Situated in a secluded yet accessible part of Dartmoor, Princetown is a small village popular with walkers and visitors to the National Park Visitor Centre. At 1,400 feet above sea-level, it is one of the highest settlements in the United Kingdom. It is perfectly placed to explore the moors, the many nearby market towns such as Buckfastleigh, Ashburton or Tavistock, and places further afield such as the South Hams, Cornwall and North Devon.
Being on Dartmoor itself you will, no doubt, want to get out and about in this wild part of the West Country. Head towards the thriving town of Ashburton with its plethora of antiques shops, cafés and delis, and then wind your way up onto the moors from here. Be sure to stop off to have a walk or just take in the view, but make sure you dress appropriately as the weather can be changeable on Dartmoor. Take in a trip to the picturesque village of Widecombe in the Moor, and be sure to visit the dramatic Haytor for some truly spectacular scenery.
There are a handful of shops and cafés in the village itself, but a relatively short drive away takes you to the charming market town of Tavistock. Famous for its pannier market (mainly Fridays, but there are other markets on during the week) and for being the birthplace of Sir Francis Drake, there are lots of interesting independent shops and cafés to while away some time.
Meanwhile, if you fancy a day out on the coast, then why not explore the popular waterside towns of Dartmouth and Salcombe, or venture to the beach and walk the scenic South West Coast Path at Slapton, Torcross, Bantham or Thurlestone.
A holiday cottage in Princetown offers an idyllic rural escape surrounded by unspoilt moorland, yet within easy reach of several interesting towns and villages to explore, and the stunning South Hams coast beyond.
For more than 200 years, Dartmoor Prison has held its bleak and imposing position on the moors, surrounded by the vast landscape and battered by the relentless elements. Today, there is a museum dedicated to its tale, attracting more than 35,000 visitors every year from all over the world to hear its grizzly stories. Showcasing its turbulent history from Prisoner of War Depot for French and American prisoners of war, to the later convict era all the way through to the modern day, you can see life-size models of Napoleonic soldiers in colourful period uniforms, read about the Princetown Massacre, and read about tough measures used to control the toughest of men.
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Windswept moors and secluded woods, historic monuments and spectacular views, Dartmoor is all at once bleak, magical and inspiring - perfect for walking, strolling and exploring. In the summer months it will take you on a spectacular tour of local wildlife, brimming with flowers, semi wild horses and vegetation. In the winter months you can pretty much guarantee snow, ice and bracing winds, so wrap up warm and visit the pubs for a hearty lunch or cream tea. For your visit you can also download an audio walk to an mp3 player, or simply do some of the circular routes that are easy to follow. Driving up onto the moor is a joy in itself and there’s plenty of parking.
In addition to walking, the dramatic scenery of Dartmoor is well worth exploring by bike. Paths are laid out to make the terrain easy to follow in places, although for the more adventurous cyclist, you can of course go ‘off piste’ so to speak. Dartmoor is perfect for children who are cycling and more proficient cyclists, so it’s ideal for a family day out in the fresh air - just make sure you take warm clothes as it does get a little breezy up there! Parking is easy and the views you are rewarded with are well worth the effort.
A beautiful moorland course with views stretching all the way to Cornwall, Yelverton Golf Club delivers firm fairways and true quick greens throughout the year. The traditional clubhouse invites you in with a warm welcome, whether you’re a guest or a member, while the 18-hole course brings you challenges, excitement, obstacles and visual beauty all round. Visitors are welcome, with green fees starting at £30. Remember that dress codes apply so be mindful of that before you arrive.
A traditional 18th century Dartmoor inn with friendly staff and plenty of atmosphere serving home cooked dishes using locally sourced Dartmoor produce. A great stop off whilst enjoying some of the wonderful walks in the area.
The Plume of Feathers The Square, Princetown, Yelverton PL20 6QQ (T: 01822 890240)
A friendly café in the centre of Princetown with plenty of outdoor seating, cosy sofas and wood burners. Serves healthy lunches, snacks and cream teas all sourced from local suppliers. Dogs, children, muddy boots and bicycles all welcome!
Fox Tor Café 2 Two Bridges Road, Princetown, Dartmoor PL20 6QS (T: 01822 890238)
In a beautiful location in the heart of Dartmoor National Park this friendly hotel is a good spot to enjoy a morning coffee or cream tea in the cosy lounge, or an indulgent meal in the fine dining restaurant. The attractively presented, creative dishes are accompanied by a superb selection of fine wines.
Two Bridges Hotel & Restaurant Two Bridges, Dartmoor PL20 6SW (T: 01822 892300)
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Lovely beach but bit of a trek for little ones
Glorious beach at the mouth of the Erme. Narrow lanes and very limited parking. No toilets, cafes etc - wonderful! Turning circle for cars just before the beach but expect to have to reverse back up the access lane to allow cars that are leaving to go back. A nightmare on Bank Holidays - parking almost impossible and expect to have to negotiate very tight spaces.
One of South Devon’s quieter beaches, Mothecombe is a large and unspoiled, privately owned stretch of sand that’s open every day, all year round. Having won an award from the Marine Conservation Society for its clean sea and sand, you can be assured that relaxing here and pottering about in the water is going to be a happy, healthy and pleasant experience for all in this sheltered corner of Devon. For those wanting to try out water sports, Mothecombe offers the ideal conditions for windsurfing, kayaking, body boarding and generally enjoying the water, particularly for beginners as it’s a comparatively gentle environment in which to give it a go. Given its pristine nature, it will probably come as no surprise that dogs are not allowed on the beach in high season, so keep an eye out for signs for more information, but best to steer clear with furry friends from May to September. There is a car park from which you can access the beach down a narrow path, so it’s not ideal for wheelchair users, but is otherwise conveniently close by. There’s also a tea house in the car park for drinks and snacks and there are toilets nearby as well, so pending the tides you can spend a good day here enjoying the natural scenery and all the fun that it brings with it, whether that’s for the whole family, on a romantic afternoon in the summer sun, or simply enjoying the peace and quiet of this less populated park of the coastline.
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Lovely beach but cafe was being renovated and we were gasping for a cuppa
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Gorgeous beach for an evening swim and barbecue. So peaceful and beautiful
Simply stunning and well worth the steep (ish) walk down from the National Trust car park at Ringmore. When there - it's hard to imagine the horrors of today's modern world.
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Fantastic sandy beach and so big. My dog loved running around and jumping into the water. Plenty of space for all.
A short walk (less than a mile) from Thurlestone, this is a stunning beach. Lots of shallow water with sand underfoot, truly amazing.
Beautiful beach. Nightmare of a road (especially in high season) to get to it. Worth it though when you get there.