Kingswear is a sleepy village at the east bank of the River Dart, just minutes away from the bustling town of Dartmouth. The village lies within the South Devon Area of Outstanding Natural beauty and is one of the most peaceful places to spent a holiday in Devon, while you can also take advantage of all the amenities and the excellent transport links to and from Dartmouth.
The picturesque Paignton and Dartmouth Steam Railway terminates in Kingswear, although for a shorter and more regular service, there are three ferry services with plenty of crossings for the short trip over the river to Dartmouth.
Culture and attractions in Kingswear
While the village is very quiet, it does offer a number of attractions that you shouldn't miss. Kingswear Castle is a situated in the outskirts of the village, yet it's 15th century artillery tower can be seen from afar. Today, the castle is owned privately, but the owners have lovingly restored it and visitors are very welcome to explore and find out what it was like to live here in the early 16th century. From the castle windows, you can watch ships, watch the rocky coast, look out to sea or even take a peek over the river to see Dartmouth.
Another architectural highlight of Kingswear is the Church of St Thomas, whose patron saint is Saint Thomas of Canterbury. How Canterbury and Kingswear are related? Pilgrims who travelled to Canterbury to visit Thomas' grave in Canterbury from further west and even from Brittanny used to arrive at Kingswear, where the pilgrim route began.
Just across the river, Dartmouth with its many historic attractions is a well worth exploring. It's Smith Street is one of the oldest recorded streets in Britain, and the harbour has seen many adventurers set off for their explorations of the New World, for example the Pilgrim Brothers.
Must-see highlights in Kingswear
Opposite Kingswear Castle, Dartmouth Castle used to be connected to the one in Kingswear by a chain, so that unwelcome ships could easily be sunk. Today, Dartmouth Castle is worth a visit, too.
Probably the most awe-inspiring walk in the area is the Dart Valley Trail that starts in Kingswear and leads to Greenway, the former home of Agatha Christie. You don't need to be a fan of her writing to enjoy the beautiful gardens and coastal views!
From Kingswear, there are a variety of short cruises along the River Dart – why not travel in style directly from your holiday home? Train lovers will enjoy a trip with the steam train.
At the centre of nearby Dartmouth, Foss Street is a charming pedestrian street that dates back to the 13th century. Originally, it was built as a dam to hold the Mill Pool, today the street houses a variety of shops, cafés and restaurants. Another interesting road is Browns Hill, which used to be the main road leading to Dartmouth and is a spectacular sight with the many small, colourful streets leading off it.
If you love architecture, you will enjoy the churches of Dartmouth, such as Saint Saviours Church with an outstanding 14th century door, or Saint Petrox Church which offers some of the best views over the surrounding countryside.
Eating and drinking in Kingswear
While the majority of restaurants are located in Dartmouth, there are some options in Kingswear, too – although nothing can beat a romantic ferry trip before and after dinner!
In Kingswear, the Royal Dart is an award-winning pub and restaurant that offers only the freshest local food and a fine selection of beers.
The Ship Inn Forecast, dates back to the 15th century, is a traditional pub with stunning views of the River Dart.
Accommodation in Kingswear
For those who are looking to unplug completely, yet want to have excellent transport links at their finger tips, Kingswear is the perfect place to rent a holiday apartment.
1 Elm Cottage for example is a two bedroom apartment overlooking the River Dart. The cottage has space for up to 4 people and includes new furniture and parking spaces in the marina car park.
Located on a hill overlooking the Britannia Royal Naval College and the Dart, 10 College View is modernised traditional Devon cottage with its own garden and summerhouse overlooking the river.
For a cozy retreat, the one bedroom apartment Little Ravenswell is just minutes from the ferry to Dartmouth and offers stunning views of the castle, the Estuary and the sea.
So that's our round up of things to do on a weekend in Kingswear. Have you ever been there? What would you recommend doing if someone went there for the weekend? Please share you experience with us…