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Apr 4, 2023 | Kingswear

Things to do in Kingswear, Devon

Instantly recognisable with its rows of pastel-painted cottages, Kingswear is a charming village which clings to the steep hillside above the River Dart. Wander through the myriad of narrow streets as they wind up the hillside from the river and you’re experiencing quintessential Devon at its best. There are plenty of things to do in Kingswear, Devon.

The regular passenger ferries which chug across the water are a lifeline for both visitors and locals giving very easy and quick access to both sides of the Dart. In fact, you don’t really get to appreciate the landscape around Kingswear unless you approach from the other side. It’s particularly beautiful on a summer evening at dusk when the twinkling lights of the cottages and gardens reflect on the water. 

Getting out and about is easier than you think, okay so there are some narrow country lanes but they have plenty of passing places so don’t be deterred. Kingswear is in a great location for exploring both sides of the River Dart. 

Top 8 best things to do in Kingswear, Devon

Coleton Fishacre

This beautiful country estate is just a 2-mile drive from Kingswear or a 6-mile walk along the South West Coast Path. Coleton Fishacre is a delightful National Trust property with beautiful RHS-accredited tropical gardens packed with exotic plants, and herbaceous borders surrounded by wildflowers and woodland. Visit the 1920s Arts and Crafts country retreat once owned by the D’Oyly Carte family. The striking Art Deco interiors are well worth a visit; when Finest Stays last visited they even had a resident pianist tinkling with the ivories! 

Greenway House & Gardens

Further upstream, just 6 miles away by car is Greenway House, formerly the holiday home of the iconic mistress of crime, Agatha Christie, now owned by the National Trust. The house is Georgian with 1950s interiors with Christie’s writing desk, exhibits of her clothes and memorabilia including archaeological artifacts collected on excavations in the Middle East with her husband, archaeologist Max Mallowan. Outside the beautiful gardens run down to the River Dart; follow the winding path down through the woodland to the boathouse, the scene of the crime in Deadman’s Folly. To the rear of the house are the lovely walled gardens complete with vinery and a restored peach house.

Dogs are very welcome in both National Trust gardens and shops but not inside the houses (there are dog treats for very lucky woofers in the on site shops!)

Dartmouth Steam Railway

All aboard, step back in time with a nostalgic trip through spectacular scenery! This rugged route stops at Greenway Halt to perfect for stopping off at Greenway House above. This award-winning company also offers a Round Robin ticket combining the steam train with river cruising which takes in Kingswear, Dartmouth, Totnes and Paignton. A lovely family day out.  

Kingswear Castle

The iconic paddle steamer Kingswear Castle comes under the same umbrella as the Dartmouth Steam Railway and River Boat Company on behalf of the Paddle Steamer Kingswear Castle Trust. This striking steamer is due to return back to service in 2022 after undergoing a major rebuild. Built in 1924, this historic vessel is the only coal fired paddle steamer still operating in the UK!

Kingswear Station

If you take the train you’ll be familiar with Kingswear Station but it’s also worth a wander around the museum, housed in a converted railway carriage which is packed with artefacts, photographs and lots of historical info. There’s also a cafe too, perfect for afternoon tea. 

Kingswear Church

If you’re a history buff be sure to check out Kingswear Church, The Church of St Thomas of Canterbury underwent a rebuild in the 19th century but some of the original 12th-century tower still remains. There’s actually been a church on this site since 1170 AD.

Paignton Zoo

Just 8 miles away from Kingswear, we couldn’t not include Paignton Zoo Environmental Park.  The zoo is well regarded for its wildlife conservation efforts with an impressive collection of 2,000+ animals and interesting plants in 80 acres of beautifully landscaped grounds. A great family day out!

Walking in Kingswear

The South West Coastal Path runs through Kingswear on the Dartmouth to Brixham stretch which covers some 10.9 miles. Why not grab your hiking boots and stomp along the coast; walking to Dartmouth involves hopping on the ferry, you can then pick up many of the trails featured on our Top Dartmouth Walks, a great way to discover hidden coves and historical sites along the way. 

If you’re planning to stay in one of our luxury holiday homes in Kingswear you won’t be short of places to visit and beaches to laze on.

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