Best Places to Stay in Dartmouth

Dartmouth in South Devon is an increasingly popular destination especially amongst those who prefer a staycation! Historically it is best known as a naval town - it still houses Britain's largest Naval College.

Nowadays it has become much more of a seaside escape for city slickers. Indeed some have dubbed it "Knightsbridge by the sea"; certainly in the height of the summer season it can appear full of fancy yachts moored in the harbour and immaculately turned out ladies that lunch!

With such a discerning clientele it has ensured that places to stay in Dartmouth and the surrounding area just get better and better. There is a wide choice of properties for all budgets and certainly plenty to satisfy most tastes from those prefer their hotels traditional, to those who like something a bit more hip.

The influx of the smart holiday crowd has ensured that the town has not languished on its laurels either. There are now plenty of chic shops and boutiques, plus a great selection of upmarket restaurants and cafes. It also boasts a smart arts centre which puts on small theatrical productions, live music, films and much more including hosting the annual comedy festival.

For history buffs there is much to get excited about too. Visit Dartmouth Castle, which dates back to the 14th century, pop into the Museum where you will find all you want to know about the town's past, and explore the Butterwalk, a street of 17th century houses with a gorgeous timber framed original arcade. Or simply jump on the steam train for a spot of nostalgia and a great day out.

Beach wise there are plenty of sandy spots for everyone. In Dartmouth itself, there is nothing beachy to speak of, but venture slightly further afield and you’ll discover the delights of Blackpool Sands, Bigbury on Sea, Thurlestone Beach and South Milton Sands to name but a few.

If an active break is more your thing, then Dartmouth can tick pretty much all the boxes. A sailor’s paradise, there are fantastic walks too (get to know the South West Coast Path), plus sea or river kayaking, surfing and much more.

Best places to stay in Dartmouth on or near the River Dart

If you want to be easily accessible for a bit of messing around in a boat, then you’ll need to choose from our places to stay in Dartmouth on or near the river Dart.

First up we’d recommend Fingals. This quirky and informal hotel has become a firm favourite over the years, with its house party atmosphere and laid back vibe; indeed they positively encourage you to bring children and dogs! Situated in beautiful countryside, yet only a mile from the river at Dittisham it occupies the perfect spot.

Across the river from Dartmouth, you’ll discover Nonsuch House in Kingswear. This delightful B&B has collected many accolades over the years, and it’s not difficult to see why – think fabulous estuary views, delicious dinners (four days a week), and four charming, traditionally decorated bedrooms. The welcome’s not too shabby either.

  • Fingals Hotel

    Dittisham, Devon

    Delightfully informal boutique B&B near the River Dart. 'Quintessentially English' - this 17th Century house is full to the rafters with art and antiques and home to a fine lawn, an indoor pool, gym and grass tennis. Whether rooms or self-catering, the homely vibe is throughout. A magical spot!

    4 rooms from $226
    Local exploring  -  Explore the surrounding countryside, from vineyards and country houses, to seaside and river adventures.
    Families  -  The perfect countryside family escape, with selfcatering rooms plus a wealth of activties for all ages.
    Great walks  -  Using the river as your guide, the countryside truly is your oyster.
    House party feel  -  Communal dining often hosted by the owners.
    Recommended by  -  Sawdays
  • Nonsuch House

    Kingswear, Devon

    Charming guesthouse overlooking Dartmouth with great estuary views. The warm, elegant rooms have been lovingly decorated and boast Egyptian cotton sheets, fluffy towels and award winning views. Gourmet dinners offered four nights a week and cooking lessons are available.

    4 rooms from $159
    Views  -  Lovely views of the river and Dartmouth
    Cooking classes  -  Guided tour with Kit to buy food from local suppliers, learn how to prepare it with a glass of wine in hand, and finally eat it!
    Great walks  -  Lovely walks along the South West Coast Path in either direction, or walk up the river Dart as far as Totnes.
    Fishing  -  Take a fishing trip out to the Skerries to catch Plaice or Pollock.
    Recommended by  -  Good Hotel Guide, Sawdays

Best places to stay in Dartmouth for a Beach holiday

If you’re looking for a beachside location, they you’ll have to leave the confines of Dartmouth itself. But travel either east or west and you’ll easily come across some of the best places to stay in the area for a beach holiday.

The Henley Hotel is located in Bigbury on Sea and quite simply has views to die for! This seaside bolthole has five simply decorated yet spacious bedrooms and a summery beach house feel. Dinners, prepared by the owner, are delicious and as you would expect feature plenty of local seafood. A private cliff path gives access to a piece of stunning, pristine beach.

South Sands in Salcombe is one of an ever growing clan of boutique seaside retreats. Bedrooms are airy and well-appointed and the brasserie has a New England beach feel. Perfect for a family holiday, South Sands is in the dream spot for the more active – it’s bang next door to a sailing and watersports centre.

Creep further towards Dartmouth and you’ll find the Whitehouse a classy six bedroomed coastal village hotel, just a mile or so from Torcross and the beach. This place has a much more grown up feel – no children are allowed in the restaurant after 6 o’clock. Book the whole property and chill out in real style with eleven of your nearest and dearest.

Head east from Dartmouth and you’ll discover the Cary Arms. This classic seaside destination oozes style and fun. Dubbed the “inn on the Beach” it has eight stylish bedrooms, plus three self-catering cottages, if you want to be more independent. Great touches include providing rods for the pier and nets for fishing in the rock pools.

  • The Henley

    Bigbury-on-Sea, South Devon

    Small and friendly owner managed seaside bolthole of just 5 rooms, with a beach house feel. Cosy rooms are comfortable and clean with wonderful sea views. Cooking that finely showcases the Devon produce. Private beach access. A great weekend escape.

    5 rooms from $123
    Surfing  -  Surf or kite surf on Bigbury, Challaborough and Bantham beaches
    Great walks  -  Stunning coastal walks
    Restrictions on children  -  No children under 12
    Full of character
    Recommended by  -  Good Hotel Guide, Sawdays
  • South Sands

    Salcombe, Devon

    Paradise for watersport addicts - a comfortable haven, right on the beach. Rooms are designed in a contemporary New England style - creams and soft pastel colours. The spacious suites are perfect for families. Enjoy the sea air and great brasserie food at the beach side restaurant and terrace.

    22 rooms from $259
    Great walks  -  Walk up behind the hotel and look around the National Trust's Overbeck's House and Garden a treasure trove of tropical plants.
    Local markets  -  Walk to Salcombe and check out the various art galleries and boutiques including Bibi & Mac, Quba Sails and Jack Wills.
    Sailing  -  South Sands Sailing school is right next to the hotel offering sailing, kayaking and other watersports.
    Fishing  -  The hotel can arrange deep-sea fishing trips with a little notice.
    Recommended by  -  Mr & Mrs Smith, I Escape, Good Hotel Guide
  • Whitehouse

    Chillington, Devon

    Small but beautifully designed coastal village hotel - a boutique of real style with just six rooms, one mile from the beach, with chic rooms and a screening room for movies.

    6 rooms from $252
    Spa  -  House membership to the Dart Marina Spa
    Sailing  -  Can be booked nearby.
    Four poster beds  -  For romantics.
    Recommended by  -  Mr & Mrs Smith, I Escape
  • Cary Arms

    Torquay (South Devon)

    Mills & Boon meets the Famous Five meets New England in this interior designed boutique gastropub in a good seaside location. Young staff, on the beach, plenty to do.

    8 rooms from $206
    Seaside  -  A seaside classic
    Views  -  Great views from hotel
    Fishing  -  The Inn provides rods for the pier, and nets for fishing in rock pools
    Lively  -  This is still a pub!
    Recommended by  -  Good Hotel Guide, Johansens

Best Places to Stay in Dartmouth for Bed and Breakfast

If you’re looking for a B&B or guest house, then this is a fertile hunting ground. As befits the seaside image, the area is awash with places to stay, though some better than others.

Kaywana Hall is a modernist designer house situated above the river Dart. The owners have filled it with art and for the style conscious there is slate and glass everywhere. The three bedrooms each have their own front doors, private terraces, fluffy robes, ipod docking stations; in fact most of the accoutrements you would expect from a luxury hotel. On a sunny day you can simply kick back by the outdoor pool and imagine you’re in California.

Strete Barton House is another excellent B&B. A much more traditional proposition than Kaywana, but very special too. Think Egyptian cotton bed linen, super-comfy beds, stunning panoramic views across Start Bay and delicious breakfast.

  • Kaywana Hall

    Dartmouth, Devon

    Modern design, Californian style boutique B+B with a pool, close to the River Dart. Rooms have their own entrances and sit out terraces, so ideal if you don't want to be disturbed.

    3 rooms from $186
    Great walks  -  Down to the river Dart or through the valley
    Cooking classes  -  Next door at Manna from Devon
    Restrictions on children  -  Adults only
    Swimming Pool  -  Indoor/outdoor
    Recommended by  -  I Escape, Sawdays
  • Strete Barton House

    nr Dartmouth, Devon

    This top-notch B&B is a 6th century cottage set in a picturesque village close to the beach. High standards of interior decor - contemporary with exotic touches. Sleigh beds and striking colour schemes. Relaxing and comfortable, with a beautiful garden and terrace overlooking the sea.

    6 rooms from $139
    Views  -  Panoramic views across Start Bay from Start Point light-house to the mouth of the river Dart
    Great walks  -  Just off the south west coast path
    Restrictions on children  -  No children under 8 years
    Fishing  -  Excellent fishing nearby.

Best traditional place to stay in Dartmouth

For lovers of the traditional country house the best place to stay near Dartmouth would have to be Orestone Manor Hotel. An Edwardian, colonial style property, it boasts great views which have an almost Mediterranean type feel. Bedrooms are spacious and furnished with antiques and the majority have spectacular views of the sea and surrounding countryside.

Food too is a winner here. They have been awarded 2 AA rosettes and the dinner menu features many local favourites: try the hand dived Torbay scallops, Dartmoor quail or Cornish sea bass.

  • Orestone Manor Hotel

    Torquay, Devon

    Georgian manor house hotel, overlooking Lyme Bay. Most of the spacious rooms feature Mediterranean views across Torbay. The decor is vintage chic with antique furnishings and bold print wallpaper. Excellent food, secluded lawns and peaceful porches, a haven.

    11 rooms from $146
    Garden  -  Attractive outside space.
    Great walks  -  Exe Estuary boasts miles of cycle and foot paths, exceptional views, beauttiful sandy beaches and is teeming with wildlife.
    Private Hot Tub  -  Book the Garden Suite for your own private terrace with outdoor hot tub and wonderful sea views.
    Sights nearby  -  Torre Abbey and The Agatha Christie Mile are both nearby and great informative day trips!
    Recommended by  -  Frommers

Nothing that floats your boat from our selection of the best places to stay in Dartmouth? Visit our full listing of Devon hotels.

Written by  Sarah Empson,
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