The Elephant’s Nest Inn

The Elephant's Nest Inn We arrived on Dartmoor on a grey drizzly afternoon and followed the Sat Nav to our destination, a Sixteenth Century Inn, The Elephant’s Nest at Mary Tavy tucked just inside the National Park of Dartmoor. Our first impressions were good as we pulled into the car park. A warm welcome awaited us and we were shown directly to our room. From the darkness of the day and the age of the building we could have been forgiven for thinking that we would be shown to a small, dark olde worlde room, but not at all. A new extension has been added to the original building for 3 bed and breakfast rooms all decorated to a very high standard and the build had been so sympathetically done that we hadn’t realised the accommodation was not part of the original old building. We had a large spacious room with a light oak wooden floor, beautiful white cane furniture and a large comfortable bed with crisp white linen. It gave a feeling of tranquillity and the view from the window was over a pretty garden and beyond to rural Devon. The en suite was modern and light and boasted a hairdryer and sumptuously thick and soft dressing gowns. The bedroom had a hairdryer, Wi-fi and tea and coffee making facilities plus a fridge with fresh milk! Rosie (our little dog) made herself at home immediately and was welcomed and invited to join us in the restaurant for dinner. She was very impressed.

Although the weather was far from inviting we decided to venture into Tavistock, an old market town about a 10 minute drive away. It was most intriguing with beautiful shops and little alleyways to explore off the main high street. We went down one and found an amazing covered market with a row of shops and cafes that reminded us of Covent Garden, definitely a place to spend more time in. We also took a drive onto Dartmoor where we saw sheep and ponies roaming the moor but unfortunately the weather wasn’t good enough to walk as it was very wet and misty. However, The Elephant’s Nest would be an excellent base for a walking holiday as it is literally a ten minute walk to the cattle grid and off over the Moors.

The Elephant's Nest Inn public house We arrived back with time to relax and get ready for dinner. What an experience that was. The restaurant was in the pub which was in the old part of the building and very “wibbly-wobbly” and the décor was naturally themed with elephants. It gave a lovely atmosphere to the place and the friendly staff and locals all added to a very enjoyable evening. The menu had something for everyone and all the food is locally sourced. It was really a “melt in the mouth” experience and we would love to find somewhere like this locally to our home. The price was very reasonable for what we had. The wines were top end of what you would pay in a pub. Having said all that it was very good value, it really was a lovely evening and the food was extremely well cooked and presented with delicious accompaniments.

Breakfast didn’t disappoint either. Home baked bread, fresh fruit salad and a varied choice of cereals and cooked breakfast.

Retrospectively we have read again the details provided on their website and have to say we couldn’t find anything that was exaggerated in anyway, accommodation and food are all that you would hope to find from their descriptions. One small point was that the photo of our room (the one with the vaulted ceiling) doesn’t do it justice. It’s much larger than it looks on the photo but I guess it’s hard to get the angle right.

The Elephant's Nest Inn - bedroom The Elephant’s Nest Inn in Devon offers a cosy winter bolt hole with open log fires as well as glorious al fresco summer dining in the large English country-garden, with its stunning views of the moor. Set within Dartmoor National Park, this 16th century free-house makes an ideal base for exploring the moor year round.

Situated five miles from the thriving market town of Tavistock, the Elephant’s Nest is a good rest stop for many a Dartmoor hike or biking trail. On the Western fringes of Devon, it’s also a good spot to stop en route to Cornwall.

The focus at the Elephant’s Nest is on great, seasonal food, using the finest ingredients. The delicious food can be washed down with a selection of well-kept real West Country ales from Dartmoor’s Jail Ale to regular guests such as O’Hanlon’s, Otter, Cotleigh, Teignworthy or Butcombe. There’s also local scrumpy on draught, ready for warmer days.

A new extension to the pub has recently been completed to provide three luxurious en-suite bedrooms. Beautifully finished with solid oak floors and under floor heating, all rooms have large Vi-Spring beds, soft goosedown duvets and pillows and luxurious soft furnishings.

Rooms cost from £87.50 per night on a B&B basis based on two people sharing.

Places to go

Hill Bridge, Dartmoor As we were only in the area for one full day it was impossible to visit many places. Add to that the fact that the rain and mist never stopped it kept us from exploring the Moors as we would have liked. However, we did go down to the coast which was only 20 miles away and walked along Plymouth Hoe which was most interesting with The Eddystone Lighthouse (open at restricted times) which had been reconstructed on land and the statue of Sir France Drake. It was fascinating to stand there and imagine all the pilgrims that would have set sail from that spot to a new world in the Americas.

Of course we could have picked any of the seaports along that coast like Salcombe, Dartmouth or Brixham all of which would be well worth a visit and gave a contrast of staying in the remote, tranquil and beautiful areas of Dartmoor with the fun and business of the coastal areas.

There are also places such as Abbeys (Buckfast probably being the most popular) National Trust Houses, Market towns, Wildlife Centres and Activity places with lots of fishing, canoeing and walking available. It would be a photographers heaven and an artist’s delight. This really is an area of diversity with something for everyone in all seasons.

Pam, 58 lives in Fareham with her husband Steve, little dog Rosie and cat Bobby. They are semi-retired and moved to the area 18 months ago to enjoy the benefits of living near the sea. Having travelled throughout Europe and America on family holidays with their two sons and North and South Africa and Dubai on their own they now enjoy exploring areas of France in their caravan which they wouldn’t have visited with young boys and this enables them to take Rosie with them. They also enjoy short breaks in England both in their caravan with Rosie and on their own in hotels and have recently visited Warwick, Hunstanton, London and Christchurch in the New Forest. They love exploring the countryside as well as walking around marinas and coastal paths and good food scores highly on their list of enjoyments when away.

219 people found this helpful

Share Article:

Pam Ridgway

Guest blogger

Leave a comment


Sign up to our newsletter to receive the latest travel tips on top destinations.

Join the club

Become a member to receive exclusive benefits

Our community is the heart of Silver Travel Advisor, we love nothing more than sharing ideas, inspiration, hints and tips between us.

Most Recent Articles

Geoff Moore joined events across the island to celebrate Liberation Day, one of the most important dates in Guernsey’s calendar…
The Royal Shakespeare Company offers far more than just live theatre as Gillian Thornton found out on a visit to…

Come feel the love on a Princess cruise. You’ll enjoy the MedallionClass experience others simply can’t, and it’s exclusively for everyone. Visit incredible destinations and be involved in the best experiences around each one of them.

Experience more with Princess and connect effortlessly with the world around you, spend time away with loved ones, take a moment for yourself, and fall in love with your holiday of a lifetime, every time.

With over 20 years of experience, Wendy Wu Tours has mastered the art of creating exceptional, fully inclusive tours which showcase the very best of each destination.

Each tour is led by a world-class guide, who will highlight the very best of their homeland, and includes authentic cultural experiences so you are not just seeing the sights, but truly immersing yourself in local life.

Say hello to ease at sea. Ambassador’s purpose is simple: they want to inspire every guest to experience authentic cruising, effortlessly and sustainably. Passionate about protecting our oceans and destinations, their ships comply with the highest industry emission standards and there is no single-use plastic on board.

On your voyage, you will receive the warmest of welcomes from the Ambassador community as you sail upon the friendliest ships afloat.

This is a global co-operative co-owned by local partners using real local experts and guides, which supports local communities, environments and wildlife. It offers travellers quirky places to stay, activity holidays and learning experiences. Not In The Guidebooks gets travellers off the beaten track into local culture with day experiences and longer, immersive adventures.

From wild wellness breaks in Wales to painting in Portugal, sustainable adventures in Mauritius to food safaris in Brazil, this is immersive, exciting travel.

Seabourn’s five intimate ships carry guests to the heart of great cities, exclusive yacht harbours and secluded coves around the world, while two new purpose-built expedition ships will combine exhilarating adventures in remote destinations with the sophisticated amenities of the world’s finest resorts at sea.

From the luxury of all suite accommodations to complimentary fine wines and spirits, and a no tipping policy, Seabourn exemplifies the definition of travelling well.