There are some places that are undeniably beautiful – from the aesthetics, to the atmosphere, and even the customer service. Then there are some places, for a UK break you simply fall in love with, and the South West is one of them.
Devon, Cornwall, Dorset, Wiltshire – the UK’s South West is one long stretch of evolving beauty whether you head inland or towards the coast. Gloucestershire and the Cotswolds are known for their stone buildings and chocolate box aesthetic, while the rugged Cornish coast is at least partially the reason we all fell in love with Poldark once more last year.
As the spring gets into full swing and summer peeks over the horizon, this spectacular part of the UK really starts to shine with its beaches sparkling, the accompanying ice creams tasting that much better, and the walks along the cliff tops being ever so more appealing now that the wind has died down. In fact, for a UK break during the summer there are times when the Devonshire climate in particular could kid you into thinking it’s part of the Mediterranean… just with much better cream teas. There are also some fantastic detox retreats that one can visit.
The truth is that to really understand its beauty, you simply have to visit. For example, it isn’t until you see it that you can really appreciate the magic of the wild garlic, bluebells and primroses peppering the coast and woodlands in Devon – the smell is unmistakable, and the sight is a refreshing eye opener after those long winter months.
Similarly, historic sites and cultural attractions like Stonehenge, Barbara Hepworth’s museum at St Ives, and The Eden Project have to be experienced to be fully understood. To describe Stonehenge is one thing, but ultimately any mere eulogy falls flat, because the prehistoric monument in Wiltshire has a certain type of magic to it that belies its heritage and attracts hundreds for the spring solstice each year. So en-route to that holiday by the sea, make sure you stop off and take a look.
Alongside this, The Eden Project in Cornwall never fails to inspire awe for natural beauty, and Barbara Hepworth’s sculptures are a showcase for sensual and creative talent.
Last year David Cameron got in a muddle with the order of the cream and jam on his scones when discussing etiquette in Devon and Cornwall. Just so we’re clear, it’s cream first and jam on top in Devon, and the other way around in Cornwall.
Whichever location you happen to be in, one thing the South West knows and does well is food. Obviously a prime spot for fresh seafood, with crab, scallops and lobster firm favourites depending on exactly where you are (Padstow having been made famous by Rick Stein). While few things beat barbecued mackerel on the beach after a day of fishing.
Additionally, for something sweeter, if you happen to be passing the famous seaside location of Salcombe, the Salcombe Dairy ice cream is internationally renowned for being made with clotted cream (we recommend the honeycombe option, but you can’t really go wrong). And of course, to cap it all off, Somerset cider as the evening draws in.
Whether, for a UK break, it’s romantic getaways or family holidays you’re after, the South West offers the sort of magic that has to be experienced to be believed. The tricky part is settling on which corner of it you want to visit, so take some time to think before this summer!