Westcountry Holidays and Travel Guide
Cornwall Devon Somerset Dorset

Cornwall


Cornwall is one of Britain's most popular holiday destinations. A rugged peninsula that stretches out into warm waters of the Gulfstream, Cornwall has a unique micro climate that distinguishes the county from the rest of the UK. Cornwall has something for everyone, fantastic beaches, clear blue seas, rugged cliffs, fantastic coastal walks and stunning moorlands. You can experience great family holidays on the beaches at St Ives, Newquay, Bude and Looe or marvel at the history and legends of Tintagel. We have something for everyone in the County, whether you are a family looking for a great holiday destination, or backpackers looking for remote cliff top walks.

Bude North Cornwall

  • Bude
    Bude on Cornwall's north coast is the ultimate destination for those looking for beach holidays. At low tide Summerleaze beach appears to stretch as far as the eye can see, a vibrant mix of surfers, body boarders and families simply paddling in the waves or simply sitting on the beach enjoying the sunshine - all watched over by a dedicated team of Cornish life Guards. The Bude Canal leads from the locks on the beach, back into the arable land of North Cornwall. You can hire a boat and explore this tranquil water way or simply sit in the café on the canal bank and watch the world go by whilst enjoying a quiet snack. The canal is a firm favourite with Anglers, who sit patiently along the banks, pitting their skills against the carp. Bude is an excellent holiday destination, with ample parking in the town, plenty of shops, superb beaches and a location that gives easy access to both North Cornwall and Devon.

  • Tintagel
    Tintagel is one of Cornwall's most well known destinations. Linked to the legend of King Arthur and the Knights of the Round Table, Tintagel Castle is believed to be the location of Arthur's Camelot. The castle is a fascinating place to explore - managed by English Heritage, it is located on an island promontory, accessed via a small bridge. Tintagel village has a range of shops and exhibits selling artefacts and trinkets linked to the legend. Tintagel is a very popular tourist destination, with ample parking and facilities. This is a great place to visit and explore the coastal path, particularly the walk from Tintagel to Trebarwith Strand, passing the old slate quarries which cut deeply into the cliffs.

  • Port Isaac Port Isaac
    Port Isaac on Cornwall's North Coast is the quintessential fishing village. Tucked away into a small cove that protects it from the Atlantic Swells, the village radiates out from the small harbour, up the sides of a steep valley.

    The main street winds its way down the eastern edge of the harbour, lined with picturesque cottages and small shops. Around the harbour there are cafes and two inns. There is ample Car parking at the top of the village - but it is a long descent down to the harbour.

    Port Isaac is well known as the village of Port Wenn in the Doc Martin TV series and has appeared in several films and documentaries. Port Isaac attracts thousands of visitors each year through this connection - .

  • Polzeath
    Polzeath at the mouth of the Camel Estuary is a very popular family beach and a surfer's paradise. The long gently shelving beach with its westerly aspect is the ideal spot for Surfing and Body boarding. The beach is also a great holiday destination for families, with a vast expanse of clean sand. The cliffs that run along the sides of the beach have many little sheltered coves, very popular with families. There are shops, cafes and facilities at the end of the beach, and ample parking above the beach on the cliff top. This is a large beach so there is always space available for the holiday maker, what ever the time of year. The beach is patrolled by Life Guards.

  • Padstow harbourPadstow harbourPadstow
    Padstow is one of Cornwall's premier destinations. The town is a maze of narrow streets that emanate from the small picturesque harbour. People love to come down to the quayside, stroll around the many shops or simply enjoy the waterside ambience.

    There are some great family beaches just outside of Padstow at Harbour Cove or you can take the ferry across the river to the beaches at Rock and Daymer Bay. Padstow is surrounded by some of Cornwall's best beaches, at Harlyn, Trevone and Constantine Bay.

    Padstow is the start ( or End) of The Camel Trail, a cycleway created on an unused railway line, that ends on the quayside at Padstow, you can hire bikes and cycle along the trail, following the estuary to Wadebridge and for the more energetic onto Bodmin Moor.

    Rick Stein has a number of restaurants in the town, which are very popular and generally need booking in advance. Padstow is the home of the Lobster Hatchery, where you can see young lobster being "grown on" prior to release in the waters around the Cornish Coast.

  • The Camel TrailThe Camel Trail - Cycle Route
    The Camel Trail is a very successful cycle trail created on a disused railway that once ran from Bodmin Moor down to Wadebridge and then along the western edge of the scenic Camel Estuary into the heart of Padstow.

    Exploring The Camel Trail, is a great day out for the family, with cycle hire and ample parking available in both Wadebridge and Padstow. The most popular section is the gentle gradient between Padstow and Wadebridge. The trail runs along the scenic estuary, with plenty of places to stop and admire the view along the way. Which ever route you choose, there are plenty of facilities, cafes and shops at either Wadebridge or Padstow. The more energetic can follow the route from Wadebridge up into the hills around Bodmin. The "Borough Arms" at Dunmere being an ideal refreshment stop on this section of the Camel Trail

  • Newquay
    Newquay is a very popular holiday destination. Famous for its beaches and night life, Newquay has a dual personality. Fistral Beach is Newquay's most famous beach, popular with sun worshippers and surfers. There are several beaches in Newquay, all ideal for swimming and surfing. Newquay has a vibrant and eclectic collection of shops, cafes, bars, restaurants and discos. Newquay is well known for its very active nightlife with many nightclubs and discos. The town has an active harbour and fishing boats still ply their trade for the town. The "Run To The Sun Festival" is an annual event that sees the lanes of Cornwall filled with VW camper vans all heading towards Newquay.

    Newquay Blue Reef Aquarium
    is a "must see" destination. Set right of the beach, there are fascinating displays of marine life and exhibits, including "walk through" tunnels that let you experience the display from the fishes point of view.

    Newquay Zoo
    is a small friendly zoo located on the outskirts on the town. At newquay Zoo, you can see over 130 animal species from African Lions to Penguins, all set in a stunning sub-tropical garden. It is a firm favourite with families, with Children's play area, events, cafes and restaurants & easy access. If you visit Cornwall with children, then this is an attraction that you should definitely place on your itinerary.

  • Perranporth Sands - sundialPerranporth
    Perranporth is the ideal destination for family beach Holidays with two miles of golden sands to explore, which lead into an extensive sand dune system as you move towards Penhale sands. The beach is patrolled by lifeguards during the holiday season.

    There is a natural tidal pool below the cliffs at Chapel Rock near to the Perranporth Arch rock formation. Be sure to visit Perranporth's Millennium Sundial (The Droskyn Sundial) located on the cliffs above the beach.

    There are facilities in the village, and conveniently close to the beach there is the tented frontage of the "Watering Hole", which serves food through out the day. There is car parking adjacent to the Watering Hole. The Novel "Poldark" was wriiten by Winston Graham whilst he lived in Perranporth.

  • Hayle
    Hayle is a small town on the Hayle Estuary, in its hey day it was a very active industrial area, but now its has a supporting role, providing shops and services (banks, post office) for the people who come to enjoy the golden beaches of the estuary.

    Hayle Sands is a vast beach that stretches for 3 miles from the mouth of the Hayle Estuary, to Gwithian Sands and the National Trust's Godrevy Point along the coast. This whole section of coast is a sports enthusiasts dream, with people involved in surfing, body boarding, kite surfing coasteering and swimming along the whole stretch of the coast. The area is patrolled by Life guards in the summer months.

    Hayle SandsBeach Cafe - Surf Hire at GwithianThere is ample parking at various points along the sand dune system from Hayle to Gwithian and Godrevy, with Surf hire and café available at both location.

    This whole section of beach and sand dunes has stunning views from Godreavy Lighthouse across to St Ives. Godrevy lighthouse used as the inspiration in Virginia Woolf's novel 'To the Lighthouse' -though the location was changed to Scotland.

    Hayle Towans is a vast stretch of Sand Dunes that leads from the town out towards Gwithian. The area around Hayle Towans is designated as Place of Special Scientific Interest, as the Ecosytem System has a very diverse range of fauna and flora.

  • St Ives
    St. Ives has long been established as the jewel in Cornwall's crown. A cluster of narrow alleyways leading from a small harbour has blossomed into one of the countries most popular destinations.

    St IvesSt Ives Tate Gallery and Porthmeor Beach - photo Paul watts CTBThere is a quality in the light at St Ives that creates a Mediterranean feel to life in the town. The quality of light in St Ives has attracted many artists to the town over the years. St Ives has superb beaches - warmed by the Gulf Stream, a picturesque harbour and quant street, lined with shops and cafes selling all kinds of memorabilia and gifts. Porthmeor Beach is a popular surfing location.

    There is a large car park at the top of the town, with a short walk down to the harbour. A shuttle service runs between the town and the car park.

    You can relax on the beach or in one of the many cafes or explore the narrow streets around "Downalong". Small boats busily take people from the harbour to view the seals or on longer fishing trips.

    Tate Gallery - St Ives
    In recognition of the pivotal role that St Ives has played in the art world, The Tate established a gallery in town - on the site of the old gas works, over looking Porthmeor Beach.

    The Gallery has displays that range from the primitive style encompassed by the paintings of Alfred Wallis to the abstract art of Hepworth. The Gallery is an internationally important collection of painting and sculpture, that captures the energy and influences provided by the light, land and sea of the Lands End Peninsula and St Ives. There is a café in the gallery, with panoramic views across Porthmeor Beach and the sea.

    Barbara Hepworth Museum
  • Lands End
    Lands End Visitor Attraction
    Sennen Cove
  • Penzance
  • St Michael's Mount
  • The Lizard
    Mullion Cove
    Kynance Cove
    Cadgwith
    Coverack
  • Falmouth
  • Mevagissey
    Charlestown
    The Lost Gardens of Heligan
  • The Eden Project
  • Looe
  • Polperro

Devon

  • Lynton & Lynmouth
  • Exmoor
  • Ilfracombe
  • Croyde
  • Westward Ho!
  • Clovelly
  • Dartmoor National Park
  • Plymouth
  • Salcombe
  • Slapton ley
  • Dartmouth
  • Brixham

  • English RivieraTorquay harbour bridgeTorquay
    Torquay is the heart of the English Riviera, famous for its beaches and palms. This is the perfect holiday destination, mild climate, fabulous attractions and plenty of things to keep a family occupied throughout the whole season. Torquay is a great place for families with 20 beaches located nearby.

    Torquay
    Life in Torquay revolves around the main harbour - you can take trips across the bay to Paignton and Brixham or simply watch the activity on the water from one of the many cafes, bars and restaurants that are located around the harbours edges.

    The Living Coasts seabird aviaryTorbay Belle - Haldon Pier Torquay harbour Living Coasts TorquayThe Living Coast - a coastal zoo with displays of birdlife and marine life from around the world is a great place to visit. Located next to Haldon Pier, The Living Coasts is a super family day out. Part of Paignton Zoo, this is a superb holiday attraction, with both indoor and outdoor exhibits.

    You can stroll through the habitats; watch the Penguins, Auks and other seabirds. A fantastic day out with amazing views across the bay towards Paignton.

    Torquay Harbour
    - a hive of activity with over 500 boats berthed in the marina or inner harbour. This is a great place to watch the water sports and day sailing craft being launched from Beacon Quay or to take a trip on one of the many ferries that run between Paington and Brixham and Dartmouth sailing from Haldon Pier. The ferries are a great way to explore the coast, weather its a simple trip across the bay to Brixham or Paignton, or a longer trip round Berryhead to Dartmouth, Kingswear and the River Dart, you will always get a sense of wonder and excitement.

  • Paignton
    Paignton Zoo
  • Teignmouth
  • Dawlish
  • Exeter
  • Sidmouth
  • Beer
  • Seaton

Dorset

  • Weymouth
  • Portland
  • Lyme Regis
  • Charmouth
  • Bournemouth
  • Poole
  • Jurrasic Coast

Somerset

The "land of the Summer people". Somerset is a scenic and varied landscape.

  • Weston-super-Mare
  • Burnham-on-Sea
  • Minehead
  • Wookey Hole
  • Chedder Gorge
  • Fleet Air Arm Museum
  • Wells Cathedral
  • West Somerset Railway
  • The Roman Baths - Bath
  • Bridgewater Carnival
  • Glastonbury Abbey

    Glastonbury Abbey holds a special place in English history, linked to both Arthurian Legend and the story of Holy Grail. At one time Glastonbury was one of the wealthiest Abbeys in Britain owning land across the south west - including St Georges Island near Looe, where they had chapel on the island and and the foreshore at Hannafore. In the Holy Grail legend, Joseph of Arimathea, travelled to England with the Holy Grail. Landing at St Georges Island - Looe, he then travelled acros the southwest to Glastonbury. At Wearyall Hill, (located by the main A361 in Glastonbury), he rested, driving his staff into the ground - by the following morning the staff had taken root growing into the "Glastonbury Thorn". For safe keeping, he buried the Grail below the nearby Glastonbury Tor. The search for the Holy Grail became one of the corner stones of the Arthurian legend and the Abbey claimed to have found the grave of Arthur whilst monks were excavating in the cemetery, discovering an oak coffin containg the bodies of a man and a woman - Arthur and Guinevere, with an inscription reading "His iacet inclitus Arturius in insula Avalonia" (" Here lies King Arthur, buried in Avalon") on a stone tablet found, next to the casket.
    With the links to Joseph of Arimathea and belief that he had established earliest British Christian Community at the Abbey - along with the link to Arthur and the Knights of the Round Table, the Abbey became very wealthy. This wealth and power enabled the monks from Glastonbury Abbey to take drain the Somerset levels, creating the landscape that we see today. Click here for more details....

  • Glastonbury Tor
    Glastonbury Tor is one of the most striking landscape features of the Somerset levels. Dominating the skyline, it is clearly visible from all parts of the plain. originally a Hill Fort, the Tor has taken on a mystical nature, with its links to the Grail legend and the proximity to the "Chalice Well" in nearby Glastonbury. The early history of the Tor is clearly visible- as earth work terraces, probably defensive ramparts from the Tors days as a hill fort. The Tor is known to have been an active iron Age settlement, though evidence of occupation during the Neolithic have been unearthed. Later, two phases of contruction were carried out at the summit, with the current tower surving from the second 15thC construction of the church of St Michael. For further details of Glastonbury Tor click here

 

St Ives Cornwall | Helston | Padstow | North Cornwall | the Lizard Peninsula | Port Isaac
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