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SOUTH WEST OF ENGLAND

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.

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DESTINATION GUIDE TO THE SOUTH WEST ENGLAND

guidemapA 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.

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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.

Destination guide to England - York

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.

MORE GUIDES

arrowOur guides to the regions of England.

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Bath
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