Dartmoor is a huge, expansive natural area in the county of Devon, we’re sure you’ve heard of it. The National Park is one of the biggest attractions to Devon because of its wonderfully diverse landscape that is never dull; from winding rivers to magical forests, rugged peaks to Neolithic remains, there are things to do in Dartmoor for everyone!
Although it is a National Park, Dartmoor is sprinkled with small, charming towns to visit, so it’s not all about the hills. Dartmoor ponies and the wildlife are also a joy to witness, roaming free across the park, which is approximately the same size as London. With such an expansive place to cover, we have put together this guide to help you find the best things to do in Dartmoor, whilst maximising your time in this amazing place!
Hike To Haytor
Situated just inside the east boarder of the National Park, Haytor is perhaps one of the most well recognised things to do in Dartmoor. Haytor is the most famous Dartmoor Tor, this protected area of granite rock is estimated to have been formed over 280 million years ago. Whilst visiting the amazing, ancient land, you’ll also get awesome views over the Devon countryside. On a clear day, you’ll even be able to peak the rugged coastline.
As well as panoramic views, you can also explore the quarry and follow the unique tramway, which used to travel from the park through to the port of Teignmouth to export raw goods. Kids are always in awe of the monolithic rocks and scenery that they are free to climb on and explore. This is one of the best low-cost things to do in Dartmoor with kids, especially if you are staying on the coast at holiday parks in Devon. Some of the most cinematic and breath-taking times to visit Haytor is at sunset of sunrise – if you are taking the kids or are just planning to visit on your own!
Pennywell Farm is Dartmoor’s answer to a zoo – kind of! This fantastically fun thing to do in Dartmoor is low-cost and great day out with kids! The farm is famous for its adorable miniature pigs. These cute little creatures are friendly, personable and happy. You can visit with the piglets in their barn for as long as you’d like, your little ones can also bottle feed the amazing lambs and goats, or the slightly less-conventional, ferret racing.
With so much to do, surrounded by the amazing Dartmoor countryside, everyone can enjoy the farmyard with the whole family!
The Town Of Buckfast
Buckfast is a small, quaint and quintessentially English town on the south eastern edge of Dartmoor national park. The beautiful, independent high street is a fantastic place to spend the afternoon, enjoying the treats at a café or window shopping the sweet local businesses. You could arrange your visit around market day in the summer months for even more local wares and a fantastic, community and friendly atmosphere.
The town sits in the shadows of Buckfast Abbey, which is one of the most awesome architectural things to do in Dartmoor. The abbey is home to a monastery of Benedictine monks and is a fantastic experience for kids. Whilst you are in the area, for a full day out, why not also take a visit to the Buckfast Steam Railway. This fantastic 19th century valley steam railway has an amazing tearoom but is also a great way to show kids a nostalgic look at life!
Wistman’s Wood is almost exactly the heart of the national park. The enchanting forest has been the inspiration in books, stories and fairy tales for years. These eerie woods are staggered across hills and crags, with amazing dwarf oak trees that wind and twist in almost unimaginable ways. This is a dramatic and mysterious woods to walk through, with the rocks and tors covered is a unique shade of moss. Wistman’s Woods is evocative of an enchanting elf land or something out of a fantasy story, which makes it one of the best outdoor things to do in Dartmoor with kids.
It’s hard to get little ones excited about walking, but when there is so much to explore and an alluring atmosphere like this, it’s easy to make it fun! Wistman’s Wood is close to the town of Princetown with plenty of places to park nearby.
Whether you are visiting in snow and frost or the height or summer, Castle Drogo is a fantastic, educational thing to do in Dartmoor. This unusual place was gifted to the National Trust in the 1970s and has been open to visitors ever since. Both the castle interior and the amazing gardens, high on the moorlands, are a serene and cultural place to spend an afternoon.
The café, as with many National Trust eateries, is well renowned, and it is well worth scheduling on our list of things to do in Dartmoor around lunchtime.
Here at Welcome Family, we think that you can look nowhere better for a family fun list of things to do in Dartmoor. This is not a comprehensive list, if you are staying with us, we would be happy to provide you with more activities and ideas at the time you are visiting.
All the things to do in Dartmoor are day time activities, so our guests will always be back in time for the evening entertainment or just to spend a cosy night together in their own, private space!