Here in the UK, we are surrounded by phenomenal landscapes that I personally don’t take advantage of enough. After a recent trip to Northumberland, I decided to make a conscious effort to explore more of Britain. As a result, last weekend I took a mini road trip with my partner to Dartmoor National Park. We had an amazing time and it proves that you don’t have to travel far afield to find incredible scenery, delicious food and have new experiences.
Here are my top tips to make the most of a weekend in Dartmoor:
Become A Princess
By that I mean, stay at a castle! We spent two nights at Bovey Castle, which is a luxurious hotel right in the heart of Dartmoor National Park. When you walk through the doors it is like taking a step back in time. I’m talking huge sofas by open fires, walls adorned with traditional portraits, and staff dressed head to toe in tweed. Oh and a parrot called Beaky. The atmosphere was open and friendly. You know you’re out of London when dogs are welcome in all the rooms and you can leave your belongings by the front door without worrying they will be nicked. If you don’t fancy forking out for a room in the castle, you can always come and visit for the day. There is an amazing spa, a championship golf course and two restaurants serving up yummy food.
Take Your Wellies
You’re in a national park after all! The scenery in Dartmoor is truly beautiful; green rolling hills, small streams, dense forests and cute country cottages adorn the landscape. It just calls out to be explored! The easiest way to find a good walk is to ask the hotel you’re staying at. They can usually advise you on walks of varying lengths and difficulty. If not, give it a cheeky google or even purchase a walking guide for the local area. In terms of kit, I strongly recommend that you take a good pair of wellies, thick socks and a waterproof coat as you never know with British weather. When walking try to switch off your technology, breathe in the fresh crisp air and truly appreciate the gorgeous surroundings and views.
Support The Locals
Out in the country, there are an abundance of small local businesses which rely on tourism to survive. We loved The Gateway Tea Room in Moretonhampstead, a quaint cafe where you can get a huge range of teas served up in the cutest crockery. Not to mention their amazing venison pie and selection of homemade baked goods. We also enjoyed exploring Bovey Tracey, a small town cram-packed with quirky shops and cafes including the Devon Guild of Craftsmen. This is a shop and gallery displaying and selling arts and crafts made by locals, and a great spot to pick up unique gifts for friends and family.
Have A Pint
You can’t drive a mile down the narrow country roads without coming across a traditional pub. These provide a perfect location to snuggle up by the fire and enjoy a cheeky pint. Plus, the locals are super friendly and more then happy to chatter away to you. Our personal favourite spot was The Cleave in Lustleigh. The bar provides the perfect atmosphere to wind down after a long day exploring the countryside, while the accompanying restaurant serves up delicious home cooked food… and the portion sizes aren’t shabby either.
Enjoy your trip!