Ancient coasts, Arthurian legends, and passionate cultural pride are among the treasures to discover in the West Country. This western region is composed of six counties—Wiltshire, Dorset, Somerset. Devon, Glouchestershire, and Cornwall—plus the far-flung Isles of Scilly. Each of these distinct locations offer their own brand of ancient history and culture, rooted in a blend of Celtic and British heritage stretching back to antiquity.
In Wiltshire you will see the world-famous enigmatic circular formations of Stonehenge, but do not miss the lesser-known ancient village of Avebury. Both sites were assembled in antiquity, and both remain a mystery as to their purpose and method of construction.
Somerset hosts a wealth of historic sites including the city of Bath, so named for the mineral baths established there by the Romans that have been drawing scores of visitors ever since. Bath has a long reputation as a resort town; it’s Georgian architecture giving it a unique prestige among the many lovely hamlets in England, and earning it a place in many pieces of romantic British literature.
The West Country encompasses a peninsula that curves beneath the southern coast of Wales, bordered by the Bristol Channel, the English Channel, and the Atlantic Ocean. Its coastline has a dangerous reputation, but the daring are rewarded with outstanding surfing in many places. Dorset is home to the UNESCO-listed Jurassic Coast where the geology of the Triassic, Jurassic, and Cretaceous ages is on display in the towering cliffs above the English Channel.
Visit Cornwall, the westernmost part of the mainland, for more incredible coastal views and quaint seaside villages. The Lizard Peninsula is the United Kingdom’s most southerly point, with a coast of jutting black rock and a coast of varied geology and lush flora nourished by temperate climes.
Cornwall is also area that remains deeply connected with its Celtic heritage. Archaeological excavations have taken place here since the 19th century, unearthing spectacular ruins of settlements and fortresses. Among them, be sure to see Tintagel Castle, the purported place of legendary King Arthur’s birth and former home of Richard of Cornwall, and visit Marazion to cross the cobblestone path to St. Michael’s Mount.
Head off the beaten track to the West Country on your next luxury England travel adventure. Contact the luxury travel consultants at Ker & Downey to start planning your journey.