Our Tips for "What's Hot" and Top Things To Do in and around Dartmouth in 2020
Updated: Feb 5, 2020
As regular visitors to the vibrant town of Dartmouth and beautiful South Devon over the past 40 years, we are still discovering many fabulous and diverse things to do, places to visit, activities to try and locations to eat and drink. We all have our individual preferences - our family with teenagers is no different to any other in that respect - although we would tend to unite around one particular favourite, which we will get onto later....
We thought we'd share with you our best and new finds (for us) of 2019, and give you a preview of what we have chosen to explore in 2020, in the hope that we give you some ideas to try something new during your next visit to this wonderful part of the world! We can't believe it has taken us so long to discover some of these which are on our doorstep! We have always explored the area far and wide, which is testament to what South Devon can offer. No wonder it is one of the most popular locations for holidaymakers in Great Britain, who return year after year.
The Best of 2019
Looking for recommended walks in the South Devon Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty and on Dartmoor? Here's what we did - and we loved them.
2019 saw us finally walk over the Brownstone Country Park to the Daymark, Brownstone Battery and the National Coastwatch Institution at Froward Point. There is tons to do there - and had us all engaged. There are even geo-caches along the way. You can even have a go with the bi-noculars at the NCI, which is staffed by volunteers.
We spotted the National Trust's Gallants Bower behind Dartmouth Castle from there, and decided to climb that on a nice day - which we did - and encountered vast swathes of bluebells. Absolutely fantastic 360 views up there over Dartmouth, Kingswear and Start Bay!
Tranquil Sandquay Woods, to the rear of Britannia Royal Naval College and alongside Old Mill Creek on the Dart, are also worth exploring for a different angle on the landscape.
Great experiences at the top attractions
The Sharpham Estate including Vineyard and Cheese is located in an utterly spellbinding
setting in Ashprington. Did we enjoy our visit on a gloriously sunny day! We sat outside in the bright sunshine and savoured a "Cheese and Wine Flight". We walked off the calories later by the river Dart, where we watched seals playing in the water and the odd kayak paddle past.
Salcombe Gin School was a top experience for us grown ups.
The experience was nothing short of first class from the welcome to the staggering out some hours later! One brief tour of the still and explanation of how gin is made later, we were in the labs gathering our ingredients and being assisted by the team in order to balance our gin concoction and make something very drinkable. Highly recommended, and booking is essential. It is pricey, but it was so unique and enjoyable that we think it was worth it.
Britannia Royal Naval College's Open Day in July was just brilliant. It is a unique experience to visit the college, soak up the atmosphere, history and grandeur of the architecture. We ought to have visited BRNC before, and think it has a broad appeal to all ages and interests. We also experienced a tour of the college, which can be booked online. It was really excellent and informative.
Don't miss Start Point Lighthouse. A stunning, rugged - if not rather windy - walk from the car park to the lighthouse, and by chance we jumped onto an interesting tour that was about to depart. Dogs are welcome to stay with the staff downstairs, which we felt was very accommodating.
Finally, the gardens and house at Agatha Christie's Greenway most certainly deserve the accolade of "the loveliest place in the world". Woodland filled with the scent of wild garlic, glimpses of the river and its boats, the history of the Christie family - all really engrossing. Plus there are some lovely cafes and shops there - so you can enjoy a spot of lunch. Best to pre-book your parking. Mobility transport really assisted our party that day, with a golf buggy zipping us from the carpark to the front desk in a matter of minutes. A must see.
Because Devon is all about Food and Drink.....
Apart from Dartmouth and South Devon spoiling visitors for choice when it comes to excellent food and drink, we made a conscious effort to explore more restaurants and bars last year, building on our positive experiences of all the places we have tried locally over the decades. You can't really go wrong!
We chose to visit Bula Devon on Dartmouth's Newcomen Road for a health conscious breakfast - and it was certainly different, as well as tasty. We'll be back!
We would also really recommend The Angel Taste of Devon in Dartmouth for incredible food and outstanding, attentive service, and of course you can experience the cooking of BBC Masterchef Professional Finalist, Ellie Wentworth. We also loved Anzac Street Bistro, which is one of the closest restaurants to our cottage, and a real gem. Sometimes they have live music, too. And we ventured a little further afield to the award winning Bear & Blacksmith in Chillington with a local "field to table" ethos (delicious!) and had a really good meal at the Cricket Inn, Beesands. We have enjoyed Live Music down the road from our cottage at The Dolphin and Yarn, both of which have a really upbeat atmosphere.
So what's hot for 2020 and on our list?
Undoubtedly the Dartmouth Mayflower 400 Commemorative Events are going to be huge in 2020, so definitely we urge you to look out for those, too. And we will also be walking the various trails around the town.
But we have got lots planned to widen our knowledge of the fabulous area and all it has to offer - which is seemingly without limit! So here are our top tips for 2020:
Sea Kayaking from Dartmouth
Canoe Adventures including an evening tour of pubs along the River Dart
Exploring the inside of Dartmouth Castle - finally!
Exploring the Avon Estuary from Bantham (if we get the tide right)
Snapes Point, Salcombe - we have seen some fantastic photos taken from there
Radius 7 in Stoke Fleming
Church House Inn in Stokenham
Rumour in Totnes
Twenty Seven by Jamie Rogers in Kingsbridge
Sharpham Estate's outdoor restaurant The Cellar Door....because it looked really delicious.
Oh - and we did promise to say what our family favourite is.
Unanimously, our top billing is a local walk from our cottage to Dartmouth Castle and a trip back on the Dart using the Castle Ferry. We just have to remember to go inside the Castle and not get distracted by skimming stones in Sugary Cove or scoffing cakes in the Castle tearooms.
The Old Wash House is a national award winning, boutique, luxury holiday cottage in the heart of Dartmouth. It sleeps 5 in 3 beautifully appointed bedrooms and welcomes dogs. Situated on the level and with a dedicated, off-road parking space at the cottage, it has everything you need for a wonderful holiday in one of Britain's favourite locations.