We noticed that you're using an unsupported browser. The TripAdvisor website may not display properly.We support the following browsers:
Windows: Internet Explorer, Mozilla Firefox, Google Chrome. Mac: Safari.

“perfect way to travel......”

Dartmouth Steam Railway and River Boat Company
Ranked #2 of 7 Tours in Paignton
Certificate of Excellence
More attraction details
Attraction details
Owner description: The award winning Dartmouth Steam Railway & River Boat Company!...Dartmouth Steam Railway steam trains travel seven miles along the most spectacular South Devon coast down into the Dart Valley and to the village of Kingswear which sits proudly opposite the Port of Dartmouth. Dartmouth River Boats operate on the stunning river Dart offering daily services to the historic town of Totnes and to the picturesque village of Dittisham. Harbour Cruises operate daily from Dartmouth. There are also wonderful adventures by sea from Torquay, Brixham & Salcombe to enjoy. We are unique in offering combined steam railway, bus and boat excursions for days out in Devon. The Round Robin is an award-winning full day out - a steam train journey, ferry crossing, river cruise and bus ride - a great full day out!In addition, we operate the last remaining coal fired paddle steamer in the UK - the beautiful 'Kingswear Castle'.Plus lots of other fantastic excursions and combinations!
Useful Information: Bathroom facilities
Reviewed December 31, 2013

We travelled to Paignton and back on the steam train today and it was a perfect mode of transport. Clean, atmospheric, fantastic views, snack carriage, friendly staff...... We couldn't fault it and are so pleased we abandoned the car for the day. Our only word of caution is that if you buy the ticket in Dartmouth inclusive of the ferry passage, it's the passenger ferry. We took the lower ferry by accident and had to pay extra.

1  Thank Joanne W
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Write a Review
Reviews (2,974)
Traveler rating
Traveler type
Time of year

2,168 - 2,172 of 2,974 reviews

Reviewed December 30, 2013

Goliath the steam engine still going strong after nearly 90 years. A great trip to Paington and back to Kingsweir. My 13 year old son loved it and didn't complain once which is a rare achievement these days! Lovely views over the River Dart and friendly, accommodating staff. Well worth the slighlty pricy fare in my opinion.

Thank SallieWales
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed December 29, 2013 via mobile

Great experience. Very friendly. Tony the ticket inspector even managed a visit to the steam engine for me. Brilliant overall.

Thank Amitaabh
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed December 17, 2013

Dartmouth Steam Railway and River Boat Company divides its operations into two completely separate parts, the river cruise and the railway. They can be booked separately or as a Round Robin package. If you book the Round Robin package you also get a bus trip between Totnes and Paignton or visa versa. When booking, be prepared to be flexible regarding travel times as although the times of the trains generally remain fixed in accordance with the timetable, the times for the river boats vary each day depending on the state of the tide. Boats need a full high tide to be able to reach Totnes and can only get to and from Totnes if the tide is high there. The booking agents are very helpful when it comes down to what is possible and what isn't. The 'Round Robin' trip has existed in one form or another for nearly a century so everything runs pretty smoothly.

The river portion of the trip is along the River Dart between Totnes and Dartmouth. The boat has both open and inside accommodation. A good informative commentary is provided by a member of the crew during the trip. This includes not only places to see along the riverbank but also any wildlife that is seen. The crew obviously knows where certain species of wildlife hangs out so spot the quickly. Snacks and drinks are sold onboard and the boats have toilets.

The railway trip is over most of the former Great Western Railway (and British Railways Western Region) branch line that ran from Newton Abbot to Kingswear but which was truncated by British Railways to Paignton in the 1970's. In terms of authenticity, the Dartmouth Steam Railway and River Boat Company runs the line as a commercial operation so a lot of the atmosphere normally associated with volunteers supported heritage railways is lacking. All trackwork is bare bones and signalling is colour lights. Rolling stock is largely British Railways standard Mark 1 coaches but painted in GWR chocolate and cream colours. However, the railway does run one of the former Devon Belle Pullman observation coaches that originally ran between London Waterloo and Ilfracombe in North Devon. If you have the opportunity, pay the £1 supplementary fare and travel in it for nostalga sake, particularly if the car is at the end of the train! You then get a great view of where you have been rather than the locomotive that is pulling you. An effort has been made to keep Kingswear and Churston stations looking like traditional GWR stations. However, they have both been heavily rationalized by both the current owner and British Railways before that. The trip on the train is scenic as it climbs in one direction beside the River Dart from Kingswear to Greenway Tunnel and Churston. In the opposite direction the railway climbs beside Torbay and its beaches from Paignton through Goodrington to the summit at Churston. The station at Kingswear is located adjacent to the ferry to Dartmouth while that at Paignton is adjacent to the mainline station with the bus station just around the corner.

It is perfectly practicable to do the 'Round Robin' trip by taking the train from Exeter, Dawlish, Teignmouth, Newton Abbot, Torquay or Plymouth to Paignton or Totnes. However, with Totnes, its about a half mile walk from the railway station to the quay. If you plan on doing this, check river boat and steam railway times first!

In addition to the standard river trip between Dartmouth and Totnes, the company has recently acquired a steam side paddle steamer, the PS Kingswear Castle. This runs various short trips from Dartmouth both downriver and upriver. The PS Kingswear Castle used to run on the Dart until the 1950's when it was sold and, until 2012, operated on the Medway near London. For something different, a trip on the Kingswear Castle is highly recommended. See attached photographs.

2  Thank JenMarkCo
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed December 15, 2013

We were very lucky as the day we went here the sun was shining, a lovely day for December. We caught the train at Paignton and went to Dartmouth. In the summer you can go one way by train and come back by boat, but couldn't as it was December. Well worth a visit.

1  Thank honestlil
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

Travelers who viewed Dartmouth Steam Railway and River Boat Company also viewed

Paignton, English Riviera
Paignton, English Riviera
Paignton, English Riviera

Been to Dartmouth Steam Railway and River Boat Company? Share your experiences!

Write a Review Add Photos & Videos

Owners: What's your side of the story?

Own or manage this property? Claim your listing for free to respond to reviews, update your profile and much more.

Claim Your Listing