or riverside accommodation in South Devon look no further than the village of Dittisham. Please take your time to browse our selection of holiday cottages in this pretty riverside village; with a number of riverfront holiday cottages and properties that definitely make the most of their river and countryside views. Dittisham itself is only a short drive or ferry ride from the popular town of Dartmouth and offers a slightly quieter location that has families returning year after year.
Surrounded by glorious countryside and with the river Dart running by; Dittisham makes a lovely spot for a self catering holiday at any time of year. The dinghy pontoon on the Dittisham Quay will provide children with endless fun crabbing and just along the river bank is The Ham, an open green space with swings and lots of room to play and have a picnic. Right on the Dittisham quayside are the Ferry Boat Inn and the Anchorstone Cafe, both serving excellent local produce with picturesque river views. There is also a village shop and Post Office operating within the Red Lion Inn at the top of the village so you’re never too far from the village local.
Situated at the widest part of the River Dart Dittisham is an ideal place for learning to sail and many families return year after year to mess about in boats. There are two sailing schools for lessons and boat hire as well as paddleboarding and canoeing available. Ring the bell at The Quay to summons the Dittisham Greenway Ferry which will appear to take you to Greenway House, the childhood holiday home of crime writer Agatha Christie and now National Trust property.
Dittisham also offers a selection of pet friendly holiday cottages if you travel with you four legged friend and with the Dart Valley Trail on your doorstep there are a number of great walks that take in all aspects this beautiful area has to offer. For a day at the beach a 10 minute car journey to the coast you will find Blackpool Sands the local Blue Flag Award winning beach.
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The village of Dittisham is thought to be named after a Saxon chief called “Deedas” who probably lived here around 660AD. In the Domesday book of 1085-86 the village is named as “Didashim” meaning homestead of Deedas.
It was in the reign of Elizabeth 1 that Dittisham put its name on the historical map thanks to Sir Walter Raleigh and his half-brother Sir Humphrey Gilbert who were brought up at Greenway House. Greenway House in later years became the home of Agatha Christie and now is run by The National Trust.
Sir Humphrey Gilbert founded the colony of Newfoundland, whilst his more famous brother Sir Walter Raleigh established the first English colony in North America, introduced mahogany into Europe, popularised tobacco smoking at court but ultimately was imprisoned in the Tower of London and then beheaded by James 1 in 1618. It is in the grounds of Hamlyn Coombe, just south of Dittisham, that Sir Walter is also thought to have experimented with the cultivation of potatoes for the first time.
The Church is probably the oldest building in the village dating back to 1055. During the Civil war, in probably 1646, the figures in the church were defaced by Fairfax and his soldiers and the rectory burnt down.
For centuries the ferry between Dittisham and Greenway was used to transport goods, people and even cattle, the latter being taken across on the horse ferry – a float propelled by two extra-long oars and very strong men! Later this was replaced by a car ferry which was in use until 1974. There is now only a passenger ferry, but it is still summoned by ringing the traditional bell outside the Anchor Stone Café.
In the middle of the river is the ‘Anchor Stone’ or ‘Scold Stone’ where unfaithful wives were tied to as punishment for their sins. Up until the middle of the 19th Century Dittisham men used to sell their wives!!! – but perhaps only the sinful ones.
The 19th Century also probably saw the arrival of the famous Dittisham Plum. Part of an un-saleable cargo which got left in the village. These desert plums with their golden flesh are unique to the village of Dittisham.
During the Second World War volunteers and little boats from the Dart joined the Dunkirk rescue in 1940 and Dittisham played a pivotal role in the preparation for the Normandy landings of 1944. Large numbers of the invasion landing craft where anchored up, craft where provisioned and repaired at Greenway Quay and what is now the Anchor Stone Café was a first-aid post after enemy raids on the invasion fleet.
Dittisham might be a picture perfect small village but it also is home to two pubs and a highly popular seafood alfresco seafood restaurant.
The Red Lion: (at the top of the village) also doubles up as the local shop and post office and is open for coffees/teas and pub meals with parking at the rear of the pub and garden terrace. Dog and child friendly (01803 722235) http://www.redliondittisham.co.uk/
The Ferry Boat Inn: Known as the FBI (down on the Quay by the river) has lovely views across the river and is very popular for a drink or pub food. There is no parking, so this pub is best accessed on foot or by boat! Dog and child friendly with live music “Rock on The Beach on the first Sunday of the month during the summer (01803 722368) http://www.ferryboatinndittisham.pub/
The Anchorstone Café (also on the Quay) has a wonderful terrace for alfresco meals with a view. Well known for their excellent locally caught seafood and again very popular in the busy months. Open every day for lunch in the summer but closed during the winter season. Dog and child friendly (01803 722365) https://anchorstonecafe.co.uk/
The Sportsmans Arms: Close to Dittisham and Dartmouth is a traditional pub with plenty of parking and outdoor play area for children. Home cooked menu and good value Sunday carvery particularly suitable for families (01803 712231) http://www.sportsmansarmsdartmouth.co.uk/