Dartmoor Otters and Buckfast Butterflies, Buckfastleigh, Dartmoor National Park

Dartmoor Otters and Buckfast Butterflies, Buckfastleigh, Dartmoor National Park

Family attraction

The team behind Holiday in Dartmoor run a number of UK travel sites. We've been photographing and researching South West England for years and, in our opinion, Dartmoor Otters and Buckfast Butterflies is the best place to see and experience otters in the region. It's a compact attraction which means you can get particularly close to these beautiful animals. The highlight, for us, are the underwater viewing areas where you can watch otters swim and play.

Buckfast and Buckfastleigh are located on the eastern border of Dartmoor National Park. They are home to a cluster of popular visitor attractions including Buckfast Abbey and the South Devon Railway that runs between Dartmoor and Totnes. There's a large car park by the South Devon Railway and it's to the right of this car park as you drive in that you'll find Dartmoor Otters and Buckfast Butterflies. We've positioned the attraction on Google maps so zoom in on the 'Satellite' setting to see its location. Parking is free for visitors.

As the name suggests, Dartmoor Otters and Buckfast Butterflies is, roughly speaking, split into two sections. The first is a large glasshouse dedicated to butterflies. The second is an outdoor area with enclosures and water tanks for the otters. You enter the attraction through the shop. Buy tickets from the shop counter and then you're guided into the glasshouse where you'll see butterflies, terrapins and fish. The glasshouse replicates a rainforest environment. Flowers and foliage enjoy this hot, humid environment so be prepared to shed a few layers of clothes on cooler days. You should see butterflies emerge from chrysalises. There are plenty of information boards. Given that the butterflies and terrapins are free to move around, it's a great place for photographers looking to capture close shots.

From this hot glasshouse, you walk out into the fresh air to the otter enclosures. There are three different species of otter. Make sure you hang around for feeding time as the keepers give a great talk about the North American otter, the Asian short clawed otter and the British otter. During feeding time, the otters come particularly close. As mentioned, there are superb underwater viewing areas.

Dartmoor Otters and Buckfast Butterflies is located next to the South Devon Railway. At the other end of the railway line is the Totnes Rare Breeds Farm. You can buy a discounted ticket to visit all three.

In the local area, also visit Buckfast Abbey and Pennywell Farm. Kids love River Dart Adventures. To see other animals, take a trip to Dartmoor Zoo. Whilst it's a long drive, to see otters we'd recommend going to the Tamar Otter and Wildlife Centre.