear is one of life’s simple pleasures which we all take for granted, but these days it would be difficult to imagine Dartmouth without its wonderful Embankment.

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    Dartmouth Castle

    by EasyMalc Written Mar 20, 2014

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    Under the guardianship of English Heritage, Dartmouth Castle would be better described as a fort.
    John Hawley, the infamous Mayor of Dartmouth, was the man responsible for building the first fortifications here at the mouth of the Dart back in 1388. His notorious privateering antics left Dartmouth vulnerable to attack and so it was inevitable that he would have to deal with the problem at some point.
    The River Dart is a veritable safe haven, not only for privateers, but for all sorts of seagoing vessels, and so it was always going to need some defensive structures to keep the town protected.
    Across the river, Kingswear Castle (another fort) was built and a chain was linked between the two, which could be hauled up whenever there was any danger from attack. It did the job, but as naval military hardware advanced the defences needed bolstering up which came in the form of The Guntower.
    Built from 1481-1495 the Guntower is the earliest surviving English coastal fortress specifically built to carry guns. It’s unusual in that it’s partly square and partly round.
    The castle saw action in the Civil War when the Royalists captured it and held it for three years until Sir Thomas Fairfax took it back for the Parliamentarians. It carried on being used as a military fort right up until the 19th cent
    and remained under military control right through to WW2 when it was involved in overseeing the D-Day preparations.
    Although most of what’s left of the castle has 15th cent origins, it may come as a surprise that the most prominent building within its boundaries is, in fact, St. Petrox Church which was already here when the original fortifications were built around it. Having said that the church was re-built in 1641 and so, paradoxically, the church is now younger than the castle.
    In my opinion the tour of the castle isn’t particularly memorable but if you’ve taken the trouble to come out here then it would be a bit churlish not to take a look inside.
    The best way to arrive is to take the Castle Ferry from the town quay which is both cheap and convenient. The service runs continually from Easter to October - weather permitting of course - and if you need some sustenance before heading back into town, then you could do worse than have a quick pit stop at the Castle Tea Rooms situated under the old lighthouse next to the castle entrance.

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    • Castles and Palaces

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    Tourist Information & Thomas Newcomen

    by EasyMalc Updated Jan 31, 2014

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    These days awards are dished out like confetti and here’s another one. Dartmouth TIC won silver award in the Tourist Information Service category in the South West Tourism Awards 2013-14. With almost 350 competitors to compete against that’s quite an achievement - and the reason I bring this up is because I recently went in there for some information and I have to admit that the staff were extremely helpful and in my view totally deserved their award.
    The staff were brilliant but so is the building as well. Ok. It’s not an old historic building - in fact it’s the opposite - brand spanking new to be honest, but inside is an original early Newcomen Steam Engine.
    So what? I hear you ask but don’t start yawning just yet because Thomas Newcomen, who was born in Dartmouth, was the designer and installer of the world’s first steam engine.
    I know what you’re thinking. You’re thinking, the same as I always thought, that it was James Watt - but it wasn’t. James Watt was a great pioneer of the Industrial Revolution by 'improving' Thomas Newcomen’s invention.
    Newcomen’s steam engine was primarily used for pumping water out of coal mines and the one at the TIC is an original dating back to around 1725 and brought back to Dartmouth from the Midlands in 1963.
    Not many people who come to Dartmouth think that it had a part to play in the Industrial Revolution but the town has every right to be proud of Thomas Newcomen but they also have every right to be proud of their Tourist Information Centre as well. If you ask a member of staff to set the Newcomen Engine running they’ll happily oblige. It’s not steam driven of course because that would be impractical but at least you can see how the whole thing worked.
    I’m not going to tell you who came 1st in the awards because I would be showing some bias, but if you come to Dartmouth make sure that you drop into the excellent Visitor Centre.

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    Explore the River Dart

    by EasyMalc Updated Dec 15, 2013

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    The West Country is blessed with some lovely rivers but the Dart has to be my favourite. From its source up on Dartmoor, through the rolling hills of the South Devon countryside, to its mouth where it joins the English Channel at Dartmouth.
    At Dartmouth there is always a hive of activity with boats coming and going all the time. The water here is also deep enough to accommodate navy ships and some of the largest cruisers afloat so you don’t even need to take to the water to see the river in full swing if you don’t want to, but you would be missing a treat if you didn’t take a trip upriver.
    There are shorter trips to Greenway Quay and Dittisham as well as ferries over to Kingswear and down to Dartmouth Castle but what I would recommend is to wait until the tide is right and take the journey up to Totnes which is the highest navigable point on the river and you can spend some time in Totnes before returning on a later boat if the tide permits.
    I won’t go into any more details for now because I’m hoping to give some more in-depth tips about some of the options available for boat trips out of Dartmouth later on. Suffice it to say that if there’s one thing you should do while in Dartmouth is to explore the wonderful River Dart.

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    Dartmouth Steam Railway

    by grayfo Written Apr 29, 2013

    The Dartmouth Steam Railway is a 6.7-mile (10.8 km) heritage railway that runs on the former Great Western Railway branch line between Paignton and Kingswear. The trip is a lovely way to travel and see the countryside and coast between the two towns aboard a beautiful Steam Engine. At the destination the ticket includes a return crossing across the River Dart aboard the Dartmouth Passenger Ferry.

    The photo shows the 7827 Lydham Manor and was taken from the Dartmouth side of the river, this locomotive’s claim to fame is that in the late 1950’s along with its sister, the 7828 Odney Manor it hauled the royal train.

    Return Fares:
    Adults: £13.50
    Children: £7.50

    June 2012

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    Inner Harbour – The Boat Float

    by grayfo Written Apr 16, 2013

    The Inner harbour is known locally as the Boat Float and is bordered by the Royal Avenue Gardens, shops, cafes, restaurants, and various Georgian buildings. The harbour connects to the main Dartmouth estuary via lock gates under the roadway, which are currently disused, and dry out at low tide.

    June 2012

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    Dartmouth Museum

    by grayfo Written Apr 5, 2013

    Dartmouth Museum is a local museum housed in an old merchant’s house that was built in approximately 1640 which, in 1671, entertained Charles II and where he held court during a storm which forced him to stay in the port. The museum moved to its current location in the 1950s and was refurbished during the winters of 2010 and 2011.

    The Museum is home to an extensive collection of artefacts, models of sailing ships, ships in bottles, paintings and photographs.

    Summer
    Sunday and Monday: 1:00 pm to 4:00 pm
    Tuesday to Saturday: 10:00 am to 4:00 pm

    Winter
    Sunday to Saturday: 12:00 to 3:00 pm

    Adults: £2.00
    Children (Over 5): £0.50
    Children (Under 5): Free

    email dartmouth@devonmuseums.net

    June 2012

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    • Museum Visits
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    Lest We Forget

    by grayfo Written Mar 31, 2013

    For Freedom

    The memorial commemorates the sailing from the town on June 3, 1944 an amphibious force of 485 ships of the Royal navy and the United States navy to take part in the invasion of Normandy and the liberation of the oppressed countries of Western Europe. The memorial was unveiled in July 1954.

    June 2012

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    Dartmouth Tourist Information Centre

    by grayfo Written Mar 25, 2013

    The Dartmouth Tourist Office is located in the heart of town in the corner of Mayor’s Avenue Car Park and is the officially recognised and networked Information Centre for the town. The centre is a good source for a wide variety of Maps, Walks, attractions leaflets and discount vouchers. The office also has a select range of souvenirs – including Postcards, mugs and T-towels with their own individual logo.

    The office also shares its building with a working model of one of the first atmospheric steam engines – invented in Dartmouth by Thomas Newcomen c 1712. This engine was used by the Coventry Canal Company for pumping water into the canal at Hawkesbury Junction, Warwickshire and was brought back to its birthplace in 1963 by The Newcomen Society.

    Summer
    Monday to Saturday: 9:30 am to 5:00 pm
    Sunday: 10:00 am to 4:00 pm

    Winter
    Monday to Tuesday and Thursday to Saturday: 10:00 am to 4:00 pm

    email holidays@discoverdartmouth.com

    June 2012

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    River Dart

    by grayfo Written Mar 15, 2013

    The estuary of the River Dart, which starts at Dartmouth, is a long, narrow tidal ria that runs inland as far as Totnes. The name comes from the Brythonic Celtic meaning “river where oak trees grow”. The river begins as two separate smaller rivers, the East Dart and the West Dart, which converge at the popular tourist spot of Dartmeet.

    June 2012

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    • Sailing and Boating

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    York House

    by grayfo Written Mar 5, 2013

    York House is a Grade II Listed built in 1892 and was probably designed by EH Back, the borough surveyor. The house is of a timber-frame construction in an Elizabethan style and co-ordinates with some of the other buildings around the Quay area, the ground floor is currently used as a convenience store.

    June 2012

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    Go For A Beer - #5 The Royal Castle Hotel

    by johngayton Written Sep 4, 2012

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    Hotel Frontage

    Although this is a rather smart hotel it does have a proper public bar, the Galleon, which whilst upscale isn't painfully expensive nor exclusive. OK men are expected to have sleeves and collars but it's not a shirt and tie place. The beer's good, all local stuff often featuring one of my personal favourites - Dartmoor's "Jail Ale", and it manages to be quite an egalitarian, characterful, room with its maritime knick-knacks.

    Plus there's even bar stools!!

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    Go For A Beer - #4 The Dolphin

    by johngayton Written Sep 4, 2012

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    This is a bit of a modern trendy pub these days but still with plenty of character. I think the building dates back to 1838 (when it was called the Union Inn) and externally features what I think is Poole pottery. Inside is cosy in a sort of contemporary rustic fashion with friendly staff and good beer (mostly local brews). The menu looks good with plenty of seafood at very reasonable prices but I haven't had to chance to eat here (yet) simply dropped in for an afternoon pint on a November afternoon.

    Nice pub and by all accounts gets lively in the evenings, especially when they have live music and other events - check out the facebook page below:

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    Go For A Beer - #3 Market House Inn

    by johngayton Written Sep 4, 2012

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    This is a bit of a scabby town centre pub aimed at a younger crowd and football fans but is friendly enough and the beer and food are reasonably cheap. Much more of a lager drinkers haunt than us real beer people but useful if you want to catch the days sports events.

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    Go For A Beer - #2 The Seven Stars

    by johngayton Written Sep 3, 2012

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    Pub Frontage
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    Whilst The Cherub claims to be the oldest building The Seven Stars is Dartmouth's oldest pub. It dates back to sometime around the 18th century when two earlier houses were knocked together and as a listed building has several 16th and 17th century features, although much of its present appearance is a result of more recent modernisations.

    As a pub this is by far Dartmouth's friendliest local, being just that little way off the main tourist drag. The beer (mostly local brews) is reasonably-priced and there's usually good craic at the bar.

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Dartmouth Things to Do

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