Dartmouth and Kingswear Area Guide
Dartmouth is one of the most popular and picturesque tourist destinations in Devon. Situated on the banks of the River Dart - with a tidal river running inland as far as Totnes and beyond - it lies in the South Devon Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty and South Hams District and has a small resident population of 5,500 inhabitants.
Nowadays, Dartmouth has a busy town centre with many attractions for tourists, including independent shops, restaurants and galleries – with many situated along the waterfront. After you have finished exploring the town make sure you head out into the surrounding countryside. Take one of the many footpaths surrounding the town and discover the wonderful countryside or coastal views.
Why not walk parts of the South West Coast Path and enjoy spectacular views across the coastline. The River Dart is the perfect water sports playground – sailing, kayaking, paddle boarding, boat trips and more are all on offer – you can even learn to surf at one of the nearby beaches, or just spend a lazy day enjoying the views. One of the country’s top beaches Blackpool Sands is just a short drive from Dartmouth and is not to be missed.
Choose from one of the many ferries operating from Dartmouth and head for Torquay, Salcombe or Totnes or just enjoy a trip around the river mouth. If a trip on land is more for your style, catch the steam train from Kingswear for a nostalgic journey through the South Devon countryside.
Set on the banks of the River Dart, opposite the town of Dartmouth, Kingswear is a charming character village whose brightly painted houses (often likened to Balamory), church, pubs and other buildings rise up steeply from the river.
Its most prominent feature is the privately owned Kingswear Castle - a 15th Century artillery tower built to defend Dartmouth harbour. Kingswear marks the end of the Paignton and Dartmouth Steam Railway and visitors can take a delightful journey to Paignton via a steam train, which runs from Easter to October. If you prefer the water, there are three different ferry companies operating between Kingswear and Dartmouth.
The village also boasts Coleton Fishacre - a National Trust maintained Arts and Crafts style house with a stylish art deco interior. Its beautiful gardens are situated amongst a dazzling coastal setting. Keen walkers will be in their element as the South West Coast Path passes through Kingswear.
For those who prefer a ramble, there is The Dart Valley Trail - a 4 ½ mile walk from Kingswear to Greenway. The Royal Dart Yacht Club is based in Kingswear and during the yearly Port of Dartmouth Royal Regatta you will see many splendid yachts out on the water.
Just 5 miles from Kingswear is one of the busiest fishing ports in the UK – Brixham. Known for its amazing fish restaurants, the town is also a place where you can discover an eclectic range of arts and culture.
Originally a Saxon settlement, Brixham was the landing place of William of Orange during the Glorious Revolution and many of the town’s inhabitants, who are descendants of the Dutch army, have Dutch surnames. Over the years, the town has become known for its great range of art galleries featuring local and visiting artists.
In dry weather, you can wander along the Strand to artists’ corner and see their work in progress. If it’s raining, how about popping into the museum which boasts interesting exhibits from the town’s cultural and maritime heritage?