You'll find huge variety in the South West, from the cathedral cities of Exeter, Salisbury and Wells to wild Dartmoor and Exmoor, and the beautiful beaches of Dorset and South Devon to the rugged coast of Cornwall.
The West Country is well known for its moors: Dartmoor, Bodmin Moor and Exmoor. It is wonderful hiking country, plus there are some charming towns and villages to explore in the area: Dunster, Porlock, Lynton and Lynmouth, and Clovelly. Literary connections include Samuel Taylor Coleridge, who lived at Nether Stowey and Lorna Doone, who was due to be married in Oare church.
Visit the most southerly point in Britain, which is less commercial than Land’s End (the most westerly point). Walk along the coastal path and enjoy the spectacular views. Nearby you can visit Goonhilly Satellite Earth Station which beams telephone messages around the world. Just down the road is the memorial to Giuseppe Marconi commemorating the first radio signal sent across the Atlantic in 1901. The area is well known for its shipwrecks and stories of smugglers, plus on a more tranquil note, there are plenty of famous gardens due to the mild climate of the south west, e.g. Trebah, Trengwainton, Glendurgan, the Lost Gardens of Heligan, the Eden Project and Tresco Abbey Gardens on the Isles of Scilly.
Reading enthusiasts can call at the former homes of Thomas Hardy, and see the towns and landscapes in which his novels are set, follow John Fowles’ French Lieutenant's Woman to Lyme Regis, and discover the Cornwall described by Daphne du Maurier and Rosamund Picher... Children will love Harry Potter’s connections with Gloucester and the pretty village of Lacock. And there are pretty villages a plenty - from tiny Cornish fishing ports like Polperro, Selworthy set in wild Exmoor or Castle Combe, in classic Cotswold style, and once labelled the prettiest in England.
This is a region of ancient history, embracing the mysterious stone circles at Stonehenge and Avebury. Legends of King Arthur abound from his birthplace at Tintagel to his burial at Glastonbury. Nearby is Cheddar, yes, where the cheese originated and was matured in deep caves in the Mendip Hills. From these hills spring the hot waters which feed the Roman baths in Bath, equally known for its elegant Georgian houses developed when drinking spa water was all the rage.