Buckfastleigh

Photo of Buckfastleigh

About Buckfastleigh

A small but lively market town lying southwesterly of the Dartmoor National Park, Buckfastleigh is the quintessential town for a romantic break. Flanked by a gorgeous countryside of wild moorland, rolling hills and secluded valleys, the town lies in an enviable position. Made famous by the tonic wine-producing Benedictine Abbey, makers of the famous Buckfast, the town also boasts some fascinating historic sites like the Holy Trinity Church, not to mention a treasure trove of old medieval buildings. The best places to stay in Buckfastleigh tend to be traditional and utterly charming.

The countryside surrounding the town is the perfect place to go hiking or cycling. The Dartmoor National Park, full of wild moorland and ancient woodland, is ideal for walking. Hikes like the Abbot's Way are also popular, though are a bit tougher on the legs and are better suited to keen trekkers.

In 1018, King Canute - the king who tried (and valiantly failed) to command the sea to recede - consecrated the Benedictine Abbey, where it remained flourishing until the Dissolution of the mid 16th century. The monks, however, returned in the 1930s and rebuilt the crumbled ruin of their former abbey, where they still remain to the present day, keeping bees and making the popular tonic wine Buckfast. The Abbey is really the focal point of Buckfastleigh and many visitors eagerly take guided tours around the Abbey and its facilities. No visit to Buckfastleigh can occur without visiting this strange and fascinating place!

Once a thriving mill town, producing everything from wool to paper, Buckfastleigh still bears the marks of its heritage. Many of these old mills survive, and the original medieval layout of the town remains. The oldest building - the Valiant Soldier on Fore Street - was a public house until the early 20th century, when it was turned into a visitor centre. The old bar is still intact and serves as the heart of an exhibition which is well worth checking out. Cresting the top of a hill behind the town stands the ruin of the Holy Trinity Church, built in the 13th century, but sadly burned down in 1992. In the graveyard, you can find the tomb of the Cabell Family, local dignitaries who served as the inspiration to Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's The Hound of the Baskervilles.

What not to miss

  • Take the kids to Pennywell and enjoy petting the animals.
  • Explore the stark and haunting ruins of Holy Trinity Church, perched atop a hill above the town.
  • Make a wish on the Wishing Steps, leading down to Station Road from the church.
  • Hike through the gorgeous Dartmoor National Park.
  • Enjoy a guided tour of the Abbey and learn how the monks make their infamous (and controversial) drink, Buckfast!
  • Check out the oldest building in town, the Valiant Soldier on Fore Street.

Small, pretty and steeped in medieval history, Buckfastleigh is a great place for a family holiday or romantic break. Browse through our collection of the best places to stay in Buckfastleigh to start planning your trip.

The best places to stay in Buckfastleigh

Guesthouse charm

  • Mitchelcroft: in a secluded spot in the heart of Dartmoor, this cosy B&B offers light and comfortable individually-styled rooms, private seating areas and indulgent breakfasts. Great value for money!
  • Kilbury Manor: a 7th century listed cottage in the heart of the Dartmoor National Park, offering seclusion with comfortable rooms with traditional furnishings. The perfect place to unwind after a long day of hiking and sightseeing! Ideal for people on-a-budget.

For an apartment or cottage

  • Our partner Booking.com has a wide range of cottages and apartments in the nearby area.

Travel information

  • The best time to go is during the summer months when the temperature ranges between 13 and 20 degrees.
  • Fly to Exeter International Airport, and get a train to Totnes, from where you can either get a taxi or bus to Buckfastleigh.
  • If you want to rent a car we recommend contacting our partner Rentalcars.

Still not sure?

Best Hotels in Buckfastleigh

  • Mitchelcroft Buckfastleigh (Dartmoor) 3 rooms from £85

    A characterful B&B boasting an enviable location in the heart of Dartmoor. Three individually styled rooms are light and comfortable and offer private outdoor seating areas to enjoy the views. Indulgent breakfasts are served in a contemporary breakfast room with floor to ceiling windows.

    Country Escape  -  Boasting a secluded spot within Dartmoor National Park.
    Great walks  -  Take long walks along the endless and picturesque walking trails running through Dartmoor.
    Kayaking  -  Dicover the beauty of the South Devon coast in a kayak.
    Secluded setting  -  For escaping.
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  • Kilbury Manor Buckfastleigh (South Devon) 5 rooms from £85

    A 17th century listed cottage situated to the south of Dartmoor National Park. Friendly, comfortable B&B with a beautiful garden. Large rooms with stylish decor - a mix of traditional and contemporary. Two are situated in the converted barn. The perfect place to relax and unwind.

    Country Escape  -  Proper country living - experience life in a true English rural idyll
    Great walks  -  Good for walkers.
    Fishing  -  Excellent fishing nearby.
    Sights nearby  -  Well located for major sights.
    Recommended by  -  Good Hotel Guide, Sawdays
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