The West of England

'West of England' in white text over image of stone buildings and inner city river

The West of England has been a popular holiday spot for generations. But there’s more than just Cornwall and Devon to discover, as our top 4 ‘staycation’ ideas for the region show.

 

Bath (Somerset)

Bath is one of the most historic UK cities, becoming a World Heritage Site in 1987. This makes it the perfect UK ‘staycation’ for anyone interested in history, culture or architecture. See the well-preserved Roman Baths which give the city its name. While they may not be fully open to visitors just yet, the exterior is hard to miss.

 

Roman bath stone wall with water pool in Bath, UK
The Roman Baths have stood the test of time and utilised the natural hot springs under the city to great effect. (Photo by K. Mitch Hodge on Unsplash

 

Visit the Royal Crescent, Pulteney Bridge and Jane Austen’s House while you’re in the city. Although the literary legend hated living in Bath, she had a pretty nice place to stay while she was there! Finish off the sightseeing tour on Little Solisbury Hill which overlooks the city. This picture-perfect perspective of the Georgian architecture is certainly Social Media worthy! You can explore Bath on your own or with a guided tour.

 

Georgian townhouse on cobbled street with sun shining in Bath, UK
Bath is also well-known for its Georgian architecture, like this fine example. (Photo by Liv Cashman on Unsplash

 

What else can you do on your ‘staycation’ in Bath?

The most notable day trip is Stonehenge in Wiltshire. This Stone Age monolith holds plenty of magic and mystery. Feel the power of the stones for yourself on your UK ‘staycation’.

 

Stonehenge stone circle on grassy field at sunset
Whatever its purpose, the stone circle at Stonehenge still holds power thousands of years after it was first built. (Photo by K. Mitch Hodge on Unsplash)

 

Salisbury and Winchester are further away, but make for great days out. Visit Salisbury Cathedral, one of the most impressive in the country, and sample some local produce in one of the many markets. Winchester holds plenty of Arthurian magic – the Round Table sits in the Cathedral – and, as the former capital of Wessex, connections to Alfred the Great.

Round off the day with a detour through the New Forest and stop off for an ice cream or cream tea along the way. Lyndhurst, Burley and Brockenhurst are all worth seeing!

 

Make sure your car gets you into the West Country safely – follow our Roadmap out of Lockdown before you travel

 

Bristol (Gloucestershire)

Bristol is a fantastic ‘staycation’ idea for all you nature lovers! The main draw is the 12-acre Zoo, complete with adrenaline filled aerial ropes course. Get up close with 50 species’ of animal, including some not found elsewhere in the UK. If that isn’t enough, Wild Place Project and Noah’s Ark Zoo Farm are also nearby. Then, take a harbour tour to see the city from the water and spot some marine life.

 

riverside quay with boats floating on River Severn and ferris wheel and amusement arcade on riverside
Bristol has a strong maritime presence thanks to its location on the banks of the River Severn. Explore the river and marina for yourself on your ‘staycation’. (Photo by Martyna Bober on Unsplash

 

Isambard Kingdom Brunel, one of Britain’s greatest engineers, had strong connections with Bristol. Visit the majestic Clifton Suspension Bridge during your Bristol ‘staycation’. Suspended high above a gorge, it’s sure to take your breath away.

Banksy also calls the city ‘home’. See if you can spot one of his many works while you’re in the city. Fans of ‘Sherlock’ can also solve a mystery on the streets of Bristol. Just download the ‘Official Outdoor Game’ app before you travel.

 

large suspension bridge crossing river and forests near Bristol, UK
The Clifton Suspension Bridge is widely considered to be one of the most important structures built during the Victorian Era. See why on your ‘staycation’ in Bristol! (Photo by Tom Wheatley on Unsplash) 

 

What else can you do on your ‘staycation’ in Bristol?

Bristol sits on the banks of the River Severn, so water activities are easy to find. It also has great road connections with Wales, Somerset and most of Western England. Head to Weston Super Mare to relax by the seaside or drive into Somerset to discover some of the finest cider breweries in the UK. Of course, please drink responsibly.

 

large sand dunes with sea in background and blue sky
These large sand dunes near Weston Super Mare look like they belong in the Sahara Desert not Somerset! (David Martin on Unsplash

 

The Forest of Dean is also a great spot for a walk. It has had many roles throughout history, including a Royal hunting forest and Tudor timber source. Explore the wild and beautiful forest to your heart’s content.

 

Gloucester (Gloucestershire)

The 11th Century Gothic Cathedral dominates the city centre and is one of Gloucester’s main attractions. It was used for filming in the ‘Harry Potter’ films, and is also the final resting place of King Edward II. The Cathedral is only open for quiet personal prayer at the minute, but it won’t be long before you can set foot inside. Besides, the exterior is still a fantastic sight!

 

looking up at Gloucester Cathedral, Gloucestershire, UK
Stand beneath the imposing Gothic architecture of Gloucester Cathedral during your ‘staycation’ in the Cotswalds. (Photo by Elizabeth Jamieson on Unsplash

 

Gloucester is the UK’s most inland port. The repurposed Victorian docks now hosts a range of shops and restaurants. You can even dine on the water itself with ‘Cafe on the Cut’, a narrowboat cafe! Sports fans can also see Kingsholm Stadium where Gloucester Rugby play in the Gallagher Premiership.

What else can you do on your ‘staycation’ in Gloucester?

Cheltenham, Bristol, Oxford and Worcester are all less than an hour and a half away. However, the real appeal is the stunning area of English countryside next door. The Cotswalds District contains a Wildlife Park & Gardens, a range of lively market towns and countless miles of rolling countryside to explore. Where will you end up?

 

Oxford university main campus and courtyard, Oxford, UK
See Oxford University during your ‘staycation’ in the West of England, one of the most recognisable schools in the world. (Photo by Sandip Roy on Unsplash)

 

Newquay (Cornwall)

Cornwall has always been a popular spot for a ‘staycation’, and there’s no better place than Newquay! This pretty little seaside town has won a whole host of awards, including the title of Nation’s Favourite Seaside Town (Which?) and Best Family Holiday Destination (Coast). With exceptional beaches, stunning views of the Atlantic and a Zoo with over 1,000 animals all in one place, it’s very easy to fall in love with Newquay.

 

What better place to spend your UK ‘staycation’ than Newquay on the Atlantic Coast? (Photo by Mark Timberlake on Unsplash)

 

What else can you do on your ‘staycation’ in Newquay?

Padstow, St Ives, Tintagel, Falmouth and Penzance are all less than an hour away. These charming towns and villages have both cultural and historical secrets to discover. Land’s End is just a little further, where you can stare out into the Atlantic Ocean and marvel at what lies beyond. For the best driving experience, we recommend following the Atlantic Highway (A39). It connects Somerset and Cornwall, running down the Devon and Cornish coast. You get almost constant views of the ocean and a host of picturesque locations to visit! Perfect for a driving holiday.

 

St Michael's Mount, Cornwall, UK
The mesmerising off-shore island of St Michael’s Mount is just over an hour’s drive from Newquay. (Photo by Benjamin Elliott on Unsplash

 

Shrewsbury (Shropshire)

Shrewsbury is the perfect place to begin your adventure into an underrated Area of Natural Beauty. With the River Severn winding through the centre of the town, canoeing and pleasure boating are easy to find. Then, enjoy al-fresco dining at an exceptional local restaurant. If you’re searching for a ‘staycation’ of discovery, there’s no better place than Shrewsbury. It offers easy access to Shropshire, Central and North Wales and the West Midlands.

 

Ludlow Castle, Ludlow, Shropshire, UK, another great outdoor stop for your spring 'staycation'
Why not also head to the imposing Norman fortress of Ludlow Castle? (Photo by Colin Watts on Unsplash

 

What else can you do during your ‘staycation’ in Shrewsbury?

Oswestry, Wrexham, Hereford, Liverpool and Chester are all between 30 minutes and 2 hours from Shrewsbury. Each is completely different and a fantastic place to explore. If you would prefer to spend your UK ‘staycation’ among nature, Shropshire has plenty to offer. Its defining feature is its beautiful rolling hills. This landscape is perfect for ramblers or experienced hill walkers.

 

narrow boat on wooded river in Shropshire, UK
Explore the quiet and beautiful hills, forests and rivers of Shropshire, one of England’s hidden gems. (Photo by Shaun Morris on Unsplash

 

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Drew Hickman

Drew Hickman

Drew works for BookMyGarage writing blogs, website content and almost everything else in between. He works closely with ex-mechanics and subject matter experts. When he’s not helping you save money on running your car or making your driving life easier, he can be found either with his head in a book or with a golf club in his hands (usually looking for his ball in the woods)