The South West of England has long been a popular destination for tourists both British and from overseas. Holidays in the South West offer a diverse range of activities, both inland and by the coast.
In this article we will cover a few great South West holiday destinations. By no means is this meant to be comprehensive, more a rough guide for those who are not familiar with the region.
Somerset is the most northerly county of the South West. The main city of this region is Bristol. Bristol is a world renowned maritime city with a busy and picturesque port. The city in general is clean with some fine old architecture and there is plenty to do and see for the intrepid tourist. The city has a rich heritage which is intertwined with maritime history, Bristol is also a very musical city and live bands and DJ nights can found all across the city.
Glastonbury is equally as famous as Bristol itself. Home to the ancient Glatsonbury Tor and Glastonbury festival which is held most years, Glastobury Festival is one of the largest music festivals in the world today.
If you’re heading to the coast then Weston Super Mare is a great place to visit. There are two piers here, one very old and the other new and refurbished after a fire. The pier in Weston is extremely popular with amusements and a ride on open miniature bus which ferries tourists back and fourth along the long journey out to sea. Bathers in Weston will rarely head into the water as the sea is often far out at low tide and the water is muddy from the estuary.
The very rural county of Devon has an extensive coastline on the north and to the south of South West England. The main city is Plymouth, which is similar to Bristol in the fact that it is a very ocean going city, the maritime heritage is of equal importance to Bristol and it is also a major naval base. There is plenty to see and do in this old city and it is a great base to explore both Devon coastline and the Cornish coast which is right next door courtesy of the Tamar Bridge. Exeter is also well worth a visit with its ancient Roman walls and medieval streets.
Popular coastal towns in Devon include Bideford to the north, and Torquay/Dartmouth to the south. Torbay is sometimes known as the English Riviera with palms and lovely sandy beaches.
There are many hidden gems in Devon such as Bigbury on Sea and Blackpool Sands, for tourists interested in exploring the region, a bit of research is worth the time as there are many quiet sandy beaches waiting to be explored.
As the most South Easterly county of England lies Cornwall. Some locals regard Cornwall to be a country rather than a county such is the pride in heritage and distance from major cities like London and the North.
Cornwall was once a major centre for tin mining and fishing, the mining has all but vanished and fishing still exists but only in small pockets and is supported by the popularity in fine dining across the UK and a desire for fresh local fish. Tourism is now by far the biggest employer in the county.
As Cornwall is so far south and west, it benefits from warm temperatures and high amounts of sunshine compared to other parts of the UK, combine this with stunning sandy beaches, pearlescent blue waters and you have a match made in heaven. Popular towns include Penzance, St Ives, Falmouth and Newquay for the wild at heart.
There are a plentiful array for quiet and family freindly beaches along the Cornish coast but access is not always easy. From quiet coves popular with surfers (such as St Agness) to the more family facilitated beaches around St Ives, if you’re looking for a beach holiday Cornwall really has it all. For fishing boats trips can be hired from towns like St Ives and Mevagissey.
Cornwall and the South West of England will always remain popular as a tourist hot spot, but with a bit of research and planning, you can have a stress free holiday in the region, even out-of-season holidays can be rewarding with fine weather in the spring and autumn. The South West of England is an area of outstanding natural beauty and should be high on anyone’s list when exploring Britain.
Article by Simon Lucas.