City Breaks In Dartmouth

Dartmouth: A Coastal Charm in Devon

Dartmouth, located in the scenic county of Devon, is a captivating destination for city breaks, combining natural beauty with rich history.

This enchanting town, with its deep-water port, has long been of strategic importance, and today, it blends maritime heritage with modern elegance.

Dartmouth is an ideal choice for those seeking a weekend getaway in a location that offers both relaxation and adventure against a backdrop of breathtaking coastal scenery.

In Dartmouth, every weekend break is a journey through time, from medieval streets to the contemporary waterfront. One of the draws of city breaks in Dartmouth is the variety of activities and attractions for people of all ages.

The town’s unique character is evident in its narrow lanes lined with boutique shops, galleries, and eateries.

Dartmouth’s appeal lies in its ability to provide a tranquil yet stimulating environment, perfect for weekend trips that promise relaxation, exploration, and discovery in equal measure.

A view of the lighthouse in Devon.
A top down view of Start Lighthouse in Dartmouth, Devon. Photo by M.V

Top Attractions In Dartmouth

A weekend break in Dartmouth is incomplete without exploring its array of attractions that offer both historical insight and natural beauty.

This charming town is a treasure trove of experiences, ensuring visitors on weekend trips to Dartmouth are captivated at every turn.

  • Dartmouth Castle: Journey through centuries of history at this strategically important fortress, which has guarded the Dart Estuary for over 600 years.
  • Royal Naval College: An iconic landmark offering guided tours, showcasing its impressive architecture and rich naval history.
  • Dartmouth Steam Railway: Relive the golden age of steam on a scenic journey along the picturesque coast and countryside.
  • Coleton Fishacre: Wander through a 1920s country retreat with stunning gardens and views, once owned by the D’Oyly Carte family.
  • Dartmouth Museum: Located in a 17th-century merchant’s house, this museum provides insights into the town’s maritime and social history.
  • Boat Trips on the River Dart: Experience the beauty of Dartmouth from the water with a variety of boat trips available.
  • Blackpool Sands: A short drive from Dartmouth, this sheltered and picturesque beach is ideal for relaxation and water activities.
  • Greenway House and Garden: Discover the holiday home of the famous author Agatha Christie, now a National Trust property with delightful gardens.

Dartmouth’s attractions perfectly blend historical intrigue with natural splendour, promising a memorable experience for every visitor.

Embark on these adventures to fully capture the essence of what makes weekend breaks in Dartmouth truly enchanting.

View of Dartmouth harbour.
Dartmouth is in a lovely setting and is beautiful in good weather. Photo by Raoul du Plessis.

A Taste of Dartmouth: Culinary Delights

Dartmouth’s culinary scene is as diverse and inviting as the town itself, making it a key highlight of any weekend break here.

Visitors will find an array of dining options, from quaint cafes to elegant restaurants, each offering a taste of local and international flavours.

In Dartmouth, the emphasis is on fresh, locally-sourced ingredients, particularly seafood. The town’s eateries range from traditional English pubs to contemporary bistros, providing an array of choices for every palate.

  • Seafront Restaurants: Savour freshly caught seafood with stunning views of the Dart Estuary.
  • Cosy Cafes: Enjoy a leisurely coffee break in one of the many charming cafes dotted around the town.
  • Traditional English Pubs: Experience the warm, welcoming atmosphere of Dartmouth’s pubs, serving classic dishes and local ales.
  • Fine Dining: Indulge in a sophisticated dining experience at one of the town’s high-end restaurants.
  • International Cuisine: Explore a variety of global flavours available in the town’s diverse eateries.
  • Farm-to-Table Bistros: Taste the freshness of the South Hams area in bistros that prioritise locally-sourced produce.
  • Street Food and Markets: Discover a range of casual dining options at local markets and street food stalls.

Dartmouth’s dining landscape is a delightful journey for the senses, blending local traditions with contemporary tastes.

Morris Lake in Dartmouth is wonderful for nature lovers. Photo by Liz Cummings.

Shopping Trips To Dartmouth

Dartmouth offers a shopping experience as delightful and varied as the town itself, making it a perfect complement to any weekend getaway.

The town’s array of shops ranges from quaint boutiques to local artisanal stores, each adding to the charm of your weekend break in Dartmouth.

Stroll through the streets of Dartmouth and discover a world of shopping that combines traditional charm with modern offerings.

Whether you’re looking for souvenirs, fashion, or unique art, Dartmouth’s shops provide an enjoyable and memorable retail experience.

  • Independent Boutiques: Find unique clothing and accessories in the town’s range of independent boutiques.
  • Art Galleries: Explore local art and perhaps purchase a piece as a memento of your visit.
  • Antique Shops: Browse through antiques and collectables for a unique find.
  • Local Craft Stores: Discover handcrafted goods made by local artisans.
  • Maritime Shops: Pick up nautical-themed items as a nod to Dartmouth’s seafaring heritage.
  • Bookshops: Delve into a selection of books, including works by local authors and maritime literature.
  • Specialty Food Shops: Taste local delicacies and specialty foods that reflect the flavours of Devon.

Shopping in Dartmouth is not just about purchasing items; it’s about experiencing the town’s unique culture and history.

Each lane, little road and small shop offers a glimpse into the life and style of this charming coastal town.

Britannia Royal Naval College in Dartmouth
Britannia Royal Naval College in Dartmouth. Photo by Ray Harrington.

Things To Do In Dartmouth

Dartmouth’s cultural and entertainment scene is as vibrant and engaging as its picturesque surroundings, making it an ideal destination for weekend breaks. From historic venues to lively events, Dartmouth offers a wealth of activities that enrich the visitor experience.

The town boasts a variety of cultural venues and entertainment options that cater to all ages and interests.

Whether you’re into live music, theatre, or local festivals, Dartmouth has something to offer that will enhance your city break.

  • Dartmouth Music Festival: An annual event showcasing a wide range of musical genres.
  • The Flavel Arts Centre: Offering a mix of cinema, live music, and theatre performances.
  • Royal Regatta: A famous event featuring rowing races, air displays, and fireworks.
  • Local Art Exhibitions: Regularly hosted in galleries and public spaces throughout the town.
  • Historical Walking Tours: Explore Dartmouth’s rich history with guided tours.
  • Outdoor Cinema Events: Enjoy films in unique settings during the summer months.
  • Live Entertainment in Pubs: Experience the local nightlife with live music in various pubs and bars.

Dartmouth’s cultural and entertainment offerings are a testament to its lively spirit and rich heritage.

Engaging in these activities is a perfect way to immerse yourself in the local culture during your weekend break.

Dartmouth is perfect for weekend breaks away from London and other big cities. Photo by Elliot Parker.

How To Get To Dartmouth, Devon

Reaching and exploring Dartmouth is an integral part of the experience, with various transportation options that cater to different preferences.

Here’s how you can smoothly travel to and navigate around this charming town for your weekend break in Dartmouth.

  • By Train: Dartmouth doesn’t have its own train station, but the nearest station is Totnes, about 12 miles away. Regular train services connect Totnes to major cities, including London, Birmingham, and Manchester. From Totnes, you can take a bus or taxi to Dartmouth.
  • By Car: Dartmouth is accessible by road, with scenic drives through the South Hams countryside. It’s around a 3.5-hour drive from London, taking the M4, M5, and then the A38 towards Devon.
  • By Bus: National Express and other coach services operate to Totnes, from where local buses can take you to Dartmouth.
  • Local Transportation: Once in Dartmouth, the town is pedestrian-friendly, and most attractions are easily accessible on foot. For longer distances, local buses serve the town and surrounding areas.
  • Ferries: Enjoy unique views of the town by taking one of the local ferries across the River Dart.

Travelling to and around Dartmouth is part of the adventure, offering a blend of convenience and the chance to enjoy stunning views of the Devon countryside.

Escape to Dartmouth for a weekend break and experience the perfect blend of maritime heritage, scenic beauty, and cultural vibrancy in the heart of Devon.

Photo of Dartmouth harbour.
The beautiful harbour in Dartmouth. Photo by Joshua Cox.

Accommodation In Dartmouth

Finding the perfect place to stay is a key part of planning your weekend break in Dartmouth.

This delightful town offers a variety of accommodation options, ranging from luxurious hotels to charming bed and breakfasts, ensuring a comfortable and memorable stay.

  • Riverside Hotels: Enjoy stunning views of the Dart River and easy access to local attractions.
  • Boutique Guesthouses: Stay in unique properties that offer a personal touch and distinctive style.
  • Historic Inns: Experience Dartmouth’s history firsthand in one of its many traditional inns.
  • Self-Catering Apartments and Cottages: Ideal for families or those who prefer a home-away-from-home experience.
  • Luxury Hotels: Indulge in opulence with top-notch amenities and services.
  • Bed and Breakfasts: Immerse in the local charm with a cozy and friendly B&B stay.
  • Camping Sites: For the more adventurous, there are several camping sites in the surrounding areas offering a closer connection to nature.

Dartmouth’s accommodation options are as diverse as the town itself, providing the perfect base to relax and recharge after a day of exploration and adventure.

Related content: Short Breaks In Devon

Photo of a hotel in Dartmouth.
There are many good quality options for accommodation in Dartmouth. Photo © Colin Smith (cc-by-sa/2.0)

Tips For A Weekend Break To Dartmouth

Make the most of your city break in Dartmouth with these local tips, tailored to help you navigate and enjoy this picturesque Devon town:

  • Parking in Dartmouth: Parking can be a challenge during the busy season. Consider using the Park and Ride service located just outside the town for ease and convenience.
  • Exploring by Foot: Dartmouth is ideally explored on foot, especially the historic town centre with its narrow, winding streets and hidden alleys.
  • Enjoy the Water: Take advantage of Dartmouth’s location on the River Dart by enjoying a river cruise or a ferry trip to nearby towns like Totnes or Kingswear.
  • Visit the Market: The Dartmouth Market in the Old Market Square is a must-visit for local produce and unique crafts, open on Fridays and Saturdays.
  • Attend Local Events: Check the local calendar for events and festivals, as Dartmouth has a vibrant cultural scene, particularly in the summer months.
  • Dine Early or Book Ahead: Popular restaurants in Dartmouth can get busy, especially during peak times. It’s advisable to either dine early or reserve a table in advance.
  • Explore the Surrounding Area: The South Hams area around Dartmouth is full of beautiful landscapes and charming villages, perfect for day trips.

These tips are designed to give you a deeper and more enjoyable experience when booking a weekend break in Dartmouth.

Photo of the Dartmouth harbour area showing Dartmouth Castle.
Dartmouth Castle overlooks the beautiful harbour area. Photo © Tom Jolliffe (cc-by-sa/2.0).

Itineraries For City Breaks In Dartmouth

Plan your visit to Dartmouth, whether you’re there for a quick day trip, a weekend escape, or a longer stay.

These itinerary suggestions are designed to help you experience the best of this charming Devon town:

24-Hour Itinerary

  • Morning: Begin with a leisurely walk around the picturesque Dartmouth harbour and visit the historic Dartmouth Castle.
  • Afternoon: Enjoy lunch at one of the riverside eateries, followed by a visit to the Royal Naval College or a river cruise on the Dart.
  • Evening: Dine in one of Dartmouth’s excellent restaurants and take a stroll along the embankment for beautiful night views of the town.

48-Hour Itinerary

  • Day 1: Follow the 24-hour Dartmouth city breaks itinerary.
  • Day 2 Morning: Explore the local market and independent shops in the town centre.
  • Day 2 Afternoon: Visit Coleton Fishacre or take a short trip to the nearby Blackpool Sands beach.
  • Day 2 Evening: Enjoy a live performance at The Flavel Arts Centre or experience the local nightlife.

Long Weekend Itinerary

  • Day 1 & 2: Follow the 48-hour Dartmouth itinerary.
  • Day 3: Take a day trip to explore the South Hams countryside or visit the nearby historic town of Totnes.
  • Day 4: Relax in one of Dartmouth’s many cafes, visit local art galleries, or take a leisurely walk in the surrounding areas.

These itineraries are crafted to ensure you enjoy the rich blend of history, culture, and natural beauty that Dartmouth has to offer.

Photo of Lower Street in Dartmouth.
Try our itineraries to plan your weekend break to Dartmouth. Photo © Colin Smith (cc-by-sa/2.0)

FAQ For Visiting Dartmouth, Devon

If you are planning city breaks in Dartmouth, take a look at some of our most frequently asked questions about this lovely Devon town:

How do I get to Dartmouth if there’s no train station in the town?

The nearest train station is in Totnes, about 12 miles away. From Totnes, you can take a bus or taxi to Dartmouth.

What are some must-visit historical sites in Dartmouth?

Dartmouth Castle, the Royal Naval College, and the historic town centre are essential visits to appreciate the town’s rich history.

Can I take boat trips from Dartmouth?

Yes, Dartmouth offers various boat trips, including river cruises on the Dart and trips to nearby towns like Totnes and Kingswear.

Is Dartmouth suitable for family visits?

Absolutely, Dartmouth is family-friendly with attractions like river cruises, beaches, and outdoor activities that appeal to all ages.

Are there good dining options in Dartmouth for different dietary requirements?

Dartmouth caters to a range of dietary preferences, with many restaurants offering vegetarian, vegan, and gluten-free options.

What outdoor activities can I do in and around Dartmouth?

Enjoy coastal walks, visit nearby beaches like Blackpool Sands, and explore the beautiful South Hams countryside.

These FAQs are intended to help anyone planning a weekend break to Dartmouth.

Embrace the Charm of Dartmouth: A Perfect Weekend Escape

As we conclude our journey through Dartmouth, it becomes evident that this town is not just a destination, but a gateway to a myriad of experiences that blend the old with the new, the tranquil with the vibrant.

Dartmouth, with its rich maritime heritage and picturesque setting, is a haven for those seeking a weekend break that combines relaxation with exploration.

Wander through the narrow, cobbled streets of the historic town centre, where each turn reveals a part of Dartmouth’s storied past, or relax by the serene waters of the Dart, watching boats glide by.

Dartmouth truly comes to life for the weekend visitor. Imagine spending your days discovering hidden gems like the enchanting Dartmouth Castle, steeped in history and offering stunning views of the estuary.

The charm of Dartmouth extends beyond its streets and into the surrounding areas. A short drive or a leisurely cruise takes you to scenic spots like Blackpool Sands or the tranquil beauty of the South Hams countryside.

Here, the blend of natural beauty and historical intrigue continues, making every moment of your weekend break an adventure.

Whether it’s through leisurely strolls along the coast, engaging with the local arts scene, or simply soaking in the laid-back atmosphere, Dartmouth provides a perfect backdrop for a memorable weekend.

Return to: British Short Breaks or the UK City Breaks section.

Short breaks in Leicestershire. Photo © Alan Murray-Rust (cc-by-sa/2.0)

Short Breaks in Leicestershire

Leicestershire is a good match for anyone looking for a trip away from home that offers something for everyone.

Short breaks in Tyne and Wear

Short Breaks in Tyne and Wear

Tyne and Wear offers the visitor both city and shopping breaks as well as countryside trips.

City breaks in Aberdeen, Scotland. Photo © Bill Harrison (cc-by-sa/2.0)

City Breaks In Aberdeen

Aberdeen is a large and vibrant city, known as the oil capital of the UK, but it has much to offer visitors and tourists.

Photo showing the countryside available to travelers having short breaks in Derbyshire.

Short Breaks in Derbyshire

If you love the peak district then take a look at our short breaks in Derbyshire.