Kingswear’s rows of brightly-coloured houses on the steep northern bank of the River Dart are both charming and instantly...
Dittisham, or ‘Ditsum’ to locals, is a picturesque riverside village residing on the west bank of the River Dart. Bordered by stunning South Devon countryside and situated in the heart of South Devon’s Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, Dittisham is the perfect bolthole if you are looking for a secluded quiet spot, with easy access to South Devon’s natural playground, look no further!
The heart of the village beats beside the quayside – a gentle flow of passenger ferries, motorboats and kayaks dominate the water, whilst a strong sense of community hem the water’s edge, boasting a sailing club, football club, an avid bowls team and even regular bell ringers. For children, there is a riverside play area (one of South Devon’s finest!), and for those after a tipple or two, the nearby pubs and popular riverside seafood cafe are amongst some of South Devon’s finest eateries. Even in the height of summer, you will find the village of Dittisham truly embracing the calm, laid-back vibe that river life invites.
Situated on the banks of the River Dart, Dittisham is found two miles upstream from Dartmouth. Accessible by both boat and car, the village is within close proximity to Dartmouth, Totnes and Salcombe, and so you don’t have to venture too far to explore the coast and countryside of South Devon.
Dittisham is approximately a 15 minute drive from Dartmouth and Totnes, and is well known for being a little bit off the beaten track, hang in there, it’s well worth the effort! You will find two car parks in the village, The Ham (TQ6 0HS) and The Level (TQ6 0HD), both of which are owned by the South Hams District Council, and as such, parking fees are in place year round.
One of the most popular ways to reach Dittisham is to arrive by passenger ferry. There are a few options, including the Dittisham Passenger Ferry which takes a direct route from Dartmouth. This ferry, which holds just a dozen people, runs every day during July and August, approximately every hour throughout the day. The service is reduced during the rest of the year, and closes entirely in October. It costs £8.50 for an adult return ticket and £6 for a child (under 14) return. Booking ahead is strongly advised – for more information, call 07818 001108 or visit the Dittisham Passenger Ferry website.
Another option is to take the much larger Greenway Ferry, which runs every day, and also departs from Dartmouth at varying intervals throughout the day. The Greenway Ferry costs upwards of £9.50 for an adult return, and £7.50 for children. For more information, visit the Greenway & Dittisham Ferry website.
The Anchorstone Café has become a renowned local chain of al fresco eateries. With branches in Dartmouth and Sharpham Vineyard, it’s original roots are firmly within the village of Dittisham where it all began. The Anchorstone Café boasts panoramic riverside views, and is a glorious place to enjoy delicious local seafood, such as crab, lobster, mussels and oysters. It only opens seasonally, so be sure to check their website before making your trip to double check timings!
The Ferry Boat Inn, (locally known as the FBI), is located adjacent to Dittisham Quay, and is perched on the waterfront. The iconic pink building which is somewhat impossible to miss from the water is a popular watering hole and you will find the pub positively brimming with happy punters. From the inside, enjoy wonderful views of the River Dart and its wooded northern bank, or if you would rather have an al fresco experience, head outside to the water’s edge. Regardless, expect a warm atmosphere, a good choice of local ales and a food menu that is jam-packed with pub classics.
A true community pub, The Red Lion also serves as a village shop, Post Office and library service! There are ales from Dartmoor Brewery, wines from all over the world and food which emphasises locally-sourced meat, fish and seasonal vegetables.
Whilst the village may appear somewhat sleepy and subdued, don’t be deceived, because you will find a wealth of things to do in Dittisham – for a small village, it most certainly packs a punch! For outdoor enthusiasts, spend your time walking, kayaking, paddleboarding or perhaps learning to sail. For something a little more relaxing, the waters of Dittisham provide the ultimate crabbing experience, so don your bucket and bacon and set about pulling those mighty clawed crustaceans. Read our ultimate guide to crabbing in South Devon for the best hints and tips, and remember to follow protocol. Navigate across the water to the National Trust property Greenway, or head a little further afield to the harbour towns of Dartmouth and Salcombe, or the beaches of Torcross, Blackpool Sands. For even more inspiration on how to spend your time, read our comprehensive guide on the top things to do in South Devon.
Located on the Dart Valley Trail, the village is a paradise for walking enthusiasts. Cross the water to walk from Dittisham to Kingswear, and take in unforgettable views of the Dart on the way. If you time it right, you’ll be walking by the tracks when a train from the Dartmouth Steam Railway thunders past – the perfect time to grab a holiday photo! Alternatively, stay on the Dittisham side of the river and hike along the southern bank, passing through the Raleigh Estate and Old Mill Creek on your way to the top of Dartmouth. You can also combine the two for a challenging circular walk – one of the most popular walking routes in South Devon. Find out more about the Dartmouth to Dittisham circular walk here.
At Coast & Country Cottages, we love walking, so much so we’ve created a comprehensive walking guide. Why not download your walking guide today.
‘The Ham’ is a large green expanse situated by the river – a quiet space surrounded by trees, and with a fantastic view of the Dart. A popular walking route amongst both residents and visitors, expect to find people resting on benches, tucking into sumptuous picnics, and children (and grown-ups alike!) kicking a football. What’s more, there is a recently refurbished playground that includes a wooden pirate ship, something children adore. The adjoining car park and toilet block make this area of the village extremely amenable, regardless of how you choose to spend your time. At times, you will experience a flurry of traffic because the car park provides access to the river, which is also where the sailing club is found.
Hire motor boats, sailboats, kayaks and Stand-Up Paddleboards from Dittisham Boats on the pontoon next to the Ferry Boat Inn. From there, navigate the River Dart and explore its picturesque creeks and hidden beaches. If you are feeling really eager, make your way as far as Totnes or head in the opposite direction to Dartmouth, where you can amble around the historic streets, indulge in some shopping or tuck into some sumptuous seafood.
A short passenger ferry ride across the river will take you to Greenway, the National Trust-owned former house and estate of Dame Agatha Christie. A fantastic place to visit for a morning or afternoon, spend your time exploring the magical gardens, and learning more about its former owner, Dame Agatha Christie, and her life’s work. What’s more, there’s a nice café and picnic area at Greenway too, so why not treat yourself to lunch, or a decadent slice of cake. Reaching the estate is simple, thanks to the low-cost Dittisham and Greenway ferry which leaves directly from the pontoon, simply ring the bell for service when required.
Did you know there are a total of four National Trust properties in South Devon? Be sure to visit them if you can!
This historic church was reconstructed in the 14th century from its Norman beginnings, although it’s said there has been a church in Dittisham for over 1000 years. The church is part of the Benefice of Dartmouth within the Diocese of Exeter, and strives to offer a warm welcome to every visitor. There is a service held every Sunday, at 9.15am, and everyone is welcome.
The recently upgraded Dittisham Village Hall is very well equipped and boasts stage lighting, a large main auditorium, plus an excellent kitchen with plenty of tables and chairs available. It would make an excellent venue for a family party, and its rates are considerably lower than many comparable spaces in the area, so it is definitely worth utilising. If you would like to make use of this space, you can find out more by emailing email@example.com, or by visiting the Village Hall website.
Dittisham makes an ideal holiday base for those who wish to escape the hustle and bustle of everyday life, and experience the true authenticity of life by the river. At Coast & Country Cottages we have an enviable selection of properties in Dittisham, from romantic cottages to luxury houses boasting panoramic river views, so you will certainly find something to suit requirements.
A charming cottage that sleeps two guests, Cobwebs Cottage is conveniently placed central to the village of Dittisham. With a sumptuous king-size bed, and a stripped back modern interior, expect open plan living, exposed beams and a warming electric fire.
This Grade II-listed waterfront former-fisherman’s cottage is situated on Dittisham Quay and offers spectacular, uninterrupted views of the River Dart. With a VisitEngland Five Star award, this two-bedroom property is the perfect cosy-yet-luxurious base for your South Devon break.
Dittisham is just one of a number of scenic villages and hamlets in the South Hams. With around 400 holiday cottages in South Devon, Coast & Country Cottages has the ideal base for you.
Just four miles from Dittisham and a 10-minute drive from Dartmouth, Hillfield Village is a tranquil development of tasteful and luxurious properties, including 20 holiday homes managed by Coast & Country Cottages. These range from the stunning Hillfield Manor House (sleeps 4) to a host of cosy two-bedroom apartments and lodges. With a tennis court and outdoor pool on-site, plus membership rates at nearby Dartmouth Golf Club and Spa, Hillfield Village makes a wonderful countryside getaway.