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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 the best 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.
Just don't forget to book well ahead, the best places to stay in Dartmouth are booked months ahead during the peak holiday season and school holidays.
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.
- The Dart Marina Hotel occupies a prime position overlooking Dartmouth's harbour, and it's the place to book if you're looking for a spot of luxury and pampering. There are 49 chic rooms, plus a luxury spa and an AA Rosette winning restaurant.
For a 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.
Nothing that floats your boat from our selection of the best places to stay in Dartmouth? Visit our full listing of Devon hotels.
Best Hotels in Dartmouth
Strete Barton House 6 rooms from $137nr 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.Views - Panoramic views across Start Bay from Start Point light-house to the mouth of the river DartGreat walks - Just off the south west coast pathRestrictions on children - No children under 8 yearsFishing - Excellent fishing nearby.
Nonsuch House 4 rooms from $156Kingswear, 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.Views - Lovely views of the river and DartmouthCooking 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
Dart Marina Hotel 49 rooms from $208Dartmouth (South Devon)
This property, in Dartmouth's buzzing harbour has a luxury spa and an AA Rosette awarded restaurant. Chic rooms in pale palettes are bright with large windows overlooking the River Dart. There are also self-contained apartments. This property is perfectly located to explore Dartmoor.Sailing - This hotel is places perfectly for sailing enthusiasts of all abilities.Sights nearby - Dartmouth and Kingswear Castle are both nearby and a great day out!Romantic - Good for couples.Views - Great views from hotelRecommended by - Good Hotel Guide
Kaywana Hall 4 rooms from $221Dartmouth, 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.Great walks - Down to the river Dart or through the valleyCooking classes - Next door at Manna from DevonRestrictions on children - Adults onlySwimming Pool - Indoor/outdoorRecommended by - I Escape, Sawdays
Fingals Hotel 4 rooms from $221Dartmouth (South 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!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.Sailing - Lessons available nearby on the River Dart.Recommended by - Sawdays