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Dartington Crystal

dartington crystal bottles

Watch Glass Magic Take Shape at Dartington Crystal in Devon

Nestled near Great Torrington in North Devon lies the home of world-famous Dartington Crystal. One of only a few remaining glass makers in the UK, Dartington Crystal welcomes families into its working studios to marvel at the skilled artistry of glass blowing up close.

Seeing shimmering vases and bowls crafted by hand from molten glass is an unforgettable experience. Here’s everything you need to know for a fascinating family day out watching the magic of glass making at Dartington Crystal

dartington glass blower

Getting There

By car

Dartington Crystal is located in the centre of bustling Great Torrington, just off the A386, with brown signs directing visitors.

Free on-site parking makes Dartington Crystal very accessible by car.

By bus

The Stagecoach buses running between Exeter and Bideford / Barnstaple stop in Great Torrington, a short distance from the factory.

Opening Times

Dartington Crystal is a working factory and operates Monday to Friday only so factory experience is unavailable at the weekends.

The website confirms that entry into the factory experience is available between the following times:

09.30am – 10.15am | 12.00pm – 1.15pm | 2.00pm – 3.15pm

Factory Shop, Café & Visitor Centre is open:

Monday – Friday: 9.30am – 4.30pm

Saturday – 10am – 4pm

Sunday – CLOSED

April – October: Daily 10am – 5pm

November – March:
Monday – Saturday 10am – 4pm

Last entry is 1 hour before closing time.

dartington glasses

Ticket Prices

The factory experience costs £10, but entry to the gift shop only is free.

You can arrange for personalised hand castings, starting at £42.

Online booking is recommended as walk-in space is limited.

Glassblowing Demonstrations

The main highlight of a visit is watching the master glassblowers at work in the studios. Demonstrations run regularly throughout weekdays – watch creativity unfold:

  • See glowing molten glass removed from the furnace using rods and blocks.
  • Marvel as the experts shape and blow the glass into elegant forms using tools and moulds.
  • Witness vases, bowls and ornaments take shape from the hissing hot liquid glass.
  • Learn how different colours and patterns are created through the production process.
  • Discover how the glass pieces are finally cooled, cut and polished to a gleaming finish.

Kids are sure to be mesmerised!

dartington glass

Get Hands On

As well as observing the pros at work, visitors can also try their hand at glass crafting with fun sessions included in admission:

  • Take part in a team glassblowing demonstration and help shape a vase.
  • Make your own paperweight to take home from melted rods of glass.
  • Have a go at glass engraving to decorate a small crystal piece.
  • Learn and use the techniques to create your own glass flower.

Budding glass artists will love the immersive creative sessions!

How do you make glass?

This incandescent mass is carefully manipulated by skilled artisans, using age-old methods of blowing, shaping, and molding. The glass takes form under the watchful eyes of the craftsmen, who deftly transform the molten material into exquisite pieces, ranging from elegant wine glasses to intricate sculptures.

Precision is paramount at Dartington Crystal, and the artisans’ expertise ensures consistency and quality in each creation. The pieces then undergo a gradual cooling process in temperature-controlled ovens, allowing the glass to anneal and strengthen.

kiln at dartington

The Showroom

After seeing the glassblowing craftspeople in action, families can browse the showroom displaying finished crystalline masterpieces:

  • Admire the rainbow of hand-crafted vases, bowls and sculptures.
  • See iconic heritage designs like the figurines crafted here for generations.
  • Find gifts and souvenirs like small paperweights and ornaments.
  • Take home your very own handmade glass piece from the experience sessions.

Refreshments and Extras

The on-site Pavilion Cafe offers fresh lunches, cream teas and cakes – perfect for refuelling after an active morning.

For a creative and educational day out, watch traditional glass making skills live at mesmerising Dartington Crystal. An unforgettable experience!

Dartington Crystal wine glasses

dartington red wine glasses

Dartington Crystal wine glasses embody timeless elegance and exquisite craftsmanship. Renowned for their superior quality, these glasses are crafted with precision, showcasing a seamless fusion of tradition and innovation.

Buy here

Frequently Asked Questions

Are dogs allowed in Dartington Crystal? Dogs are not allowed in the factory, but they are welcome in the cafe and the visitor centre.

Is Dartington Crystal wheelchair friendly? – Yes, the access in the factory, the shop and the cafe is good.

Is Dartington Crystal lead free? – Yes, they are made from lead free crystal.

Places to visit near Dartington Crystal

There are some great places to visit when in the area, including:

  • RHS Garden Rosemoor – Fabulous 105 acre gardens with formal/informal planting, specialist collections and peaceful woodland walks.
  • Okehampton Castle – Impressive medieval ruin with interactive exhibits bringing history to life. Great for kids and set amidst picturesque Dartmoor scenery.
  • Arlington Court – Elegant Regency mansion once home to the Chichester family, set in acres of parkland. Home to the National Trust Carriage Museum.
  • Big Sheep – Family attraction with shows, exhibits and sheep races. Opportunity to walk with alpacas and feed lambs.
  • Tarka Trail – Popular 180 mile cycling and walking trail following Tarka the Otter through beautiful North Devon countryside.
  • Clovelly – Picturesque ancient fishing village with cobbled streets and whitewashed cottages cascading down a steep hillside to the harbour.
  • Exmoor Zoo – Engaging zoo focused on wildlife conservation. Get close to endangered species like jaguars, snow leopards and sun bears.
  • Hartland Abbey – Historic home with ornamental gardens, woodland walks, and medieval monastery ruins in a scenic coastal setting.
  • Milky Way Adventure Park – Top family theme park with over 100 rides and indoor/outdoor attractions from rollercoasters to farm animals.

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