Gidleigh Park is set in the beautiful North Dartmoor, and with so many unique and wonderful places to visit on our doorstep, we've compiled a list of activities to do during your stay with us.
Dartmoor is a walker's paradise, offering a huge variety of trails that cater for all abilities, and discovering this magical landscape on foot affords the opportunity to observe the wildlife and natural vegetation that are at home here - see our Walking Guide.
Below is an overview, and the full area guide is available to view for more information.
The official Dartmoor tourist information site: www.visitdartmoor.co.uk
If you're looking to explore, we recommend visiting the local villages and towns. Each one is unique but equally charming and worth the visit. All town and village's are packed full of history and fascinating facts, with plenty of independent shops and beautiful scenery to keep you amused for hours.
Chagford - 45 minutes, walking
The local ancient stannary town is a 45-minute walk or a short two-mile drive from the hotel. It boasts a range of boutique, gift and clothes shops, including two of the areas best hardware stores.
Exeter - 40 minutes
The historical city of Exeter housed the most south westerly Roman fortified settlement in Britain. With a stunning cathedral founded in 1050, the city centre is full of character and ancient history with all the amenities expected in a modern day city.
Totnes - 60 minutes
Totnes has a reputation for having an alternative vibe, where embracing organic, ethical, and fair trade practices is the standard rather than the exception. It’s the home of the Transition Town movement and is proud to be a little different.
Clovelly, North Devon - 90 minutes
Nestled within a 400-foot high cliff, this renowned fishing village boasts a picturesque, traffic-free cobbled high street, whitewashed cottages, and a quaint working port. It is famous for its donkeys, who traditionally carried goods up and down the cobbled streets.
Brixham - 75 minutes
Life in the bustling fishing town of Brixham has revolved around its lively harbour, where yachts, heritage trawlers, and dayboats jostle for space as they head out to sea for the day’s catch. Offering a range of experiences, from a romantic trip or family-friendly outings, the fun starts at sea!
With a vast selection of Castles and Stately Homes near to Dartmoor, we are spoiled for choice, so here are a few of our must-see recommendations while you are in the area...
Castle Drogo - 20 minutes
A National Trust property and one of the last great homes to be built in England, this unique 20th century ‘mock’ castle sits above the Teign Gorge with stunning views over the wild beauty of Dartmoor.
Bradley - 45 minutes
A delightful medieval manor house, set in woodland and meadows. Catch a glimpse of medieval history in the house; from original ceilings to medieval cat holes. Bradley is still a family home, and you get a real sense of that as you explore the house. You may even see a member of the donor family room guiding or welcoming you to the car park.
Powderham Castle - 45 minutes
Located in a unique, picturesque setting just outside Exeter, beside the Exe Estuary. Six hundred years of history are contained within the walls of one of England’s oldest family homes.
Buckfast Abbey - 50 minutes
Nestled in a tranquil haven on the edge of Dartmoor and along the banks of the River Dart, Buckfast Abbey is the only English medieval monastery to have been restored and used again for its original purpose. Whether visiting the area on holiday or just looking for an inspiring day out, Buckfast offers all the ingredients for a great trip . Founded in 1018, the Abbey celebrated its millennium in 2018.
Tintagel Castle - 75 minutes
With its spectacular location on Cornwall’s dramatic and windswept Atlantic coastline, Tintagel is a place of magic and myth where the legend of King Arthur was born.
Visits to gardens are often associated with summertime, but here in Devon, gardens flourish and display vibrant colours in every season. Here's a small selection of our top five options...
Stone Lane Gardens, Chagford - 20 minutes
Stone Lane Gardens is a 5-acre arboretum holding significant National Collections of wild-origin Birch and Alder trees, within a charming landscaped water and woodland setting. Sculpture exhibitions feature heavily in and around the gardens.
Bicton Park Botanical Gardens - 50 minutes
Bicton Park features a lovely 50-acre garden near the sea. The gardens date from 1874 and include an Italian garden, an American and stream garden, and a delightful Mediterranean and rose garden. Bicton has long been famed for its magnificent trees, boasting over 1000 trees from 300 endangered species. The delightful beach of Budleigh Salterton is also close at hand.
Dartington Hall, Dartington - 60 minutes
A truly wonderful landscape garden most of which has been created in the last 100 years. A woodland garden with rhododendrons, azaleas, magnolias have been planted around a series of clever terraces on the steep hill side. There are magnificent trees, a Japanese garden and a series of woodland glades.
Killerton House, Broadclyst - 55 minutes
Located in the fine 18th century house known for its large costume collection, this delightful hillside garden and estate offers stunning parkland all year round. The garden sits on a south facing slope with views towards Dartmoor and the Exe Estuary. It features a vast array of interest throughout the seasons including magnificent rhododendrons and magnolias, stunning herbaceous boarders and a collection of rare trees.
RHS Rosemoor Gardens - 60 minutes
An enchanting 65-acre garden, Rosemoor is a garden of intoxicating beauty, meticulously crafted and planted, retaining the essence of rural North Devon within a dramatic backdrop of steep wooded valley sides.
Along the miles of Devon and Cornwall coastline, you'll discover 20 beaches ranging from expansive sandy stretches to secluded rocky coves. Whether you're looking for a spot to lay out your towel, build sandcastles, have a gentle paddle, ramble through a rockpool, or just a quiet place to sit and watch the surf, you're sure to find a beach.
Ness Cove, Shaldon - 60 minutes
A secluded, rugged beach backed by dramatic red cliffs, accessed via an original smugglers tunnel. Children will love it.
Slapton Sands - 75 minutes
Over 600 US servicemen lost their lives on this three-mile stretch of shingle when German E-boats attacked their D-day rehearsals. A Sherman tank on the sand commemorates them.
Bantham Beach - 90 minutes
This long and sandy beach offers shallow waters perfect for children's safe swimming, while further out, it's lively enough for water sports enthusiasts. Wetsuits outnumber bikinis on south Devon’s only surf beach. East Portlemouth, an ideal spot for those seeking a peaceful day, situated on the estuary opposite Salcombe.
South Milton Sands - 90 minutes
A beautiful beach for a traditional holiday. Ideal for rock pooling and beachcombing, it’s also the perfect location for snorkelling, scuba diving, and windsurfing. Seal and dolphins are regular visitors to the shore.
Woolacombe - 90 minutes
An epic, three-mile swathe of sand which has oodles of space for surfers, swimmers and sunbathers, as well as a Blue Flag.
With its 107 acres of beautiful parklands, fresh country air and the North Teign River flowing through its grounds, Gidleigh Park epitomises the very best of life in Devon. Within the secluded gardens and woodlands of the hotel there are various outdoor facilities, including a tennis court, a bowling green, championship croquet lawns and an 18-hole putting course designed by the legendary Peter Alliss.
Walks from the hotel take you along the river and onto the higher moor where there is the chance to spot the local wildlife, including squirrels, owls, rabbits, and if you are lucky deer. We can also arrange for birds of prey displays in the grounds and fishing on the banks of the river or in the local reservoirs. Should you wish to venture a little further then there are numerous activities, walks, and leisure facilities ideal to keep your little ones interested and occupied.
Paignton Zoo - 60 minutes
With more animals than anywhere else in the South West, you're in for a wild day out at Paignton Zoo! With over two thousand creatures to get close to, indoor and outdoor play areas, the Jungle Express train, keeper talks, animal feeding sessions, and six incredible animal habitats, there's something for the whole family.
The House of Marbles - 35 minutes
Located near the town of Bovey Tracey, the House of Marbles is a working glass and games factory set in a historic pottery. The factory offers fun and games with a restaurant providing light snacks. But beware, the restaurant is also a toy shop!
Becky Falls - 45 minutes
Located on Dartmoor in Bovey Tracey, you'll have the opportunity to witness cascading waterfalls and explore the 60-acre woodland estate with river walks. There is also a pet garden, nature trail, tea room, ice-cream parlour, gift shop, and restaurant.
Pennywell Farm - 50 minutes
A family run children’s petting farm, providing a real treat for children with a good programme of daily interactive events including owl, eagle, and birds of prey displays.
Otters and Butterflies - 45 minutes
Buckfast Butterflies and Dartmoor Otter Sanctuary offer a wonderful otter and butterfly educational experience. Wander around the otter sanctuary and butterfly farm, and see new butterflies emerge in tropical surroundings. You will also have the opportunity to view the otters swimming underwater and to follow the otter keeper at feeding times. The Buckfast Butterflies and Dartmoor Otter Sanctuary is an all weather attraction.