Things to do in Dartmoor

Dartmoor - wild, barren, beautiful, beguiling. It’s deeply cloaked in myth and folklore, while also a place for ramblers, amblers and serious outdoor fanatics. You can take a blanket and enjoy a relaxing picnic by a babbling brook or battle through the elements to conquer a rocky tor with 360 panoramic views.  

Looking for things to do in Dartmoor? Well, search no further as below are five of the best possible things to do in Dartmoor, no matter if you’re going solo, with the family or visiting with friends.

 We’ve complied some fantastic experiences and things to do in Dartmoor, to help you decide what places and experiences are worth the visit.


Moor to explore.

One of the best things to do in Dartmoor is, of course, to explore! Whether on your own (you should always be prepared with a map and compass in case the weather comes in) or better still go with an organised group.  

What makes organised Dartmoor tours so great is not only will you be shown the very best bits of Dartmoor, but you’ll be with have an experienced guide, with extensive knowledge of the moor’s history and geography. You’ll be sure to see some hidden Dartmoor gems too, no doubt.

Dartmoor guided tours usually offer have two options: the first being a walking tour, and the second a driving tour. The decision is of course up to you, if you love walking and want to experience Dartmoor by foot then a walking tour is your best bet. If you’re someone who would rather cover more of Dartmoor and don’t want to walk for miles and miles, then a driving tour is perfect for you. The best tours will include a Land Rover or vehicle that you can all pile into, thereby cutting down fuel miles and making your visit more fun with other people.


Wild horses

When thinking of Dartmoor, we all know and love the Dartmoor ponies but did you know that there are some companies that offer horse-back riding on the Moor. Not on the ponies of course! They have their own built for riding.  

Let’s talk details, you will need to have prior experience with horse riding and be comfortable with your abilities to horseback ride safely in a large open space, as they don’t offer riding lessons.

If you love horseback riding and are looking for an unforgettable way to explore Dartmoor, this is the experience for you. Go with a friend or partner in a pair or join a small group, and ride alongside a guide to keep you company and lead the way.

What could be better than the excitement of galloping across wild open moorland, feeling like a character from a period drama.


Family-friendly things to do

Looking for things to do in Dartmoor suitable for the whole family? The wonders of  Canonteign Falls are for you. It’s an award-winning attraction for a reason, incredibly popular with locals and visitors alike.

As a quiet and tranquil private estate in the middle of Devon countryside with the highest waterfall in South Devon, this is undoubtably one of the best things to do in Dartmoor. For the kids, there’s loads to do with an adventure playground, trampolines and a wooden playships.

For the grown ups, as well as the waterfall, there are seven picturesque lakes to wander around, including one called Swan Lake – so walk or feel free to pirouette!

This is a must-see destination for sure on your visit to Dartmoor. Located in Christow the falls are only a 40-minute drive from us here at Bearslake Inn.


Otters and butterflies

Everyone knows of Dartmoor ponies, but did you know that otters and butterflies are also close by?

Open daily, educational, fun, and filled with tropical butterflies and three species of Otter the Devon Otter Sanctuary and Buckfast Butterfly Farm is one of the best things to do in the Dartmoor region.

The Devon Otter Sanctuary has three different species of Otter to see: Asian short clawed, North American river and native British Otter, each with their own adorable personalities.

With keepers on hand all over the sanctuary, readily available to talk with visitors and explain all things, Otter. Regular feeding times are 11.30am, 2.00pm and 4.00pm making these the best times to visit. This experience is certainly one of the most unique things to do in Dartmoor.

Meanwhile, the Buckfast Butterfly Farm offers you a taste of a tropical rainforest on the edge of Dartmoor. The Butterfly Farm is carefully controlled and monitored to maintain perfect conditions for the live butterflies to live and breed as they would in the wild. A high temperature and humidity is maintained not only to support the beautiful butterflies, but also sustain the exotic plants and flowers needed to enable the butterflies and larvae to feed. 

There’s the obligatory gift shop on site, with a large variety of gifts following the butterfly and otter themes, the Buckfast Butterfly Farm and Devon Otter Sanctuary make a brilliant experience for all.

Dartmoor Walks

Burrator Reservoir, Yelverton

If you’ve had enough of rugged moorland, Burrator reservoir is surrounded by mixed woodland, which makes for a welcome change. Burrator is popular with pretty much everyone, walkers, runners, horse riders and cyclists alike due to its many varied footpaths and bridleways.

One of the best things to do in Dartmoor has got to be visiting this beautiful reservoir and completing the meandering circular walk around the peaceful water.  As it surrounding land is pretty flat this makes the perfect route for the whole family and normally takes from 1.5 to 2 hours to complete.

Even if walking is not your thing, the reservoir is the perfect place to capture some beautiful images across the water, spot wildlife and enjoy the calmness of this lakeside spot.

Bearslake Inn

After a long day of exploring and walking Dartmoor, why not experience a real 13th century Dartmoor pub at Bearslake Inn? We pride ourselves on being more than just one of the best pubs on Dartmoor and our individually designed rooms give you the perfect base from which to explore all that Dartmoor and the surrounding areas has to offer. Not to mention that we’re also dog-friendly, serve great “pub classics” season and local food, as well as real ales and local ciders. We look forward to welcoming you soon!