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Dartmouth is renowned for its picturesque harbour bobbing with boats. The view from the promenade changes daily, with a combination of fishing boats, traditional and modern yachts, cabin cruisers and occasionally cruise ships and superyachts completing the scene. Many of the vessels on show offer Dartmouth boat trips, so you can do more than simply admire them from afar.
In the summer, the Dart comes alive from Dartmouth all the way to Totnes, with boats ranging from passenger ferries large and small to rowing boats and kayaks, all making their way up and downriver.

If you’re staying in this part of South Devon, enjoying one of the many Dartmouth boat trips available to you is a great way to see all of this beautiful area, whether you want to sail leisurely through the harbour or explore the wildlife that graces our shores.

Let’s have a look at some of the Dartmouth boat trips available to you during your South Devon holiday.

Hire a boat in Dartmouth

Opposite the Quay on the Embankment, you’ll find Dartmouth Boat Hire and its range of yellow-and-white motorboats, which are common sights along the River Dart every summer. Their fleet includes cabin cruisers, open boats and fishing vessels, licensed for a maximum of six people. Hire by the hour or take a boat out for the whole day (six hours maximum). From there you can make your way to Tuckenhay, Stoke Gabriel or even as far as Totnes, with the proviso that all trips have to be planned according to the tide.

A few miles up the beautiful River Dart you’ll find the charming village of Dittisham, one of Devon’s most delightful fishing villages. As well as hosting two fantastic pubs and the the popular Anchorstone Café, the village is also home to Dittisham Boats.

If you know your bow from your rudder, you can hire a boat from Dittisham Boats, which operates from Dittisham pontoon by the Ferry Boat Inn, a pink-painted waterfront pub that’s hard to miss if you approach the village from the water. You can choose from Wayfarers, a Lugger, a 21-foot day sailor or a Topper, the latter of which is perfect for those who like to be captain of their own vessel. You can also hire a range of motor boats, kayaks and stand up paddleboards.

Leisure trips

For those who prefer to sit back and relax on the water whilst enjoying a slice of history, why not take the paddle steamer from Dartmouth along the river? The Kingswear Castle steamer is the last remaining coal-fired paddle steamer in the UK. Built in 1924, this craft was used to ferry goods between Totnes and Dartmouth or could transport up to 500 passengers.

The paddle steamer making its way out of Dartmouth

Enjoy a range of Dartmouth boat trips on this classic carrier. We recommend the 1 ½ hour scenic journey that leaves Dartmouth before winding its way up the River Dart. You’ll pass the villages of Dittisham, Galmpton, Stoke Gabriel and the Sharpham and Greenway estates. Look out for wildlife or just sit back and take in the scenery as the paddles do the work.


Another option is to take the Round Robin tour, which includes a steam train ride, bus journey, connecting ferry and paddle steamer ride.

Fans of mysteries and crime fiction simply have to fit this Dartmouth boat trip into their South Devon holiday: travel by boat from Dartmouth to Greenway Quay on a pilgrimage to the former home of ‘the Queen of Crime’, Dame Agatha Christie. A tour of Greenway House, which is now owned by the National Trust, is a wonderful way to step back in time as well as to learn more about one of Devon’s most famous daughters. The easiest way to get there is to take the Greenway Ferry, which takes around 30 minutes from Dartmouth.

The gateway to Dame Agatha’s former home sits directly opposite Dittisham. If you’d like to include the village in your trip to Greenway you can ride the Greenway Ferry to the quay before hopping on a passenger ferry to take you across the river. However, if getting to Dittisham is your aim, the easiest way to do so from Dartmouth is take the little passenger ferry which runs approximately on the hour, depending on the season.

At the less sedate, more active end of the spectrum, Monty Halls Great Escapes provides fun-filled sessions and days onboard their rib leaving from Dartmouth, and travelling either up the River Dart or out to sea. The range of Dartmouth boat trips they offer is impressively varied: enjoy wildlife watching with the guidance of a marine biologist, or go diving or snorkelling amongst other activities. You can even charter a rib for either three or six hours and make the South Devon coastline your oyster.

Last but not least on our list of leisurely Dartmouth boat trips is the Picnic Boat, which offers a range of charter options, from romantic trips for two to corporate events and wildlife-watching voyages. Their menu ranges from local seafood to Devonshire Cream Teas, with champagne, cider and other tipples with which to wash it down.

Fishing boat trips from Dartmouth

Long famous for plaice, Dartmouth is a popular town to come for fishing trips out to local marks like the Skerries Banks, which sit around four miles out to sea. You can either join a group of other enthusiasts and sign up for an existing trip, or charter a vessel for your family and/or friends.

Fishing trips start from two-hour mackerel catching trips right up to shark-fishing expeditions and explorations of further-flung places like the Channel Islands.

  • Saltwind takes anglers around South Devon and further afield, with nature-spotting trips also arranged. The operator is licensed to carry up to 12 passengers and can take you up to 60 miles offshore on its 40-foot Aquastar.
  • The ‘African Queen’ is run by a husband and wife team, and takes anglers to the Skerries Banks alongside some other inshore and offshore marks.
  • The Gemini (formerly known as the Samuel Irvin 3) covers South Devon and the Channel Islands, providing not only fishing trips but also diving expeditions.

If you love to be by the water and would like to spend more time on it, Dartmouth is a great place to come to take the next logical step. To book a holiday cottage in Dartmouth, contact our team at Coast & Country Cottages on 01803 839499 or email for more information.