Holiday Home Location Guide - The Superb Southwest
Your Complete Regional Guide to the Southwest starts here
• Cornwall’s Dazzling Duo – great places to visit on the north and south coasts
• Delectable Devon – fall in love with this county of two coastlines
• Delve into Dorset – explore the Jurassic Coast
• Settle in Somerset – a top choice for a park or holiday home
Cornwall’s Dazzling Duo
It’s no secret that Cornwall is jam-packed with things to see and do. Owning a park home or holiday home here will never leave you bored or short of visitors! We’ve chosen two of our favourite Cornish areas, St Austell and St Ives, to show you just how much there is explore in Cornwall…
The South Coast near St Austell
The Cornish countryside is stunning and lovely to explore with some impressive moorland and amazing sea views. The south Cornish coastline is gentler than its northern equivalent, with rolling fields meeting the sea and a plethora of secluded sandy beaches.
Things to do on the south coast of Cornwall
Get the bucket and spade out
If the weather is good, you could just decide to spend all your time on the beach. Porthpean, Gorran Haven, Polkerris and Porthluney Cove are just a few within a short drive of St Austell, but there are many more on this stretch of coast. And if you enjoy peace and solitude it’s well worth searching out some of the hidden coves like Portmellon, a mile from Mevagissey, where there’s a good chance you’ll have the sand all to yourself.
Take a hike
The South West Coast Path is a must-do for anyone who loves the great outdoors. Drive to the picturesque fishing village of Mevagissey before heading inland on foot to Heligan and its famous Lost Gardens. These extraordinary botanical gardens were created in the eighteenth century but abandoned after the First World War. After the great storm of 1990 they were rediscovered, restored, and are now a major tourist attraction.
Take an eco trip
It’s one of Britain’s most popular tourist attractions; the Eden Project, near St Austell, is a great day out.A lot of its appeal is down to the fact that it looks so impressive – but what goes on inside the truly jaw-dropping set of domed ‘greenhouses’ (biomes) is pretty cool, too. Each holds a self-contained climate and ecosystem.
The holiday resort of Newquay on the Atlantic coast is only a half-hour drive from St Austell. It has a harbour, lots of sandy beaches, a zoo, plenty of little shops, boats for hire, sea fishing and more. It’s also the surfing capital of the UK. Further north, Port Isaac is a fourteenth century fishing village with plenty of charm.
Places to visit in south Cornwall
• St Austell Brewery PL25 4BY
• Charlestown Shipwreck Treasure Museum PL25 3NX
• Caerhays Castle PL26 6LY
• The Lost Gardens of Heligan PL26 6EN
• Cornish Seal Sanctuary
• Eden Project PL24 2SG
• Flambards TR13 0QA
The North Coast near St Ives
The jewel in Cornwall’s crown is a holiday hotspot, whether you’re looking for beaches or fine art. St Ives is a wonderful location. It’s full of lovely old streets and has a superb harbour and magnificent beaches. It is a quintessential beach town which has both charm and character.
Things to do on the north coast of Cornwall
Hit the beach
Spend some sunny days on one of the sensational beaches. Our shortlist would be: Porthminster Beach, Porthmeor Beach, Porthgwidden Beach or the beach close to the town of St Ives and the harbour, which has been voted one of the 10 best in Europe.
Follow the Pilgrims
Iconic is an overused word, but St Michael’s Mount certainly merits that description. A 20-minute drive from St Ives (or a 12-mile walk in the footsteps of pilgrims), it’s a tiny island packed with history and crowned with a medieval castle. Stroll across the granite causeway or take a boat, to tour the castle or visit the subtropical gardens.
The Lizard Peninsula
The Lizard is the most southerly tip of England, a peninsula that has some of the most secluded beaches in Cornwall. One of the most magical places on the Lizard is Cadgwith, a tiny fishing port where fishing boats are hauled up from the water over the shingle beach.
Art in St Ives
You don’t have to be knowledgeable about art to enjoy a visit to Tate St Ives. It’s in an amazing building overlooking the lovely Porthmeor Beach. Exhibitions change all the time. If you are lucky enough to live in Cornwall you can buy an annual ticket that allows you to visit anytime and also gives you entry to the nearby Barbara Hepworth Museum and Sculpture Garden. St Ives is of course famous for its vast number of galleries, too.
Take a boat trip to Seal Island to see the seal colony with a seal spotting boat trip. These one-hour excursions take up to 12 passengers to the island, west of St Ives.
Walk the Coast
The six-mile walk along a rocky stretch of South West Coast Path, from St Ives to the historic village of Zennor is officially one of Britain’s most popular hikes, being voted 24th in an ITV poll to find Britain’s Favourite Walk.
The dramatic clifftop pathways around the Godrevy headland, near Hayle, provide glorious ocean views. This is a wonderful spot to watch birdlife. Look out for the guillemots, razorbills, fulmars and cormorants that make their home on the cliffs.
Places to visit in north Cornwall
• St Michael’s Mount TR17 0HS
• Tate St Ives TR26 1TG
• Barbara Hepworth Museum and Sculpture Garden TR26 1AD
• Seal spotting, TR26 1LF
• Godrevy TR27 5ED
Devon – a vast county of gorgeous countryside and miles of stunning coastline. There’s so much to see and do here, to occupy your leisure time…
North Devon offers gently undulating countryside leading down to craggy coves, while unspoilt, sandy beaches border pretty seaside towns.
In the southeast of the county is part of the Jurassic coastline, a UNESCO World Heritage site and not one but two Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty. East Devon’s coast is blessed with secluded coves and vast stretches of beach with the South West Coast Path winding its way through.
If you’re living in Devon, or visiting your regular holiday abode, it’s hard to beat a walk on one of the stunning beaches, after the crowds have gone, as the setting sun casts a golden glow over the water.
Things to do in north Devon
Hit the beach
Woolacombe Beach is one of the best in Britain. Dunes and cliffs provide shelter – and also give you the chance to take a walk and stand back, elevated above the beach, to appreciate its beauty. The vast expanse of sand means it never feels crowded, no matter how busy it gets, and the sea is welcoming both for swimming and paddling, especially on a hot day.
Take a trip back in time
North Devon’s unique traffic-free, cobble-paved fishing village, Clovelly, is privately owned. Clovelly has one steep main street and no cars are allowed, so the 200 residents use sledges made of robust plastic boxes lashed to wooden frames to drag everything from the top of the hill where they park their cars. You leave with a clear idea of what life was once like here; it’s impressively unspolt.
There’s a lot to discover in Ilfracombe. Start with the small-but-perfectly-formed aquarium, where a wide-range of aquatic life is well presented. The spectacular rays seem to be a favourite here. Ilfracombe Museum presents an eclectic mix of local curiosities to intrigue old and young visitors for an hour or two. Don’t forget to head to the harbour to see the enormous stainless steel and bronze sculpture, Verity, the work of Damien Hirst. Opinions are divided about the sculpture but there’s no denying it catches your attention and it’s well worth seeing.
Experience island life
For a real chance to get away from it all, take a boat trip out to Lundy, a tiny, tranquil island off the Devon coast, owned by the National Trust. Birdwatching and walking are the activities here. But it’s a truly memorable experience nonetheless. You can sail here from Ilfracombe or Bideford, on Lundy’s own supply ship, the MS Oldenburg, built in 1958.
Walk the coast
For ramblers, photographers and birdwatchers, a brilliant section of the South West Coast Path starts three miles to the east of Ilfracombe at Combe Martin and winds its way on a 14-mile route to Lynmouth. The views it offers are staggering, but it does include some challenging climbs.
Things to do in east Devon
A circular walk
One of our favourite walks in east Devon is the four-mile circular route that starts and ends at the seaside town of Budleigh Salterton. The 250-million-year-old red sandstone cliffs give the coastal stretch a spectacular backdrop. Follow the path through the woods in the direction of Exmouth. Eventually you join the South West Coast Path back towards Budleigh Salterton.
Head to Ladram Bay
Two miles from Budleigh Salterton is one of Britain’s most spectacular beaches. Backed by awesome red sandstone cliffs and with two stacks within the bay, this small shingle beach is a delight. If you own a holiday home at Ladram Bay Holiday Park you can go there anytime; for everyone else, there is a small car park at the holiday park and the beach is a short walk away.
Honiton’s fame lies in the lace industry. The town’s lace heritage is on display at Allhallows Museum. Honiton is also known as one of the best places to buy antiques in the southwest. The genteel resorts of Seaton and Sidmouth are delightful attractions of this region. From Seaton you can take a traditional tramway inland and explore the Seaton Marshes Nature Reserve, where you can see wading birds in winter, and dragonflies and butterflies in summer.
Get a taste of city life
Exeter is a city full of character and history. The Roman city walls surround the centre and Exeter Cathedral is magnificent. Exeter Castle overlooks Northernhay and Rougemont Gardens. To their west, the Royal Albert Memorial Museum & Art Gallery displays fine art and costumes. There are medieval underground passages snaking beneath the city, too.
Head to the moors
Dartmoor National Park is just beyond Exeter. It’s home to the highest point in southern England – the 621m High Willhays – and is a beautiful area to explore. A Land Rover wildlife safari is a great way to discover this landscape.
Places to visit in Devon
• Clovelly village, Near Bideford EX39 5TA
• Lundy Island
• Ilfracombe Aquarium EX34 9EQ
• Ilfracombe Museum EX34 8AF
• Ladram Beach
• South West Coast Path
• Exeter Cathedral EX1 1HS
• Exmoor Wildlife Safaris
Delve into Dorset
England’s Jurassic Coast offers stunning countryside, fossil hunting and miles of footpaths along cliffs and through hidden bays Dorset has a variety of stunning landscapes, from the sweeping beaches and rugged cliffs of the Jurassic Coast to the rolling countryside and picturesque chocolate-box villages inland.
For walkers there are awesome paths along fabulous sea cliffs to be followed, with views that will take your breath away. Many people are drawn to the natural sea arch at Durdle Door and the limestone scenery of Lulworth Cove and, if you are a keen photographer, you should certainly not miss these locations. You’ll also find seaside resorts of varying sizes and styles, from genteel Lyme Regis to more lively Weymouth. The New Forest is close enough to visit, too.
Things to do in Dorset
The Isle of Purbeck is actually not an island at all, but a 60-square-mile peninsula surrounded by water on three sides. The dramatic ruin of Corfe Castle has a history dating back before the English Civil War and commands a lofty position above the village of the same name. The Blue Pool at Furzebrook is a Site of Special Scientific Interest, featuring 20 acres of woods and heathland around its water feature.
Even if you’ve never visited, you will most likely have seen pictures of Durdle Door – it is a hugely popular destination for walkers and one of the most photographed landmarks in the area. To experience it close up, follow a path down to an area of land which overlooks the beach and arch. Once you’ve captured that classic image, head onwards to the equally photogenic beach at Lulworth Cove a short distance away.
Wander round Wareham
The riverside market town of Wareham has a history going back more than 2,000 years, and up until the fourteenth century it was a busy port. Today it is somewhere to relax, have something to eat, or take a trip along the river. You can walk around the Saxon walls and visit the town museum to learn more about its history of Viking attacks and civil war skirmishes.
Catch the train to Bournemouth
No matter the time of year, catch the cliff railway down to the beach at Bournemouth and you’ll find holidaymakers making the most of the seven miles of sands. As well as the traditional seaside attractions, Bournemouth’s pier has a range of high-adrenalin activities on offer, including a climbing wall, a highline obstacle course and a terrifying-
looking zip-wire. Bournemouth has plenty of shops, restaurants and a buzzing nightlife.
Go fossil hunting
As stunning as the Jurassic Coast is, this is nothing compared to the 180 million years of history to be explored along this magnificent stretch of shoreline. Fossils of many species have been found here over the years. The beaches are filled with people searching for fossils amongst the pebbles and rocks of the shoreline, with organised ‘fossil walks’ available to be booked at Charmouth Heritage Centre near Lyme Regis.
Visit delightful Dorchester
Dorchester is a traditional market town that has five excellent museums and exhibitions. The Dinosaur, Tutankhamun and Teddy Bears museums and the Terracotta Warriors and Mummies exhibitions are all within walking distance of each other.
The Tank Museum at Bovington
Near Dorchester is a museum that tells the harrowing but fascinating tale of the Tolpuddle Martyrs. Six farm workers were arrested and deported for seven years for taking an oath of secrecy after forming a trade union. The case led to the foundation of modern-day trade unionism.
The Tank Museum at Bovington boasts the world’s best collection of tanks and tells the story of armoured warfare spanning over 100 years. Not a zoo but a chimpanzee and primate rescue centre, Monkey World, near Wareham, is home to hundreds of chimpanzees and monkeys.
Places to visit in Dorset
• Corfe Castle, Wareham BH20 5EZ
• Lulworth Cove & Durdle Door, West Lulworth BH20 5RN
• The Blue Pool, Furzebrook, nr Wareham BH20 5AR
• Bournemouth Pier, Bournemouth BH2 5AA
• Monkey World, Wareham BH20 6HH
• Tolpuddle Martyrs Museum, Tolpuddle DT2 7EH
Settle in stunning Somerset
Somerset is a county of contrasts with something for every holiday home owner or park home dweller – city, coast and countryside.
If variety is the spice of life, then Somerset is a bubbling vindaloo of a place. Rolling hills and sandy beaches are served up alongside a good helping of history and heritage, plus a dollop of family fun and a pinch of mysticism.
It is known, among other things, for its swathes of peaks including the Mendip Hills, Quantock Hills and Blackdown Hills – as well as large areas of flat land such as the Somerset Levels.
The jewels in Somerset’s crown include the Georgian splendour of Bath and the medieval intricacy of Wells. And Bristol is on the doorstep, too. On the coast, there’s traditional seaside fun to be had.
Things to do in Somerset
Just a few miles from the M5 is one of Britain’s most spectacular natural wonders – Cheddar Gorge. Start by climbing the 274 steps up the side of the gorge to the Lookout Tower. Once there, you’re on top of the world, with panoramic 360° views. You can take a four-mile walk right around the top of the gorge, too. There’s just as much fascination below ground in this area too, with Cheddar Gorge’s caves that were formed 500,000 years ago.
Wookey Hole is home to the biggest cave system in the UK. It was also home to the Witch of Wookey, an alleged witch who used to live there, and who ‘appears’ in residence at peak times. The caves are stunning, with underground lakes and strange rock formations.
Wells and Glastonbury
The cathedral in the city of Wells is an impressive sight – especially if you’re interested in architecture. Nearby Glastonbury has rows of shops selling a wide variety of quirky bits and
bobs. It takes about 25 minutes to ascend the steep hill of Glastonbury Tor and it’s worthwhile – the views are amazing.
Weston-super-Mare is the biggest and longest established of the traditional Somerset resorts. It is a vibrant beach location. The views over to Wales and of nearby Exmoor are enhanced by the long sweep of Weston Bay and the broad sandy beach has so much open space.
Roman Baths - in Bath!
The magnificent Georgian city of Bath, a UNESCO World Heritage site, is a must-visit and top of the attractions list has to be the Roman Baths. It’s one of the best-preserved Roman remains in the world. Thermae Bath Spa is Britain’s only natural thermal spa, where you can try the latest treatments as well as traditional hot water benefits. Bath is rich in culture and entertainment, and a great shopping destination.
Montacute House is a magnificent National Trust property. After touring the house, enjoy a picnic among the trees followed by a wander around the grounds, enjoying watching the koi carp in the fountain pond. Montacute village is also home to the mildly eccentric TV, Radio and Toy Museum.
West Somerset Railway
The West Somerset Railway takes you on a glorious 20-mile trip from Bishops Lydeard to Minehead through lovely scenery passing through the Quantock Hills and along the coast of Exmoor.
Places to visit in Somerset
• Cheddar Gorge & Caves, Cheddar, Somerset BS27 3QF
• Wookey Hole Caves, The Mill High Street, Wookey Hole BA5 1BB
• Montacute House, Montacute, Somerset, TA15 6XP
• Haynes International Motor Museum, Sparkford, Yeovil BA22 7LH
• Fleet Air Arm Museum
RNAS Yeovilton, Ilchester BA22 8HT
• Wells Cathedral, Cathedral Green, Wells, Somerset BA5 2UE
• The Roman Baths, Abbey Church Yard, Bath Somerset BA1 1LZ
Tel: 01225 477785
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