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Dartmouth Castle

Dartmouth Castle Dartmouth Castle Dartmouth Castle Dartmouth Castle
 
 

One of the most beautifully located fortresses in England. For over 600 years Dartmouth Castle has guarded the narrow entrance to the Dart Estuary and the busy, vibrant port of Dartmouth. It offers stunning views of the estuary and out to sea and offers a great family day out, whatever the weather.
 
This fascinating complex of defences was begun in 1388 by John Hawley, privateering Mayor of Dartmouth and the prototype of the flamboyant 'Shipman' in Chaucer's Canterbury Tales. About a century later the townsmen added the imposing and well-preserved 'gun tower', probably the very first fortification in Britain purpose-built to mount 'ship-sinking' heavy cannon. Climb to the top for breathtaking views across the estuary and see how it could be blocked in wartime by a heavy chain.

Unusually incorporating the fine church of St Petrox, the castle saw action during the Civil War, and continued in service right up until the Second World War. Successive up-dating included the Victorian 'Old Battery' with its remounted heavy guns, guardrooms and maze of passages to explore. Here a dramatic film sequence recreates a Victorian gun-firing, and throughout the fortress displays retell the six centuries of castle history. 

There is plenty to do inside the castle and if the weather is fine, you can make it a full day out with a river boat trip from the town quay up to the castle, landing you a minute's walk away from the castle entrance. After you have explored the castle, you can visit a riverside tea room for light lunches and snacks. Walkers will love the coastal and woodland walks around the castle where you can spot plenty of wildlife and birds.  

Over Spring Bank Holiday the castle will be besieged with displays of living history, plant walks and children's activities and throughout the summer, an invasion of pirates will be telling fantastical tales and show off their weapons skills - see our events page for details.

Don't Miss

  • The 'big gun' video presentation
  • The climb to the top of the battlement for splendid views over Dartmouth town
  • The lower floor where the chain would have been stretched across the estuary
  • A ferry boat ride to or from the castle - perfect for wildlife spotting 
  • A home-made cream tea in the sunshine while you watch the boats drift by

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Events At Dartmouth Castle

  • Pirates Invade!

    Mon 28 & Tue 29 Jul 2014

    Arr me hearties! The castle is under attack from a fearsome bunch of pirates from the famous ship La Grand Derriere. Hear the bang of muskets and see history brought to life.

  • Pirates Invade!

    Mon 4 & Tue 5 Aug 2014

    Arr me hearties! The castle is under attack from a fearsome bunch of pirates from the famous ship La Grand Derriere. Hear the bang of muskets and see history brought to life.

  • Pirates Invade!

    Mon 11 & Tue 12 Aug 2014

    Arr me hearties! The castle is under attack from a fearsome bunch of pirates from the famous ship La Grand Derriere. Hear the bang of muskets and see history brought to life.

Prices and opening times

directions

Castle Road, Dartmouth, Devon TQ6 0JN (Directions)

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