Sunday, 27 February 2011


Right, time for another ghost story. The Royal Castle Hotel in Dartmouth does not include the word Royal in its name for nothing. Its illustrious guest list over the years has included Queen Victoria and Edward VII. Much earlier, in 1688, Mary, wife of William of Orange, newly arrived in England following the flight of James II into exile, was brought to the hotel by a coach and horses where she was to await the arrival of William, who was travelling separately, and had been delayed by a storm in the Channel. In those days there was an alleyway where the hotel lobby now stands, and the coach and horses went in there with much clattering of hooves and wheels. To this day, around the time of year of Mary’s arrival, the sound of a coach and horses is sometimes heard apparently making its way right through the lobby.

Dartmouth's picturesque waterfront

Those who are old enough to remember 1970s TV might remember a series called the Onedin Line, about the fortunes of a shipping company. The series was set in Liverpool, but much of it was filmed in Dartmouth, which was as good a place as any to choose, because Dartmouth is a town with a rich seafaring past. Like many of the estuary towns in the South-West, it has an upmarket feel to it. The Dart estuary is brimming with boats, from small private craft to larger boats offering river trips up the Dart to Totnes, or out to the mouth of the river, which is dominated by Dartmouth Castle. There is also a ferry across to Kingswear, of which more later.

Dartmouth Castle

According to my mother I caused a major drama in Dartmouth when I was a baby. We were staying at my auntie’s place in Dartmouth when my mother accidentally locked me into her apartment. Thankfully I came out of the incident in one piece, and I always smile to myself when I visit Dartmouth with the thought that I survived to tell the tale.

For a list of events in Dartmouth, see here.

Webcam view from the Royal Castle Hotel.

Map of the area.

Reproduced by kind permission of Tim Baynes Art

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