Once a venue for post-hike Devon cream teas, Dartmoor Hall still offers that option, though you’ll need to pick up the ingredients yourself. The Game Larder in sleepy Yelverton can probably help. Tuck in while gazing at the view, quaffing Prosecco on the patio or during post-ping-pong recovery.
Yes, there are games to play here. Yomp the Devon moors, dump your stuff in the boot room, then get competitive over pool, darts, table tennis, table football, or just charades and cards with the dogs sprawled at your feet like furry slippers. Yes, you can bring a pooch or six, along with grannies, aunties, uncles, or hens. Up to 18 of you, in fact.
Dartmoor Hall is big, beautiful and bountiful. Is there room to park? Just for the 30 or so cars. Bring your Netflix passwords for the ten TVs. Get 18 around the chunky dining table. Walk the dog from the door. Work the cardio gear in the gym. Centre yourself in the woodland meditation circle. Take a chill pill in the wild stillness of Dartmoor.
Dartmoor might feed your soul but Dartmoor Hall will feed your belly. An outdoor kitchen here comes with wood-fired pizza oven, gas barbie and Argentinean grill. Tuck in, then feast your eyes at dusk on the star-spattered sky from the bubbling comfort of the six-person hot tub or the roaring flames of the firepit.
By day, hang out in the bench-style barbecue seating area with moorland views, while the children do kid stuff on the play equipment. Find yourself in the woodland meditation circle. Or just find yourself playing rounders or kicking a ball into the nets in the two acres of grounds. It’s your call. It’s your time to chill.
Need to relax in front of the TV after a day yomping over the hills? Pick from ten. Gather in the tall-windowed, soft-sofa-ed family living room to slot a DVD into the machine and uncork a Prosecco and butter a scone. Bring your Netflix password for movie nights or sing along with the iPod dock.
Get over to the games room for pool, darts, table tennis and table football. Chill your shizzle in the infrared sauna with fancy lights and music from the Bluetooth. Refresh in the walk-in shower. Hit the home gym to get your endorphins endorphining on the exercise bike and treadmill.
There’s a boot room here to dump your dirties before you veg out in your socks. You’ve also got plenty of nooks and crannies to squirrel away a book if you need to recharge. Dartmoor Hall is a huge chunk of Georgian gorgeousness in which traditional features sit harmoniously with modern touches for a splash of multigenerational magic.
As you’d expect in a Devon country house, you’ll prepare your meals in the newly refurbished farmhouse-style kitchen complete with gas range stove, American fridge-freezer, air-fryer and more. Or maybe you won’t. Call one of many talented local chefs for that private-chef experience or South Devon Hog Roast for gorging in the garden.
Eat in the large dining room with 18 around the chunky table. Maybe it’ll be a takeaway from The Walkhampton, Jasmine Chinese or The Curry Express with wine from Majestic in Totnes? Or perhaps you’ll have stocked up with meats and treats from The Game Larder in Yelverton to cook up on the Argentina grill. Perfect your pizza-tossing using the wood fired pizza oven and enjoy alfresco dining.
Eat out at the Warren House Inn, a remote and isolated pub – southern England’s highest at over 1400 feet. Sit in front of the log fire at The Royal Oak Inn or out on the green and load up on chorizo and honey fries, venison burger or a hearty ploughman’s. Or maybe a smoked-trout salad at the delightfully pretty Rugglestone Inn.
Head out for posher nosh at Church Lane in Tavistock, a restaurant with a Mediterranean feel and a cycling theme. Eat, drink, then get merry in the rum bar. Pick from plenty of veggie options at The Green Room or book ahead for Gidleigh Park, where an elegant restaurant provides a sophisticated backdrop to the decadent menus.
At night, the only sounds you’ll hear on Dartmoor beneath the glistening stars, planets and meteors are the wings of the bats and the hoot of an owl. Pick from nine bedrooms with crisp white sheets and be reminded of your location by the evocative names.
Bedroom one (Haytor) offers a superking with en-suite, fitted wardrobes, full length mirror, armchairs and TV. Yestor is another superking with en-suite, fitted wardrobes, armchair, dressing table and chair, and TV. And Houndtor provides a superking with en-suite, wardrobe, TV and fireplace.
Brentor offers another superking with en-suite, wardrobe, TV and courtyard views, while Burrator provides a superking four-poster with en-suite, wardrobe, armchair, dressing table and TV. Crockentor is a superking with en-suite, wardrobe, dressing table, chair and TV. And superking Toptor offers an en-suite, wardrobe, armchair and TV.
Saddletor is also a superking with en-suite, wardrobe, armchair and TV, while Sharpitor gives you a French-style sleigh bed with en-suite, wardrobe, armchair and TV. All bedrooms have zip-and-link capability apart from Sharpitor and Burrator.
Get them excited with tales of Dartmoor ponies, cream teas and the beasts that reputedly roam the moor. When the B-roads finally peter out, there’s plenty on site to shout about, and nine bedrooms to squabble over. Whichever one they choose, they’ll be among up to 17 of their nearest and dearest, so they’ll be right at home.
There’s fun both indoors and out, here. Out in the two-acre garden, bordered by woodland that begs adventures and bug hunting, they’ll lose hours on the children’s swing set and climbing frame with slide, getting competitive over rounders, giant connect 4 or kicking balls past dad in the nets and taking a kite to the skies and watching it soar.
Indoors, the games room’s a magnet for anyone who ever played pool, table tennis or table football. And if they’re older, they’ll enjoy a sizzle in the sauna. In the evening, gather round the living-room TV for DVDs or Netflix (bring your password), or bunk off with a book and some music.
Alfresco at night, catch the starlit canopy from around the firepit whilst toasting marshmallows and bigger kids can lounge around in the hot tub, spotting stars and meteors above.