Historic Dartmouth Charming River Port – Walk



World War II, Migration


The Tour / Experience:

Dartmouth is one of the loveliest of England’s historic ports with fascinating stories to tell.  Its position on the south coast explains its importance to global exploration, trade and as a vital naval base in times of war or peril. On our walk we follow themes that run from the time of the Crusades and Geoffrey Chaucer to famous Tudor explorers, the New World settlers of the 1600s, WW2 and the story of D-Day, in 1944.

We explore Elizabethan streets from the time of Sir Walter Raleigh to find the Buttermarket visited by Charles II, ancient St Saviour’s Church, and search out the narrow packhorse route that was the only access to the port from inland for many centuries. There are many lovely buildings to enjoy as we explore the twisting streets above the town centre added as the town grew in Georgian and Victorian times. On the water’s edge we stop at the Boat Float to understand how the town steadily reclaimed the estuary and find Bayard’s Cove, the original wharf, before walking towards Dartmouth Castle that guards the narrow harbour entrance.

Since 1863 Dartmouth has been home to the Britannia Royal Naval College founded to train young officers for service at sea. This and Dartmouth’s strategically important position meant it became a military target in WW2. The Free French used the harbour to launch Motor Torpedo Boat missions and the secret services based clandestine operations here. The College became the US Naval Advanced Amphibious Base in the run up to D-Day and 4000 US servicemen lived around the town, most joining Attack Force U sent to Utah beach in June 1944. We visit the memorials that tell of these times and uncover the locations associated with these great events.

We pause for you to saunter around the galleries and shops or refresh with a coffee in a local cafe as we wander through Old Dartmouth before you may make the choice to explore further on your own.


The Highlights: 

  • A 2 1/2 hour guided walk led by a Blue Badge Guide with Covid-19 precautions implemented.
  • A guided walk to explore Dartmouth, a jewel of a coastal town. Meander through historic streets, passing artisan eateries, local art and craft shops and vintage markets whilst hearing of Dartmouth’s worldwide connections and maritime stories.
  • Walk towards Dartmouth Castle, a medieval fortification guarding the harbour entrance. Imagine French warships trying to attack Dartmouth during the Hundred Years War, the Pilgrim Fathers heading westwards towards the Atlantic and the anticipation felt by D-Day troops destined for the Normandy Beaches.
  • Time to wander Dartmouth at your leisure and perhaps visit a14th century pub, or a cafe of your choice for
  • Use of personal radio receiver connected to Tour Guide wireless audio transmission system for improved audibility and social distancing on walk.
  • Accompanied by Blue Badge Guide with Covid safe measures in place.


Tour Details:

Start & End Location Visitor Centre, Mayor’s Ave, Dartmouth TQ6 9YY  


Contact Details:

Email:  julia@atasteofenglandtours.com

Tour gallery

About the guide

Name: Julia Morris

Qualifications: Southern England

Languages: English