Dartmouth[caption id="attachment_7835" align="alignnone" width="300"] Dartmouth[/caption] Quaint Dartmouth is situated on the banks of the picturesque River Dart. It’s the perfect year round destination for a day visit. You can easily get to Dartmouth from Totnes by the Stagecoach number 92 bus, which runs regularly and takes around 30 minutes. Check timetables here. Alternatively, enjoy the 45minute boat trip along the beautiful River Dart when you catch the River Boat that leaves from Steamer Quay, Totnes. Boat times vary depending on the tides, so check and book first. Along the way you may be lucky to spot wildlife and will get a wonderful view of Agatha Christies Greenway House and the Royal Britannia Naval College from the water. It's also possible to buy a 'Round Robin' ticket for a circular trip by boat, train and bus. With numerous festivals and events taking place throughout the year and a rich maritime heritage, there is always something happening in this vibrant harbour town. Find out more.
SalcombeSalcombe was once a major port for the fruit trade and, over the years, has found fame as a safe haven for family holidays and visiting yachtsmen. It is situated at the southern end of the Salcombe Estuary; the estuary is, in fact, a ria which is a landlocked, salt water inlet, with beautiful, safe, sandy beaches. The whole area is a Marine Site of Special Scientific Interest, a Marine Local Nature Reserve and an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. The estuary is bordered by magnificent cliffs which form part of the South West Coast Path well loved by walkers throughout the year. The South West Coast Path has been mentioned recently in the Great Adventures book, published by the Lonely Planet, as one of the world’s most awe inspiring hikes. Described as “walking at its most diverse and most spectacular”, the South West Coast Path is the only hike in the UK to make it into the highly respected guide book. Looking from Salcombe over the water is the village of East Portlemouth with its lovely beaches. There is a ferry from town which runs regularly to the other side. If you are adventurous, you can find many smaller beaches by joining the South West Coast Path and dipping down from the path on to the sands. Salcombe can be reached by bus from Totnes on the Tally Ho 164 and takes around an hour. For bus timetables, click here. For more information on Salcombe, head to the Salcombe Information Centre.
Beaches in South Devon[caption id="attachment_11836" align="alignnone" width="300"] South Milton Sands[/caption] Whether you're looking for a family-friendly bucket and spade day at the beach or want to walk to off-the-beaten track Mediterranean-esque azure blue coves, the beaches in South Devon won't disappoint. Blackpool Sands, close to Dartmouth, has been voted as one of the best beaches in the UK. Despite the name, the beach is actually shingle. There are handy facilities including a cafe and an electric pump available to inflate your paddleboard in seconds. Head west towards Salcombe and Bigbury for sandy beaches including Bantham and Bigbury, which are popular with families and surfers. The beach at South Milton Sands (National Trust Car Park) is another popular spot for families and allows dogs all year. Here you'll find sand and shingle, rock pools at low tide, and crystal clear blue water, which makes it popular with people looking to swim and paddleboard. There's also a cafe at the side of the beach for a post dip coffee. Head east to Torbay or Teignmouth (easily accessible by bus or train from Totnes) to explore the traditional town beaches complete with brightly coloured beach huts and arcade games on the pier. For bus timetables, click here.
Dartmoor[caption id="attachment_9035" align="alignnone" width="300"] Dartmoor[/caption] Dartmoor really does have something for everyone. History lovers can explore castle ruins and learn about local myths and legends at our museums or on a guided walk. Families have plenty of exciting attractions to choose from. And there’s lots of opportunities for rambling over tors, cycling up challenging hills and staying active in the great outdoors. Find out more here.
Visit South DevonIf you would like to find out more about South Devon, visit the Visit South Devon website where you can find information on places to eat, stay and things to do across the area.
Cultural Hub and Extravagant EventsDartmouth boasts a thriving cultural scene. Visit the renowned Dartmouth Museum to delve into the town's past, explore contemporary art galleries, or catch a live performance and film screening at The Flavel Arts Centre, where the arts flourish year-round. Throughout the year, Dartmouth comes alive with a calendar of events and festivals. The Port of Dartmouth Royal Regatta is a highlight, celebrating the town's maritime heritage with thrilling boat races and a vibrant atmosphere. The Dart Music Festival is a fantastic weekend of free live music from prominent up and coming artists, and the Dartmouth Food Festival is culinary highlight of the year. pubs serving traditional British fare to Michelin-guide restaurants featuring exquisite seafood. Savour the fresh catches of the day while enjoying views of the river. Not to mention the sheer abundance of ice cream shops where you can enjoy a scoop or two of some of the best locally produced ice creams! shops and boutiques, where you can find unique souvenirs, handmade crafts, and nautical-themed treasures. From artisanal chocolates to bespoke jewellery, the town offers a delightful shopping experience. River Dart provides breath-taking views at every turn. Whether you're strolling along the waterfront promenade or taking a leisurely boat trip, the river's beauty never fails to captivate. The river is not just for admiring from a distance. Adventure seekers can enjoy a variety of water activities, from kayaking and paddle boarding to sailing and fishing. The Dartmouth Yacht Club is a hub for sailing enthusiasts, offering a chance to explore the river in style. The River Dart is teeming with wildlife. Birdwatchers will be delighted by the diverse avian species that call this area home, while seal and dolphin sightings are not uncommon, adding a touch of magic to any river excursion. The Dartmouth Steam Railway and River Boat Company offers a unique and nostalgic experience, allowing visitors to journey through the stunning South Devon countryside by steam train and then cruise along the picturesque River Dart, combining two classic modes of transportation in one unforgettable adventure.
Planning your Dartmouth AdventureWhether you're seeking a peaceful escape, a voyage on the water, or a cultural exploration, Dartmouth and the River Dart offer an array of experiences to suit your desires. Come and immerse yourself in the history, natural beauty, and warm hospitality that define this enchanting corner of Devon. Find out more about Dartmouth and start planning your getaway on the Discover Dartmouth website here.
The South Devon Railway is one of Devon’s and the West Country’s best loved tourist attractions and is the longest established steam railway in the south west. There’s plenty of space to enjoy our large 12-acre grounds in the sunshine, a large free car park, plus drinks, snacks and ice creams are on sale in a nearby kiosk. It’s the perfect way to spend a few hours on a nice day whilst avoiding the traffic jams and crowds at the beach and the Moors!
The South Devon Railway, or SDR, is a seven mile former Great Western Railway branch line, built in 1872, which runs along the stunning valley of the River Dart between Buckfastleigh and Totnes. We run steam trains with heritage rolling stock and offer a wonderful all day, all weather attraction for families and people of all ages.
Totnes (Riverside) station is c. 500 yards from the main line station. Footpaths link the station with the town. Or there is plenty of free car parking at Buckfastleigh station - TQ11 0DZ.Look out for special events happening throughout the year or make your dream come true when you book a drive-a-train experience.
Hidden away in Totnes town, visit this classic Norman motte and bailey castle, managed by English Heritage.
Climb to the top of the keep to enjoy stunning views over the town of Totnes and across to the River Dart. Or enjoy a picnic in the peaceful grounds under the shelter of age old trees – there is plenty of space for families to relax on a summers day. Within easy walking distance of the town, the castle is an ideal addition to any day out in South Devon and you can combine the visit with one to nearby Dartmouth and Berry Pomeroy Castles which are just a short drive away.
For full opening times and prices, search ‘Totnes Castle’ or follow the website link above.
Car ParkingThe local car parks, a mix of short and long stay, are managed by South Hams District Council. See the map above - LP indicates Long Stay Parking and SP indicates Short Stay Parking. Totnes town centre has time-restricted parking meters on the main street. There is also a residential parking scheme in place on many of the roads immediately around the town centre.
Disabled ParkingFor information about on and off-street parking and if you have a blue badge, please contact South Hams District Council. T: 01803 861234 www.southhams.gov.uk
Coach ParkingThe main drop off and pick points for visiting coaches are at the two bus stops on Coronation Road. There is also a drop off at The Lamb, near The Narrows, just off the A381, which allows passengers to walk downhill through the town. The FREE coach parking bays are at Steamer Quay Car Park, along Steamer Quay Road.
Parking Your BikeThere's a choice of bike stands around the town. Click here for a map.
Motorbike ParkingThere are designated motorbike parking bays in four of the District Council car parks in town. There is no charge for parking in these bays. See www.southhams.gov.uk for more details. On-street parking is also free, even when there are meters or a residents parking scheme in operation. Contact Devon County Council www.devon.gov.uk website for more information.
Motorhomes and boat trailersThe designated car park in Totnes for mobile homes and boat trailers is Longmarsh, at the end of Steamer Quay Road. Owners need to pay £15 per night for a maximum of 2 nights, all year round from 9pm - 6am. It is not legal to sleep in a mobile home overnight in any South Hams car park. Caravan parking in the car parks is not allowed at any time of day.
Electric vehiclesIf you're visiting in an electric vehicle, click here for a map of the local charging points.
Some of the greatest childhood memories are made when exploring outside, which is why Sandridge Barton’s free Vineyard Nature Trail looks sure to be top of parents’ bucket lists.
The trail starts from Sandridge Barton’s Visitor Centre at Lower Well Farm and is great fun for kids, and informative for adults too. It's set in the countryside on the edge of the River Dart close to Stoke Gabriel in south Devon where an idyllic landscape of wildlife, trees, hedgerows, and woodland is also home to 32 acres of vineyards which produce grapes for Sandridge Barton Wines and the well-known Sharpham Wine.
As children scurry about searching for wildlife, parents can learn why this rolling countryside is perfect for growing grapes. Fascinating interpretation boards offer insightful information on grapevines, while children are encouraged to see if they can spot any creepy crawlies and to try the half dozen brass rubbings, including grapes, fossils and cows, which are set in the vineyard.
Stonyfield is a unique site as it boasts South Devon’s only raised limestone bed, a key feature in some of the world’s best wine regions such as Burgundy, St-Émilion and parts of the Southern Rhone. It was planted in May 2021 and the first harvest of grapes is expected to take place in 2024.
The trail is 1.3 miles long and takes about 40 minutes to complete, and after there are refreshments to be enjoyed at Sandridge Barton, where a gorgeous outdoor area has plenty of space to sit and soak up this beautiful place.
Created with funding from South Devon Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, the trail starts at Sandridge Barton (Lower Well Farm, Waddeton Road, Stoke Gabriel, Devon, TQ9 6RL) where parking is free. Well-behaved dogs are welcomed.
If you’d like to try the brass rubbings, head to the visitor centre before starting your walk to collect paper and crayons.