Dartmouth, England, United Kingdom
Few places in England have more historic connections to the sea than does Dartmouth. A deep-water port strategically located at the mouth of the River Dart, it was the point of departure for ships bound for the Crusades in the 12th Century. It was the home of the Royal Navy from the reign of Edward III, and was sacked twice during the Hundred Years War. Eventually, two fortifications, Dartmouth Castle and Kingswear Castle, were erected on either bank of the river, and a heavy chain defended the port from entry during the night. The Royal Naval College is still located there, and is popular with visitors. The 14th Century Saint Saviour’s Church displays an elaborate medieval ironwork door decorated with the leopards of the Plantagenet heraldry. Timbers in the church are reputed to have been captured from the Spanish armada. In 1592, a captured Portuguese treasure ship was landed at Dartmouth and relieved of its precious cargo by Sir Walter Raleigh. Later Sir Francis Drake returned the captured payship of the Spanish Armada to Dartmouth. The town has several surviving medieval and Elizabethan streetscapes and important buildings, including the Butterwalk from 1640, now a museum. Another attraction popular with visitors is the Dartmouth Steam Railway.