The Port of Dartmouth Royal Regatta is the 24th – 26th August 2017. This 3-day event has been named “the best regatta in the west” and draws people from all over the UK to the sunny climate of Dartmouth each year.
This year will be no exception. We’ve spoken to Lisa Chandler who helps the Dartmouth Regatta to tell us all about this year’s regatta and what to expect.
What is Dartmouth Regatta and when is it on?
Dartmouth Regatta is second only to COWES as far as sailing events go in the UK, and Henley as far as the rowing events. But, the difference with Dartmouth Regatta is that we do BOTH events, not just the one! The three-day event is always held over the last Friday of the month, so this year it is the 24, 25 and 26th August. Although it is traditionally a three-day event, it has grown over the years and now starts on the previous Saturday with a Grand Fete and dog show in Royal Avenue Gardens.
Tell us a bit about the history of Dartmouth Regatta
It was first held in 1822 and has been run every year since with the exception of during the war years. The 2017 Regatta is the 173rd. It started off as a few rowing boats competing and was one of the first Regattas to be held. Queen Victoria bestowed the title of Royal on the Regatta, after enjoying her visit in 1856 so much. HRH, who was in the area sailing aboard the Royal barge, pulled into Dartmouth to shelter from bad weather the day before the Regatta was due to be held. She stopped over, and naturally, loved it here. The local gentry and mayor made her feel so welcome, she decided we were worthy of the Royal title! The Regatta is nowadays run by a small committee, of merry volunteers, who work tirelessly to make sure it is the best event it can be.
What would you say are the five top things to see and do at the Regatta?
Impossible to answer, there are too many top events! However, for me…the Regatta Rock or Ball, the local rowing, the air displays, the fireworks (not just 1 display, but 2!), the road races and Spot the Oddity of course. That is 6 I am afraid!
Is there anything new at Regatta this year?
Yes, several! But to name one, on Friday 25th August we will present in conjunction with our principal sponsor, Sunsail, an open air cinema showing of Pirates of the Caribbean: Curse of the Black Pearl.
The film, a 12 certificate, will be shown in Coronation Park and will begin at 20:45. Gates open at 7.00pm. This is a free event and tickets will be allocated on a first come first served basis with a maximum of four tickets. Food and drink will be available or bring along your own. Why not come along with your folding chairs, blankets etc. and be prepared to have a great evening.
What is there to do for children?
There is so much for the kids and my two boys have grown up with Regatta events. Crabbing, pavement drawing, fancy dress and they love Spot the Oddity too. Of course, then there is the funfair, and as they have got older, they love the freedom of going off to battle on the dodgems. I have to give them a budget now, otherwise, we may not make Christmas! We always have a family visit every day to the coconut shy. Not sure we ever knock one off, but the stall holder is always so sweet to the boys, and we love it! This year there is also an ice cream eating competition, which will be hard going for any child I am sure, with a little help maybe from their parents? We also have some drama workshops ‘Make a Scene’ in the Flavel Arts Centre. If you are looking for something new for your child why not try these specially arranged day camps?
What else can people enjoy when visiting the Regatta?
As well as the packed Regatta programme, my top recommends are:
- Visit Dartmouth’s museum, and then pop into the Visitors Information centre to see the first working steam engine invented by Thomas Newcomen.
- Take a fairly gentle 30-40 minute walk out to Dartmouth Castle, enjoy a cream tea and spectacular views, then either walk back or why not catch the Castle ferry back into town and enjoy the sights of the River Dart.
- Buy a pasty and sit on the seafront and watch the world (and boats) go by.
How should people get to regatta?
There is NO town centre parking available, and a number of roads both in Kingswear and Dartmouth will be signed as ‘CLEARWAYS’ which means no parking at anytime. A limited number of parking spaces will be available at Coronation Park for disabled badge holders.
Travelling by car
For visitors arriving by road, the only parking available is the Park and Ride (see below), which is situated on the road A3122 approaching Dartmouth from Totnes. This is a regular Park and Ride bus service into the town and is supplemented by an overflow service operated by the Regatta Committee at Venn Lane, which is on the right as you enter the town. It will be well signposted. If you are travelling by road from the Torbay area, there is a privately operated park and ride at Kingswear. It is also possible to travel by train from Paignton to Kingswear. See our website www.dartmouthregatta.co.uk for full details.
Where can people find more information?
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