Moretonhampstead is a welcoming small town situated where the 3212 exeter-Princetown and the 382 roads cross. It is a thriving town with plenty to see and do. The town is surrounded on three sides by the high moors, part of the beautiful Dartmoor National park, and on the fourth side by the specacular Wray Valley.
There is easy access to some of the more popular hiking Tors, and from Mardon down, which is walkable from the town centre you can see Hay Tor, Hound Tor, Manaton Rocks, Easdon Tor, and on a clear day, the north and south Devon coasts are visible.
There is plenty to see in the town centre, such as the Alms houses, The Cross Tree, and various sculptures and mosaics, plus historic grade one and grade two listed buildings. Visitors are often most impressed by the thatched buildings for which Devon is famous. A wander down Bow Lane, one of the oldest in the town reveals the ancient cobbled road and thatched cottages. You may een see one of the town's local ghosts!
There are two Town Trails to follow, the red and the green, which give visitors an insight into the town's history, which dates back to around 600 AD. The Tourist Information Centre has details of the trails, and other walks around oretonhampstead.
After all the hiking and browsing is done, there are plenty of places to rest a while and have something good to eat and drink. The town has an hotel, three pubs and three cafes, all of which offer a warm welcome and friendly service for visitors and locals alike.
The White Hart Hotel
The White Hart Hotel is a grade two listed building situated in the Market Square. The original building dates back to the 1600s when the town was an important woollen material manufacturing centre. It is an old coaching Inn, and legend has it that in the courtyard you can still hear the cries of maids run over by a coach and horses.
The hotels offers comfortable rooms, a brasserie and restaurant and a fine wine list. Both menus change regularly and I have experienced a superb dish of hare cooked in three ways, a good Chateau Beaumont, and an excellent Saint Emilion Grand Cru.
The Hart caters for weddings and parties, and its Jazz sunday brunches have been popular.
The overall ambiance is comfortable and relaxed, and the service timely, friendly, but not pushy.
Bargains at The White Hart
It's always worth checking out the White Hart's website, or picking up the phone and talking to Karen, because she offers some great bargains from time to time, particularly in the 'off season.' Take advantage of anything from free wine with a meal, to a free hotel room if you have a meal, or reduced rates in the hotel if you dine. There's always something new, so check the White Hart out today.
The Union Inn
The Union Inn on Ford Street is the oldest pub in the town. It is an attractive building which is bedecked with flowers all summer long. Inside, the low ceilings and bowed walls attest to the age of the place, and there are old photos and little snippets of history dotted about.
The Union serves good pub food, well cooked, piping hot and for a very reasonable price. The service is quick and friendly, and there is a good range of local ales on offer. In summer there s an attractive decked patio area, surrounded by plants and flowers, where you can enjoy an nice glass of wine.
They also have a function room for music, meetings and skittles.
The White Horse Inn
Another old coaching Inn, which allegedly has more ghosts than you can shake a stick at, inluding a top-hatted man, and someone who turns on beer taps in the cellar and opens and closes doors at will.
The restaurant and converted barn are fitted out in contemporary style. The food served is is English/Mediterranean fusion. Visitors can eat both inside or in the Mediterranean style courtyard. There is a pizza oven, and the Horse has a thriving pizza take-away service of wonderfully traditional, thin based, delicious pizzas.
In a recent addition to their repertoire, The Horse now opens from morning onwards to serve delightful deli style food throughout the day, from breakfast onwards. Their Eggs Benedict is worth trying.
The Horse usually features local artist's work on the walls and hosts live bands and music events. The last Monday of every month being folk night.
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The Bell Inn
Situated at the crossroads of the 382 and 3212, the Bell Inn is a Tudor style, black and white building, and was the first Inn to have electric lighting in Moretonhampstead. They offer well-priced pub food and have Sky Sports for those who like to watch the big sporting events.
Central Stores Bakery and Cafe
The Central Stores Cafe, situated in the middle of the town, is always busy with visitors and locals alike. They have a good range of breads, cakes and bakery products to eat in or take away, as well as light meals and the service is friendly and efficient. There is seating inside or outside where you can watch people going by, meet up with friends, or read the newspaper.
The Gateway Tearoom
Situated on the corner of the Market Square, The Gateway Tearoom has just been re furbished and is under new management, who offer friendly service and a good range of homemade cakes and light meals. The cream teas look delicious, and I can personally vouch for the Caramel Shortbread and Chocolate Brownie. They also do a range of speciality teas which is refreshing to see.
The Dartmoor Tearoom
Situated just along the Exeter road, next to The Bell Inn, is the Dartmoor Cafe, a smart stylish Bistro style tearoom. They offer home cooked food, try to source local ingredients wherever possible, and often have 'specials', such as gourmet pies on offer.
Unfortunately the tearoom closes for the winter, so It's important to read their notices in the windeow, to avoid disappointment.
Dartmoor Hiking is the online store for essential hiking equipment. If you're using Moretonhampstead as a base to explore Dartmoor, pick up some essential gear before setting out on the Moor. Click here to view the store.