West Country


It’s not just that London might be rather crowded this summer.  The West Country is special. There are four World Heritage Sites in the region, Stonehenge and Avebury Prehistoric Landscape, littered with archaeological sites, the elegant City of Bath with its hot springs, unique to Britain, the Cornwall and West Devon Mining Landscape, once the world’s leading source of tin and copper, and the fossil-hunter’s favourite, the Jurassic Dorset and East Devon Coast.  Parts of the great Victorian engineer Isambard Kingdom Brunel’s Great Western Railway are on the ‘tentative’ list of possible future World Heritage Sites.


Other stunningly beautiful and distinctive West Country landscapes include the Cotswold Hills with their picturesque limestone villages, the rather bleaker, dramatic uplands of Dartmoor and Exmoor National Parks, famous for their wild ponies and rocky granite outcrops, and the Cornish Coast with its small coves, miles of sandy beaches and Atlantic breakers.  You might enjoy visiting the low-lying reclaimed marshes of the Somerset Levels where King Alfred the Great once sheltered on an island from the Danes, the sandy heathlands of Dorset that feature in Thomas Hardy’s novels, or the chalk downland of the Salisbury Plain around Stonehenge.  For more on this beautiful region, explore Natural England’s South West England landscape character map.


Look at our FULL DAY, HALF DAY and EXTENDED TOURS pages for menus of suggestions on what to see in the West Country.  You may also find the official South West Tourism website helpful.