Buckfast Butterfly Farm and Dartmoor Otter Sanctuary

Buckfast Butterfly Farm and Dartmoor Otter Sanctuary

Buckfast Butterfly Farm and Dartmoor Otter Sanctuary
4.5
10:00 AM - 5:00 PM
Monday
10:00 AM - 5:00 PM
Tuesday
10:00 AM - 5:00 PM
Wednesday
10:00 AM - 5:00 PM
Thursday
10:00 AM - 5:00 PM
Friday
10:00 AM - 5:00 PM
Saturday
10:00 AM - 5:00 PM
Sunday
10:00 AM - 5:00 PM
About
We are a small, friendly and very different visit for all the family. Run by a small dedicated team we aim to make your visit educational and fun. You can enjoy and learn about our tropical butterflies in the specially designed habitat of which you become part. You not only see the butterflies but feel the rainforest atmosphere that they enjoy as you see their amazing life cycle unfold.In the Otter Sanctuary there are three species of otter to see, our native British otter, the playful Asian short clawed otters and the large North American river otters who love to show off. Our keeper is on hand to explain all about the otters to visitors, some are here for breeding, some for retirement, some just for fun and some because they are unsuitable to be returned to the wild.Make sure to bring your camera.
Duration: 1-2 hours
Meets animal welfare guidelines
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  • K8ie_H8r4ie
    37 contributions
    5.0 of 5 bubbles
    Great for Otter and Buttefly enthusiasts!
    Really enjoyed taking my partner here on his birthday as I visited years ago as a child and loved it then. There were 18 otters to see plus the wonderful array of butterflies, terrapins, iguana and fish. All of the animals seemed well cared for and happy in “natural” enclosures, especially the big family of otters which were a delight to see during feeding time. In all we spent 1.5 hrs here (it is a smaller attraction, not a zoo!) and if you take time to sit in the butterfly house and are patient you can see quite a lot for the amount they charge. Keep up the fab work! 🦦🦋
    Visited June 2023
    Travelled as a couple
    Written 4 June 2023
  • Paul S
    Kingston upon Thames, United Kingdom40 contributions
    5.0 of 5 bubbles
    What a day!!!! Amazing experience
    My wife, Jan, and I did the otter experience today. Our guide and keeper Taz was patient, Knowledgeable and fun! It was the most amazing experience to be up close to these wonderful animals. I would highly recommend a visit and if possible, arrange the full otter experience. You won’t be disappointed. Beautiful setting with lovely walks and very friendly staff
    Visited June 2023
    Travelled as a couple
    Written 21 June 2023
  • Tracy M
    Swindon, United Kingdom81 contributions
    5.0 of 5 bubbles
    Great fun watching the otters
    We visited as we were passing and a real gem. Lots of butterflies and otters. We arrived 30 minutes before feeding time and the otters are most lively then. We could have watched them for ages! As the lady fed them she told us about the otters and we could ask questions. A great time
    Visited June 2023
    Travelled as a couple
    Written 23 June 2023
  • laurajennings19
    Leicester, United Kingdom59 contributions
    5.0 of 5 bubbles
    Amazing Otter Experience!!
    I absolutely love Otters so my husband bought me the Otter experience voucher for my birthday. The sanctuary is small but there is plenty to see and we actually found the butterflies really interesting too. The Otter experience was absolutely amazing and Sophie was just brilliant from start to finish. So knowledgeable and friendly, she made sure I had a good time and got to spend lots of time interacting with the Otters. I was able to hand feed Peggy from over the barrier and a dream came true when I was able to hold the otters paws through the specially designed hatch. The experience was rounded off with me being able to enter the enclosure with Pepper, Hercules and their daughter Halloumi which was simply amazing!! I was able to hand feed them whilst they climbed over my legs. If you love otters this place is a must! Everyone was so friendly and I really can’t thank Sophie enough. I would definitely return and just wished we lived closer so that I could volunteer.
    Visited June 2023
    Travelled with family
    Written 25 June 2023
  • Diane T
    16 contributions
    5.0 of 5 bubbles
    Don’t miss feeding time!
    I’m scared of butterflies so was hurrying through that bit and was dive bombed by a massive one. If you like butterflies I’m guessing you can get close to some beauties… The otters I would love to have got closer to, they were absolutely fabulous. If the keeper is there to open the door they will come and hold your finger through the grill, their little paws are amazingly soft 😍 Feeding time is worth planning your visit for, it’s great to see and the talk is really interesting. Loved the visit.
    Visited June 2023
    Travelled as a couple
    Written 26 June 2023
  • bexterfexter
    Walsall, United Kingdom35 contributions
    5.0 of 5 bubbles
    Great little place.
    What a lovely little place!. The butterfly farm is beautiful with loads of gorgeous butterflies flying around you as you walk through. The otters are too cute. We made sure to time our visit to coincide with feeding time. There’s a steam railway just across from the sanctuary with a cafe. Parking is free. Very reasonably priced. Great way to spend a few hours.
    Visited June 2023
    Travelled with family
    Written 29 June 2023
  • moaningcow76
    185 contributions
    5.0 of 5 bubbles
    Lovely family experience
    We spent a delightful couple of hours here. The children absolutely loved watching the otters, especially when they were being fed. We bought some beautiful gifts from the gift shop. We had a lovely walk along the river, beautiful places to paddle in. Would highly recommend.
    Visited June 2023
    Travelled with family
    Written 2 July 2023
  • peacefullife
    London, United Kingdom159 contributions
    4.0 of 5 bubbles
    Good place to take children
    Well worth a visit. Try and be there at one of the 3 otter feeding times. The otters are very interesting, amusing and there are lots of characters. The staff are knowledgeable. The butterflies are beautiful and their colours and sizes vary so much. There are also fish, terrapins and an iguana. There is a shop at the entrance. It is a joint entrance ticket for the butterflies and otters and you can return as often as you like during the day. Parking is free. You can also visit the steam railway station, shop and cafe nearby.
    Visited July 2023
    Travelled as a couple
    Written 11 July 2023
  • alice
    Preston, United Kingdom7 contributions
    5.0 of 5 bubbles
    Otterly fantastic
    “Otterly fantastic” — Tom Waited 6 months as a Christmas present from my partner and definitely did not disappoint! So much better then I expected it to be! Friendly and welcoming staff, the little graspers were a bonus of the window recently added! And in all honesty life made! The otter experience is a lifetime chance to get close to these little smart beings, and the Buckfast otter and butterfly sanctuary is the place to do this! Will 10/10 drag my partner here again in the future.
    Visited July 2023
    Travelled as a couple
    Written 13 July 2023
  • YankeesFan13
    London, United Kingdom76 contributions
    4.0 of 5 bubbles
    Fun way to spend an hour
    Came here on a slightly soggy day just before the local schools break up for summer so it was a bit swamped with school kids. Plenty of space though. There was more to see with the otters than the butterflies, a fun way to spend an hour or so. Loos are at the train station so be prepared to do a dash across the car park when nature calls.
    Visited July 2023
    Travelled with family
    Written 14 July 2023
These reviews are the subjective opinion of Tripadvisor members and not of TripAdvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

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4.5
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Christine G
9 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Apr 2024 • Family
Such an amazing time spent here. Seeing the otters being feed and the interaction and the knowledge of the staff made the visit very enjoyable.
Written 5 May 2024
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Turnwood2011
159 contributions
2.0 of 5 bubbles
Apr 2024 • Family
We’re holidaying in Devon and when looking at the Railway website we discovered this. My young daughter loves animals so we thought it would be perfect to add on to the day out. Sadly it was a disappointment.

The butterfly section is very small and littered with dead butterflies. Upsettingly we even witnessed one falling in to the water and being eaten by a terrapin. We’ve visited a couple of other butterfly tourist attractions before and compared to them this really fell below par.

The otters are obviously beautiful creatures and it’s important we protect them. The sanctuary, however, was looking worn around the edges. Feeding time was busy so difficult to see and hear and also stomach churning. We’ve watched feeding before and at these times they’re usually just fed fish. To see fully formed chicks being chomped on was a bit too much for me and my husband. I realise otters are carnivorous but it’s a personal opinion.

The real complaint is the entry fee - it’s absolutely extortionate for the size of location and what’s on offer. I sadly can’t recommend a visit here and would never return.
Written 29 April 2024
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.
Hello Turnwood2011, thank you for taking the time to express your feelings regarding your visit, as always in cases like this its such a shame you didn't talk to us on the day as I am sure we could have helped make your visit a success. As with the joy of Tripadvisor reviews we have the opportunity to reply and I have to say that I do feel sorry your visit did not reach your expectations. Our butterfly house is on a par size wise with other butterfly exhibits around the country. It is obviously not littered with dead butterflies but sadly, their live's are relatively short and despite us collecting those that have passed, inevitably there are going to be some that we miss. These are usually very tired specimens with tatty and torn wings that have lived a lot longer that might be expected in the wild. We offer these specimens to local schools to study as part of their classwork. Sometimes butterflies may fall into the water, they may be old, poorly or just bad swimmers, sadly they can be taken by the fish and terrapins in the water. This can happen in an exhibition of mixed species. Oh dear, a stomach churning experience in the otter area sounds unpleasant, I do apologise, it's not our intention to churn visitors stomachs ! Our otters are fed a variety of things to represent their wild diet as close as we can, otters feed on wildfowl in their natural environment. From what you say regarding feeding time you have visited before so you would have seen the daily diet before maybe ? Yet in your opening paragraph this appears to be your first visit ? I am not sure what's going on. Pricing wise I would suggest you visit some nearby places to visit, our pricing structure is on a par with most, also your visit contributes to our otter rescue and rehabilitation work. As for our location, not sure what this means but Buckfastleigh is a lovely little town on the edge of Dartmoor with lovely people and a lot to offer. As you say you won't visit again but I hope my comments go some way to relieving your obvious distress following your visit.
Written 2 May 2024
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of Tripadvisor LLC.

Me A
1 contribution
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Apr 2024 • Family
We visited the butterfly and otter sanctuary today with the family, we all had a lovely time. The butterfly farm was warm and tropical with beautiful butterflies flying around as you walked through. We then watched the otters having their food with lady called Marie (I think) it was very informative and the otters were great fun to watch especially the big family group and Big Dave who we heard was named after the owner (this made us all laugh) however the highlight of our day was the gorgeous black dog who was looking after the desk with the reception lady! We loved being greeted by the dog who my daughter named ‘licky’ because of all the kisses we received! Well worth a family visit, will come again next year.
Written 11 April 2024
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.
Such a lovely review, thank you for letting us have your comments. So pleased you liked the little dog helping out at our reception, she is very friendly for sure.
Written 2 May 2024
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of Tripadvisor LLC.

Jessica B
1 contribution
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Apr 2024 • Couples
We had the most amazing time at the otter and butterfly sanctuary. We bought the otter experience for our 2 year anniversary and it was worth every penny!
Our guide Sophie was amazing and made us feel so comfortable the whole time, and making room for us in the crowds :)
It is such a lovely experience especially if you are obsessed with otters. Would highly recommend🤍
Written 7 April 2024
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.
Great to hear your visit went well.
Written 2 May 2024
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of Tripadvisor LLC.

CJ
Lincoln, UK39 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Mar 2024 • Family
What a gem of a place. I booked an otter experience for the wife and we were both impressed with the experience and the staff. A warm welcome from the team and being so close to the otters themselves made it a pleasurable afternoon.

Anyone thinking of getting close to otters and butterflies, this is perfect and I would highly recommend this experience. What's more, the otters welfare and treatment took priority which is highly commended.

Thank you for a wonderful experience
Written 5 April 2024
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.
Thank you for your comments, good to hear your time with us went well.
Written 2 May 2024
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of Tripadvisor LLC.

Billingtonpig
Salisbury, UK7 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Mar 2024 • Family
We had booked the otter experience for 2 as a gift for my daughter’s 18th birthday. It was absolutely brilliant! Sophie was our guide and she was so friendly, informative and clearly loved the otters. The feeding was so much fun and we had far more interaction than we thought we would be able too. Sitting in with the otters to feed them and feeding Peggy was one of the highlights of a really great day. I would definitely recommend booking a day here as there are lots of otters to see. The butterfly house wasn’t open as it was too early in the season but Sophie kindly let us look around and see the butterflies that had hatched. Thank you everyone for all that you do for these lovely little animals.
Written 25 March 2024
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Abi
Exeter, UK46 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Mar 2024 • Couples
Our second time visiting the sanctuary. Both times we've been lucky enough to catch feeding time - which is very informative and the best time to see all the otters.
The staff clearly have a passion for their work and are very friendly (much like the otters), answering all questions throughout the tour.
The enclosures are easy to view for children and adults, and kept in excellent condition - with many toys and enrichment for the inhabitants.
The gift shop is also adorable with a variety of local items available.
We will make an effort to come back in the Summer to see the butterflies too!
Written 23 March 2024
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.
So pleased to hear you have enjoyed your visits, thank you for taking time to post your review.
Written 2 May 2024
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of Tripadvisor LLC.

Doss1983
St Helens, UK135 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Mar 2024 • Couples
Fantastic experience, it was great spending some time with the otters 🦦 we even enjoyed preparing the fish ready for feeding time. Being able to sit in the enclosure and feed the otters was our highlight. Thank you so much for such a memorable experience
Written 20 March 2024
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

tinkerbellclaire
118 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Mar 2024 • Couples
Came here as was bought as a present.
Taz was our tour guide and was totally awesome at talking us through the otters ect.
Getting in with the otters and feeding them will stay with me forever. I have always loved otters and I can't wait to go back .
Thank you so much for looking after me and all your dedication helping otters your amazing xxx
Written 13 March 2024
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Colin Happy Day
Cockermouth, UK7 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Mar 2024 • Couples
We attended “Otter Experience” for my fiancé’s 50th Birthday.

What a fantastic experience it was, from start to end. Taz was our guide and her knowledge on these gorgeous animals was second to none.

My fiancé, Claire hasn’t stopped thanking me for her “perfect day”. Certainly a day she’ll always remember, we both will.

Thank you all and a special thank you to Taz. Good luck with your next venture.
Written 12 March 2024
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

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BUCKFAST BUTTERFLY FARM AND DARTMOOR OTTER SANCTUARY: All You Need to Know BEFORE You Go (with Photos)

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