Buckland Abbey (National Trust), Tavistock, Dartmoor National Park

Buckland Abbey (National Trust), Tavistock, Dartmoor National Park

Family attraction

Spend time walking Dartmoor's south plateau and you'll encounter a high number of ancient crosses. These marked routes across the moors. The routes were used by monks and others to travel between the medieval abbeys and priory that fringed the wild, high ground. Buckland Abbey was one of these monastic institutions. The abbey is most famous as the home of Sir Francis Drake. Today, it is a National Trust property.

Buckland Abbey is located a short distance outside the south west border of Dartmoor National Park. As ever, we've positioned it on Google maps so zoom in on the 'Satellite' setting to see its exact location. We've included it on Holiday in Dartmoor owing to its close proximity to the National Park.

There's a large car park by the entrance. Follow the path to the abbey buildings. You drop down into a courtyard where you'll find toilets, a shop and the ticket office. From the latter, you walk down steps into another yard lined with buildings. There are tables and seating for the National Trust cafe. From this yard, head for the huge tithe barn. There's a model reconstruction and information boards within the barn. You then move into the abbey gardens that surround the main building.

This building houses fascinating displays and information boards that tell the story of the abbey, its dissolution and its most famous owner, Sir Francis Drake. The display and information boards are split across three floors. On the ground floor is a display dedicated to a painting by Rembrandt. On the second floor you'll find lots of display cabinets and period rooms. On the top floor, beyond the giant sculpture of Drake, is plenty of information relating to Drake's boat and his circumnavigation of the world. Children can dress up. Information boards then cover the history of the abbey before its dissolution. A winding flight of stairs takes you past other rooms to the exit and walled garden.

Once you've finished in the house, we'd recommend exploring the estate. There are various walks providing excellent views of the abbey buildings. Note that the River Tavy runs past the estate on its way from the high moors and Tavy Cleave down through the Tamar Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty to Plymouth.

Nearby, also explore the ruins of Tavistock Abbey.

On the other side of the moors, visit Buckfast Abbey.

Whilst it's outside the geographic area covered by this website, we'd urge you to visit Torre Abbey in Torquay as well. This has been restored extensively and is now a superb visitor attraction.