Wednesday, 1 August 2012

BEWITCHING PLACES ~ Dartmouth beside the sea

Beautiful Dartmouth with it's colourful houses, many boats and clear water. 

Boats in a stained glass window in a cottage by the sea

I have often lived near to water,as a child near a large river, later in San Francisco, and finally in suburbs and villages dotted along The Thames. I have been seriously tempted to give it all up and seek solace in some small seaside village in England on a boat or in a pastel painted cottage.  There is something so soothing being by the water and these little towns and villages are often like stepping back in time.

At the weekend we visited Dartmouth in Devon which is not really on the sea, but on the banks of the estuary of the River Dart, which is a long narrow tidal ria that runs inland as far as the town of Totnes. Dartmouth is within a designated area of outstanding natural beauty.  Like most seaside towns in England it has a slightly faded air of victorian glamour, but it's charm remains intact.

I love the way that blue is used such a lot by the sea. The light is different, transfused by the silver glitter of the water.  Blue works so well and so do the pastel painted houses.

A bit of bright blue works in this light. 

I want to live here!
Nest to the water, a  large pink and bright blue house.
A Heavenly blue door, lovely lion knocker
 and stunning stained glass. 

Beside the sea you find many interesting plaster reliefs. 

You must have Fish and Chips! 

More blue and pink houses.

Colourful Dartmouth. 

We enjoyed searching and finding the many references to life beside the sea. There were the usual sightings of galleons, little boats, ferries, shells and fish. But there were a few surprises too ......

We found castles and crowns and more than a little bit of Alice in Wonderland when we had tea in a proper silver teapot at The Singing Kettle.

Time for tea! 

Gorgeous old silver teapot

More silver and real tea! 

Where we ate lunch, at the Station Restaurant. But beware the Seagulls if you sit outside!

Right on the water in town 

An excellent menu and decor in keeping with the seaside

We loved the old boats hanging from the ceiling. 

Lovely antique and lifestyle shops to browse in and many things to see. These pretty little flowers grow on the rocks overlooking the water and are magical.

Faerie like tiny flowers by the water

This shop had interesting items, old chests of drawers, pottery and tn lamp bases
and pretty little apothecary bottles.

I love these spools of thread displayed. 

The Cherub public house is the oldest building in Dartmouth, and it is really a wonderful building and pub.  Dogs are welcome too!

Despite all the temptations, we could not remain on land any longer and decided to take a boat across to Dartmouth Castle and the church that sits beside it. Dartmouth Castle is looked after by English Heritage and is over 600 hundred years old.

It was absolute bliss being on the water and it brought back so many childhood memories of adventures. And then - we saw the Mermaid and her little house just hidden away in the rocks! We had not known that she was there and came upon her totally unexpected.

Dartmouth Castle

The magic Mermaid sunning herself

Bronze Sculpture, created by Elisabeth Hadley, second photo from:

And this is her wonderful little house!
The Mermaids House

A bridge across the shimmering water.

Sailors trust their lives to the sea. This was found at the church.

The jellyfish swims by us.

Sigh, it is time to go back now. hard to tear ourselves away.
We had to hurry to catch the last Ferry of the day!

Our boatman arrives to take us back to the harbour.


  1. Your post was a wonderful reminder of Dartmouth. We spent our 1st wedding anniversary there and have returned several times since. M x

  2. What a day that must have been. We live on an island, but everything is so new - no charming old buildings, no beautiful facades, few cosy restaurants. While the rocks and trees and mountains all have rugged charm, sometimes one longs for an afternoon spent poking between the layers of a seaside town.

    1. It must still be wonderful to live on an island, something so enchanting about the water and the solitude.

  3. A lovely posting. Although we have a base in Devon we have never ventured as far down as Dartmouth although I think we drove through it once many years ago. I thoroughly enjoyed your tour of Dartmouth!

    1. Thank you June, you must visit! Devon is such a large county that we do not often venture out of the parts we know well either, but it was well worth the drive.

  4. this all looks divine......i can just smell the fish and chips!!

    1. And it smelled pretty wonderful too! Nothing like fresh fish beside the water. x

  5. I cannot remember ever having been to Dartmouth. This is something I need to put right. It looks wonderful. I think my favourite picture is of that curly little window in blue and white.

    1. We'd love to go back for longer. There were so many pubs worth a visit and some lovely looking bed and breakfasts too. x


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