A Dartmoor Oasis
The famous Two Bridges Hotel in the heart of Dartmoor National Park has been welcoming weary travellers for centuries. Today the hotel retains all the charm and character of a bygone age, whilst offering the very best in comfort, warm hospitality and top-notch food.
Step inside the hotel and you’ll immediate sense the style and heritage of what was once a Dartmoor coaching inn. Think crackling log fires, ticking clocks, cherished antiques, and the captivating hubbub of good conversation over a traditional afternoon tea, a hearty lunch, or a perfectly presented pint of Jail Ale from the hotel’s own Dartmoor Brewery.
Whether you’re looking for comfortable base from which to explore the great Dartmoor outdoors, or a quiet bolthole in which to escape the rat-race for a day or two, the Two Bridges Hotel is the kind of place where you can relax, recharge and revive. Rooms come in three types – cosy and charming Country Rooms, larger Historic Rooms with extra heritage features, and rather sumptuous Premier Rooms which come with a four poster bed, and either an indulgent spa bath or a luxury shower with all mod cons.
Dartmoor’s crisp, fresh air certainly helps build up an appetite, and the hotel’s passion for sourcing the very best Dartmoor and Devon produce for its menus ensures that every meal is a memorable occasion. Whilst hearty breakfasts, great value lunches and classic afternoon teas are a popular draw, it’s in the evening that our talented chefs really pull out all the stops with an ever-changing three course dinner menu showcasing the finest ingredients from Devon’s farmers, fishermen and producers.
With a Taste of the West Gold Award for the restaurant, and another for the hotel, the hotel has been rightfully recognised by the region’s biggest hospitality awards programme.
A map dated 1765 suggests the origin of the name Two Bridges, for in those days the road crossed both the West Dart and the River Cowsic, just upstream from the point where they meet, and required two separate bridges.
In the 18th century, Two Bridges was best known for its potato market. This would have been an open-air market where growers from the Chagford and Moretonhampstead area brought their produce to be sold. The location of this venue could not have been better situated as it gave both producers and buyers access to a convenient convergence of what was then and still is today, the primary roads across the moor. The market appears to have been at its peak around about 1770.
In 1792 Sir Frances Buller built a coaching inn and called it the ‘Saracen’s Head’ simply because a Saracens head appeared on his family crest.
In 1803 the inn changed its name to the ‘Saracen’s Head Hotel’, and in the early 1900’s the hotel finally changed to it’s current name – the Two Bridges Hotel when it was in the ownership of the Allanson family.
In 1907 the Devonia handbook carried the follow advert for Two Bridges:
“Two Bridges. This is a very favourite resort for fishermen who love the Dartmoor streams, and for those who desire to get the invigorating influences of Dartmoor air, than which nothing is more restorative. The railway station for Two Bridges is Princetown, Great Western Railway, about a mile or so away. It may be reached also by coach from Totnes and Moretonhampstead, by a very beautiful drive across Dartmoor in either case. The district is a fine one for a quiet recuperative holiday and is the scene of many traditions and stories.”
Not too much has changed, except the railway station at Princetown is now the home of Dartmoor Brewery, where the famous and original Jail Ale is produced.
The hotel continues to be a popular meeting point for tourists and walkers. The area is also surrounded by prehistoric antiquities, including Bronze age settlements, stone rows and an impressive 4,000 year old standing stone, the Beardown Man, situated to the north west. Nearby is also the Devonport Leat – a man-made water channel – and the ancient and mysterious Wistman’s Wood.