Summer’s slowly on its way out, but there’s still plenty of time left to enjoy the warmer days before Autumn is upon us. If you’ve had your main holiday for the year but don’t feel ready to put the suitcase away just yet, a trip down South is the ideal solution to your wanderlust. Join us as we explore what the South West has to offer – it turns out there’s a whole lot more than clotted cream teas and Cornish pasties!
Our Favourite Places in the South West
While Bath may be the jewel in the crown of cosmopolitan Somerset, Wells is the lesser-known equivalent with just as much charm! As England’s smallest city, the vibe is less high-rise tower blocks and more medieval ruins, so if you’re up for a bit of historical sightseeing, here’s the place to be. In fact, much of the appeal of Wells is the architecture that’s on offer, and the best place to start is with the 12th-century cathedral. You’ll also want to make time to see Bishop’s Palace, which dates back to the 13th century and is accompanied by its very own moat.
This coastal city is the country’s capital for all things marine, and we love its chilled-out feel and seaside lifestyle. There’s plenty to explore down by the sea, such as the famous Plymouth Hoe. Legend has it that Francis Drake heard about the arrival of the Spanish Armada whilst enjoying a game of bowls here. While you’re visiting, it’s well worth taking a walk along the seafront – we highly recommend stopping for a drink or a bite to eat at Sutton Harbour – and be sure to explore the city centre too. If you’re a certified shopaholic, you’ll want to make time to visit Drake Circus, the city’s main shopping centre. Discover more about Plymouth here.
Newquay is widely known for its surfing credentials and beach lifestyle, and we’d be lying if we said this wasn’t our favourite thing about this little seaside town. Venture over to Newquay and you’ll instantly feel soothed by the crashing waves and laid-back locals – you might just want to stay forever! While you’re there, there are plenty of activities to keep you amused such as watersports, zorbing, karting and – of course – surfing, so thrill-seekers will be in their element here. There’s also plenty to see and explore, including parks and stately homes, for those after a bit of culture.
South West Photography Hotspots
Cheddar Gorge, Somerset
If you own a drone, Cheddar Gorge is the perfect place to take it for a spin! This limestone gorge is pretty spectacular, and you’ll get the very best view from above. Even if you prefer to take your photos on a DSLR or smartphone, you’re still sure to get some brilliant pictures – the location lends itself to being photographed so we think you’ll love the results.
Dartmoor National Park, Devon
Landscape photographers, assemble! Dartmoor is the place to be for those vast expanses of countryside and colourful sunset photos across the horizon. We really can’t narrow down a specific location to photograph, as we’re confident you’ll find a great spot wherever you are, whether it’s the rugged landscape, flowing landscape or iconic tors. Just be sure to check the weather beforehand and prepare well – it can be quite changeable so it’s best to cover all bases.
Kynance Cove, Cornwall
Kynance Cove is undoubtedly one of Cornwall’s most photogenic locations on offer with its crystal blue waters and rocky landscape. The craggy cliffside cove is beautiful whatever the weather, but we highly recommend visiting in the sunshine so you can capture those glistening azure waters. It’s also worth planning your visit around low tide – seeing the beach is a must for your visit. If you’re a fan of BBC drama Poldark, you may even recognise this stunning location, as parts of the series were filmed here.
Things to Do in the South West
No matter what age you are, Longleat will put a smile on your face. Not only is there the famed drive-through safari park experience, but you’ll also see the beautifully landscaped grounds and Elizabethan buildings situated in the park. As you drive through Longleat, you’ll see all kinds of exotic wildlife (so plenty of great photo opportunities!) and there’s even a special area where you can get up close and personal with giraffes, lemurs and wallabies.
Dartmouth Steam Railway, Devon
This one’s definitely our favourite way to see all of South Devon’s tourist hotspots in one go. Can’t choose between Dartmouth, Totnes, Brixham or Paignton? You can easily visit them all! Do the Round Robin tour and travel by train, boat and bus around Devon’s southern coastline, or just take the steam train between Dartmouth and Paignton for a scenic trip between towns. Whatever your age and whatever the weather, this is something you’ll enjoy!
The Minack Theatre, Cornwall
This open-air theatre is one of a kind and something you’ve just got to see if you’re in Cornwall. The Minack is a functioning theatre, so if you’re lucky you’ll be able to catch a play in the unique surroundings, looking out across the sea. We highly recommend visiting their website and booking in advance to make sure you’ll get in for a live performance – the atmosphere is something you’ll struggle to find anywhere else!
Keep Those Holiday Memories Alive
Of course, we do have another reason for encouraging you to visit these wonderful places, and that reason is those wonderful pictures you’ll take on your travels! We love to see your photos, and the best way to keep a lasting record of them is in a CEWE PHOTOBOOK. Once those holiday memories start fading, bring them back to life with your own photo book – and keep them to relive over and over again.
This summer, we’ve been exploring the very best that Britain has to offer. For more inspiration on where to visit in the South West, read our Somerset, Devon and Cornwall travel guides over on our Best of Britain page.