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Dartmoor is one of the UK's 15 National Parks. Covering nearly 1,000 square kilometres it is an area of dramatic scenery, wild moorland, remote hill farms and tucked away villages. It is also home to herds of Disney-cute Dartmoor ponies. The River Dart rises high on the moor and spills into the sea at Dartmouth on the south coast of Devon. The best places to stay for Dartmoor are all set amidst spectacular scenery.
The moor is covered in rocky granite outcrops known as Tors. The granite from Dartmoor has been used locally to build houses, roads, enclosures for animals and large fortunes for 19th Century quarry owners. Visitors and locals use the Tors now as picnic spots, climbing challenges, shelter and even hiding places for secret letters.
What not to miss:
- Spend days hiking across the moors stopping for a pub lunch along the way.
- Take a horse trek through the picturesque countryside and spot wild ponies along the way.
- Fish for wild brown trout, sea trout and salmon on the River Dart.
- Buckland Abbey outside Yelverton is also worth a visit. Originally built as a Cistertian monastery, it was later home to Sir Francis Drake. Now a museum it tells the story of Drake and also of Sir Richard Grenville. Lovely gardens and shop. A top picnicing spot.
- One of the most famous granite buildings on Dartmoor is Castle Drogo, the last castle built in England in the 1920s. Erected by a wealthy retail entrepreneur to improve his social standing and designed by the architect Edward Lutyens, unlike every other castle in England it has never been attacked or had to endure a seige. Outside it is an imposing medieval style fortress and inside a comfortable family home with all early 20th Century mod cons. There is a room of granite and steel and a Norman style library is among many historically themed rooms in this unique house.
With lots to see in this wonderful area, many of the best places to stay in Dartmoor are quickly snapped up, so plan ahead and book early.
The Best Places to Stay for Dartmoor
For the views
The Horn of Plenty is situated on the edge of Dartmoor, but is perfectly placed to take full advantage of all it has to offer. Here you'll find wonderful views and fabulous food - ideal for a country getaway.
One of our favourite places to stay to enjoy the sea and Dartmoor is the five room Henley at Bigbury on Sea. With easy access to the moors and a great sea view it is homely and as welcoming to dogs as it is to people. Immaculate and efficiently run, dinner is a home-cooked treat usually involving locally caught fish or shelfish.
- For some laid back luxury or a special occasion, Gidleigh Park near Chagford has newly refurbished spacious, comfortable rooms, beautiful gardens, a lovely tennis court and a two Michelin starred restaurant. A great spot for a spot of great pampering.
- Vast Bovey Castle built by the family who set up the newsagent chain WH Smith has been converted into an impressive 60 room hotel with every imaginable service and activity on tap. Inside is the spa, swimming pool and restaurant and outside activities range from golf to egg collecting to fishing, hawking and croquet. It may look imposing but it's a house of fun.
For an apartment or cottage
- If you're travelling with family or a group of friends it may be a better option to book a villa or apartment. For a wide range of properties for all tastes and budgets we recommend you visit our online partner Booking.com.
- Fly to the international Exeter Airport which has connections across the UK and Europe. By train travel to either Exeter, Newton Abbot, Totnes, Ivybridge or Plymouth.
- Weather in the UK is woefully unpredictable however for the best chance at getting some sunny days travel in the summer months (June - August).
- If you plan to hire a car, we recommend you visit our online partner Rentalcars.
Still not sure?
- Browse our list of the best places to stay in Dartmoor.
- Widen the net and check out all our hotels in Devon.
- Or feel free to call or email a friendly guru for advice.
Best Hotels in Dartmoor
Weeke Barton 5 rooms from £120Bridford, Devon
Rustic chic - Grade II Listed Weeke Barton, with 5 gorgeous en-suite rooms, licensed dining and 5 acres of wild but kept gardens tucked away in the beautiful rolling hills of Dartmoor.Great walks - Dartmoor ramblingLocal markets - Good for local colour.Full of characterSecluded setting - For escaping.Recommended by - Mr & Mrs Smith, I Escape, Sawdays
The Henley 5 rooms from £123Bigbury-on-Sea, South Devon
Small and friendly owner managed seaside bolthole of just five rooms, with a beach house feel. Cosy rooms are comfortable and clean with wonderful sea views. Cooking that finely showcases the Devon produce. Private beach access. A great weekend escape.Romantic Break - A magical seaside escape for two, with charming rooms, fantastic food and phenomenal views and walks along the coast.Birdwatching - The hotel provides binoculars in every room, so make the most of your large windows!Great walks - Step out of the hotel and onto the pretty garden path tumbling down to the beach.Surfing - Surf or kite surf on Bigbury, Challaborough and Bantham beaches.Recommended by - Good Hotel Guide, Sawdays
Horn of Plenty Hotel 16 rooms from £130Tavistock, Devon
Luxury and elegance make up this country house in rural Tamar Valley on the edge of Dartmoor - a peaceful stay in stunning grounds. Modern, comfortable rooms are unique in style and capture the view. Fine dining at the 2 AA Rosettes restaurant. A perfect adult retreat.Groups - If you want your own country house just for the weekend then this is the place for you. Exclusive use is avaliable.Foodies - The award winning restaurant tantalises your taste buds with its locally sourced, seasonal and inventive menu.Great walks - With all of Dartmoor on your doorstep there is no excuse for sitting inside.Sights nearby - Dartmoor National Park and The Eden Project are both nearby.Recommended by - Sawdays
Percy's Country Hotel 7 rooms from £140Virginstow, Devon
Eco friendly, organic restaurant with rooms in the heart of rural Devon, between Dartmoor and the North coast. Spacious well appointed bedrooms and fabulous organic food, much of it produced on site. Wonderful spot for total relaxation after a day exploring the area.Great walks - Both Dartmoor and the South West Coast Paths are within easy reach.Sights nearby - Plenty of National Trust Houses and gardens in the vicinity.Cooking classes - Courses available year round.Restrictions on children - Over 10s only.Recommended by - Sawdays