The Famous Round Robin Day Trip
Discover the beauty of South Devon with a day trip on the Round Robin. Steeped in history, and rich in beautiful surroundings, South Devon has plenty to get all the family outdoors.
And if you’re looking for day trip ideas, here’s one that you will love. The Famous Round Robin visits Paignton, Totnes and Dartmouth (in the order of your choice) through a combination of steam train, riverboat, and open-topped bus.
Suitable for all ages, this trip is an unusual way to explore some of the regions most popular spots.
Ride the heritage steam train from Paignton
Paignton, on the English Riviera, is an ideal starting point for your excursion.
From here, you’ll take the steam train on a picturesque route to nearby Kingswear (for Dartmouth).
Children will love sitting in the old-style carriages and the smell and sound of the steam engine take you back to days long ago.
En route, you’ll follow the Geopark coast line. The scenery is spectacular and if you’re lucky you could even spot some of Devon’s sea life. Points of interest along the way include Greenway Halt railway station, which is situated near Greenway House, Agatha’s Christie’s estate.
The journey ends at Kingswear and from here you’ll take a short foot ferry trip across the River Dart to historic Dartmouth.
Potter around historic Dartmouth
Depending on your chosen itinerary, you’ll have some time to explore Dartmouth – and you’ll be spoilt for choice.
You may decide to investigate Dartmouth Castle, which is managed by English Heritage. This striking castle is over 600 years old and was built to guard the narrow entrance to the Dart Estuary. From the castle, you’ll enjoy spectacular views of the estuary and the sea.
Dartmouth is also home to a maze of quaint shops, so feel free to while away some time having a browse. You’ll discover everything from chandleries, to home-made soaps and beauty products, to a selection of cafes and bars serving delicious food and drink.
You’ll also want to check out Bayard’s Cove, which includes a tudor fort, where you can sit and watch the boats and other water activities on the estuary. In addition, take some time to relax in the beautiful gardens. In season, you’ll discover a delightful mix of roses, flowering plants, and even a ship made from plants.
Relax on a river cruise from Dartmouth to Totnes
When you’re done exploring, simply board your riverboat for a fantastic cruise along the stunning Dart to Totnes. The trip lasts around 1½ hours and the entertaining commentary from the crew adds humour and interest to your journey.
En route, the scenery is spectacular – from ancient oak forests, to quaint villages, to the splendour of Agatha Christie’s Greenway Estate – there’s plenty to keep your eyes occupied.
What’s more, with drinks and snacks available, you can relax and let the world float by.
Explore the market town of Totnes
Your river cruise ends at Steamer Quay in the bohemian town of Totnes. From here, you can stop for an ice cream or a cream tea.
Totnes centre is just a short stroll away. So take some time to wander around the shops – or even visit Totnes Castle (also managed by English Heritage). From the top, you can take in the stunning views over the Dart Estuary and Totnes itself.
Ride the bus back to Paignton – it could be open-topped!
For the final leg of your journey, you’ll ride the bus back to Paignton.
If you’re lucky, you could get to ride the open-topped bus that operates on this route. If so, this is often a part of the trip that children really love. After all, there’s something exhilarating about feeling the wind rush through your hair as you take in the surroundings that pass by.
(As an aside, if you want to ride the open-topped bus, it’s worth phoning in advance to check times and availability as other buses operate this route as well).
The bus journey takes you past Paignton Zoo, and along the way you’ll enjoy some glorious views of the coast.
Finish your day by the sea
Back in Paignton, your day doesn’t need to end there. That’s because you’ll find plenty of seaside fun to keep you busy – in fact, it’s a perfect way to end the day. Children of all ages will love the spacious, varied play park. There’s everything from sand and water play, to a challenging climbing frame, to a tots area, to activities for older children.
You’ll also discover the beach, which is perfect for paddling, making sandcastles, or enjoying a gentle stroll.
You could walk to the harbour, or step onto the pier and get lost in the variety of 2p slots and other arcade games. You choose.
And because you’re by the seaside, why not watch the sunset and enjoy some fresh fish and chips before returning to your holiday base?
Dartmouth Steam Railway and River Boat Company operates the Round Robin. This trip is well established and enjoys great reviews. Before setting off, it’s worth checking itineraries and times to ensure you make the most of your day out.
The Round Robin is a day trip that the Welcome team love – We hope you enjoy it too when you visit South Devon.