One of the most beautifully located fortresses in England. For over 600 years Dartmouth Castle has guarded the narrow entrance to the Dart Estuary and the busy, vibrant port of Dartmouth. It offers stunning views of the estuary and out to sea and offers a great family day out whatever the weather.
This fascinating complex of defences was begun in 1388 by John Hawley, privateering Mayor of Dartmouth and the prototype of the flamboyant ‘Shipman’ in Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales. About a century later the townsmen added the imposing and well-preserved ‘gun tower’, probably the very first fortification in Britain purpose-built to mount ‘ship-sinking’ heavy cannon. Climb to the top for breathtaking views across the estuary and see how it could be blocked in wartime by a heavy chain.
Unusually incorporating the fine church of St Petrox, the castle saw action during the Civil War, and continued in service right up until the Second World War. Successive up-dating included the Victorian ‘Old Battery’ with its remounted heavy guns, guardrooms and maze of passages to explore. Here a dramatic film sequence recreates a Victorian gun-firing, and throughout the fortress displays retell the six centuries of castle history.
Dartmouth Castle is accessible on foot from the town centre and takes 30 minutes. The walk is a manageable incline with great views up and down the river and over Kingswear. Alternatively there is a small passenger ferry that will take you straight to the castle from the south embankment at a small cost. There is a small car park immedietly outside and on road parking if you wish to drive there.
Visitor Information Tel: 0870 333 1181
Address: Castle Road, Dartmouth, Devon TQ6 0JN
(Please check website for opening times)