If you ever find yourself in the westernmost part of England, you’ll be in for a memorable experience. The counties in the South West of England, Bristol, Cornwall, Dorset, Devon, Gloucestershire, Somerset and Wiltshire, offer a plethora of attractions for history buffs, nature lovers or food enthusiasts.
Where is South West England and why is it well worth a visit?
Rolling hills, ancient monuments and dramatic coastlines: South West England is one of the most beautiful regions in the country. Located on the South West Peninsula, between the windy English Channel and Bristol Channel, it has the longest coastline in all of England. Along the 702 miles long coast, you’ll find the English Riviera with its sandy beaches as well as the Jurassic Coast with its millennia-old fossils. It’s also the largest of the nine regions in the country.
Here you’ll find places that should be on every traveller’s bucket list. For example, you’ll have the chance to not only visit one World Heritage Site but a total of four: The mysterious stone circle at Stonehenge, the hauntingly beautiful Jurassic Coast, the historic City of Bath and the Cornwall and West Devon Mining Landscape. As if that wasn’t motivation enough to plan your trip right away, the area has even more to offer. Read on to discover five top destinations in the South West of England.
Places to visit in South West England: Escape the routine
If you’re familiar with the legend of King Arthur and Glastonbury, you might’ve heard of some of the places the region is most famous for. The region’s rich history is one of the main attractions, drawing large numbers of visitors year around. The best time to enjoy the historic sites and surrounding nature is during the summer months. During that time the weather in South West England boasts balmy temperatures ranging from 18 °C to 22 °C. Winters can get as cold as 1 °C to 4 °C. However, some say that the winding paths of New Forest or the standing stones are even more impressive to visit when it’s foggy and gloomy outside.
No list of places to visit in South West England would be complete without the legendary prehistoric Stonehenge. The impressively towering stone pillars on Salisbury Plain have fascinated visitors for centuries. While we may never know for certain who built the over 4,000-year-old structure and why, their craftsmanship is awe-inspiring.
Whether you’re drawn to its historical significance, curious about its purpose, or simply captivated by its majestic aura, Stonehenge promises an experience that you’ll never forget.
As you explore the site, be sure to take advantage of the audio guide available in multiple languages, providing intriguing insights into the mysteries surrounding this ancient wonder.
2. New Forest
This sprawling national park near the city of Lyndhurst is a haven for nature lovers young and old. You can explore the winding paths and picturesque landscapes either on foot or on your bicycle. One of the biggest family attractions might be the free-ranging ponies. If you keep your eyes open you might spot them roaming freely amidst the ancient trees or on the open heaths of the national park.
This place is ideal for a weekend getaway and to disconnect from the routine. A long hike through the nature and wildlife that this forest has to offer is the perfect break from your day-to-day activities. Additionally, the New Forest offers an array of outdoor activities such as horse riding, bird watching, and even camping, allowing you to immerse yourself completely in the natural beauty and tranquility of the area.
The county on the outermost edge of the peninsula is well-known for its breathtaking coastlines, picturesque fishing villages, and renowned surfing havens. Among the many captivating destinations within Cornwall, Tintagel stands out with its deep-rooted connection to the legendary King Arthur.
It’s rumoured to be the birthplace of the fabled king. After a full day of travelling back in time to King Arthur and his knights or exploring the hidden coves along the coastline, it’s time to refuel. Why not indulge in a dinner of freshly caught seafood, sample the famous Cornish pasties, and sip on traditional Cornish cider? Cornwall’s culinary scene is sure to delight your taste buds with its rich flavors and locally sourced ingredients.
4. Lyme Regis and Jurassic Coast
Located right on the stunning Jurassic Coast in West Dorset, lies the picturesque seaside town of Lyme Regis. Renowned for its abundance of fossils, the area earned its name from this geological treasure trove.
With a mention in the Domesday Book and a history intertwined with literature and cinema, history lovers will have plenty to explore. The once prominent shipbuilding port now showcases exquisite Georgian architecture, a pebble beach and iconic Cobb Harbour. Don’t miss the opportunity to visit the Lyme Regis Museum, where you can learn about the town’s rich heritage and the remarkable discoveries made along the Jurassic Coast.
Situated in the rolling hills of Somerset, Bath is a true gem of South West England. It’s most famous for its well-preserved Roman baths. Visitors to this UNESCO World Heritage Site can gather a rare glimpse into the everyday life of the ancient Romans. But that’s not all the city has to offer.
Bath Abbey is one of the most architecturally impressive buildings in the region. If you happen to be visiting on a rainy day, why not explore one of the many museums, art galleries, or boutique shops? Bath’s cultural scene is vibrant and diverse, catering to a wide range of interests and ensuring that there’s always something to captivate your senses.
South West England always has a plan for you
While these five destinations are certainly some of the highlights of the region, there are many more worthwhile places to visit in South West England. From day trips to national parks or historic monuments to a stroll along the impressive coastline, the South West of England has something to offer for everyone.
If you are planning to stay in South West England for work, sturies, or just holidays, have a look at this accomodations in South West England.