Our Guide to Dartmouth & Kingswear, South Devon

 

Overlooking the River Dart on Devon’s south coast, Dartmouth ‘The Jewel in Devon’s Crown’ as it’s often referred to, is a wonderful holiday destination for all ages and interests. Holidays in Dartmouth can be spent exploring this beautiful coastline by foot, train or by water along the River Dart, or spending lazy days on the nearby award winning beaches in the area. If you are a foodie this is the perfect destination where your choice will be award winning fish and chips on the embankment to fine dining overlooking the river.   The town is also steeped in history with places to visit such as Dartmouth Castle. What ever your pleasure you will be guaranteed that Dartmouth will offer the perfect holiday beside the sea.

Dartmouth

Historic Dartmouth

Famous for is cobbled streets and eclectic mix of architecture, the town is steeped in history, with one of its oldest pubs, the Cherub built back in the 1300’s. Standing guard over the hillside and river is the Britannia Royal Naval College and Dartmouth National Trust Gardens. Stroll along the coastline to Dartmouth Castle that has guarded this maritime port for over 600 years. The climb to this wonderful cliff top fortress is well worth the effort as the views of the estuary from the top are simply breathtaking if you have any left that is!  During the summer boat trips to the castle run between the quay and the castle.

Dartmouth Harbour is of course the town history in itself, and is regarded as being one of the finest harbours in Britain. Back in 1620 Dartmouth Harbour was the starting point for the Mayflower that set sail from here to America. The harbour is also the centre point for the historical annual Royal Dartmouth Regatta first held in 1822 and now one of the most spectacular week long events you will find in Devon’s events calendar.

Kingswear

The brightly coloured cottages of Kingswear bathe in the afternoon sunshine across the water from Dartmouth. The village can be reached via the two ferries that run year round with the exception of Christmas Day (weather dependent). Kingswear is the terminus for the Dartmouth Steam Railway that runs from Paignton along the spectacular English Riviera coast taking in stations at Goodrington and Churston before terminating in the village opposite the marina. The Royal Dart Yacht Club is based in the Kingswear.

 

Ilfracombe seafront
Dartmouth Views
Kingswear
Waterhead Creek, Dartmouth
Dartmouth Views
Dartmouth Bandstand

The Higher, Lower & Passenger Ferry

The Passenger Ferry

The Passenger Ferry runs approximately every 15 mins from the quay at Kingswear to the quay at Dartmouth and is operated by the Dartmouth Steam Railway and River Boat Company

The ferry operates daily as below and fares are £1.50 for adults and 50p for children (each way). A book of concession tickets can be purchased for £10.00 (20 tickets), please note the crew take a meal break during the day therefore at times the schedule does change.

Timings

Monday to Saturday: 0730 Dartmouth/ 0740 Kingswear – 23.10 Dartmouth/23.15 Kingswear

Sunday: 0900 Dartmouth/ 0910 Kingswear

The Lower Ferry

For Sat Nav: TQ6 9AP Dartmouth/ TQ6 0AA Kingswear

Operated by the South Hams District Council, The Historic Lower Ferry runs from Dartmouth’s south embankment across to Kingswear village and has been transporting vehicles and passengers between the two towns since the 1700’s. The ferry is quipped to accommodate wheelchair users and runs daily with the exception of the Festive Period as detailed below.

Tickets can be purchased on the ferry. Please note there is no facility for card payment.

Fares: Foot Passengers or bicycles with rider (each way): £1.50, children (5- 16yrs) 50p.

Car: £4.50 single £8.00 return.

Timings

Monday to Saturday: 0710 Dartmouth/0700 Kingswear - 2355 Dartmouth/2355 Kingswear

Sunday: 0810 Dartmouth/0800 Kingswear – 2355 Dartmouth/2345 Kingwear

The Higher Ferry

Operating from the northern end of Dartmouth (near Dart Marina and The Floating Bridge Inn,) to just outside the village of Kingswear, the crossing forms part of the A379 between Torbay and Plymouth. The crossing is via chain link and is operated by the Dartmouth Higher Ferry Company.

Please note that there is no facility for card Payment on the ferry.

Fares: Foot Passengers (each way) 60p. Cars: £5.20 single £9.00 Day return

Concession tags for 20 and 40 journeys are available.

Timings

Monday to Saturday: 0630 Dartmouth – 2250 Kingswear continuous

Sunday: 0800 Dartmouth – 2250 Kingswear continuous

Ferry Services over the Christmas and New Year

The Lower and Higher Ferries run as normal during the Christmas & New Year periods with the exception of the following days:

Christmas Day

Lower Ferry: No service

Higher Ferry: 1st ferry 0900 to 1450.

Passenger Ferry: No service

Boxing Day

Lower Ferry: Reduced service from 1000 to 1655

Higher Ferry: 0800 to 2050

Passenger Ferry: No service

New Years Day

Lower Ferry: Reduced service 1000 to 1655

Higher Ferry:0900 to 1850

Passenger Ferry: No Service

Please note that the ferry prices and times were correct at the time of publication. For more information please see the operator of each ferry.

Steam Train at Kingswear
Dartmouth Higher Ferry

Things to do in and around Dartmouth & Kingswear

You won’t go short of things to do this lovely destination with something for every age and interest of offer.

The Flavel Arts Centre has a packed calendar throughout the year, showcasing the latest blockbuster films through the annual comedy centre. The centre also houses the Art Gallery and Arts Café and the building is fully accessible.

Spending Time on the River Dart is a pastime for many who live and holiday in Dartmouth, the beautiful serene waters offering an opportunity to explore by boat, canoe, paddle board, ferry or even a floating restaurant. For those who want to explore under their own steam sailing is something everyone should try when visiting the area. Close to Dartmouth in the nearby village of Dittisham is Marshall Sailing School where there is a range of tuition available for all levels : 

Visiting Dartmouth or Kingswear would not be complete without a enjoying one of the journeys on offer by the Dartmouth Steam Railway & River Boat Company where you can choose from a variety of boat and train journeys, speciality tours. For younger ones - A day out with Thomas is a must!

Walking in Dartmouth & Kingswear

Waking in this area is a popular past time and there are a whole host of walks available for varying abilities. The South West Coast Path offers everything from gentle hills and country lanes to tough cliff hiking treating you to some spectacular scenery on the way.   The Dart Valley Trail is a wonderful walk, The Greenway section to Kingswear being 4.5miles long and takes you through ancient woodland alongside the River Dart.   The walk can be started from Cornonation Park in Dartmouth using the higher Ferry to cross to Kingswear where the footpath can be joined.   For more information click here:

For a walk with younger children the Dartmouth Town Trail, is an easy 2km walk through the town and takes in lots adventure and history of the old town 

Blackpool Sands Beach - Devon
Blackpool Sands Beach - Devon

Where to eat in Dartmouth & Kingswear

There is no shortage of places to eat in Dartmouth and Kingswear. Choose from fine dining to fish and chips, the one thing they all have in common is the magnificent local produce that is delivered to your table.

The Seahorse Restaurant will delight lovers of seafood, set on the embankment you couldn’t be better placed to enjoy mouth watering locally caught seafood whilst enjoying the views.

Café Alfresco is one of the best spots in town for a relaxed coffee and slight bit. Open for breakfasts and lunches the café is upbeat and vibrant with live music in the season.

Venus Café - Just along the coast at Blackpool Sands is the Venus Café where you can enjoy fantastic local food including seafood specials, fresh sandwiches, organic burgers and scrumptious home made desserts; all whilst your sat gazing out over the turquoise blue sea and golden sands that make this award winning beach so popular with locals and visitors alike.

The Picnic Boat - With a varied selection of menus the Picnic Boat offers an opportunity to sample great food whilst you cruise up and down the River Dart. Ideal for the romantic special occasions or family celebrations the boat is licensed for up to 12 people.

Rockfish - Whether you prefer your fish wrapped in paper or on a plate, the award winning Rockfish fish and chip restaurants offer eat in or take away and a delight not to be missed whether you enjoy your fish supper sat dangling your legs over the harbour wall or sat in their award winning restaurant on the embankment.

Festivals in Dartmouth and Kingswear

Across the year there are events being held practically every month in and around the Dartmouth a& Kingswear area that will appeal to just about everyone who visits. Here is a run down of the main events:

Dartmouth Comedy Festival – March

Held at the Flavel centre, the four day line up includes some top circuit comedians. Tickets can be purchased at ww.theflavel.org.uk

Dart Gig Regatta – April

Whether you are a gig enthusiasts or not, the Dart Gig Club Regatta is a great fun day with races up and down the Dart between the two ferries.

Dart Music Festival - May

Whatever your preferred genre of music, the Dartmouth Music Festival held in May offers everyone a great opportunity to enjoy over a 100 performances in a variety of venues in the town over 3 days and even better Its all free to listen to! thttp://www.dartmusicfestival.co.uk

Port of Dartmouth Royal Regatta – last week in August

If you are lucky to be in the area for the Dartmouth Royal Regatta, you are in for a treat! Generally held over the last week/weekend in August is a a week of events including rowing and sailing events, grand firework displays, air displays, fun fairs, street markets and music. Parking is often difficult this week so its best to park out of town and use public transport into the town centre. http://www.dartmouthregatta.co.uk/

Dartmouth Food Festival – October

Tickle your taste buds at the Dartmouth Food Festival where over three days you will find the town centre packed with cookery demonstrations from some of the best chefs in the South West. Try some incredible local food and treat yourself to some of the produce on offer. http://www.dartmouthfoodfestival.com/

Candlelit Dartmouth – End November

As the festive season gets well and truly underway, what better way to feel Christmassy then to enjoy Candlelit Dartmouth where the town comes to life with stalls and live entertainment to herald the Christmas Lights switch on and the arrival of Santa as he travels down the River Dart on his boat/sleigh.

 

 

Shopping & Parking in Dartmouth and Kingswear

Shopping

Dartmouth is famous for its variety of interesting and independent shops and galleries that line the ancient, narrow cobbled streets. For supplies, you will find an M&S food hall in the centre of town along with a Co-op. In Kingswear basic provisions can be purchased from the post office by the ferry terminal. At the top of Dartmouth you will find a Sainsbury’s supermarket.

The farmers market held on the 2nd Saturday of every month in Dartmouth is well worth visiting where you will have the opportunity to sample and purchase some of the finest locally produced food from around the area.

Parking

Parking for the Dartmouth is at Dartmouth embankment TQ6 9BH. There is a park and ride car park at the top Dartmouth on the A3122 opposite Sainsbury’s TQ6 9LW. There is also a short stay car park in the town centre TQ6 9NF

Parking for Kingswear

The only car park for Kingswear is The Marina Car park TQ6 0AA

 

Things to do in and around Dartmouth & Kingswear

You won’t go short of things to do this lovely destination with something for every age and interest of offer.

The Flavel Arts Centre has a packed calendar throughout the year, showcasing the latest blockbuster films through the annual comedy centre. The centre also houses the Art Gallery and Arts Café and the building is fully accessible.

Spending Time on the River Dart is a pastime for many who live and holiday in Dartmouth, the beautiful serene waters offering an opportunity to explore by boat, canoe, paddle board, ferry or even a floating restaurant. For those who want to explore under their own steam sailing is something everyone should try when visiting the area. Close to Dartmouth in the nearby village of Dittisham is Marshall Sailing School where there is a range of tuition available for all levels : 

Visiting Dartmouth or Kingswear would not be complete without a enjoying one of the journeys on offer by the Dartmouth Steam Railway & River Boat Company where you can choose from a variety of boat and train journeys, speciality tours. For younger ones - A day out with Thomas is a must!