The Great British weather can sometimes have a surprise in store and your holiday just might be interrupted by an unexpected rainy day. But if the sun does go in to hiding or the forecast doesn’t look promising don’t fear your holiday to Dartmouth won’t be ruined.
Check out some of the great wet weather and inside ideas below which everyone can enjoy in and around Dartmouth.
On selected dates throughout the year, guided tours of Britannia Royal Naval College are held around the fascinating building. With a history spanning over 150 years, expert resident tour guides will help you learn about the colleges captivating past, from its designer Sir Aston Webb through to the Second World War and its modern use as the only remaining Naval College in the country. Advanced booking is required and as a working military establishment photographic identification (photocopies not permitted) is required for access.
The Newcomen Engine
Dartmouth was the birthplace of Thomas Newcomen, the designer and engineer of the first steam engine. Built in 1720 the engine was used to pump water out of coal mines and over 2,000 were installed world-wide. Today the Dartmouth Visitor Centre in the heart of the town is home to the oldest preserved working steam engine in the world. If you’re sheltering from the rain, pop in and find out more about this engineering first.
The town’s intriguing history is laid out in the extensive collection of artefacts, models, paintings and photographs. Housed in the historic Butterwalk building, Dartmouth Museum offers an interesting insight into the town’s development and maritime past. With dedicated volunteers on hand to answer any questions as well as hands on activities for grownups and kids alike, it’s the ideal place to spend an afternoon or morning leaning about the town’s history whist hiding from the rain.
Guarding the mouth of the River Dart is the 600 year old Dartmouth Castle. With so much to see and do the castle is a great destination when the weather isn’t looking its best. You’ll find a maze of passages to explore as well as the well-preserved gun tower with interactive displays. The castles Victorian Battery houses an amazing display of cannons and guns and the shop provides one of the best views of the Dart Estuary as well as a great range of souvenirs.
Watch a film
The Flavel Arts Centre & Cinema
Home to a packed programme of entertainment The Flavel is the perfect destination if you experience a rainy day during your holiday to Dartmouth. Everyday there’s something great going on at The Flavel from live music and comedy to concerts and blockbuster hits in the cinema. The centre is also home to the town’s library and a superb café.
A short way from Dartmouth you’ll find two wonderful National Trust properties, both are located on the opposite side of the River Dart to the town.
On the banks of the River Dart, upstream from Dartmouth, is the atmospheric and charming 1950’s holiday home of crime writing author Agatha Christie, Greenway House. On a tour of the house you will be transported back to the 1950’s viewing some of the many wonderful collectibles, from Tunbridge ware to botanical china, which are on display. If there are any breaks in the rain be sure to head out to the romantic woodland which leads down to the river banks and Boathouse.
Coleton Fishacre House & Garden
If the weather isn’t looking great, a trip to the elegant 1920’s Coleton Fishacre House not only offers a chance to shelter from any rain showers but lets you travel back in time to the Jazz Age. Built in the Arts & Crafts style this country house has a joyful atmosphere with rooms filled with music. Catch a glimpse of upstairs and downstairs life from the glamorous Saloon to the light and airy servants’ rooms. Coleton Fishacre is also home to an RHS accredited garden which is well worth a visit even if an umbrella is needed.
One of the many delights of Dartmouth is exploring the wonderful independent shops and galleries, and picking up a souvenir or some locally produced culinary delights. A rainy day is the perfect opportunity to give the delightful range of shops your undivided attention. If you’re looking for great art work why not head to White Sails Gallery or Baxters Gallery or if its antiques you’re after give M & H Antiques and Art a visit, and for all your holiday essentials pop in to Ashby’s Easy Stores.
If you’re looking to discover both architecture and history whist you’re dodging the showers take a visit to one of Dartmouth’s churches. Some of the towns many churches include St Saviours Church, St Clements Church, St Johns the Baptist Roman Catholic Church, St Petrox Church, Baptist Church and the Flavel Methodist & United Reformed Church.
If you want to take a break from shopping and exploring the town’s galleries or after a busy morning learning about the towns past at the museum, head to one of the wonderful coffee shops, cafes, pubs or bars which are scattered throughout town. With a refreshing juice in hand, a freshly made sandwich or steaming pot of tea, enjoy a catch up with friends or relaxing break as you escape the unsettled weather outside.
If you’re looking for an activity that is both low cost and lets you avoid the rain clouds outside, make a collection of all the leaflets, tickets and guides that you’ve collected throughout your trip and spend an afternoon or morning sharing memories as you create a scrap book or collage in your accommodation.
Out of Town
Torquay’s Dinosaur World
Torquay’s Dinosaur World in Torbay is a haven for Dinosaur lovers. This totally inside attraction is home to fun interactive exhibitions with amazing life-size Dinosaurs and scale models. On your journey to a time of prehistoric beasts have a go at fossil hunting and complete the fun family quiz to win a Dinosaur Expert Certificate.
South Devon Chilli Farm
Near to the town of Kingsbridge to the west of Dartmouth is The South Devon Chilli Farm. Open Mid-March to October you can take a visit to the Plant Nursery and from June to November the farms Show Tunnel is open. Whilst you’re viewing the plants make sure to complete The Show Tunnel Quiz, with fun clues that include some of the names of the chilli plants which can be found inside, there are over 100 varieties. The farm also has a café and shop which sell a wide selection of chilli inspired dishes and treats.
On the edge of Dartmoor National Park you’ll find Pennywell Farm, this haven to animal lovers is jam packed with animals to pet, informative shows to watch and child friendly rides to enjoy. There’s so much on offer; from bottle feeding baby animals, ferret racing and hedgehogs to meet as well as the world famous Pennywell Miniature Piglets to cuddle. Only parts of the farm are undercover, so this attraction is great for a day out from Dartmouth if the weather is looking a little unsettled.
Other great days out
For other great wet weather or grey day outings, hop on the steam train from Kingswear to Paignton, visit Dartmouth Leisure Centre and Pool or spend an action packed day at Woodlands Family Theme Park.
For more brilliant ideas on rainy day activities in and around Dartmouth check out our wet weather ideas and inspiration page