Top things to do near Dartmouth in Devon
It goes without saying that we are huge fans of Dartmouth in Devon. We think it’s a brilliant base for a holiday by the sea with such much going on. It would be easy to fill a week watching life on the river, browsing the independent shops and enjoying our local family days out. But what about a bit further afield? Here are our top picks from the long list of things to do near Dartmouth.
A short ferry ride and car journey away is Brixham, famed for its fish market and picturesque harbour. You can also reach it by passenger ferry from Dartmouth, followed by a 20-minute bus ride from Kingswear. At certain times of year, you can also take a boat trip from Dartmouth to Brixham.
When you reach the harbour, you’ll immediately notice the replica of Sir Francis Drake’s Golden Hind. A tour is great fun for kids, with plenty of nautical facts and pirate effects to spot. You can even walk the plank.
If you want to find out more about Brixham’s fishing industry and heritage, you can book a tour of the fish market.
Other places around Brixham that we can recommend visiting are Coleton Fishacre – a holiday home and gardens designed by the D’Oyly Carte family that’s now managed by the National Trust – and Berry Head Nature Reserve, where there are wonderful views of Torbay.
The historic market town of Totnes is a 25-minute drive away or 1 hour and 15 minutes by direct bus.
Here you’ll find plenty of interesting architecture ranging from the 11th Century motte and bailey castle to the converted warehouses on Baltic Wharf. Totnes Museum below the East Gate on High Street gives you an overview of the town’s history from Norman times.
Take a riverside walk to spot wildlife or board South Devon Railway for a ride through the rolling countryside to Buckfastleigh. Families with young children may also like to visit Totnes Rare Breeds Farm to meet its collection of cute and cuddly animals.
Back in town, there’s a wealth of independent shops and eateries, making this a great place to pick up a unique souvenir and delicious lunch. Visit on a Friday or Saturday and you can shop at the market too. On the third Sunday of the month, there’s also Totnes Good Food market with plenty of delicious local produce.
Read more in our guide to things to do in Totnes.
City days out near Dartmouth – Exeter and Plymouth
If you fancy swapping the small town bustle of Dartmouth for a day of city living, there are two cities within an hour’s drive.
One of the best ways to explore the cathedral city of Exeter is to book a free walking tour run by the Red Coat guides. They run several themed walks each week.
If shopping is more your thing, head to Gandy Street to find independent retailers or to Princesshayes and The Guildhall shopping centres to find big-name brands.
Plymouth is famous for its maritime heritage and there’s plenty of opportunity to connect with the sea here. From enjoying views of Plymouth Sound from The Hoe to visiting the National Marine Aquarium – home to the UK’s largest aquarium tank.
If you want to get the very best views of the coast, climb Smeaton’s Tower – an old lighthouse that was relocated from the breakwater to the seafront when it was replaced with a more modern navigation tower.
New attractions to have opened in Plymouth recently include The Box museum, which explore’s the city’s culture, history and heritage, and The Market Hall where you’ll find a 15m diameter dome that allows you to step inside immersive experiences. It’s the first of its kind in Europe.
Dartmoor National Park
Dartmouth is a 40-minute drive from the southern edge of Dartmoor National Park, which opens up a whole host of opportunities for moorland walks, discovering waterfalls and enjoying this dramatic landscape.
One of the easiest tors to reach is Haytor Rocks where there’s a visitor centre. Close by, you can also visit Becky Falls, which is a private estate where waterfalls course through ancient woodland. There are also animals to meet and children’s trails.
If you’d like to tuck into a delicious cream tea on the moors, pop into The Café on the Green in the village of Widecombe in the Moor.
Attractions near Dartmouth
If you’re looking for days out near Dartmouth that children will enjoy, there are plenty of attractions to entertain and delight them.
Animal lovers should check out Paignton Zoo, Pennywell Farm and Dartmoor Zoo. If you’d prefer a ride on a steam train, South Devon Railway between Totnes and Buckfastleigh or the Plym Valley Railway between Marsh Mills and Plym Bridge.
For an enjoyable, educational day out, visit Kents Cavern to find out about Torbay’s unique geology or Torquay Museum, where there’s the UK’s largest Agatha Christie exhibition. There are also plenty of historic castles in South Devon.
If you bring your dog on holiday with you, there’s also a variety of pet-friendly things to do near Dartmouth, such as Babbacombe Model Village, the River Dart Country Park and Canonteign Falls.
South Devon beaches
Whether you enjoy quiet coves, want to find a dog-friendly beach, or love the feeling of sand between your toes, there are lots of beaches to choose from near Dartmouth. Take your pick from our guides to the best beaches in South Devon:
- The best beaches in Dartmouth
- The best beaches in the South Hams
- Dog-friendly beaches in South Devon.
Where to stay in Dartmouth and nearby
If you’d like to explore all of these things to do near Dartmouth, why not make it the base for your next holiday? We have a collection of cottages in and around Dartmouth in Devon.
Get in touch with us to chat through the options, from dog-friendly holiday homes to cottages for larger families, to Dartmouth accommodation with parking. Or search our Devon self-catering accommodation for yourself.