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holiday in dartmouth - nature, history & water-based activities

Dartmouth is so named because it sits at the mouth of the river Dart in the lovely south coast county of Devon. It is a delightful and very pretty little port. The local residents take great pride in the appearance of their town, so much so that it was the winner of the RHS Britain in Bloom gold medal in 2013. Sandwiched between the sparkling river and the lush greenery of the Devon hills, the narrow streets of Dartmouth are home to a variety of attractive and ancient buildings as well as numerous boutique shops, art galleries, gourmet restaurants and a cobbled market place used for farmer's markets.
A great deal of your holiday could be filled just with using the various modes of transport on offer for discovering this beautiful area of the country. The Dartmouth Steam Railway and Riverboat Company offer combination sightseeing packages. These allow you to take advantage of both the 7 miles of train track spanning a designated area of outstanding beauty (following the South Devon coast down into the Dart Valley) and also a variety of daily scheduled boat services to the historic town of Totnes and regular services to the picturesque village of Dittisham. This company also offers 'The Round Robin', an award-winning full day out - a steam train journey, ferry crossing, river cruise and bus ride, so that you can make sure you don't miss any of the best scenery.
The town of Dartmouth is one steeped in naval history. It has always been of strategic importance as the river Dart estuary is known for its excellent deep water harbour, ideal for sailing vessels . At the narrow entrance to the Dart Estuary, stands Dartmouth castle. The 600 year old building offers a glimpse into the history of its lifetime as well as stunning views of the River Dart. It also features a fully recreated gun deck. The surrounding area offers several other buildings of historical significance including Dartmouth Museum, Berry Pomeroy Castle (reputedly the most haunted castle in Devon) and Greenway House; holiday home of Agatha Christie, which is described as 'the loveliest place in the world' by the National Trust.
Dartmouth is an ideal place to be in the summer months due to the wealth of water sports on offer. Many of these can be undertaken whilst visiting the award winning Blackpool Sands beach. The shingle beach is located in a sheltered bay and is great for kids, being one of the safest in the region, with lifeguards on duty during the summer months. This beach offers excellent facilities including The Venus Café, specialising in Devon organic produce and open regularly.
Other activities available in and around Dartmouth include cookery school 'Manna from Devon'. This company run a number of different cookery courses and specialise in bread, fish and wood fired oven cooking as well as family cooking, Mediterranean and Asian cuisine. They will also tailor make activity days on request. Alternatively, for those foodies amongst you, there is the Sharpham Estate that covers 500 acres. Sharpham's vineyards, creamery and organic dairy farm produce wines and unpasteurised cheeses, to local, national and international acclaim. Guided tours of the vineyard explain the history and principles behind growing grapes in our cool climate and allow you to sample the wine and the cheeses that are produced on site.
Additional attractions include Living Coasts, Torquay's coastal zoo and conservation charity (housing a variety of birds and animals in specially designed naturalistic habitats), Woodlands Theme Park (90 acres of indoor and outdoor rides and attractions and winner of over 65 international, national and South West awards) and The Flavel Arts Centre, in Dartmouth itself. The Flavel offers entertainment every day, from live music and comedy, to lunchtime concerts and cinema. Holiday activities for children and exercise classes, amongst other things, are also available at this excellent facility. Crabbing on the embankment in Dartmouth is recommended (equipment is available to be purchased for this purpose) as is a visit to the town's heated outdoor pool.
It is also worth noting that Dartmouth is home to the Royal regatta. This is quite a show, incorporating a great number of exciting events and activities. The 2014 Royal Regatta will be held on Thursday, Friday and Saturday, 28th, 29th and 30th August, with the Opening Ceremony on Wednesday, 27th August. Family Fun events will begin on Saturday 23rd August including the GRAND REGATTA FETE in the Royal Avenue Gardens and events will be held daily leading up to the three main regatta days.
If you are planning a family holiday in Dartmouth it is well worth visiting www.discoverdartmouth.com. This tourist information site has a vast wealth of information on things to do in the area and also offers a travel planner which you can use to tailor make yourself a holiday itinerary.

Holiday Accommodation in Dartmouth

The choice of accommodation near Dartmouth is simply outstanding. Local seaside resorts include Paignton, Torquay and Brixham to the north and Salcombe to the south west. As these are such popular resorts, your choice of where to stay is superb and will certainly accommodate all budgets – be it top class luxury holiday homes, cosy cottages with sea views or fun packed holiday parks.

Holiday Cottages


Holiday Parks


Holiday Lodges


Article By Lucilla Paull and Rachel Bridgeford of DD Expressions - 22 January 2014

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