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Despite its small population and laid-back atmosphere, Dartmouth’s busy social calendar puts plenty of larger towns – and even some cities – to shame. If you’re considering a holiday in this delightful South Devon harbour town, take a look at our guide to what’s on in Dartmouth in 2020. At Coast & Country Cottages we have an enviable selection of Dartmouth based properties, so why not plan your break around an event that appeals?

What’s on in Dartmouth in 2020…

Dartmouth Rotary Beer Festival

15th – 16th February 

A charity beer festival held at The Flavel, expect to enjoy a selection of beers and cider from around the country, and also wine and prosecco for those after something a little lighter! What’s more, there will be music and locally produced food. Money raised from the event will be split between The Flavel and also Rowcroft Hospice – for more information visit The Flavel website.

Dart the Dart Run

16th May

A fun filled foodie run along the banks of the River Dart! Navigating a 15 mile route, it is most certainly not a race – expect to sample culinary delights and enjoy sumptuous liquid refreshments at a variety of venues. Full details of how to sign up are being released soon, and we will update the website accordingly.

Dart Music Festival

15th – 17th May

One of the 2015 Dart Music Festival's quirkier performers

‘All the world’s a stage’, as Shakespeare wrote in ‘As you like it’. It certainly feels that way in Dartmouth when the Dart Music Festival, entering its 24th year, comes to town. No space is wasted and seemingly everywhere around the centre of this historic town becomes a music venue, from Dartmouth Castle to the Old Market Square.

The phrase ‘something for everyone’ has become a cliché to describe events like this, but with over 100 performances spread over the three days, it seems unlikely that anyone could leave the festival having heard nothing that suit their taste. The music ranges from sea shanties to ska, and from big band to bluegrass.

The line-up always includes South West-based bands and singers with growing reputations for their original work, like Tankus The Henge and Yola Carter, as well as roof-raising covers groups like B Company and To The Sun, meaning there’s consistently a nice mix of the familiar and unfamiliar.

The festival is well-known for its welcoming atmosphere, showing off what many people love about Dartmouth: it’s fun and lively, yet warm and family-friendly. It’s also free to attend, although the volunteer organisers do appreciate donations to go towards paying the artists and staging the event.

Dartmouth Crabfest

25th July

The hugely popular Crabfest will return in 2020 for another day of fun, frolics and crab eating on Dartmouth’s waterfront. The ninth annual event is set to be a great day out, including live music, crab and oyster stands, children’s crabbing competitions and a crab cracking demo!

Full details haven’t yet been announced for 2020. For a rough guide, admission has previously been priced at £35 per person, or it has been possible to reserve a whole table for 14, including one free space!

Dartmouth Mayflower 400: Classics

27th – 28th June

Dartmouth is one of the twelve towns participating in the National Mayflower Partnership, and throughout the twelve months from Thanksgiving 2019, will be commemorating the 400-year anniversary of the sailing of the Mayflower with a series of exciting events and festivities. The Dartmouth Mayflower Classic is an event organised by the Royal Dart Yacht Club, and is  jam-packed with friendly racing schedule for classic and traditional boats – to enquire about racing, contact We have written a comprehensive guide to The Mayflower 400 in Dartmouth, be sure to check it out for more information.

Dartmouth Shakespeare Week

28th July – 1st August

A cultural highlight in Dartmouth’s busy events calendar, to celebrate Shakespeare Week 2020, the Inn Theatre Company proudly present their production of ‘Much Ado About Nothing’ in the open air at Dartmouth Castle. Bring a blanket and snuggle down amongst the grassy ruins of the castle whilst the sun sets. To book your ticket, visit the Inn Theatre Company website.


7th – 9th August

An award winning dog and family friendly festival held at Oldstone Farm in Dartmouth. With dog show displays, demonstrations, live music and a wide variety of stalls showcasing local produce, Woofstock is an event not to miss! Visit the Woofstock website to book your ticket, available for those with four legs, and two!

Dittisham Regatta

15th August

A few miles upriver from Dartmouth, Dittisham (or ‘Ditsum’ as locals call it) is a picturesque waterfront village with magnificent views across the Dart to the leafy Greenway estate. With two pubs, a popular Anchorstone Café and a quay where you can fish, crab or hire boats and kayaks, it makes a fantastic holiday base or spot for a day trip. Dittisham hosts an annual regatta, with rowing races, stalls and activities aimed at families. For the finer details of the regatta, follow the Dittisham Regatta Facebook page.

Dartmouth Royal Regatta

27th – 29th August

The first recorded Dartmouth Regatta took place in 1822. 34 years later, the event gained its Royal title when bad weather forced Queen Victoria’s flotilla into the safety of Dartmouth’s deep-water harbour. Luck had it that the Regatta was taking place during the monarch’s unplanned visit, and when she left she bestowed a Royal title on the event.

The Port of Dartmouth Royal Regatta is the biggest annual event in our guide to what’s on in Dartmouth, drawing in crowds of up to 100,000 people over the three days. With a jam-packed weekend of festivities, expect…

  • lots of action on the water, from sailing and rowing competitions to barrel roll races and a waterborne tug of war
  • live music and street food in Royal Avenue Gardens and elsewhere
  • two fireworks displays
  • entertainment for kids, such as crab fishing contests and fancy dress competitions, funfair rides and more.

If you’re considering a break in Dartmouth during the Regatta, we strongly advise early booking to avoid disappointment, as this event is enormously popular every year.

Dartmouth Food Festival

23rd – 25th October

South Devon, with its fertile fields and bountiful seas, is the perfect setting for a food festival that focuses on local, high-quality produce. The area has developed a thriving culinary culture in recent years, with award-winning restaurants such as the Seahorse and innovative producers like South Devon Chilli Farm, Sharpham and Riverford leading the way.

Expect to see top chefs from South Devon and the rest of the country, as well as popular food writers and a huge range of exhibitors tempting you with their wares. That’s not to suggest that Dartmouth Food Festival is something to consume passively – on the contrary, there are plenty of opportunities for hands-on learning from the masters. Another nice aspect of the event is that children aren’t forgotten about either, hence the Telegraph’s comment that the Dartmouth Food Festival offers ‘plenty to tickle the taste buds of all ages’.

For more information about the Dartmouth Food Festival, visit their website.

Dartmouth Food Festival

Mayflower 400: Closing Event

25th – 26th November 

A grand finale of the Mayflower 400 commemorative year! Whilst full details of the weekend are yet to be released, for further information on all Mayflower 400 Dartmouth events, be sure to check the Dartmouth Mayflower 400 website.

Candlelit Dartmouth

27th – 28th November

Candlelit Dartmouth

Candlelit Dartmouth is a cosy, atmospheric way to usher in the festive season. You will find the shops open late for atmospheric Christmas shopping on Dartmouth’s picturesque streets, the Christmas lights twinkling and plenty of food stalls pop up to keep you well fuelled on a chilly night. It’s the perfect setting to enjoy some mulled wine and a mince pie.

The event always includes:

  • a lantern procession, consisting of lanterns made by local schoolchildren
  • Santa’s arrival by boat
  • carol singing
  • Christmas markets

Most of the events take place in beautiful Royal Avenue Gardens, but there are things happening all around the town, including at the Flavel Arts Centre, which usually hosts a range of Christmas children’s activities. For the full lowdown on this festive weekend, visit their website.

What’s on in Dartmouth throughout the year?

If you’re looking for year round entertainment in Dartmouth, your first port of call should be the Flavel Arts Centre, which serves as a cinema, music venue, theatre and gallery. The Flavel’s packed programme includes Hollywood movies, live screenings of National Theatre and Royal Ballet performances, author talks, folk concerts and pantomimes and more – see what’s on at the Flavel here.

There’s also plenty of live music throughout the year in Dartmouth, with acoustic acts appearing most Thursdays in the harbour bar at the Royal Castle Hotel. Bands also perform regularly at the Dolphin Inn and the recently refurbished George and Dragon.

We hope you’ve enjoyed our guide to what’s on in Dartmouth this year. Dartmouth’s programme is certainly one of the busiest in South Devon, but in addition to this, there are plenty of other exciting events around the region. Be sure to check our full article on what’s on in South Devon in 2020 to make sure your stay in the area is especially memorable. Why not time your break around one of these fantastic events? Take a look at our full range of around 400 holiday homes in South Devon now.