Destination Guide to the South West of England

A 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.

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.

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.

Relevant Tours

Tours of Cornwall - St Michaels Mount

An ancient land shrouded in legend and myth from King Arthur and Merlin to the Pirates of Penzance.  The sunny West Country gave England our beloved cider, fish and chips and jam and scones.  This tour takes you from the majestic city of Bath to the fishing towns of the Cornish coast and Devonshire Moors.

Britain Tours - Lake District

Experience the very best of England, Scotland and Wales on this quality tour of all of Britain. Enjoy the fabulous cities of York, Edinburgh, Glasgow and Cardiff and pass through areas of outstanding scenery in the Cotswolds, Yorkshire, the Trossachs, the Lake District and the renowned coastal counties of England's West Country; Devon and Cornwall.

England Tours - Stonehenge

A British Journey takes you from Scotland to England's capital city enjoying a wealth of cultural highlights along the way. Explore the Highlands in miniature and the metropolis of Glasgow before passing south through the inspiring landscapes of the Lake District and Cotswolds to glorious historic cities including Chester, Stratford upon Avon and Bath.

Wales Tours - Conwy Valley

Enjoy a journey through the heart of Britain taking in iconic landmarks of central England and lesser-known but equally enchanting gems of Wales. From the city of London, the Roman Baths, Stonehenge and Oxford we'll journey to the opulent Cardiff Castle, through the wilderness Brecon Beacons and to the medieval fortresses and majestic mountains of North Wales and the spectacular Snowdonia National Park.

England Tours - St Ives Cornwall

Enjoy five days exploring the south west peninsula of England, a region steeped in myth and mystery; Devon and Cornwall are home to Arthurian legend, Celtic kingdoms, beautiful coastlines and wild moorlands with legendary beasts. Spend two nights in charming Exeter and two nights in the beautiful coastal town of Falmouth.

Tours of England - Bath

Heart of England is one of Britain's most iconic and traditional regions, encompassing Oxford, Stratford-upon Avon, Bath and the Cotswolds. On your five day journey we'll experience Oxford's dreaming Spires, visit enchanting film locations, explore honey-coloured Cotswold villages, ancient abbeys and stately homes not to mention the UNESCO World Heritage city of Bath.

Tours of England - Bath

Enjoy the history and grandeur of an ancient land on this castle tour of England. By day you'll explore castle ruins, historic sites, stunning landscapes and cultural jewels such as Oxford, Stratford, Chester, York and Bath whilst by night you'll live like royalty as you experience historic and characterful castle hotels and opulent country manors!

Tours of Cornwall - St Michaels Mount

Taking in the beautiful West Country of England, this tour has it all, from history and architecture, to breath-taking scenery and fine food. See wild ponies in the Dartmoor National Park, visit Doc Martin's Port Isaac and explore a maritime past in Falmouth. Enjoy regional specialities including Cornish Pasties, cream teas and a meal at Rick Stein's renowned 'The Seafood Restaurant'.

Tours of Scotland - Edinburgh Arthurs Seat

Uncover the myths, legends and history of this amazing isle! On this tour you'll discover both cultural highlights and unrivalled scenery; from the towns and cities of Stratford-upon-Avon, York, Edinburgh, St Andrews, Glasgow, Liverpool and Bath to the majestic scenery of the Cotswolds, Yorkshire, the Scottish Highlands, the Lake District and the Wye Valley.

Tours of England - Bath

Discover some of Britain’s finest cities and all that’s in between on this leisurely tour of the East of Scotland and England. Travelling from Edinburgh to London via York, you’ll enjoy overnight stays in our most renowned historic and cultural centres whilst your daily excursions will take you to a host of smaller towns and areas of natural beauty including St Andrews, the Scottish Borders, the North Yorkshire Moors and the Cotswolds.

Tours of England - Liverpool

Indulge in a tour of two of Britain's unique nations as you explore the sights and sounds of England and Scotland. From the vibrant and historic cities of Glasgow, Edinburgh, London and York to the stunning landscapes of the Lake District and the Scottish Trossachs not to mention a host of icons and lesser known gems along the way.

England Tours of Oxford

Experience all that is great about Britain on the ultimate tour of England, Scotland and Wales. See it all, from the thriving capital cities of London, Edinburgh and Cardiff to the remote Scottish Highlands, tranquil Lake District and spectacular Snowdonia National Park. Along the way you'll experience diverse cultures and histories and see world-famous landmarks.

England Tours - Lake District

Discover quintessential England as you explore the patchwork countryside of the Cotswolds and some of England's most captivating historic cities. Delight in the rolling fields of Cambridgeshire, the walking haven of the Lake District and the grandeur of regency city Bath, before retiring to a comfortable overnight stay in a traditional pub or inn offering classic "pub-grub" for your evening meal and a selection of ales in the bar.

Tours of Cornwall - St Michaels Mount

A tour to England's sunny South West and the charming regions of Devon and Cornwall. Discover historic locations such as Stonehenge, Plymouth's Mayflower Steps and Bath's Roman Baths not to mention the dramatic landscapes of the Devonshire moors and the seascapes and craggy coastlines of Cornish Peninsular. Highlights include Tintagel Castle and the historic village of Lacock.

Tours of Wales - Brecon Beacons

Experience the contrasts of two distinct British cultures on this tour of England and Wales.  Enjoy the stunning vistas of the Cotswolds and Snowdonia National Park to the icons of English and Welsh history at York Minster, Shakespeare's Stratford, Cardiff Castle and Stonehenge.

Castle Tours - Blenheim Palace

Indulge in the history and heritage of England, Scotland and Wales by day and see its character reflected in your unique and distinguished accommodation each night on this deluxe tour of Britain. Enjoy elegant cities in York, Bath, Oxford and Edinburgh as well as the natural beauty of the Cotswolds, the Yorkshire Moors, the Scottish Lowlands and the mountains of Snowdonia.

England Tours Salisbury

Icons of England takes you on a journey of discovery of England's most renowned sites, cities and landscapes. You'll experience English icons including the colleges of Cambridge, historic York Minster, the classic countryside of the Cotswolds, Warwick Castle, Shakespeare's Stratford, Roman Baths, the enigmatic Stonehenge and the grandiose Windsor Castle.

Scotland Tours - Edinburgh at night

Experience cityscapes and scenic lakes on this lively tour which will give you a flavour of England, Scotland and Wales. From London to medieval York, historic Edinburgh, vibrant Liverpool and the Welsh capital of Cardiff, you'll enjoy an insight in to British culture and craftsmanship. And by popular demand, Real Britain also offers a number of Winter departures.

Cornwall Food Tour

A journey to the beautiful South West of England with a twist; our focus will not just be on the picturesque fishing towns and rustic coastlines of this region but also on its tasty local delicacies and gastronomy. From metropolitan London to the gorgeous coastal town of St Agnes, we'll visit public gardens, abbeys and historic sites and sample cheeses, wines, ciders and more not to mention dine in Rick Stein's renowned restaurant in Winchester.

Tour of York England

Utilize the extensive English rail network to explore the corners of the English nation.  From the Salisbury Plain and West Country coasts , Lake District and Cotswolds to the charming heritage cities of Bath, York, Stratford upon Avon and Chester.  This is the ultimate rail tour of England.

England Tours - Stonehenge

Get off the beaten tourist track as you journey from Windsor to Edinburgh through the beautiful West of Britain. Explore England's picturesque coastal counties of Devon and Cornwall, see unrivalled vistas in Wales' Snowdonia National Park, pass through the majestic Lake District and tour Scotland's most elegant city in, Edinburgh.

England Tours Salisbury

Enjoy the highlights of Britain on this leisurely 15-day tour which takes you from the most southerly tip of England at Land's End to Scotland's St Andrews. On route discover national icons such as Stonehenge, Edinburgh Castle and Windsor Castle alongside more "off the beaten path" destinations as you explore the coast and countryside of Devon and Cornwall, ancient Wales and the towns and dales of Yorkshire.

Tours of London - Tower Bridge

With London as your base and your Britrail London Plus Pass in your back pocket you're equipped not only to explore the wonders of England's capital but also to travel through the tranquil countryside to a host of surrounding heritage towns and cities such as Bath, Stratford upon Avon, Canterbury and Cambridge.

England Tours - Stonehenge

Discover quintessential England as you explore the patchwork countryside of the Cotswolds and some of England's most captivating historic cities. Delight in whimsical Oxford, Shakespeare's Stratford and the grandeur of regency city Bath or lesser known gems such as the eccentric villages of Stow-on-the-Wold and Moreton-in-Marsh.

Tours England - York

England Explorer offers an in depth tour of this great nation. From the charming countryside of the Lake District and the Cotswolds to the exciting cities of Liverpool and York this tour takes in England's most renowned sites and some lesser known gems.

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