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Feeling crabby? Try visiting the South Devon Crab Festival!

Join the crab hunt as Dartmouth manages to fill a whole week with crab-themed events during the annual South Devon Crab Festival.
Crab rolls, crab skittles, crab races, crab football, crab throwing – crabs comes in all sorts of guises as you will quickly discover if you attend the annual South Devon Crab Festival! It runs from the last Monday in July for a whole week, ending with a weekend of crabby fun.

Fresh crab is a Westcountry speciality that every visitor should sample. Stuffed into a crusty baguette or heaped onto a green salad, it’s hard to beat fresh crab for flavour. Crab fishermen get together to celebrate this crustacean at this food festival with a difference through food, games and family entertainment.

What’s happening at the South West Crab Festival

If you visit during the South Devon Crab Festival it is like visiting one giant street party event. Long trestle tables are set out along the waterfront and stalls sell crab rolls, open sandwiches and salads all featuring one of the region’s natural resources – crab. You can also buy dressed crab to take home for tea!

Kids can peer into crates and see many different types of crabs which are brought ashore daily by local fishermen. Red crabs are the most common edible crabs but the festival has plenty of other species on display including Spider Crabs, Masked Crabs, Velvet Swimming Crabs, Hairy Crabs, Shore Crabs and Sandy Swimming Crabs.

The Crab Festival also aims to educate people about crabs, so you can learn about crab habitats and the importance of sustainability from informative talks and fun competitions. To keep crab stocks sustainable, the Westcountry has a minimum landing size. Chefs and TV presenters such as Monty Hall give interesting lectures on crab during the festival, followed by delicious crab lunches.

Crab-themed competitions

Join in the Crab Throwing competition to see how many you can get in the crab pot. Don’t worry – the crabs are plastic ones! You can also have fun entering the “Spot the Crab” competition and my kids certainly enjoyed the “Guess how many shrimps are in the jar” contest. These are shrimp-shaped sweets, of course, so animal lovers do not need to worry.

Take part in one of the Crabby Trails around the town. Pick up your trail sheet and follow the trail, learning all about crabby crustaceans as you complete the various challenges. There are crabs hidden all over town in restaurant and shop windows and you have to list the businesses you find them in. I found this keeps school-age youngsters occupied for hours. The winner is picked to receive a great crab dinner at a local restaurant.

Dining out on crab

Of course, all the cafés and restaurants around the scenic town of Dartmouth feature crab on the menu – from crab soup and crab cocktail to simple cracked crab. Order an open crab sandwich with fresh crab heaped on thick fresh bread accompanied by a bowl of mayonnaise and a wedge of lemon. If you haven’t tried this, you simply haven’t experienced Devon food at its simplest and best!

Some of my favourite crab dishes served at Dartmouth pubs and restaurants at any time of year include baked crab, spaghetti with crab, whole fish stuffed with crab, potted crab and the ever-popular crab cakes. If you can sit outside overlooking the water, they seem to taste even better!

Crab Festival fun in South Devon

Other towns around Dartmouth join in with more crab-themed fun events. has a Crab Quiz around the farm, has a Crab Photo Competition, and speaking of riverboats, the usual Dart River trips continue throughout the Crab Festival with scenic trips upriver.

All in all, the is a really fun event for residents and visitors staying in the area, so consider booking your next holiday in late July and join in the fun!

Crab is considered a Westcountry delicacy. What’s your favourite way to eat crab? Have you any tips on where visitors can buy freshly caught crab in Devon – do share your local info with everyone in the comments box below!

About Gillian Birch

Born in Cheshire, Gillian Birch moved to Cornwall at her earliest opportunity and never looked back. After 20 years, her ongoing discovery of popular attractions, quiet footpaths and local eateries has made her a fount of knowledge as she entertains readers with her informative articles on the hidden gems of Devon & Cornwall from a local point-of-view.

Find Gillian on Google+, and Twitter.


  1. Zaiva says:

    Surprisingly, I have never tried crab! It’s something I would be interesting in tasting at a restaurant or festival, when it’s cooked by the people who know how to cook it best, though I haven’t got round to trying it. I know it’s becoming more common now, and sales in crab are rapidly increasing, as it becomes available in most restaurants around the country.

    Nothing better than giving the local fisherman a chance to show off their catch too, hopefully it could bring more business to the area, in order to sustain the English fishing industry.

    Sounds like a great day out, trying the local produce and giving people a chance to try crab with different types of meals. Hopefully I can attend a similar festival, if not this one. Has anyone else attended a similar festival, or do you have any recommendations for recipes using the meat?
    Zaiva recently posted: Gazing At The StarsMy Profile

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