One of the most picturesquely-sited 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. 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. Visiting Dartmouth? Complete your day out with a picturesque river boat trip to the castle from the town quay, landing you a minute's walk from the castle.
Sun 26 - Thu 30 May 2013 (bank holiday)
Arr me hearties! Pirates are invading Dartmouth Castle! Come visit if you dare and meet the crew of the famous pirate ship' La Grande Derrier'. Marvel at demonstrations of musketry and cutlass work and listen to far fetched and fantastical pirate tales.
Dartmouth Castle Through the Ages: Tudor
Mon 29 & Tue 30 Jul 2013
Experience the sights, smells and sounds of a different era each week during August at Dartmouth Castle. This week immerse yourself in all things Tudor with authentic displays from the period, storytelling and craft activities for all the family.
Dartmouth Castle Through the Ages: Civil War
Mon 5 & Tue 6 Aug 2013
Experience the sights, smells and sounds of a different era each week during August at Dartmouth Castle. This week, go back to the Civil War! Enjoy talks, demonstrations and children's sword drills for all our junior solidiers!
Prices and opening times
Castle Road, Dartmouth, Devon TQ6 0JN
For just £48 a year, English Heritage members get free entry to our properties and exclusive discounts.