Skip to content

Coleton Fishacre

coleton fishacre

Spend an Idyllic Day at Coleton Fishacre House and Gardens

Owned and designed by the D’Oyly Carte family in the 1920s, Coleton Fishacre near Kingswear encapsulates the glamour and elegance of its era. Wandering through its Art Deco interiors and immaculate gardens rolling down to the sea, it’s easy to dream and imagine yourself a guest at the height of its Jazz Age heyday.

We have had some lovely family days visiting this great place and hope that you will too.

This National Trust gem allows you to experience one family’s stylish summer retreat overlooking stunning Devon coastline. Here’s everything you need to plan an unforgettable day out at this English Riviera treasure.

coleton fishacre

Getting There

Coleton Fishacre is located just outside Kingswear on South Devon’s coast, about 3 miles from Dartmouth. It sits off the A379 Dartmouth to Brixham Road in the peaceful Coleton Fishacre valley filled with sub-tropical plants.

By Car

Driving is the easiest way to reach Coleton Fishacre. Simply follow the A379 towards Brixham and look for the brown National Trust signs after 3 miles. Limited parking needs booking in peak season.

By Ferry

Alternatively, catch the passenger or car ferry from Dartmouth over to Kingswear. From there it’s just over a mile walk along the coast following footpath signs.

Opening Times

The house and gardens are open from mid-February to October:

  • Wednesday – Sunday 10.30am – 5pm
  • Open bank holidays and additional selected days.

Check the website calendar for closed dates and special openings outside peak season.

Entry Prices Admission includes the house, gardens and grounds. Prices are:

  • Adults £15
  • Children £7.50
  • Family £37.50
  • National Trust Members Free

The House Interiors

Wander through the home’s light-filled rooms to appreciate the luxurious Art Deco style:

  • Drawing room – Striking doors and romantic garden views.
  • Dining room – Hosted glamorous dinner parties beneath ornate plaster ceilings.
  • Library – Floor to ceiling bookcases and comfy reading nook with a sea vista.
  • Bedrooms – Nautical themes in coastalcolour schemes.
  • Kitchen – Packed with clever gadgets and appliances used to cater for house guests.

Interpretive displays provide insight into the well-travelled D’Oyly Carte family and their celebrity guests who enjoyed Coleton’s hospitality.

lounge in coleton fishacre

The Gardens and Grounds

The real stars are the idyllic gardens terracing down towards the sea.

  • Italianate gardens – Stone balustrades, steps and sculptures set off vivid Mediterranean planting.
  • Spring flowering meadow – A fragrant carpet of bluebells and daffodils.
  • The Lookout – Panoramic coastal viewpoints to admire the gardens and ocean beyond.
  • Woodland trails – Mossy paths under canopies of ancient oaks.
  • Secluded coves – Pebbled beaches nestled under rocky outcrops – you cannot actually access Pudcombe Cove anymore, but can view it from a viewing platform on the South West Coast path

There are countless tranquil corners and coastal vistas to enjoy in these picture-perfect gardens.

coleton fishacre garden

Visitor Facilities

The Café serves savoury snacks, cakes and refreshments using locally sourced ingredients. Enjoy al fresco seating along the terraces.

The shop sells decorative gifts and souvenirs inspired by the house’s elegance. Second-hand books relating to the history of the estate and family are also offered.

Accessibility options are provided but some areas involve steps and slopes. Contact staff regarding specific access requirements.

coleton fishacre corridor

Insider Tips

Enhance your visit with these handy tips:

  • Visit on quieter days like weekdays to avoid crowds.
  • Pick up a free guided tour when available.
  • Pack your camera – the private coves and sea views provide idyllic photo opportunities.
  • Look out for seals on the rocks along the coastal path.

With its sophisticated style and idyllic gardens, Coleton Fishacre offers a serene escape back to the luxury and fashion of the 1920s and 30s on the English Riviera.

coleton fishacre view to sea

The D’Oyly Carte family legacy

The D’Oyly Carte family holds a storied and enduring legacy in the world of musical and theatrical production. Their name is synonymous with the operettas of Gilbert and Sullivan, and their contributions to the development of British light opera have left an indelible mark on the performing arts. This family’s musical and theatrical story spans several generations and continues to influence the world of entertainment.

The D’Oyly Carte family’s journey in the world of theater began with Richard D’Oyly Carte. In the late 19th century, he recognized the potential of Gilbert and Sullivan’s collaborations, and he played a pivotal role in bringing their works to the stage. He formed the D’Oyly Carte Opera Company and built the Savoy Theatre in London, specifically designed to showcase their productions. This collaboration between Carte, W.S. Gilbert, and Arthur Sullivan resulted in timeless classics such as “The Pirates of Penzance,” “The Mikado,” and “H.M.S. Pinafore.” These operettas featured witty and satirical librettos combined with charming melodies, captivating audiences both in Britain and around the world.

the doyle carte family at coleton fishacre

The D’Oyly Carte family legacy did not end with Richard. His wife, Helen Lenoir, and later his son, Rupert D’Oyly Carte, took up the mantle and continued to oversee the production of Gilbert and Sullivan’s works. They expanded the company’s repertoire and introduced new generations to the delight of operettas. Under their leadership, the D’Oyly Carte Opera Company achieved international acclaim.

The family’s commitment to maintaining the integrity of Gilbert and Sullivan’s works was evident in their meticulous attention to detail, from costumes to staging. Their dedication to preserving the original spirit of these operettas is a testament to their passion for the art form.

Frequently Asked Questions

Are dogs allowed at Coleton Fishacre? – Yes, dogs are welcomed in the gardens on a lead. They are not allowed into the house.

Can you access the beack from the walk? No, the walk takes in part of the South West Coastal path, but there is no access down to the sea.

Is there parking at Coleton Fishacre? – Yes, plenty of parking is available, but there is a small cost. It is free for National Trust members.

Other local attractions

Anyone who goes to Coleton Fishacre should also take some time to visit local places like:

  • Dartmouth Castle – Impressive medieval fortification with rich history. Walk the ramparts and admire views over the Dart Estuary inlet.
  • Greenway – Captivating summer home of Agatha Christie with gardens, grounds and boathouse to explore. Guided tours of the rooms.
  • Paignton Pier – Traditional Victorian pier with amusement arcades, food kiosks and family entertainment. Lovely views across Tor Bay.
  • Dartmouth Steam Railway – Vintage steam train rides along the scenic Dart Valley from Paignton to Kingswear. Takes in beautiful coastal views.
  • Cockington Village – Quaint thatched village near Torquay with craft shops and tea rooms. Scenic walking trails through the parish and estate.
  • Occombe Farm – Traditional farm where visitors can feed and interact with chickens, goats, pigs and more. Nature trails through the woods.
  • Babbacombe Model Village – Charming model village recreating 1940s England. Incredible attention to detail across the intricate buildings and figures.
  • Kents Cavern – Extensive ancient caves containing important prehistoric remains and archaeological finds. Guided tours available.

You can find out more about other National Trust places in Devon here.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *