Distance from Cottage Hotel: 23 miles / 37 kilometres (40 minutes by car)
Dartmouth is a popular tourist town on the Devon coast, based upon the River Dart's estuary. The town is approximately 40 minutes drive from the Hope Cove.
Dartmouth's history dates back to the twelfth century and due to Dartmouth's location, it became a p0rt for sailing vessels. This then lead to Dartmouth becoming the home of the Royal Navy throughout the fourteenth century when Edward III was on the throne. Today, the college is still in use as the Britannia Royal Naval College, where all officers of the Royal Navy and many foreign naval officers are trained.
The mouth of the River Dart, is home to two castles, Dartmouth Castle and Kingswear Castle,
Within Dartmouth there are a number of medieval Elizabethan streets, narrow lanes and stone stairways. A large proportion of the historic buildings in the town are listed. One of these is the Butterwalk, built 1635–1640. This is a fascia of delicately carved wood which is supported upon granite columns. It was here that Charles II held court, when sheltering from storms, in a room which now is part of Dartmouth Museum.
In the later part of World War II, Dartmouth was used as a base for American forces and became one of the departure points for Utah beach in the D-Day landings. This lead to much of the surrounding countryside being closed to the public whilst being used by American troops for landings and manoeuvres.
Dartmouth is still strongly linked to Kingswear, located on the other side of the River Dart, as three ferries (one passenger and two vehicular) connect the two, allowing people to travel up the coast, to Paignton and beyond.
Today, Dartmouth is home to a number of eclectic shops, selling souveniers, and unique items, a selection of cafes and restaurants selling fresh and local produce. There are a number of activities to enjoy from boat trips along the estuary, visiting the cinema and museums, touring the Britannia Royal Naval College, as well as visiting Dartmouth Castle which is now run by English Heritage. And of course, there is the opportunity to sit and watch a variety of boats and vessels sail past whilst enjoying an ice cream!