Positioned on the South Devon coast, Dartmouth can take a while to reach, especially in the summer when the roads are busy. Reaching South Devon via the M5 and A38 is relatively easy if you avoid peak times, but from Ashburton onwards, the single road winds through scenic countryside to Totnes then onto Dartmouth, some 20 miles from the A38.
The more direct route is through Newton Abbot, bypassing Paignton towards Brixham, then taking either the higher or lower ferry across the River Dart into Dartmouth. Either way, it’s not the easiest of journeys, so be prepared for extra travelling time during the summer (especially on the ferries) or when events such as the Dartmouth Royal Regatta are taking place.
The nearest airport is Plymouth (20 miles) and train station is Totnes (10 miles), so from here non-car users are reliant on taxis or the bus services.
So having a car while on holiday in Dartmouth is probably the best way to enjoy the area, and there is much to explore in the area.
Having said that, there are two alternatives for getting out and about without the need for a car in Dartmouth. Take a river tour up the River Dart to Totnes, or the steam train through to Paignton. The Dartmouth Steam Railway and River Boat Company offer a range of trips from Dartmouth Quay depending on the season. These include trips around the Salcombe and the Round Robin – a combination of steam train, open air bus and ferry trip through the South Devon countryside.
Parking in Dartmouth
There is one main car park in the centre of Dartmouth – Mayors Avenue, which can quickly become full, especially during peak holiday times and during the events hosted by Dartmouth when a park and ride scheme is operated. There is also short stay parking dotted around the town centre and along the waterfront, though again these spaces can quickly be taken. During the summer (April to October) a park and ride service is operated from the top on town by the leisure centre.