Everything you need to know about visiting Buckfastleigh

Nestled in the heart of Devon, Buckfastleigh stands as a picturesque town, rich in history and brimming with natural beauty.

Located on the southern edge of the majestic Dartmoor National Park and along the meandering path of the River Dart, this small market town treasures culture, history, and stunning landscapes. As you approach the main road, the town unveils itself, beckoning visitors to explore its many wonders.

Buckfastleigh, with its well-preserved medieval layout, narrates a story of a past deeply entrenched in tradition and heritage. The town centre, a harmonious meld of historical charm and modern vitality, leads to Fore Street, where old mills stand as silent witnesses to the town’s history as an important wool centre.

The Holy Trinity Church lies in the town’s heart, symbolizing spiritual and architectural significance, standing close to the famous Benedictine Abbey. This Benedictine Abbey, known as Buckfast Abbey, serves not only as a place of religious importance but also as a cultural landmark, with its serene Abbey buildings and gardens offering a peaceful retreat.

Buckfastleigh is more than just a town; it offers an experience to discover, a place where history, nature, and culture converge to create a memorable visit. Whether the call of the South Devon Railway, the tranquillity of the Dartmoor National Park, or the rich tapestry of local history and culture draws you, Buckfastleigh promises an unforgettable adventure.

Why visit Buckfastleigh?

Here are our top picks of things to do in Buckfastleigh…

Adventures on the River Dart:

Flowing past Buckfastleigh, the River Dart serves as a lifeline of natural beauty and outdoor activities. It begins its journey on the high moors of Dartmoor National Park, winding past the town and providing a serene backdrop to many of Buckfastleigh’s attractions.

From tranquil walks along its banks to exciting canoeing adventures, the River Dart is a haven for outdoor enthusiasts.

The river, surrounded by Hembury Woods and dotted with historic landmarks such as the Holy Trinity Church and the remnants of Buckfast Abbey, offers a plethora of sights for visitors. 


Exploring the South Devon Railway: 

The South Devon Railway, a cherished part of Buckfastleigh’s heritage, offers a unique journey through the beautiful countryside of South Devon. This historic railway, originally established to connect the small market town with the wider South West, now stands as a living monument to the golden age of steam.

The railway’s meticulously maintained steam engines and vintage carriages transport visitors along the scenic banks of the River Dart, providing a picturesque view of the southern edge of Dartmoor National Park. See more: See more here

visiting buckfastleigh


Dartmoor National Park:

One of the biggest draws to the area is the proximity to this beautiful national park which beckons with its vast expanses of moorland, ancient stone tors, and captivating wildlife. Here you can enjoy hiking, horseriding, cycling or simply enjoy the fresh air and the stunning scenic views. See more here


Buckfast Abbey, Buckfastleigh: 

An impressive monastery, home to a Community of Roman Catholic Benedictine Monks.  It is a place of beauty and tranquillity, rich in history and set in beautiful gardens.  There is a large Restaurant, shops and an exhibition centre.  Located on the edge of Buckfastleigh, this historic community is well worth a visit. See more here


Buckfastleigh Open Air Pool and Victoria Park:

A wonderful, heated, 21 metre, 124 year old pool in the heart of Buckfastleigh. As the oldest pool in Devon, it has been at the centre of life and wellbeing for generations.  Neighbouring Victoria Park has a fabulous skate park and adventure play area, and is a perfect spot for a picnic after your swim.  There’s even a tuck shop where you can buy snacks! See more here


The Valiant Soldier:

The Valiant Soldier was an active pub in Buckfastleigh which closed in the late 1960′s and never re-opened. Everything was literally left as it was and today, it’s open as a museum, giving visitors a glimpse into the past. See more here


Buckfast Otter & Butterfly Park, Buckfastleigh: 

Feed the otters and admire the butterflies in this small but friendly sanctuary in Buckfastleigh. See more here


Pennywell Farm, Buckfastleigh: 

Particularly popular with younger children where they can pet and learn about animals including miniature pigs, lambs and goats. See more here


Dartington Estate:

Based on 1,200 acres of beautiful parkland in between Buckfastleigh and Totnes, Dartington Estate is a historic visitor destination. Centred around the medieval Great Hall, courtyard and gardens, there is so much to see and do for everyone at Dartington – from fabulous food & drink to Deer Park trails and family activities; live music, theatre and cinema to outdoor pursuits and children’s playgrounds.  Visit The Cider Press Centre where you will find a range of quirky independent craft shops offering bespoke gifts and handcrafted produce. See more here


River Dart Country Park:

Set in Dartmoor National Park, the River Dart Country Park is always a hit with active kids (young and old!) who will love exploring the play areas, zip wires and even swimming in the pirate-themed lake. See more here



Totnes is tucked between Torbay and Buckfastleigh on the River Dart. It’s a lively historic town which is always worth visiting for its arty vibe, independent shops, eateries, friendly locals and enchanting castle. See more here


Berry Pomeroy Castle:

Tucked away in a deep wooded valley, Berry Pomeroy Castle is the perfect romantic ruin.  Visitors come to marvel at the ruins and speculate about their supposedly sinister history. Its romantic atmosphere fostered tales of hauntings and ghostly apparitions, and some of these stories are retold today through the audio tour.  There is a lovely tearoom onsite – check the website for opening hours. See more here



As our exploration of Buckfastleigh concludes, it’s evident that this quaint town is more than just a dot on the map of Devon. It’s a vibrant community where history, nature, and modernity blend seamlessly, offering something for every traveller.


Finding the perfect place to stay in Buckfastleigh

A holiday in Buckfastleigh is a chance to escape the hustle and bustle of everyday life and indulge in the tranquillity of nature.

Holiday homes offer guests privacy and the freedom to create your own personalised experience. Unlike hotels, these self-contained properties ensure that guests have their own private space to unwind, relax, and spend quality time with loved ones.  Our characterful holiday cottages in Buckfastleigh are wonderfully located to enjoy the town centre with its local shops and enticing tearooms, yet just a stone’s throw from the all wonderful attractions this beautiful corner of South Devon has to offer.

See our holiday homes in Buckfastleigh here