History

Dartmouth’s history is salty and compelling: ships headed off on the Crusades from here in the 12th century, and the Pilgrim Fathers first left from here for America in 1620 – only to have to put in at Plymouth, where they would later depart from the famous Mayflower Steps, because one of the boats sprang a leak. In WWII thousands of American servicemen set off from Dartmouth for the carnage of the Normandy landings. Echoes of that martial past are still present; the hills above town are home to the Britannia Royal Naval College, the imposing 100-year-old mansion where the Royal Navy still trains all its officers.