DESTINATION GUIDE TO THE SOUTH WEST ENGLAND
A region of contrast, the South West is an ancient land of myth and mystery whilst remaining synonymous with sunny summer coastal resorts.
The South West of England covers an area which was once known as the ancient land of Wessex, stretching south and west from the city of Salisbury to England's western extremity and most southerly point at Land's End. The region enjoys the warmest climate in England and encapsulates five of England's most charming counties in Wiltshire, Somerset, Dorset, Devon and Cornwall. It is home to some of England's most unique vistas including the mysterious chalk hills of Wiltshire and the Salisbury Plain to the rolling hills and gorges of rural counties Somerset and Dorset. Devon provides a county of contrasts, with the mysterious moors of Dartmoor and Exmoor inland and a series of stunning Victorian beach resorts along her coastlines whilst Cornwall is a county of unfettered natural beauty with the coastlines of this rugged peninsula alternating between sweeping golden bays and rocky cliff faces.
PLACES TO EXPLORE
- Britain's most southerly point at Land's End
- Salisbury Plain
- Moors of Dartmoor and Exmoor
- Bath City, a UNESCO World Heritage site
- Cornish fishing villages and towns
The entire region is a cultural patchwork, home to ancient historic sites, modern music events, birth-place of renowned English food, drink and traditions and enshrouded in an abundance of myth and legend. Wiltshire is home to the unexplained prehistoric stone-circles of Stonehenge and Avebury and mysterious white horses carved in to the chalky hillsides. Over the border in Somerset you'll find traditional scrumpy cider brewers and the home of cheddar cheese whilst Devon remains the home of jam, scones and clotted cream with Cornwall offering the Cornish pasties indulgent Cornish ice cream and the ultimate destination to enjoy "fish and chips, a truly British meal. The town of Glastonbury is not only home to possibly the world's greatest annual music festival but also, along with neighbouring Wells, a wealth of Arthurian legend and connections to the Holy Grail. Dorset provided the back-drop for Thomas Hardy's literary works whilst Doyle's Hound of the Baskervilles reputedly roamed the moors of Devon. Finally Cornwall is home to the modern horticultural experiment at the Eden Project as well as ancient folkloric tales of pirates and smugglers who sought refuge in her treacherous coastal caves.
Salisbury, Wiltshire, South West of England
There are few large cities in the south west but the most notable is certainly the stunningly preserved Georgian city of Bath. Bath is of such historic significance that the entire city has been designated a UNESCO World Heritage site. Neighbouring Bristol is a modern, vibrant commercial city whilst the cathedral cities of Salisbury and Exeter are both well worth a visit. The village of Wells is technically a city due to its glorious medieval cathedral and bishop palace and Plymouth is home to a wealth of naval and seafaring history. The smaller towns of the region are, however, equally rewarding. The "English Riviera" consists of a host of charming seaside resort towns which sprung up in Victorian times and offer enduring icons of English summer holidays such as rows of coloured beach huts, wooden deck chairs and opulent Victorian piers reaching in to the waters. In Cornwall, not to be missed are numerous tiny fishing communities such as Padstow, the funky surfers haven at Newquay and the artists' retreat at St Ives.
Whether seeking modern or historic culture, unravelling ancient mysteries or exploring beautiful land and seascapes, the South West of England is an intrinsic part of your vacation to England.
Our guides to the regions of England.
Eccentric England, humming with history, heritage, pageantry, pomp and tradition. England is a place to sit back and enjoy quirky hospitality and past-times, to see first-hand a host of world-famous sites, to uncover hidden gems, to soak up glorious history and a place in which to simply indulge in the great outdoors.
East of England
Any trip to England is incomplete without a day or two spent in the East experiencing her subtle charms, stately homes and the glorious university city of Cambridge.
Heart of England
Encompassing some of England's key historic city's and sites, alongside lesser known gems and some of the country's most quintessential countryside, central England really is the Heart of England. The Heart of England's landscapes are punctuated with stately homes and castles including some of England's best known sites.
North of England
The North of England is not to be missed on your vacation to England, home to world-renowned countryside, cityscapes old and new, and an utterly unique culture. The people of the North of England are said to be down-to-earth and warmly welcoming to visitors but are also renowned for their quirky accents and character.
South East England
Home to cathedral cities, coastal towns and some of England's most famous Castles, the unique history of the south east should be experienced on any tour of England. The south east of England shows off this great nation at its most traditional; mellow, pastoral landscapes are dotted with royal palaces, ancient castles and quintessential English townships.
Comprising the nations of England, Scotland and Wales, Great Britain is a land of rich history, diverse cultures and glorious vistas just waiting to be discovered. Together these three countries and their peoples combine to create an unforgettable visitor destination which should be experienced at least once in a lifetime.
Whether it's iconic sites and historic landmarks, the pomp and pageantry of English tradition, the modern world of politics, culture and sport or simply to soak up the sights and sounds of a city with a life of its own, to experience London is to experience every aspect of English life and will make a highlight for any trip to England.
Bath is a city of unrivalled charm and beauty harbouring a rich history waiting to be explored. With foundations built in Roman times and a rebirth in the Georgian era, today the entire city has been granted UNESCO world Heritage status.