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The famously beautiful Dart Estuary should really be enjoyed from a boat and the Castle Ferry with its traditional open launches is one of the best and simplest ways of getting close to the water – an authentic Dartmouth treat.
The trip passes our unique Lower Ferry – the last remaining tug and float ferry in England, ancient Bayards Cove, with its cobbled quay and fort and waterfront houses which were once warehouses and boat building yards. You may well see the elegant 1924 paddle steamer Kingswear Castle on one of her excursions. She has recently returned after decades away to grace the river where she was built.
There is a good chance you may see one of our resident grey seals or even a leaping Dart salmon and we will try to point out other rarities as we go.
The Dartmouth Castle we see today, run by English Heritage, dates from the late 15th century but it is surrounded by curtain wall sections of an earlier fortification which hint at the story of Dartmouth’s pirate past, as reflected in Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales.
The Castle Tea Room offers a wide selection of meals and snacks and is a prime spot for a proper cream tea. Popular bathing coves – Castle Cove immediately adjacent to the castle entrance and Sugary Cove just a few minutes’ walk away are perfect places for a wild swim, a picnic, or just for sitting and watching the boats come and go.
The South West Coast Path may be joined at Dartmouth Castle and there are a number of circular walks of truly exceptional beauty and variety that start from this point.
Prices, Times and Periods of Operation
Trips take around ten minutes – one way – which is ideal for younger children and anyone with limited time. With boats running continuously, on demand, there is no fussing with timetables – just go when you like, come back when you like.
Fares – Each Way – £2.50, Under 14s £1.50 Dogs go for free – while there is great walking for dogs around the Castle Estate they are not allowed in the castle building.
Weather Permitting*, the ferry runs every day of the season from Easter until the end of October:
First boat from Dartmouth, South Embankment 10:00 AM
From Dartmouth Castle (Stumpy Steps) 10:15AM
Last boat from Dartmouth, South Embankment 4:45 PM
From Dartmouth Castle (Stumpy Steps) 5:00PM
Please note that the service finishes ONE HOUR EARLIER in OCTOBER
*Because the castle landing stage at Stumpy Steps is close to the open sea, various weather conditions – strong Easterly wind in particular – can force us to suspend the service. We are sorry if you are inconvenienced in this way.
Classic Yacht Regatta 2015
A beautiful sunrise filmed from Dartmouth’s most iconic quay, Bayard’s Cove.
A great timelapse video of the Castle Team Room to enjoy after leaving our ferry or before you board for your return journey.