Buckland Abbey – Review for families

What has this 700 year old house got to offer your family? Find out using our North Devon days out guide

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What is it?

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Buckland Abbey, Gardens and Estate is a 700-year old house and a historic site, the former home of naval hero Sir Francis Drake. Find it in Yelverton. The Sat Nav postcode is PL20 6EY.

Best for:

9 – 12 / 12+

OK for:

Babies / Toddlers & Preschool / 5 – 8

Cost

££ – Prices vary according to whether or not you wish to visit the Garden and Estate by themselves or the whole property. Gift aid is added to your purchase but can be removed. A family of 4 will cost £22.70 without gift aid for the whole experience. Please consult the National Trust pricing page for Buckland Abbey.

What’s on offer

Explore Buckland Abbey, a historical landmark built over 700 years ago. Explore the wondrous Estate surrounding it and allow your children explore their lovely Gardens, which leads to meadows along the Tavy Valley.

Buckland Abbey is part house, part museum. There are numerous interest artefacts and collections available for viewing, including a Rembrandt at exhibition and the famous Drake’s Drum, originally owned by Sir Francis Drake. Child-specific activities include a quiz and trail suitable for youngsters, theatre, dressing up and crafts. Activities for the whole family both indoors and outdoors (which is ideal as an emergency rainy day visit)!

There’s a restaurant (serving locally sourced produced) and picnic area within the Abbey grounds. There’s a bookshop and a gallery (as well as the Abbey’s own charcoal for sale). The main entrance is ramped, but wheelchair and pushchair access can be quite tricky. Family facilities include baby-changing and feeding facilities, plus a parent and baby room. They offer back-carrying baby packs and hip-carrying seats for infants on a lending basis. There’s free parking 150 yards away from the Abbey.

Highlights

Children will love the top floor of Buckland Abbey, where the exhibit reconstructs what it must have been like to sail with Sir Francis Drake. They can even dress up in the period costume to help make it real for them. Any fans in the Devon area will want to check out Brixham and in the London area will certainly want to check out Golden Hinde II.

Adults and art lovers will be very impressed by the Rembrandt self portrait.

TripAdvisor users say children will really get a kick out of the Letterbox Trail, similar to the one on Lundy Island. Over a three mile walk, young ones will learn the satisfaction of not giving up to find each of the ten letterboxes. It should, hopefully, keep them occupied whilst you and the rest of your party can enjoy the gorgeous historical buildings and lovely garden views..

What to watch out for

– You will most likely be charged the gift aid price without being warned prior. Please tell the member of staff charging you that you would like to pay the non-gift aid admission price, if that is the case. Just make sure you’re not paying for something you don’t want!

– There is free entry to the shop, restaurant and gallery.

– Restaurant vouchers are given to those who arrive by public transport or bicycle.

– There’s no lift inside. So, there’s lots of stairs. People with mobility issues and little children who aren’t steady on their feet will most likely struggle to get around here, particularly the Abbey itself. 

– Dogs aren’t allowed in the ‘formal gardens’. 

MFM tips:

– Buckland Abbey’s restaurant do a lovely afternoon tea. If there’s ever a time to try out an attraction’s on site café, it has to be for a giant scone with clotted cream and a big dollop of jam.

What the owners say

“Discovery, tranquillity and history – an ancient gem in the Dartmoor landscape

When you visit Buckland, you follow over 700 years of footsteps; from the Cistercians who built the Abbey and farmed the estate, to seafarers Grenville and Drake who changed the shape of the house and the fate of the country.

The Abbey is part museum, part house, and filled with treasures such as the legendary Drake’s Drum. There’s no mistaking the magnificence of the Great Barn, which has remained virtually unchanged since it was built all those centuries ago.”

Visit the official Buckland Abbey website

Get the most out of your trip with our North Devon Days Out guides…

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