Imagine vast landscapes, breathtakingly beautiful views, rare wildlife, exciting sporting activities and buildings oozing history; then its no wonder Dartmoor has some of the best places to visit. Located in Devon, Dartmoor has something for everyone to enjoy and we’ve gathered our top 5 best places in Dartmoor to visit so you can explore the best that Dartmoor has to offer.
1. Get walking in Widecombe
Widecombe in the Moor is an enchanting village that is a great place to get a taste of Dartmoor village life. It’s been a popular attraction for centuries and its natural beauty has been protected over the years by the locals. This is one of the best places to visit in Dartmoor if you are particularly into walking, as Widecombe has access to many walking trails. If you prefer to take a romantic stroll, rather than sticking to a trail, take a walk around the vast moorlands in Widecombe. It’s a great place for short distance or long distance walkers who want to take in some of Dartmoor’s natural beauty whilst stretching their legs.
Widecombe is brilliant for children too, who want to explore the vast area and have a bit of fun. The locals there have devised an artefact hunt, so you have fun exploring the area as well as trying to find the artefacts. This is made even more fun as very few clues are left, so it will take a lot of teamwork and thinking outside of the box.
After you’ve finished finding all these incredibly unique artefacts, you can take part in some llama walking, set in the heart of Dartmoor National Park, which is near Widecombe in the Moor. These guided walks are a great way to explore Dartmoor’s wildlife and get up close and personal with llama’s who are extremely friendly and will look after you during your walk.
A visit to Widecombe’s Cathedral, known as the Cathedral of the Moors due to its tall tower and size, is the ideal place for history lovers. The Cathedral has withstood centuries of history, and at one point was struck by a lightning bolt during the Great Thunderstorm of 1638. Famous 20th century novelist Beatrice Chase, who wrote Dartmoor-based novels, is also buried here.
Widecombe cannot be discussed without mentioning its summer fair that takes place every year on the second Tuesday of September. This year it will be taking place on 13th September. This fair is popular with locals and visitors alike, run entirely by volunteers to raise money for local good causes, as well as providing an opportunity for farmers to compare the size of their tractors. You can take part in duck herding, tug of war competitions and there are even dog shows to watch out for. It’s a great way to meet some of the locals, and see some big tractors! With so much to do here, its understandable why it is one of the best places in Dartmoor to visit.
2. Visit Dartmoor Prison and more in Princetown
Situated within the high moorlands in the heart of the Dartmoor National Park and close to Bovey Castle, Princetown is a popular favourite when it comes to the best places in Dartmoor to visit. Another great place if you want to stay active as there are many walking and cycling trails that can be discovered here that will put your cycling skills to the test.
Princetown is most famous for its prison, which housed many prisoners of war during the Napoleonic Wars, however its most famous prisoner was Frank Mitchell (the ‘Mad Axeman”). You can now book a visit at the Dartmoor Prison Museum which takes you through the history of the prison.
Princetown is one of the best places in Dartmoor to visit for many good reasons despite its dark past. River Dart Country Park located not too far from Princetown, is 90 acres of parkland opposite the River Dart. The park is a great interactive play area for children to explore the outdoors and have fun.
FogginTor Quarry, close to Princetown, offers a great space for families, couples and dogs to get some fresh air whilst taking in the beautiful scenery. There’s plenty of space to walk or run around and for dogs to swim, so if you’re after a private couples walk whilst admiring the views or want to take the whole family out, including your dog, for a tour of the greenery then visiting here is perfect.
You’ll be spoilt for choice with all that Princetown has to offer.
3. The unique Agatha Christie tour
The Agatha Christie tour is a fabulous day out and allows fans to follow in the footsteps of Agatha Christie herself.
If you’re a fan this tour is just the thing for you. It includes many locations where Agatha spent a lot of her childhood including the Torquay beaches and her stunning holiday home. The tour also includes locations that are used in her stories and it relates back to some of her fictional characters within those places.
This tour is unique to Dartmoor as a lot of inspiration was taken from the area and the fact that these locations have been brought to life by Agatha’s writing, makes it one of the best places in Dartmoor to visit.
4. Explore the highest waterfall in the South West at Canonteign Falls
Canonteign Falls is a beautiful natural attraction and is the highest waterfall in the South West. Peaceful walks can be taken beside the waterfalls and the rivers, and family fun can be enjoyed in the gardens, adventure playgrounds and trampoline space.
It makes for a great day out for people young and old, who want to escape to a tranquil space, all whilst having fun and creating the very best memories. It’s a truly magical experience and one to be enjoyed by everyone who visits the heart of Devon.
5. Enjoy a luxurious lodge stay at Bovey Castle
Bovey Castle is nestled in the valleys of Dartmoor National Park, it is the epitome of lavish and one of the best places in Dartmoor to visit. Open to day visitors to enjoy, the castle has a range of activities that can be explored by all. Our golf course is popular with day visitors and hotel residents alike. It has gained national recognition for being one of the most enjoyable golf courses in the country. Our 18-hole championship golf course is extremely challenging and is a great place for friends to compete against each other or to even have a fun and friendly game with the whole family whilst taking in the beautiful sights surrounding the course.
If you fancy something with a bit more risk and edge, we offer a range of activities that will spark your adrenaline. Our on-site archery is available to all those aged 7 years old and above. Archery is one of our favourites as there are different targets that can be shot at and you can build up your skills throughout a session. Another activity on offer that is very popular with those who enjoy high speeds and vehicles is our off-road driving experience. This exhilarating experience allows you to drive one of our Land Rovers through the timber extraction tracks in our outer-estate woodlands. Not only a thrilling experience but you also get to venture into the deeper parts of the woodland that are rarely explored.
We also offer fine dining for those that enjoy the finer things in life. Our restaurants have been awarded AA Rosette awards, which have seasonal menus that use locally sourced ingredients. Our restaurants offer a wide range of food to suit all, freshly made and where you will find exquisite service.
If you’re a lover of birds, our falconry display show is perfect for you. These displays are put on by our professional falconer, and allow you to get up close to these magnificent birds of prey and also watch them soar through the sky. Our falconer also provides educational information during the display so you’re building up your knowledge about the various types of birds we have and how they may differ. This is a great activity for animal lovers and the whole family.
For all of these activities and more, day visitors must pre-book through our website, or you can call us on 01647 445000.
If you’d like to enjoy all that Bovey Castle has to offer for longer than a few hours, our self-catered lodges are the ideal base for you to explore all the best places in Dartmoor and explore the grounds of the castle.
Our lodges are the perfect place for family, friends or couples who want to explore Dartmoor more, whilst enjoying a luxurious stay in your private lodge. The lodges are close to an array of fun activities such as fawn feeding, deer tours and clay pigeon shooting that take place on the grounds. Once you’ve finished exploring, you can slink off to your lodge and retreat in accommodation that has a fully equipped kitchen including fridge, freezer, oven, dishwasher, microwave and an open plan lounge and dining area.
If you’d prefer us to handle the cooking, we offer freshly cooked, home-styled meals delivered to your lodge door. So, you don’t have to worry about cooking we have a perfectly cooked selection of timeless family favourites. In the warmer months you can order a BBQ pack and enjoy on the balcony. If this service is something you would be interested in, please note that you must order your lodge dining by 6pm the night prior.
Please call the reservations team on 01647 445007 to order your classic lodge dining prior to arrival.
The castle is also close to many of the highlights on our best places in Dartmoor to visit list, making it a convenient and ideal place to stay.
To explore the Castle and Dartmoor you can get either:
Book 5 nights for the price of 4
Price from £2,776.00 for the total stay (based on up to six people sharing a self-catering lodge)
Or you can book 7 nights for the price of 5
Price from £3,470.00 for the total stay (based on up to six people sharing a self-catering lodge)
Call 01647 445007 or book online now.
Enjoy the best places in Dartmoor
Dartmoor has a lot to offer and caters to everyone, whether you’re wanting to explore the natural beauty of Dartmoor or have fun exploring the wide range of activities. Book a stay at our luxurious lodge so you can enjoy the moors for days.