There are innumerable reasons to visit Dartmouth, but two of the most compelling are its fabulous fine cuisine and plethora of luxury retailers. This stunning part of South Devon attracts discerning holidaymakers and members of the social elite. In fact, it's no exaggeration to say that the harbour town's appeal rivals that of Britain's top cities.
Our handpicked selection of Dartmouth's best dining and shopping experiences is full of inspiration for anyone who's planning a magical day out or simply curious about this wonderful place. Read on to discover how to make the most of every minute here.
The best days begin with a hearty breakfast – which is why those in the know flock to Café Alf Resco on Lower Street. This rustic eatery has long been one of the South West's leading destinations for brilliant breakfasts, with the Telegraph remarking that 'Alf Resco's is hugely popular and has become an institution'.
The café's name plays with the phrase 'al fresco', and indeed there's plenty of outdoor seating for those who'd like to watch the world go by as they enjoy the signature dish, Alf's Full Breakfast.
Café Alf Resco is brimming with local produce and local colour. 'The people who make up the community of Dartmouth are very dear to us. They are the reason we have been here for 25 years and it is important to us that we give back,' owner Kate Ryder told Food Drink Devon earlier this year. Always keen to support local events, the café recently hosted a crafts morning, during which embroiderers decorated ships' flags for the Dartmouth Mayflower 400 celebrations.
After a satisfying breakfast, indulge in some retail therapy. Dartmouth is renowned for its interior design expertise, and close to Café Alf Resco is an unmissable homeware outlet, Distinctly Living, which showcases cool, contemporary style. Alternatively, celebrate Dartmouth's rich history and seafaring heritage at Bond's Nautical Antiques on Newcomen Road.
Dartmouth's premier shopping district, Foss Street, is just five minutes away. Wander down the cobbled walkway and you'll find charming buildings bedecked with bunting. They're home to famous brands and independent boutiques unique to Dartmouth. Trish Thomas Designer Jewellery's creations, featuring Swarovski crystals, are bound to catch your eye. New jewellery calls for a new outfit – try Starburst Boutique for casual chic or House of Hawkins for dapper attire.
Crew Clothing on Fairfax Place, Jack Wills (The Quay) and Dartmouth's homegrown success, JackSpeak (Lower Street), are replete with classic British casualwear inspired by coastal living. The latter has a range devoted to Dartmouth Royal Regatta.
For lunch, how about award-winning fish & chips at Rockfish on the South Embankment? Whether you choose prime cod or something more adventurous, you can be confident that your meal has been sustainably sourced.
Rockfish is the brainchild of chef Mitch Tonks, an inspiring figure. As Tonks' website emphasises, 'he is committed to constantly giving back to the community'; hence his support for Dartmouth's star sailor, Henry Bomby.
The 17th century Royal Castle Hotel sits proudly on the quayside. In its Galleon Bar, treat yourself to a tipple or traditional afternoon tea with Devon cream. Fancy pushing the boat out? Hire The Library for a private party.
With its wonderful scenery and rich culture, Dartmouth is a haven for artists. Famous names include Simon Drew (his detailed pictures, combining wildlife and wit, are exhibited on Foss Street) and Paul Barclay (whose bold illustrations of superyachts and other vessels can be viewed on Oxford Street).
Browsing the Dartmouth-inspired art at Baxters Gallery on Foss Street, White Sails (St George's Square) or Dart Gallery (Lower Street) is a delightful way to spend an afternoon. You may well find a piece to grace your wall at home.
Perhaps you'll favour The Angel on the South Embankment at dinnertime – it aims to provide 'the ultimate relaxed fine dining experience'. Head chef Elly Wentworth, a MasterChef: The Professionals finalist, is following in the footsteps of the original owner, the legendary Joyce Molyneux. The local lamb is a highlight: The Devon Foodie called it 'simply divine'.
Nearby, The Seahorse cooks seafood to perfection over a charcoal fire. Like Rockfish, it's overseen by Mitch Tonks. When The Seahorse won the Observer's Best Restaurant Award in 2012, he commented: 'It is everything to us that our customers feel special.' You can even request a chauffeur service.
These restaurants, like the other places we've highlighted, exemplify the relaxed refinement that defines Dartmouth today.
At BuyAPieceOfDartmouth.uk, we make it easy for you to create a unique, lasting connection with this superior Devon town.
Select our Dartmouth Landowner package to claim ownership of a compact land parcel (20 cm x 20 cm) near the River Dart. For a compact land parcel and aristocratic-style title, select our Dartmouth Landowner and Seated Title package instead. Becoming a landowning Lord or Lady of Dartmouth is an exciting – and affordable – way to enhance your status.
Rest assured that all necessary legal fees are included in the price.
Become a titled Dartmouth landowner and upgrade your lifestyle today!