The Dart has been a port for over 1,000 years. When America was discovered, Dartmouth was well placed for Atlantic trade. Sir Walter Raleigh returned here with captured Spanish galleons and Newfoundland fishing brought rich pickings. The Naval College started life aboard two retired warships before Sir Aston Webb created the flamboyant building now gracing the hillside.

Dartmouth town is a warren of narrow streets, winding steps and rambling houses. Its long embankment is a magnificent riverside walk with fabulous views. The old buildings behind the Boatfloat harbour are on the original waterfront and Higher Street’s 14th-century Cherub Inn was once a few steps above the lapping tide. Sailing ships lay alongside the cobbled quay at Bayards Cove, where the Mayflower Stone celebrates the Pilgrim Fathers’ voyage to the New World.


Historic it may be, but Dartmouth is a great town for stylish, contemporary shopping. In behind the Boatfloat, past the Butterwalk arcade, Foss Street is a colourful pedestrian corridor of studios, galleries and cafés. Dartmouth market draws in shoppers from miles around for its Tuesday, Friday and farmers markets.

You'll find jewellery and ceramics in Higher Street, antiques in Lower Street and all performing arts at the flourishing Flavel Centre – film, theatre, music and live-to-screen events.

For berth-holders stocking up for a cruise, Sainsbury's and Lidl are at the top of town. On the Butterwalk, Dartmouth Vintners is popular with boat crews, run by folk who know their wines and whiskies.

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Coast and River Walks

Devon coast path

The National Trust owns much of the coast around Dartmouth and there are stunning cliff paths starting from Dartmouth Castle and winding past Compass Cove to Redlap, Little Dartmouth farm and Stoke Fleming village. You can catch a 93 bus back to Dartmouth from Stoke Fleming village hall.

Dart Valley Trail

From Dart Marina you can explore a network of paths and lanes along each side of the river – to Dittisham village on the west bank and Greenway on the east. Greenway quay is opposite Dittisham and a small ferry links the two. A ferry also shuttles between Dartmouth and Dittisham, giving a tantalising choice of routes.

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Day Trips Ashore

Sharpham Vineyard - slideshow

Two bends below Totnes, Sharpham's rows of vines slope to the river near a charming boathouse. Behind them looms a vast Palladian manor. A short drive from Dart Marina, Sharpham has 10 acres of vines, mostly Madeleine Angevine for crisp floral whites, but also Dornfelder, Pinot Noir and Rondo for reds and rosés. The vineyard café is relaxing for lunch and the estate makes a creamy Sharpham Brie from its own Jersey milk.

A taste of Dartmoor - slideshow

The Dart rises as a stream up on Dartmoor, an ancient landscape of weathered granite, wild scrub and winding wooded valleys. From well offshore you can often see Dartmoor's rugged peaks, a spectacular prospect if you are crossing the Channel. Famous places like Haytor, Dartmeet, Gidleigh Park and Widecombe-in-the-Moor are only an hour’s drive from Dart Marina.


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