Dartmouth CastleDartmouth, Devon
One of the most picturesquely sited fortresses in England, for over 600 years Dartmouth Castle has fiercely guarded the narrow entrance to the Dart Estuary and the busy, highly populated port of Dartmouth.
This fascinating complex of defences is full of rich history ideal for academic reports and of curse general military interest: it was begun in 1388 by John Hawley, privateering mayor of Dartmouth and the prototype of the flamboyant 'Shipman' in Chaucer's Canterbury Tales.
Over a century later the townsmen added the imposing and well preserved 'gun tower', thought to be the very first fortification in Britain purpose built to mount 'ship sinking' heavy cannons: eek! Those with no-so-little legs can climb to the top for breathtaking views across the estuary (take a camera!) and see how it could be blocked in wartime by a heavy chain to protect the castle approach!
Unusually incorporating the fine church of St Petrox, the castle saw military action during the Civil War and continued in that service right up until World War II. Successive updating included the Victorian 'Old Battery' with its remounted heavy guns, guardrooms and cool maze of passages to explore! Here a dramatic film sequence recreates a Victorian gun firing and throughout the fortress displays retell over 6 centuries of castle history.
New to Dartmouth? Why not add a little extra charm to your family day out with a peaceful and picturesque river boat trip out to the castle from the town quay, which lands you a mere minute's walk from the castle.
25 March through 30 September
Monday to Sunday 10:00 - 18:00
1 October through 31 October
Monday to Sunday 10:00 - 17:00
1 November through 31 March 2017
Saturday and Sunday 10:00 - 16:00
Pricing & Tickets
Child (5 to 15 years): £3.70
Book in advance for cheapest tickets
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Yes, there is parking nearby.