The South West of England is a great place to go on holiday. It has everything from sandy beaches and lovely countryside to theme parks and ancient underground passages, as well as some of the best food in the country. Here are 7 things you'll love about it.
The South West is a great destination for families with its often pristine beaches, stunning scenery, safe environment and plenty of outdoor activities available during any time of year. There’s also plenty to do when looking indoors in the area including visiting castles, theme parks or exploring ancient underground passages - all of which provide hours of fun for kids and adults alike!
Devon boasts not one, but two national parks: Dartmoor National Park and Exmoor National Park. Cornwall has Bodmin moor in the middle of which is the famous Jamaica Inn. The Tamar Valley, The Quantock Hills and Blackdown Hills are all areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty where you can see some of the most stunning countryside.
The region has a varied cuisine that ranges from traditional fish & chips through tasty Thai dishes to authentic Italian pizza finished off with locally made ice cream. It is also known for a number of delicacies such as cream teas, pasties, the more highly spiced white pudding and have you heard of Stargazy Pie?
Do you know the difference between a Devon cream tea and a Cornish cream tea? Read on to find out.
With plenty of accommodation options available, visitors can choose to stay in a luxurious hotel, countryside B&B, self-catering cottage, or take advantage of camping and caravanning opportunities.
Travelling around the South West is easy with a well-connected road and rail network; making day trips to explore further afield very feasible.
Festivals and events taking place throughout the year mean there’s never a dull moment in the South West, with music and literature events on offer alongside food festivals celebrating local produce and not forgetting very popular destinations such as The Devon County Show and The Royal Cornwall show.
The South West has some of Britain’s most striking coastline that includes traditional coastal towns and fishing villages as well as beauty spots such as harbour views and rocky coves. Along the South coast, you will find the Jurassic Coast where to this day you can search out fossilised remains of ancient creatures. Along the North coast, you will find The Atlantic Highway which links some of the UK's best surfing beaches.
There are also many castles to visit including the iconic Corfe Castle, the UK's youngest castle: Castle Drogo, and we cannot possibly leave out the legendary castle of King Arthur: Tintagel Castle.
However long you book for, there is always more to see and do, so you will just have to come back again!
The South West is famously known for its beautiful beaches, and it's easy to see why. The golden sands of the region are great for relaxing in the sun and building sandcastles. There are also plenty of watersports available to try out, such as bodyboarding and windsurfing (if you're feeling active).
What's more, the beaches in this area are often very secluded, so you can have a bit of privacy away from the crowds.
The best surfing beaches are on the North coast as the waves build as they come across the Atlantic. Beaches on the South coast tend to be a little calmer and Dawlish Warren for example is a site of special scientific interest where you will be able to see a wide variety of native and migratory birds.
Head inland and the countryside is just as lovely. With hills, forests and rolling pastures everywhere you look, it would be a crime to not take some gorgeous photos. Although there are plenty of places in The South West where you can see nature at its finest, one of the most popular regions to do this is Dartmoor National Park; a fantastic area of outstanding natural beauty. Dartmoor is 368 square miles (954 square km) of rugged landscape. See our blog A Dozen things to do on Dartmoor.
The South West is home to wildly different terrain - from the lush, green countryside to wild moorland and rugged coastline.
For outdoor pursuits, the region boasts miles of beaches ideal for swimming and sunbathing, as well as rolling hills perfect for exploring on foot or bike.
Local water sports enthusiasts will enjoy the coastal waters off the North Cornwall Coast where there are plenty of activities to try including surfing, sailing and windsurfing. The South West is also a great destination for walkers with a string of National Trust properties offering a wealth of history and beauty to explore. And when it comes to culture, there’s plenty on offer from festivals celebrating everything from wild animal art to sacred hill chants.
With so many things to do, the South West is a top destination for all the family.
On top of the array of countryside attractions, there’s plenty on offer when looking indoors in the area too with castles, ancient monuments and underground passages in abundance. If you need a dose of adrenaline, then there are treetop adventure courses and a number of theme parks. Have you ever ridden a Segway through the forest? Now's your chance!
The region’s well-connected road and rail network means you can get to wherever you need to.
Festivals and events taking place throughout the year mean there’s never a dull moment, with music and literature events on offer alongside food festivals celebrating local produce, craft fairs with makers proudly showing their wares.
If you just want to relax and take it easy, there are many pretty villages, market towns, and beautiful cities such as Bath with its Roman baths to visit.
If you want to stretch your legs and view our idyllic countryside or get out on your bike, there is every type of terrain you could wish for.
Foodies will love the South West
The South West is famous for its food, and with good reason. The region has a huge variety of different dishes to try, from freshly caught seafood, traditional pub grub served in pubs with roaring fires to very high-end cuisine. There are a number of award-winning restaurants in the area, so you're sure to find something to your taste. And if you're cooking the food yourself, you can shop for fresh produce at one of the many farmers' markets or farm shops.
There are numerous food and drink festivals throughout the year.
The South West is a great place to escape from the stresses of day-to-day life. Whether you want to find peace and quiet in the countryside, or if you prefer soaking up culture and history, there's something for everybody. There are also plenty of things like yoga retreats and mindfulness courses available in this beautiful region if you're looking to relax and recharge.
So, if you're looking for a relaxing holiday this year, the South West should definitely be on your list. With stunning scenery, plenty of things to do and some of the best food in the country, you won't be disappointed!
There are 53 castles across Cornwall, Devon, Dorset and Somerset, with 19 of them found in Devon and the majority open to the public.
If you want ancient history, then there are outlines of settlements still visible in parts of Dartmoor and the tors themselves (the granite outcrops such as Haytor and Hound Tor) would have stood as they are today for hundreds of thousands of years. You don't need to travel to Stonehenge for ancient stone circles as you will find the Bronze age Grey Wethers Stone Circles under the shadow of Sittaford Tor and Nine Maidens Stone Circle near Belstone on the Northern fringe of Dartmoor. They're not as big, but size isn't everything - and you try lifting them!
If you want even older, the Jurassic Coast stretches from Exmouth in East Devon to Studland Bay in Dorset, a distance of 96 miles. It spans 185 million years of geological history. It is a Unesco World Heritage Site and was the first wholly natural World Heritage Site to be designated in the United Kingdom.
There are many magnificent properties and stately homes dotted throughout the South West. There's even a house that moved in Exeter
One of the best things about holidaying in the South West is that the locals are so friendly and welcoming. They're always happy to chat and recommend the best places to eat, drink and explore.
Again you are spoilt for choice with holiday cottages, holiday apartments, holiday rentals, hotels, camping and glamping all on offer. You will also find that many are dog friendly and will allow pets.
Staying in self catering cottages gives you flexibility and allows you to feel at home away from home. There is a wide range of cottages in South West England and you'll find them in some of the most beautiful locations. Whether you're looking for a traditional thatched cottage in the heart of the countryside to enjoy with your partner; a beachfront property with stunning sea views to entertain the children; a charming cottage in an historic town or village for a romantic getaway; or a modern apartment in the heart of a city to enjoy the nightlife, you will find something to suit your taste.
Don't forget that many properties will be listed on Airbnb as well as Booking.com, vrbo and Expedia but they will also have their own book direct sites and very often you will be able to avoid booking fees by going direct.
Did you know the difference?
They both consist of scones served with lashings of clotted cream and jam (jelly if you're American) alongside a pot of tea. The difference is the order in which the cream or jam is applied to the sliced scone. In Devon it is cream first then jam working on the basis that the cream is taking the place of butter. In Cornwall the cream is piled on top of the jam.
I doubt you'd get lynched for getting it wrong. I can't promise though!