The South West of England covers a huge 9,200 square miles and consists of Gloucestershire, Bristol, Wiltshire, Somerset, Dorset, Devon, Cornwall and The Isles of Scilly. Within this ancient and beautiful region are the cities Salisbury, Bath, Bristol, Gloucester, Wells, Plymouth, Truro and Exeter.
The area includes national parks Dartmoor, Exmoor and The New Forest and boasts the longest coastline in England, dotted with quaint harbours and fishing towns. It’s also home to Stonehenge and the Jurassic Coast, making it the perfect retreat for lovers of nature, history and unspoilt rugged beaches. The stunning landscape has something to offer all year round, and if you’re lucky you can experience weather to rival Mediterranean climes – one of the reasons Devon is known as the English Riviera.
The South West is one of the prettiest, friendliest and unspoilt parts of England, with plenty to appeal to visitors of all ages.
Things to see and do
No pilgrimage to the South West would be complete without a trip to Bath. Steeped in history, this beautiful Somerset city is home to the ancient Roman baths, medieval abbeys, museums, lush green parks and delightful architecture. The city centre is home to some of the best names on the high street, as well as designer brands and plenty of independent book stores, map shops and cafes. Visit Sally Lunn’s Eating House to sample the famous Sally Lunn bun in one of Bath’s oldest buildings.
The rest of the Cotswolds are rich with history dating back to the Domesday Book and full of quintessentially English towns and villages, adorned with pretty cottages crafted from golden stone.
If you’re a lover of nautical history and long stretches of sandy beach, Bournemouth is the perfect seaside destination. The beaches are renowned for their cleanliness and safety, there are tourist shops galore and the entire coastline is dotted with colourful beach huts. Don’t forget the obligatory seafront chips and ice cream!
Cornwall is the ultimate coastal escape. Art enthusiasts will love the Lost Gardens of Heligan and the Barbara Hepworth Museum, while the Eden Project is a great day out for the whole family. For a bit of much needed peace and quiet escape to the tranquil Ruthern Valley, which in late Spring is carpeted with indigo bluebells, or for something more rugged try the wild Bodmin Moor. Fans of literature flock to Fowey, famous for inspiring much of Daphne du Maurier’s work, and there are countless working farms and petting zoos throughout the county if you have little people to keep happy. Cornwall is also the perfect place to sample delicious seafood, and Rick Stein’s seafood school at Padstow is the perfect gift for foodies.
Devon has lots to offer, from miles of stunning coastline to the world famous cream tea. Outdoorsy types will love the Tamar Trails and Go Ape! at Haldon, or if you’re looking for something a little more laid-back book a spa day at Seale-Hayne Heath Health and Wellbeing Centre. There’s also the model village at Babbacombe, surf school at Saunton Sands, vast Bronze Age moorland of Dartmoor or if you’re into historical buildings the stunning Exeter Cathedral is unmissable.
Dorset is full of natural attractions from Durdle Door; a huge limestone arch in the sea at Lulworth to Old Harry Rocks on the Isle of Purbeck, marking the most easterly point of the Jurassic Coast. History lovers should also visit the Castletown D-Day Centre and the Tank Museum, and the water park at Corfe Castle is a must for adventure seeking families. The Jurassic Safari is another great way to spend the day, enjoying the rich scenery and wildlife of Dorset from a rugged Land Rover.
The South West is also home to Wiltshire’Stonehenge, one of Britain’s most visited attractions and the ultimate place to spend the Summer Solstace.
Why buy a holiday home in the South West?
Beautiful beaches with turquoise seas, cream teas and some of the most quintessentially British towns and villages you could ever dream of, the South West is an idyllic place for a holiday home. It’s perfect if you like rugged beaches, unspoilt natural beauty and sunshine.