The South West of England is the country’s largest region, and offers visitors a wide choice of activities and surroundings, suitable for all budgets. On its boundaries, the Cotswolds are full of picture-postcard villages and market towns like Chipping Camden, giving you a taste of what’s to come. Museums in the Roman city of Gloucester, England’s most inland port, include Beatrix Potter’s Tailor of Gloucester (free entry), and its cathedral boasts one thousand years of architectural styles.
Somerset counters this with the thirteenth century cathedral of medieval Wells, England’s smallest city. Glastonbury Abbey is one of the earliest Christian sites in the country, while the Tor is said to be linked to the King Arthur legends. The UNESCO World Heritage Site of Georgian Bath is famous for its Roman remains, hot springs and associations with Jane Austen. If you’re on a budget, explore Exmoor and the Mendips on foot or by bike, or head for the coast.
Hunt for fossils on the beach at Lyme Regis on Dorset’s Jurassic Coast, take a boat trip to popular Swanage with its iconic steam railway, or make use of the activities and festivals in Bournemouth, with its mild climate and stunning cliff overhang. Inland, check out the romantic ruins of Corfe Castle, Thomas Hardy’s Dorchester or search for wildlife like the Dartford Warbler on Dorset’s protected heathland.
The city of Bristol has something for everyone, whether it’s the arts, festivals or general sightseeing, and many are free or cheap. Eat at its re-developed port, and don’t miss the Bristol Suspension Bridge over the Avon Gorge. Also a county, its countryside will give you ample opportunities for budget travel.