12 fab things to do in Dartmouth

Boats in the harbour at dusk in Dartmouth.

Wandering the meandering historic streets of Dartmouth and gazing out at the stunning River Dart are top of the ‘to do’ list when visiting this perfectly pretty town. - Credit: Neville Stanikk/VisitDevon

KATE WILLIAMS chooses 12 great things to do on a visit to the delightful Devon town of Dartmouth:

1. Dartmouth town 

Spending a day wandering around this picturesque town with its tall, historical buildings and meandering streets filled with shops and eateries, is an activity in itself. An idyllic place to relax and unwind, whether shop-hopping or walking along watching the boats bob on the beautiful River Dart, Dartmouth is a visitor’s dream. 

The house and gardens at Coleton Fishacre, Devon.

Coleton Fishacre House and Garden is a feast for the eyes inside and out. - Credit: National Trust Images/John Dietz

2. Coleton Fishacre House and Garden 

This National Trust property is a feast for the eyes inside and out. It is the 1920s home of the D'Oyly Carte family and imbued with Art Deco elegance. Music fills the rooms and visitors get an insight into the ‘upstairs and downstairs’ life of the era. The gardens are stunning and there is a fabulous cafe too. 

3. Sea Kayak Devon 

If it's the beautiful Devon coastline that draws you in, and if you’re up for it, a day on a kayak is a fantastic day out. Catering for families, groups and individuals, Sea Kayak Devon welcomes a range of ages with no experience necessary. Guided trips or courses are offered with excellent equipment for safety. 

Kitchen diner area of a Dartmouth holiday cottage,

With its nautical theme, Weight N Sea is a beautiful cottage sleeping up to six nearby to the riverfront. - Credit: holidaycottages.co.uk 

4. Weight N Sea 

Just a short wander from Dartmouth’s quay, this beautifully decorated three-bedroom cottage is a perfect place for a stay in the town. Close to all the amenities of the famous naval area, Weight N Sea sleeps up to six, making it a great choice for families, with two double rooms and one with purpose-built bunk beds. 

5. Dittisham Hideaway 

For those who seek something different from the mainstream accommodation, Dittisham Hideaway is an enchanted holiday destination that has the wow factor in droves. Offering a collection of treehouses and shepherds huts, this ‘hideaway’ is also home to an original, beautifully restored American 1956 Airstream caravan. 

Interior of Tudor inn in Dartmouth.

The 14th Century Tudor inn at Bayards Cove is now a café bar and restaurant with seven luxurious ensuite rooms. - Credit: Bayards Cove Inn 

6. Bayards Cove Inn 

Bayards Cove Inn is one of Dartmouth’s oldest buildings, a 14th Century Tudor inn that’s now a café bar and restaurant with seven luxurious ensuite rooms, two of which are family suites — and all the rooms are pet-friendly. The building is full of history and gained Grade II listed status in 1949. 

Arched interior of Dartmouth restaurant Radius 7.

For a fantastic dining experience using top quality South Devon produce, all within a relaxed atmosphere, make Radius 7 a definite stop. - Credit: Radius 7 

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7. Radius 7 

When Radius 7 opened in 2015, the intention was to bring local produce, fresh from local suppliers, allotments, the harbour and the farm, to its customers. The relaxed and friendly atmosphere is refreshing whilst enabling diners to indulge in an impressive eating experience using top quality South Devon produce. 

8. Dartmouth Castle Tea Rooms 

With its unique location next to the English Heritage Dartmouth Castle on the entrance to the Dart Estuary, Dartmouth Castle Tea Rooms visitors can arrive by boat. During the summer months, the passenger ferry from Dartmouth Harbour is a great way to enjoy the water — and a spot of lunch or slice of cake too. 

A woman holding a strawberry ice cream cone.

Dartmouth Ice Cream has been serving locals and visitors alike since 1928. - Credit: Dartmouth Ice Cream Company 

9. Dartmouth Ice Cream Company 

Why would you not? In fact, it’s worth a visit to the town just for this ice cream treat. As one of the South West’s oldest ice cream companies, Dartmouth Ice Cream has been serving locals and visitors alike since 1928. Not only can one indulge in homemade ice cream, but homemade fudge is offered to tempt the tastebuds at this independent and family-run Lower Street business. 

Exterior of Dart Gallery shop in Dartmouth.

This independent gallery showcases work from some superb British artists and always offers visitors a warm and friendly welcome. - Credit: Tom Butcher 

10. Dart Gallery 

Housed in a beautiful 19th Century building on Lower Street, Dart Gallery is independent and offers a wide selection of work by established, contemporary British artists, with whom gallery staff have a direct relationship. A warm welcome will greet visitors, their families, friends and even dogs, for a leisurely browse.

11. Hip Hip Hooray Studio 

Perfect for all craft lovers, this little shop is fairly new to Dartmouth, bringing a wealth of delightful fabrics, wools and beads. There is a whole host of creative project kits to choose from for beginners and children to more inept crafters. The studio also runs a variety of workshops including dressmaking, lino printing and jewellery making.

Outer walls of Old Market in Dartmouth.

Dartmouth Old Market is the perfect spot for a bit of retail therapy. - Credit: Alamy Stock Photo

12. Dartmouth Old Market  

It is a necessity to pay a visit to the Old Market on Victoria Street when in Dartmouth. With shops, cafes and stalls open all week, it is the perfect spot for a bit of retail therapy providing an eclectic mix of gifts, local food, children’s clothes, plants, soft furnishings, jewellery, vinyl records and dress fabric.