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 2018. Perhaps you could even plan your break around an event that appeals?
11th – 13th May: The Dart Music Festival
‘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 22nd 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 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.
Find out more about the Dart Music Festival.
August (tbc): Dittisham Regatta
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 also hosts an annual regatta, with rowing races, stalls and activities aimed at families. 2018’s regatta is planned for August, but dates have not yet been announced. Keep up to date on the Dittisham Regatta Facebook page.
30th November – 1st December: Candlelit Dartmouth
Candlelit Dartmouth is a cosy, atmospheric way to usher in the festive season. It’s when shops open late for atmospheric Christmas shopping on Dartmouth’s picturesque streets, the Christmas lights are switched on 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 will be things happening all around the town, including at the Flavel Arts Centre, which usually lays on a range of Christmassy children’s activities.
What’s on throughout the year?
If you’re looking for entertainment in Dartmouth throughout the year, 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. Find out more about Dartmouth’s best pubs here.
Why not book an early winter holiday in Dartmouth and start the festive season in style?
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 there are plenty of other events around the region to make your stay in the area especially memorable.
See our guide to what’s on in South Devon.