Crystal clear waters, vast sandy bays and award winning restaurants with unrivalled views…you’ll find all this and more in the the holiday capital of the UK - The South West Of England.
Besides its many beautiful bays and magical secret coves, Cornwall has a wealth of industrial heritage too. At one time the county was awash with tin mines, all are now closed but visitors can venture to sites such as Botallack, to see the remnants of this once flourishing industry. Perched on the coast this dramatic scene has been used as a backdrop more than once in tv and film, most recently for BBC’s Poldark series.
The beaches in north Cornwall and Devon are hugely popular with surfers all year round due to the rolling Atlantic swells that sweep into the golden sands here. From Ilfracombe down to Newquay and beyond, the water is littered with enthusiasts. It’s a lively, vibrant scene which includes many great coastal cafes and restaurants along the way, not least Jamie Oliver’s award-winning Fifteen Cornwall, set against the stunning backdrop of Watergate Bay.
Between the surfing capitals, there are many picturesque fishing villages too, such as Padstow and St Ives, the art mecca of the south west.
By contrast, to the south, the seas are much calmer. Away from the bustling town of Falmouth, quiet, sheltered coves sit along the coast accessed by winding paths through lush woodland. The picture perfect scenery here is strewn with quaint hamlets and villages. And for compass baggers out there, a visit to The Lizard Heritage Coast is a must, if only to sample one of Ann’s delicious pasties at her famous Lizard Pasty Shop!
In south Devon, Salcombe is well worth a trip, with its magnificent coastal scenery, award-winning eateries and beautiful surrounding villages.
Further along the coast you’ll find the English Riviera, where Torquay, Babbacombe, Paignton and Brixham offer much to do and see within a palm tree paradise, including a year-round programme of events and festivals.
But the South West isn’t just about the coast. There is much to captivate the visitor inland too, especially the arresting, windswept countryside found in the national parks of Exmoor and Dartmoor. Both are packed with interesting geology and wildlife - including many native ponies - and boast lots of heritage sites too. If the outdoors and rugged coastline doesn’t appeal however, then take refuge in cities such as Exeter, Plymouth and Truro. Each one unique, there are cathedrals, theatres and museums aplenty to entertain the visitor, not forgetting shops galore. From the high street to the many boutique stores, retail enthusiasts will not be disappointed! For something completely different, take a trip to Totnes, an exciting cosmopolitan town where interesting eateries line the main street aside independent stores, selling everything from beautiful fabric to local art.
This spirited town is set on the River Dart, one of Britain’s most picturesque and historically significant waterways.