Last Updated on 14th January 2019 by Sophie Nadeau
There are worse places to explore on an overcast afternoon in Devon than in this picturesque harbourside town; here’s the ultimate guide to spending a rainy day in Dartmouth!
A rainy day in Dartmouth is pretty common. As soon as I stepped out of the car, the sweet salty taste of the sea hit my lungs and the wind swept up my hair into tangled knots. It was a cold, wet and windy day when I visited the harbourside town of Dartmouth* with one of my closest friends, Tom.
Why on earth would anyone choose to visit the seaside on a rainy day? I hear you say. Well, truth be told, everyone knows that it rains in England all the time. And in Devon, it rains even more of the time… If I’m honest, bad weather simply adds to the English experience!
*We’re talking Dartmouth, Devon, UK- not to be confused with Dartmouth, MA, USA!!
How to spend a rainy Day in Dartmouth, Devon:
Take the Ferry to Kingswear
One of the more unusual ways to reach Dartmouth is by ferry. Accommodating both passengers and cars, the lower and upper ferries operate between the harbourside towns of Kingswear and Dartmouth (around a ten-minute ride each way).
The higher ferry has been running since the early 1800s; an act of parliament was passed in order to allow it to run! There is no feeling quite like being on a boat; the gentle rocking of the waves, the feeling of being far from land, I LOVE IT.
Wander around The Harbour
As a deepwater port, the town traces its roots right back to the time of the 12th Century crusades (although recent archaeological finds point at the evidence the site was settled up to 10,000 years ago). Overlooking the neighbouring Kingswear, candy coloured houses and boats are aplenty.
Soak up some history at Bayard’s Cove
Architecturally and aesthetically, this is probably one of the more interesting parts of the town. Walking away from the car parks, the mainstream shops and the larger pubs, is like walking back in time. Wending through the cobbled pathways and alleys into the older part of the town, new boutiques and smaller pubs can be found around every turn.
This is the true heart of Dartmouth and the place where you’re most likely to hear the comforting twang of a West country accent. If you enjoy sampling local tipples, then you’ll also be pleased to know for that just over the price of a normal beer, you can purchase a ‘sampling menu’ which comes with three beer tasters.
Visit Bayard’s Cove Fort
Ships that had already evaded Kingswear and Dartmouth castles would have been hard-pressed to avoid this 16th-century fort. Situated at the very edge of the town, on the seafront, the impressive remains are free to visit and owned by English Heritage.
Snap photos of the Historic architecture
Largely unscathed by generations of renovations and countless conflicts, Dartmouth is full of medieval and Elizabethan house fronts. The vast majority of these are easy to spot apart from their modern counterparts and the photo opportunities should not be missed!
Eat at Rockfish
You’d be hard-pressed to find a better place to eat in Dartmouth than at Rockfish. To spend a quintessential day by the seaside it is a must to eat fish and chips. However, if you’re planning to visit during the shoulder seasons, or at peak season (summer) then be sure to book a table in advance as space can fill up pretty quickly.
If you’re like me and you don’t eat fish, they also make a mean chickpea burger: perfect for the best kind of rainy day in Dartmouth! If there is no space left in the restaurant, then Rockfish also run a takeaway fish and chip shop down the road, selling produce at much lower prices than in the restaurant.
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