Holiday Cottages in the West Country - a Guide to Holidays in South West England
The West Country in the south west of England has warm and sunny climate, sandy beaches, long dramatic coastal paths and beautiful countryside that have made it the foremost family cottage holiday destination in the UK.
The region, commonly known as the Westcountry, is steeped in history from those iconic stone circles in Wiltshire to the Roman Baths in Somerset. And, there is no shortage of romanticism or drama in the wonderful castles and cathedrals that dot the landscape throughout the south west. Of course, there is a fair amount of mythology too, not least at King Arthur’s Tintagel.
So, it will come as no surprise that the West Country has inspired so many of Britain’s greatest writers and authors including Thomas Hardy, Jane Austen and Daphne du Maurier.
The South West is not just about looking back on its proud heritage, you will also find at some of the UK’s leading attractions such as the Eden Project and some major water sports events and music festivals each year.
However, it is the natural beauty that is the true star of the south west including two of Britain’s National Parks (Dartmoor and Exmoor) and the Jurassic coastline.
Seeing the West Country and the South West in all its Glory
The ever changing landscape is full of wonder all year round but undoubtedly it is full of vibrant colour and warmth from Spring to Autumn. During this period all the attractions are fully open and the gardens are in full bloom.
Beware that during the school holidays (typically late July through August) the south west and all its family attractions are very busy and so if you are looking to avoid the crowds then we recommend heading there in September when you can still enjoy the late summer weather, but benefit from cheaper accommodation and a more leisurely pace.
For the more serious surfers heading to the south west, hitting the beaches in late autumn (Sept-Oct) will ensure more space on the water as well as some of the best swells and waves of the year.
Top of your Westcountry Holiday Itinerary
There is no shortage of things to see and do in the West Country but here are a few things that should be on your holiday itinerary.
- Be in awe and wonder at Stonehenge, the famous stone ring on the Salisbury Plain (or why not check out the just as mysterious Avebury Ring which you can get closer to)
- Visit the wonderful Georgian town of Bath and soak in the warm spa waters from the natural spring
- Explore Dorset’s Jurassic coast and help the children find 200 million year old fossils on the beach
- Be swept up by the romanticism and mysticism of Corfe Castle and Tintagel
- Check out the splendour of Salisbury and Winchester Cathedrals
- Eat locally caught sea food in Padstow
- Be inspired by the eco world of the Eden Project
- Enjoy the wildlife, wilderness and solitude of Dartmoor and the beauty of the Exmoor coast
- Cross the famous causeway at St Michaels Mount
As you would expect from a popular tourist area, the south west is not short of attractions and activities to keep everyone in your family or group entertained. Whether you are looking for wildlife and zoos, theme parks and excitement or simply gardens and castles to visit you will find it in the south west.
Cycling in the West Country
Whether you are looking for a day out on your bike or wish to explore the south west on a bike holiday there are some great routes to get you going. A great place to start is the National Cycle Network routes, a number of which cross the region including:
- Devon Coast to Coast Cycle Route which winds its way between the National Parks of Dartmoor and Exmoor.
- West Country Way which weaves its way from Bristol to Barnstaple.
There is also the Wiltshire Cycle way that will take you around the county border.
Of course if you are looking for something a little more adventurous and off-road you will find lots on the region especially around the National Parks and Cornwall’s popular Camel Trail. You can find lots more great cycle trails to cycle via the Sustrans website.
Walking in the Westcountry and the South West
It will comes as no surprise that the south west is a walkers’ paradise. With two National Parks you are not short of great walks to get away from it all. Of the two, Dartmoor is bigger and certainly more remote, it is ideal for serious hiking, where as Exmoor with its coastline is popular for day trips.
If you want to walk the wonderful south Westcountry coast then the South West Coast Path is the place to head – as it is over 600 miles long you can choose where to start and stop! In fact you can pick up the path anywhere on the coast between Minehead in Somerset to Poole in Dorset - covering the Cornwall and Devon coastlines too.
Water sports in the West Country and the South West
With so much fabulous Atlantic coastline the south west is the place to head for water sports and activities in the UK. The National UK Surfing is based at Newquay but you will find great surfing locations throughout Cornwall, Devon and Dorset – including the man-made surfing reef at Bournemouth. However, the waves aren’t just for the surfers, it is the perfect place for family fun whether it be body boarding or jumping in the great waves. If you want to know more about surfing or where to get lessons or hire equipment please check out Go Surfing.
Sailing is obviously hugely popular in the south west with a popular yachting haven being at Weymouth.
Blue Flag beaches in the Westcountry and South West
If you are looking for a clean and safe beach for family or friends then it is worth looking out for the Blue Flag beaches (reviewed annually against tough standards, only the best beaches get the Blue Flag Award). The south west has more Blue Flag beaches than any other part of the UK, with Dorset, Devon and Cornwall all having beaches with the Awards. Check out our Blue Flag beach list.
Golfing in the Westcountry
There is one English Championship Golf Course in Cornwall, St Mellion, but there are plenty of other good golf courses in the south west of England to choose from.
Start your Westcountry Cottage search right here
Blackpitt Farm Holiday Cottages self catering accommodation in Stow-on-the-Wold, Gloucestershire sleeps 5. This 2 bedroom Cottage is ideal as a holiday base or for a fun short break and features include: Garden Open Fire/woodburner . It also has Internet access. Activities close by include golf horse riding fishing . Prices at Blackpitt Farm Holiday Cottages start from £225 for a weeks stay but this will depend upon length of stay and time of year. ... more about Blackpitt Farm Holiday Cottages
Phone enquiries: 01451 831 855
Bellbrook Valley self catering accommodation in Tiverton, Devon sleeps 4. This 2 bedroom Cottage is ideal as a holiday base or for a fun short break and features include: Garden Hot Tub . It also has Internet access. Activities close by include fishing . Bellbrook Valley does allow pet dogs although this may be limited, so please check direct prior to booking. Prices at Bellbrook Valley start from £375 for a weeks stay but this will depend upon length of stay and time of year. ... more about Bellbrook Valley
Phone enquiries: 01398 351 292/07967 335 159
Apartment 8, The Pottery self catering accommodation in Dartmouth, Devon sleeps 4. This 2 bedroom luxury Apartment is a perfect base for your holidays . Prices at Apartment 8, The Pottery start from £482 for a weeks stay but this will depend upon length of stay and time of year. See selected Apartment 8, The Pottery customer reviews/feedback by clicking More Info button. ... more about Apartment 8, The Pottery
Le Manoir self catering accommodation in Nether Westcote, Gloucestershire sleeps 6. This 3 bedroom Cottage is a perfect base for your holidays and features include: Garden Open Fire/woodburner . It also has Internet access. Activities close by include golf . Prices at Le Manoir start from £658 for a short break but this will depend upon length of stay and time of year. ... more about Le Manoir
Burnuick Farm Cottages self catering accommodation in Helston, Cornwall sleeps 4. This 2 bedroom luxury Cottage is ideal as a holiday base or for a fun short break . Burnuick Farm Cottages is close to the beach. Prices at Burnuick Farm Cottages start from £408 for a weeks stay but this will depend upon length of stay and time of year. See selected Burnuick Farm Cottages customer reviews/feedback by clicking More Info button. ... more about Burnuick Farm Cottages
Phone enquiries: 0345 498 6152
Bessborough Green self catering accommodation in St Mawes, Cornwall sleeps 4. This 2 bedroom Apartment is ideal as a holiday base or for a fun short break . It also has Internet access. Bessborough Green is close to the beach. Prices at Bessborough Green start from £391 for a weeks stay but this will depend upon length of stay and time of year. ... more about Bessborough Green
Ferryside self catering accommodation in East Portlemouth, Devon sleeps 8. This 4 bedroom Cottage is a perfect base for your holidays . It also has Internet access. Ferryside is close to the beach. Ferryside does allow pet dogs although this may be limited, so please check direct prior to booking. Prices at Ferryside start from £867 for a weeks stay but this will depend upon length of stay and time of year. ... more about Ferryside
Quayside View self catering accommodation in Brixham, Devon sleeps 6. This 3 bedroom luxury House is a perfect base for your holidays . It also has Internet access. Quayside View is close to the beach. Prices at Quayside View start from £230 3 night stay from but this will depend upon length of stay and time of year. ... more about Quayside View
Phone enquiries: 0844 704 4966
White Lodge self catering accommodation in Dartmouth, Devon sleeps 10. This 4 bedroom Lodge is a perfect base for your holidays and features include: Garden Open Fire/woodburner . It also has Internet access. White Lodge is close to the beach. Prices at White Lodge start from £709 for a weeks stay but this will depend upon length of stay and time of year. ... more about White Lodge
6 Links Court self catering accommodation in Thurlestone, Devon sleeps 6. This Apartment is a perfect base for your holidays and features include: Swimming Pool . 6 Links Court is close to the beach. Prices at 6 Links Court start from £482 for a weeks stay but this will depend upon length of stay and time of year. ... more about 6 Links Court
Refine your West Country cottage search
We have 5679 cottages, apartments, lodges and bungalows listed in the Westcountry which is a huge choice. So if that is feeling a little overwhelming, why not narrow down your search.
Probably the quickest way to reduce your search is to look at specific counties in the West Country. So why not look for cottages and apartments in:
- Cottages in Cornwall
- Cottages in Devon
- Cottages in Dorset
- Cottages in Somerset
- Cottages in Wiltshire
Of course you can also search by town, simply click on one of the town names in the listings above and you will go to a page with all our listings in that town.
See More Regional Guides
If you would like to see more of the Find Cottage Holidays Regional Guides please use the links below:
- West Country and South West Regional Guide
- South East England Regional Guide
- Cambridge East Anglia and East England Holiday Guide