Princetown despite its name is a village in Devon, within the Dartmoor National Park.At around 435 m (1,427 ft) above sea level, Princetown is the highest settlement on the moor

Get inEdit

Connected by the B3212 with Yelverton, where it joins the A386 to Plymouth. The B3357 connects it with Tavistock and, further east, to some outstanding moorland scenery. There was once a beautiful scenic branch line on the Great Western Railway but it did not even survive until Dr Beeching closed the line with which it linked. Details of buses can be found from [1]

If you are reliant on public transport, Plymouth is the nearest city, with trains and coaches linking it to many other cities within the UK. From the Bretonside bus station in Plymouth there are buses (routes 83, 84 and 86, and route 82 on summer Sundays) to either Tavistock or Yelverton, from either of these places you can get the bus number 98 to Princetown (although it does not run on Sundays).

From Plymouth Airport you can walk to a bus stop to get any of the buses (82/83/84 or 86), although it would be a lot easier to get a taxi to Princetown from there. A taxi from the airport to Princetown would cost about £20, from Plymouth city centre it would be around £30 (prices as of July 2010).

Get aroundEdit

Princetown is not a large place, walking (or pushing a pram or wheelchair, or using another mobility aid) will get you around the place just fine. The main road that runs through Princetown has adequate pavements, in a good state of repair, you won't have to walk in the road (which is common in a lot of the smaller villages).


  • 1 Dartmoor Prison. Most visitors to Princetown come to see the main gates. This is easy to access on foot - or you can just look at it in passing, from the window of your car or coach or motorhome! If you do choose to walk there, it is less than 10 minutes walk from Princetown's general store (depending on how quickly you walk, of course). A museum all about Dartmoor Prison is located just across the road from the prison itself.    
  • 2 St Michael and All Angels. Building was started by French prisoners, later joined by American prisoners, and is the only church in the UK built entirely by convict labour. Its first service took place on 2nd January 1814. The church is still consecrated but is not open regularly, although it is usually open every Sunday during the summer months, thanks to volunteers. Even when the church itself is not open it is still possible to walk around the church and admire it, and also to study the graveyard.    

In the middle of Princetown there is a war memorial. There is an interesting granite drinking fountain just on the right-hand-side of the Prince Of Wales pub, although apparently it ran dry shortly after being installed, over a century ago. A large monument (by Princetown standards) commemorates the Silver Jubilee of Queen Victoria, this stands right outside the Visitor Centre. There is an original K6 red telephone booth in Princetown, directly across the road from the Old Police Station cafe.

  • 3 [2], Tavistock Road, PL20 6QF, +44 1822 890 414, . W-Su 10AM-3PM (closed Mo Tu). contains displays on the history of Princetown, also information about the landscape, history and wildlife of Dartmoor. There is an extensive collection of oral history recordings from people who have lived in the area, with many interesting accounts. These are available for visitors to listen to. There are art exhibitions at the Visitor Centre too, which change regularly.

The Arts and Crafts Centre is directly across the road from the Visitor Centre. It contains small units available for people to rent and use as studios, for a variety of arts, such as painting in a variety of media, photography, felt making, jewellery making, and fabric work. It is open on most days for members of the public to look around. [3]


Princetown is ideally situated as a base to walk and hike from. Even if you don't want a long hike, a 15 minute walk from the Visitor Centre car park, going along the former railway line (now a path for walkers and cyclists) will reward you with marvellous views across Dartmoor - providing it is a clear day! Also this little walk has a good view of Princetown Brewery [4] (not normally open for public visits) - the highest brewery in England.



  • 1 Fox Tor Cafe, Two Bridges Road, PL20 6QS, +44 1822 890238. M-F: 9AM–5PM, Sa: 7:30AM-6PM, Su: 7:30AM-5PM. The nearby Fox Tor cafe does light meals, cakes and hot drinks.
  • 2 The Old Police Station Cafe, Tavistock Rd, PL20 6QF, +44 1822 890407. 9AM-5PM. There is also a fish and chip shop, although it caters more for the day trippers and tourists and is not usually open after 5pm.

The general store (which also has the post office in it) is useful for purchasing general grocery items, it also has hot snacks such as pasties and sausage rolls available.


There are two pubs in Princetown which provide a range of hot meals, these being The Prince Of Wales and The Plume of Feathers. The Prince Of Wales has its own brewery, and supplies many other pubs with its own ales. These are Jail Ale, Dartmoor IPA and Legend.


  • 2 Prince Hall, Two Bridges, Dartmoor PL20 6SA, +44 1822 890403. Great little hotel out on the moors above West Dart valley. Dog-friendly: "Mr Holmes, they were the footsteps of a giant hound!" B&B double £180.


Go nextEdit

Whichever way you go, the scenery is startlingly good.


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