A Day Trip to Dartmouth

Our train back to London from Totnes on Sunday didn’t depart until after 6pm, so with the festival finished and feeling that we’d seen most of what Totnes had to offer, we decided to take a day trip to a nearby town. Reliant on only our legs and public transport, we were limited in where we could go, but eventually found that there was one bus which would take us to Dartmouth in the morning, and another back to Totnes later in the afternoon (i.e. the only two buses of the whole day).

After crossing my fingers that it would actually show up, we boarded the bus and set off on the most beautiful 40-minute journey on the top deck of the bus, through rolling hills and lush green countryside. I really wish we’d had a car so we could have stopped to explore further, but we’ll just have to return another time!

Dartmouth is a picture-perfect sailing town set on the mouth of the river Dart (hence its creative name); the same river that runs through Totnes. We arrived the day after its annual regatta ended, and I have honestly never seen more people wearing Breton stripes and boat shoes at one time, in one place, in my life.

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Much to my delight, nearly every person we walked past had a dog with them, meaning it was very necessary to make lots of stops to say hello and give some head-pats as we explored the little town.

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As you walk along the water, you look across to the other side of the river to Kingswear, where there are lots of houses painted in pretty pastel colours and more green hills set behind them. Keep walking south along the river, turning down a cobbled street and you get to Bayard’s Cove Fort, a 16th century artillery block-house.

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You can keep walking down to Dartmouth Castle, but unfortunately we didn’t make it that far because I had my suitcase with me and couldn’t be as nimble as I would’ve liked.

Sunday’s weather was a little bit unpredictable, and we spent most of the afternoon ducking into shops to avoid the rain or out of them to catch the sun while it was out. The shops in town were mostly outdoor clothing stores (selling sailing gear and a rainbow of Breton t-shirts), but there were some beautiful lifestyle and antique furniture shops around too.

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I’d been told by a colleague before I went to Dartmouth that The Seahorse is well worth a visit, so I’d booked us a table for lunch. Annoyingly, when I’d been looking at the limited number of buses, boats and steam trains that travelled to and from Totnes/Dartmouth a couple of days before, I’d ended up cancelling the booking when it seemed liked we wouldn’t be able to get ourselves there with enough time. I kicked myself when we eventually arrived at the restaurant (which was beautiful and had a great menu) to try our luck at nabbing a table, and found that it was now fully-booked for lunch!

Sob story aside, we decided to make the most of the beautiful surroundings in which we’d found ourselves – and the fact that the rain seemed to be holding off – and eat lunch al fresco (not to be confused with this place).

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We picked up some cod and chips from Rockfish’s takeaway store (complete with jalapeño tartare sauce and mushy peas) and ate our meals from their cardboard boxes along the water with a pint from the pub next door, while our feet dangled off the river’s edge.

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Now ready for something a little sweet, we popped into one of the town’s many fudge shops. The shop smelt amazing and enormous pots of fudge sat boiling behind the counter, with big slabs of the stuff sitting next to them, ready to be rolled out and chopped up. We decided on some maple and pecan, sea salt and honeycomb fudge, and although it was delicious I could only manage one small piece before my head exploded with sugar.

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The rain soon started to come down again, so with a couple of hours before our bus left for Totnes and with a lot of the shops beginning to close due to Sunday trading hours, we took shelter at a pub, where I started reading my latest book for the book club I’m in (it’s a thriller that pulls you in instantly), while Ross spread out the weekend papers.

Before long, it was time to get back on the bus and finish up our perfect little weekend in Devon. If you are in Devon, I’d really recommend a day-trip to Dartmouth, or even staying the night so you can enjoy more of the gorgeous restaurants the town has to offer. I’m sure I missed out!

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