Are you planning a trip to South West England but overwhelmed with the endless options of places to visit? Look no further! We’ve compiled a list of the top 25 must-visit tourist attractions in this enchanting region that will leave you awe-inspired and craving for more. From breathtaking natural landscapes, iconic landmarks, historical sites, cultural hotspots, and captivating activities – there’s something for everyone on this ultimate bucket-list itinerary. So pack your bags and get ready to embark on an unforgettable adventure through South West England!
Top 25 Must-Visit Tourist Attractions in South West England
1. Roman Baths in Bath
Yes, the city of Bath is named after its Roman baths. These ancient baths are fed by natural hot springs and were once a popular destination for relaxation and socializing. The Roman Baths complex includes the remains of the baths themselves, as well as a temple dedicated to the goddess Minerva. Visitors can still see the original Roman mosaics and statues and even try out the waters for themselves.
2. Stonehenge near Salisbury
Stonehenge is a prehistoric monument in Wiltshire, England, situated on Salisbury Plain. It is made up of standing stones that are arranged in a circle and are each around 13 feet (4.0 m) high, 7 feet (2.1 m) wide and weigh about 25 tons. The Neolithic and Bronze Age monument complex in England with its numerous burial mounds is where the stones are located, enclosed by earthworks.
Archaeologists believe that Stonehenge was constructed over a period of several thousand years, beginning in the late Neolithic period (around 3000 BC). The site has been described as a place of religious importance, and it has been speculated that the stones may have been used for ancestor worship or as part of a shamanic ritual. In 2008, archaeologists discovered a 4,500-year-old pit aligned with the Heel Stone at Stonehenge, which contained human remains and pottery fragments. This suggests that people were using the site long before the stones were erected.
The origin of Stonehenge is unknown, although there are many theories about who built it and why. One popular theory is that it was built by Druids as a temple to worship their gods. Another theory suggests that it was built by the ancient Britons as a memorial to their dead heroes. Whatever its purpose, Stonehenge is an impressive sight and well worth a visit if you’re in the area.
3. Bibury in the Cotswolds
Bibury in the Cotswolds is a picturesque village. It is best day out place which is located in South West England. The village is home to a number of historic buildings, including the Grade I listed Arlington Row. Bibury is also home to a number of shops and restaurants, making it the perfect place to spend a day exploring.
4. Clifton Suspension Bridge in Bristol
One of Bristol’s most recognizable sights is the Clifton Suspension Bridge. The bridge spans the Avon Gorge and is a Grade I listed structure. Isambard Kingdom Brunel created the design, and it debuted in 1864. The bridge is suspended by chains which are anchored in massive abutments on either side of the gorge. These abutments were designed by Brunel and are made from limestone blocks which were quarried in nearby Leigh Woods. The bridge has a span of 702 feet (214m) and a height of 246 feet (75m). It is the widest single-span suspension bridge in the world.
The Clifton Suspension Bridge is one of Bristol’s most popular tourist attractions. Visitors can enjoy stunning views of the Avon Gorge, take a walk or cycle across the bridge, or even abseil down it!
5. Lynton and Lynmouth Cliff Railway in Exmoor National Park
The Lynton and Lynmouth Cliff Railway is a water-powered funicular railway in Exmoor National Park, England. The railway connects the twin towns of Lynton and Lynmouth and is one of the few remaining water-powered railways in the world.
The Lynton and Lynmouth Cliff Railway was built in 1888 and originally used a steam engine to power the carriages up the cliff. However, this was replaced with a water-powered system in 1896. The railway uses two tanks of water, which are released at different times to keep the carriages balanced as they travel up and down the cliff.
The Lynton and Lynmouth Cliff Railway is open all year round and provides stunning views of Exmoor National Park. It is also a popular tourist attraction, with over 100,000 visitors each year.
6. Haytor Rocks in Dartmoor National Park
Dartmoor National Park is one of the most popular tourist destinations in South West England. Situated in the county of Devon, the park covers an area of 954 square kilometres and is home to a number of interesting features, including Haytor Rocks.
Haytor Rocks is a granite outcrop that provides stunning views over the surrounding countryside. The rocks are also a popular spot for climbers and walkers, and there are a number of easy walking trails that lead up to them.
7. Glastonbury Tor in Glastonbury
Glastonbury Tor is a hill in Glastonbury, Somerset, England. It is topped by the ruined tower of St Michael’s Church. The Tor is owned by the National Trust and is open to the public. The views from the top of the Tor are stunning, and on a clear day, you can see for miles around. There are numerous walking trails around the Tor, and it is also a popular spot for birdwatching.
8. Cheddar Gorge and Caves in Cheddar
Cheddar Gorge and Caves are a set of limestone caves and gorges in the Mendip Hills near the village of Cheddar, Somerset, in South West England. The gorge is the site of the Cheddar Yeo, a river that flows through the gorge and is a tributary of the Bristol Avon. The caves are open to the public for tours and contain many interesting features, such as stalactites and stalagmites.
The gorge is also home to a variety of wildlife including bats, peregrine falcons, ravens, red kites, and more. There are several walking trails through the gorge which offer stunning views of the surrounding countryside.
9. Porthmeor Beach in St Ives
Porthmeor Beach is one of the most popular tourist attractions in South West England. It is located in St Ives, Cornwall and is a beautiful sandy beach that stretches for over a mile. The beach is also home to a number of surf schools, making it the perfect place to learn how to surf. There are also plenty of restaurants and cafes located nearby, making it the perfect place to relax and enjoy the stunning views.
10. Rainforest and Mediterranean Biomes at the Eden Project in St Austell
The Eden Project is home to two of the world’s most iconic biomes – the rainforest and the Mediterranean. Visitors can explore these amazing ecosystems, learning about the plants and animals that call them home. The Rainforest Biome is the largest indoor rainforest in the world and is teeming with life. The Mediterranean Biome is a beautiful oasis filled with olive trees, grapevines and lavender. These biomes are just a taste of what the Eden Project has to offer – make sure to add it to your list of must-visit tourist attractions in South West England!
11. Tintagel Castle in Tintagel
Tintagel Castle is a popular tourist destination located in the small town of Tintagel in Cornwall, England. The castle is situated on a cliff-top overlooking the Atlantic Ocean and is connected to the mainland by a narrow strip of land. The castle was built in the 13th century by King Edward I and was used as a royal residence and as a stronghold during the Wars of Scottish Independence. The castle is now operated by English Heritage and is accessible to the general public. Visitors can explore the castle ruins, which include the Great Hall, towers, and defensive walls, or take a walk along the cliff-top path for stunning views of the coast.
12. Babbacombe Model Village in Torquay
Babbacombe Model Village is a must-visit tourist attraction in Torquay, South West England. The model village is located on the site of an old quarry and is made up of over 400 buildings, including homes, shops, churches, pubs and more. Visitors can explore the village at their own pace or take a guided tour to learn more about the history and construction of the village.
The Babbacombe Model Village is a popular tourist destination for families and couples alike. It’s a great place to spend a day exploring, and there are plenty of photo opportunities throughout the village.
13. Durdle Door on the Jurassic Coast
On the Jurassic Coast in Dorset, England is a natural limestone arch known as Durdle Door. The arch is part of the Lulworth Estate and is open to the public. Visitors can walk to the top of the arch for views of the coastline.
Durdle Door is one of the most popular tourist attractions in South West England. The natural limestone arch and beautiful views of the coastline make it a must-visit destination for anyone visiting the area.
14. Wells Cathedral in Wells
Wells Cathedral, in Wells, Somerset, is one of the most beautiful and architecturally significant cathedrals in England. It is a fine example of Early English Gothic architecture, with its ornate rose window and unique “scissor arches”. The cathedral is also home to the only working medieval clock in England. The clock was installed in 1392 and still keeps time today. Visitors can take a tour of the cathedral to learn more about its history and architecture.
15. Tresco Abbey Gardens on the Isles of Scilly
Tresco Abbey Gardens is a world-famous garden on the Isles of Scilly. The gardens are home to over 20,000 plants, including many rare and endangered species. From April through October, the gardens are accessible to the public.
16. Exeter Cathedral in Exeter
Exeter Cathedral is one of the most iconic buildings in Exeter and a must-visit for any traveller to the city. The cathedral dates back to the 11th century and is one of the oldest in England. It is also one of the largest cathedrals in the country, with a length of nearly 500 feet and a width of over 200 feet. The exterior of the cathedral is made of beautiful sandstone and has many intricate carvings. The interior is just as stunning, with a large nave, an impressive organ, and stained glass windows. Visitors can also climb to the top of the tower for stunning views of Exeter and beyond.
17. Dartmouth Steam Railway and River Boat Company in Dartmouth
Dartmouth Steam Railway and River Boat Company in Dartmouth are one of the top must-visit tourist attractions in South West England. The company offers a variety of different steam railway and riverboat tours that allow visitors to explore the stunning scenery of the area. The company also has a number of different locomotives and riverboats that are available for hire, so visitors can experience the Dartmouth Steam Railway and River Boat Company in their own time.
18. The Royal Crescent in Bath
The Royal Crescent in Bath is one of the most iconic landmarks in the city. The crescent-shaped row of townhouses was built between 1767 and 1774 and designed by architect John Wood the Younger. It is one of the best-preserved examples of Georgian architecture in the UK. The Royal Crescent is located in a fashionable area of Bath and overlooks a large green park. It is a popular spot for tourists to take photos and admire the view.
19. The Lost Gardens of Heligan in St Austell
The Lost Gardens of Heligan in St Austell are one of the top must-visit tourist attractions in South West England. The gardens were lost for centuries until their rediscovery in the 1990s. They are now a beautiful place to visit, with over 200 acres of gardens to explore. The gardens include a Victorian Kitchen Garden, a Tropical Valley, and a sub-tropical Jungle. There is also a sculpture park and an outdoor theatre. The Lost Gardens of Heligan are a great place to spend a day exploring the outdoors.
20. National Marine Aquarium in Plymouth
The National Marine Aquarium in Plymouth is one of the largest and most popular tourist attractions in South West England. The Aquarium is home to over 4,000 marine animals, including sharks, rays, seahorses and penguins. Visitors can learn about the local marine environment and the work of the Aquarium’s conservation charity, The Shark Trust. The Aquarium is also a great place to take the kids, with plenty of interactive exhibits and activities to keep them entertained.
21. West Somerset Railway in Minehead
The West Somerset Railway is a beautiful heritage railway that runs through the stunning countryside of West Somerset. It’s the perfect way to see the area and experience a little bit of history too. The railway has been running since 1862 and is one of the most popular tourist attractions in the South West. You can take a ride on one of the vintage steam trains or even drive one yourself!
22. Museum of Somerset in Taunton
The Museum of Somerset in Taunton is a great tourist attraction for those interested in the history and culture of South West England. The museum houses an impressive collection of artefacts and exhibits that chronicle the rich history of the region. Visitors to the museum can learn about the Roman occupation of Britain, the Anglo-Saxon period, the Norman Conquest, and much more. The Museum of Somerset is also home to a number of interactive displays and activities that are sure to engage and educate visitors of all ages.
23. National Trust’s Stourhead near Warminster
The National Trust’s Stourhead is a country estate located near Warminster in South West England. The estate includes an 18th-century Georgian mansion, extensive gardens, farmland, and woodland. The gardens at Stourhead are considered to be some of the finest in the world and are renowned for their diversity and creativity. Visitors can explore the many different garden rooms, each with its own unique theme and planting. The estate also has a number of walking trails that allow visitors to enjoy the stunning countryside views.
24. Exeter’s Underground Passages in Exeter
Exeter’s Underground Passages is a series of historic tunnels that run beneath the city. They were used as storage spaces and as a way to move goods around the city without being seen. They are a well-liked tourist attraction nowadays and are accessible to the general public. The passages are dimly lit and can be a bit spooky, but they are an interesting way to learn about the history of the city.
25. Bideford Bay and Hartland in North Devon
Bideford Bay and Hartland in North Devon offer some of the most breathtaking scenery in all of England. The coastline is dotted with sheltered coves and sandy beaches, and the hills provide endless opportunities for hiking and picnicking.
In addition to its natural beauty, the area is also home to a number of historical sites and attractions. The town of Bideford, for instance, is one of the oldest boroughs in England, dating back to the 11th century. And nearby, Hartland Abbey was once a prominent monastery before being converted into a private residence during the Reformation.
Whether you’re looking to relax in nature or explore England’s rich history, Bideford Bay and Hartland make an ideal destination.
South West England is one of the most beautiful regions in the United Kingdom, with plenty of sights and attractions to explore. Whether you are looking for a relaxing getaway or an adventure-filled holiday, there are so many places to visit in South West England. From ancient ruins to stunning beaches, we hope this list of top 25 must-visit tourist attractions in South West England has given you some ideas on where to visit during your trip. So what are you waiting for? Pack your bags and start planning your next amazing vacation!
FAQs on attractions in south west
1. What is South West England famous for?
South West England has lot of things to do and is famous for its stunning coastline, beautiful countryside, rich history, and iconic landmarks. It is home to the city of Bristol, the county of Cornwall with its charming fishing villages, and the historic city of Bath, known for its Roman Baths.
2. What is South West London famous for?
South West London is famous for its affluent neighbourhoods such as Wimbledon, Richmond, and Kensington. It is also home to several iconic landmarks, such as the Wimbledon Tennis Championships, Kew Gardens, and the Hampton Court Palace.
3. What is in South West London?
South West London has several popular areas, including Clapham, Balham, Wandsworth, Fulham, and Putney. These areas are known for their vibrant nightlife, trendy restaurants, and shopping districts.
4. Which areas are south west?
The South West of the UK includes the counties of Cornwall, Devon, Somerset, Dorset, Wiltshire, Gloucestershire, and the city of Bristol.