Summer is here and people from across the South West region can enjoy the many attractions that we have on our doorstep, as long as we follow UK Government advice and enjoy summer safely. There are plenty of places to go and things to do to suit every budget. Here is our guide to the numerous great days out.
The largest of all regions in England often feels delightfully off the beaten track. And yet SouthWest England is home to some of the country’s most enchanting spots. Counties such as Dorset, Devon and Cornwall maintain a feeling of remoteness and tranquillity that make them popular holiday destinations. The region’s major cities include Bristol and Bath, which are just a 12 minute train journey from each other.
In this part of the country you can see how the Romans bathed in Bath, discover the delights of a Devonshire cream tea and venture to the wild western reaches of Cornwall to seek out subtropical gardens and seafood. Don’t forget your camera: the tantalising views of deep-wooded valleys, sparkling blue sea and picturesque fishing villages make for the perfect picture postcard snaps.
Head to Newquay, Cornwall’s surfing centre, for excellent accommodation and nightlife or try the artist’s enclave of St Ives for fine-sand beaches and an array of renowned galleries. Cornwall has a milder climate than the rest of Britain, providing perfect conditions for exotic plants and animals.
The county has so much to offer such as the amazing plant sculptures at the Lost Gardens of Heligan, the tropical biomes of the Eden Project and the awardwinning wildlife sanctuary at Park Paradise. If you’re into the arts you’ll want to peruse modern art gallery Tate St Ives. There are so many wonderful and tantalising views of deepwooded valleys, sparkling blue sea and picturesque fishing villages.
If surfing is your thing, then head to Newquay, Cornwall’s surfing centre, for excellent accommodation and nightlife. Across the county border, Devon is all about fresh crab sandwiches on the beach, surfready waves, wild camping and leisurely rambles along coastal trails. You can explore the rugged beauty of the county’s two national parks – Dartmoor and Exmoor – on foot, horseback, or by even by llama! Refuel on award-winning local produce, which you’ll find at farmers’ markets, independent cafes and restaurants. And don’t forget to try a famous Devon cream tea.
Running from Exmouth in Devon to Swanage in Dorset, the Jurassic Coast’s 95 miles of stunning coastline and otherworldly rock formations has earned it a place on UNESCO’s list of World Heritage Sites.
While Devon’s picturesque countryside is perfect for reflection and relaxation, check out Exeter or Plymouth for shopping, museums and nightlife. Britain’s Ocean City, Plymouth, is on the south coast of Devon. Enjoy activities on the water, amazing local seafood and see the Mayflower Steps commemorating the Pilgrims’ departure in 1620. In Dorset, lose yourself in charming countryside, much of which is designated an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, and follow in Thomas Hardy’s footsteps, see a naked chalk giant and climb the largest hillfort in Europe. Escape the hurly burly of modern life and take in Dorset’s sparkling air by bike, horse or on foot.
Cities mix ancient and new
Bristol is a lively university city full of exciting attractions. There’s fantastic shopping on independent-minded Gloucester Road, great global cuisine from Georgian market hall St Nick’s, and buzzing bars and cafes along the Harbourside. The most iconic attraction is Isambard Kingdom Brunel’s Clifton Suspension Bridge – a treat to walk or cycle across. Then marvel at another of the engineer’s feats at Brunel’s SS Great Britain museum. The ship was the largest afloat when it was launched in 1843. VisitBristol has all sorts of ideas for things to see and do during your visit, from a Banksy street art tour to a visit to the 3D planetarium at the At Bristol Science Centre. Just a short trip away is the Roman city of Bath and the rural splendour of Gloucestershire and the Cotswolds.
In Bath itself, the Romans took advantage of the area’s natural hot springs by building the majestic Roman Baths, now a UNESCO heritage site. The city’s elegant Georgian architecture is best appreciated on foot. Take a free walking tour to enjoy the Royal Crescent, the spectacular Bath Abbey and the historic Theatre Royal. Bath is a must-visit if you’re a Jane Austen fan. Visit the Jane Austen Centre to learn more about the enigmatic writer.
Take time to ensure that you are in the know before you go
Summer is here and our colourful countryside, breathtaking beaches and glorious gardens beckon.
Many attractions are reopening, but have restricted visitor numbers and prebooked time slots, so the UK Government recommends looking at the official websites for attractions and organisations you plan to visit before you travel, so that you’re in the know before you go.
To make your days out as enjoyable as possible, we encourage you to plan your trip in advance and to check all of the important facilities and attractions, while looking after our great outdoors.
To ensure we’re all doing our bit to travel responsibly, here are a few simple steps to help make planning easy.
When planning your trip, check that important facilities – like toilets and car parks – are open before you travel so you’re not caught short. If you have an attraction in mind, please check online to see if you need to pre-book a time slot.
Some places may be extremely popular, so get off the beaten track and discover a hidden gem that you can brag to friends about. Keep two metres apart from anyone outside your household where you can. This applies to walking, running, cycling, sitting and sunbathing too. Wear a face covering at all times when on public transport like buses, trains, taxis and minicabs.
Make sure you have a bank card because many outlets are currently only accepting cashless payments and you don’t want to miss out on that ice cream.
And take hand sanitiser with you – you don’t know where will be open for you to wash your hands.
Leave the car behind where possible and visit attractions by walking or cycling. Please remember that England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland have different guidelines, advice and timescales for re-opening tourism.
To help you enjoy summer safely, please check the respective official sources for information prior to travelling by using the website visitbritain.com/gb/en/know-before-you-go
The mark that shows visitors we are good to go in England
With many attractions now beginning to reopen their doors, VisitEngland has come up with a way for people to check whether they are “good to go”.
VisitEngland has launched the We’re Good To Go initiative in partnership with the national tourist organisations of Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales.
The UK-wide industry standard and consumer mark will provide a “ring of confidence” for visitors as the tourism sector works towards reopening.
The We’re Good To Go mark means businesses can demonstrate that they are adhering to the respective Government and public health guidance, have carried out a COVID-19 risk assessment and checked that they have the required processes in place, ensuring they can welcome visitors back with confidence.
The scheme is free to join and open to all businesses across the industry. Tourism minister Nigel Huddleston said: “I want to encourage the public to experience a great holiday this summer and be confident that they can do so safely.
“This new industry standard will show people that tourism businesses, destinations and attractions are adhering to the guidance. It puts safety first and is an important move in getting this industry back up and running.”
VisitEngland director Patricia Yates said: “With millions of jobs and local economies across the country reliant on tourism it is essential that businesses can get up and running as soon as the respective Government advice allows to capture the peak British summer season.
“We want visitors to be able to enjoy their holidays and to support businesses to be confident they have the correct procedures in place. Our priority is to make sure tourism rebounds to once again become one of the most successful sectors of the UK economy and this ring of confidence is a crucial step on the industry’s road to rebuilding.”
To obtain the mark businesses must complete a self-assessment through the online platform goodtogo.visitbritain.com including a check-list confirming they have put the necessary processes in place, before receiving certification and the We’re Good To Go mark for display in their premises and online.
Businesses across the UK are assessed according to their respective national guidance including the social distancing and cleanliness protocols that must be in place.
The industry standard complements the Know Before You Go initiative.
For more information on staying safe, please go to visitbritain.com/gb/en/know-before-you-go