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16 Best Places In The West Of England To Visit – Hand Luggage Only

By December 26, 2019 No Comments
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Lloyd

Okay, so there is a huge amount of pretty places in England to visit, so much so that it can be hard to whittle down just a few for your next trip. This is exactly why I wanted to make it that bit easier by sharing some of the best places in the west of England to explore. 

After exploring the stunning spots in the south of England, then the breathtaking areas in northern England, I thought it was about time I showed you some of my favourites that we try to visit as often as possible.

Now, it doesn’t matter if you’re visiting England for the first time or flying into bigger cities like London. You can easily visit some of these spots for a few days get away and see a totally different side of England. 

Oh yeah, and for clarity, I’m thinking of anything west of Southampton and Leeds as the west of England. 🙂

Take a, below, at some of the best places in the west of England to explore. Have the best trip! 

1.) Bath

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One of the oldest cities in the west of England, Bath was once home to Jane Austin and it’s easy to see why she loved it so much. Growing up, I used to visit Bath every year, especially around Christmas, which was so festive. 

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That being said, it’s not just a city to visit at Christmas, it’s got a shed load of roman history that’s so incredible to see. For instance, the Roman baths are some of the best-preserved in all of the UK.

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Now, you might not be able to swim in the Roman Baths nowadays, but you can still take a dip in the geothermal waters that fell as rain over 10,000 years ago! Pop over to the Thermae Spa which pumps some of the water directly from the city centre springs of; Cross, Hetling and King’s.

After a day of indulging, grab a bite to eat at Sotto Sotto which serves up some of the best pasta in the city. Though, make sure to make a reservation on the weekends as it can get busy. 

Afterwards, pop over to see the Royal Cresent, spot Pulteney Bridge and explore Royal circus, too. Now, you’ll likely walk a lot, so to keep your energy high, pop into Sally Lunn’s Historic Eating House which is totally yummy. 

Read More: How we spent 24 hours in Bath

2.) Lake District

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One of the UK’s newest UNESCO World Heritage Sites, the Lake District is an area of England that shouldn’t be missed. This is especially true if you want to get away from the hustle and bustle of the cities. 

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Now, there are a number of lakes you can visit once here, with the most popular being Lake Windermere. That being said, it’s worth remembering that some of the many other lakes are just as gorgeous, if not more so!

One of my favourites is Ullswater Lake that has far fewer visitors than Windermere and is totally picturesque. We stayed at Another Place: The Lake, whilst here… and loved it! 

Read more: 4-day itinerary for exploring the Lake District

3.) Salisbury 

The ancient, medieval city of Salisbury is perched north-west of Southampton and pretty easy to combine a visit when you’re exploring Stonehenge. 

Now, one of the key spots you can’t miss in Salisbury is the cathedral and the Magna Carta which is probably the most iconic part of the city. It really is one of the best places in the west of England to see a piece of history. 

Afterwards, pop around The Close and see the historic houses and buildings that make up the city. If it’s some food you’re after, reserve a table at The Pheasant for some tasty British grub. 

Read more: Exploring Salisbury and Stonehenge

4.) Bodmin

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This historical town is absolutely teeming with history and is only a stone’s throw from Bomin Moor, too.

Once you’re here, book a trip on the old steam railway for a beautiful ride through the surrounding countryside (which, is totally cool). Plus, don’t forget to visit the Gilbert Memorial, a large stone obelisk set in a meadow overlooking the town itself.

Now, another pretty macabre spot to visit is Bodmin Jail, which was a notorious jail in the west of England during the 1800s. It’s said, that the jail is haunted by the ghosts of previous prisoners, so make sure to stick with your group if you don’t fancy a fright Ha!

After a day of soaking in this town’s charming ambience, be sure to stop at one of the best pub’s in the entire area, Hole in the Wall. Located on Crockwell Street, here you can grab some proper British classics, like; fish and chips, bangers and mash or a yummy shepherd’s pie (which is so nice on a colder day).

5.) Bristol

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Perched on the River Avon, Bristol is easily one of the best places in the west of England to explore if you love cities. With a long maritime history which can still be experienced today at the historic Harbourside.

Once you’re here, you’ll find a heap of museums and art galleries that are dotted all across the city. Some amazing ones to visit have to be; The Bristol Museum and Art Gallery, M Shed for some contemporary pieces and even Brunel’s SS Great Britain that takes you back in time. 

That being said, if you’re a lover of art then make sure to keep your eyes peeled for the Banksy artwork that is dotted across the city. Oh yeah, don’t forget to spot the Clifton Suspension Bridge that spans the Avon Gorge, linking the city to the rolling English countryside of Leigh Woods. 

If it’s some good grub you’re after, then you’ve got to head to Pasture, a steakhouse that’s got one of the best chateaubriand and mac and cheese in the city. 

Read more: Spending a few days in Bristol

6.) The Cotswolds

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Okay, so the Cotswolds are easily one of the prettiest and best places in the west of England if you love the rolling countryside and quaint villages.  

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Now, the area of natural beauty that makes up the Cotswolds is relatively close to the likes of Bristol or Bath, making it easier to visit for a few days trip.

Once here, make sure to explore some of the prettiest towns and villages like; Bibury (with the picturesque, Arlington Close), The Slaughters, Tetbury, Stow-on-the-Wold and Castlecombe. 

For a proper British pub (that’s totally historic), pop into the Wild Duck Inn in Ewen. In the winter, they have the log fires roaring and the food is just amazing. 

Read more: Best things to do in the Cotswolds

7.) Isles of Scilly 

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Okay, so these have to be some of my favourite islands in all of England! Perched around 25-miles west of Land’s End (Cornwall), it houses its own little microclimate of picturesque and unspoilt islands to explore.

Now, there are a few ways you can get to the Isles of Scilly; either by plane from Exeter or Newquay Airport, or helicopter or ferry, too.  Once you’re here, you’ll see exactly what I mean about the islands being very special, especially with their microclimate that allows for tropical plants and trees to grow. 

Once here, make sure to take some time to explore the islands of; Bryher, Tresco, St. Martin’s and St. Mary’s. Though, there are quite a few more than can be easily reached via the water taxis that join the islands together. 

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Oh yeah, and don’t miss the iconic Tresco Abbey Gardens, they’re stunning. 

Read more: 1 – week itinerary to explore the Scilly Islands

8.) Newquay & Watergate Bay

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Newquay is the surfing capital of England and a great place to visit whilst in Cornwall. Plus, it has some incredible beaches and lovely coastal walkways that trail across this area of the English coastline. 

For one of the best beach spots, head to  Fistral Beach which is a surfers favourite. That being said, if you don’t fancy catching the waves, head over to Towan Beach might be a better option.

Afterwards, head over for some tasty nosh at Scott & Babs who make some of the tastiest lunches in Newquay. Their mussels are so yummy. If it’s a good coffee you’re after, head up to Box & Barber Coffeehouse who also have some tasty homemade cakes to boot! 

Oh yeah, and make sure to take a little visit to the nearby, Watergate Bay. It’s a gorgeous and pristine beach with the Watergate Bay Hotel being a perfect spot to stay. 

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It really is one of the best places in the west of England to explore.

Read more: Best things to do in Cornwall

9.) Saint Ives

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Complete with gorgeous, sandy beaches and historic homes and buildings, Saint Ives is one of the best places in the west of England to visit. This is especially true if you want to experience some of the local charms of Cornwall itself.

Once here, make sure to head over to the picturesque waterfront and visit the Tate Gallery that’s a mecca for modern art lovers. 

Also, don’t forget to explore the Barbara Hepworth Sculpture Garden, though, you might want to miss this if you’re not interested in sculptures or art. 🙂

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Plus, if you’ve worked up an appetite, head over to The Cornish Deli that’s a great place for a light lunch or breakfast. For dinner, it’s got to be the Porthminster Kitchen that’s got some of the freshest seafood in the town. 

Read more: Best places on the coast of Cornwall 

10.) Shrewsbury

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Perched not too far from the Welsh border, Shrewsbury is a historic town that’s famous for being the birthplace of Charles Darwin. That being said, he’s not the only claim to fame in Shrewsbury, it’s totally steeped in history and a great place to stop for a day trip. 

The Shrewsbury Abbey and Castle are both an absolute must-see when you visit, especially as the abbey is almost 1,000 years old. Plus, if it’s a nice day, head over to Quarry Park, which has everything from walking trails to gardens, all located along the banks of the River Severn. 

That being said, if the weather takes a turn for the worst, pop into the Market Hall that’s got a huge and eclectic mix of stalls selling everything you could imagine. 

For a bite to eat, head on into Dough & Oil for some tasty pizzas and superfood salads. You’ll be stuffed when you leave. 

Read more: Pretty places in England to visit

11.) Jurassic Coast 

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Perched not too far from Salisbury, the Jurassic Coast is a UNESCO world heritage protected coastline that is beautiful to see.

Plus, it’s one of the best places in England to search for fossils. Plus, once you’re here, make sure to take some time to see Old Harry Rocks that are one of the most iconic geological features in this part of Dorset. 

Finally, don’t forget to visit to make a pit stop at Corfe Castle (a small village and castle) that’s many thousands of years old. Afterwards, make a stop at Durdle Door and see the iconic cliff archway that’s been shaped by the sea. 

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Read more: The best way to go fossil hunting in England

12.) Manchester 

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One of the north of England’s most vibrant cities, Manchester is easily one of the best places in the west of England for a city break for a long weekend (or even longer).

After arriving, make sure to head over to explore John Rylands Library (which is stunning), see the Manchester Art Gallery and explore some of the cities vibrant neighbourhoods. China Town has a heap of yummy restaurants to visit and the LGBTQ+ neighbourhood around Canal Street is a really fun place for a night on the town. 

If it’s footie you’re after, check out Old Trafford, though, if you’re not into soccer then you’ll probably wanna skip this! Plus, for a tasty bite to eat pop into Alston Bar & Beef that has some of the juiciest steaks in the city. 

Read more: Best things to do in Manchester

13.) Dunster 

Perched in the countryside of Somerset, Dunster is a historic little village that’s well worth a visit if you’re already in Somerset or the picturesque, North Devon. Now, the village itself is steeped in history and there’s so many incredible little independent stores and lovely restaurants to gorge at. 

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Once here, make sure to explore the 1,000-year-old, Dunster Castle, which overlooks the town itself. Afterwards, make sure to see the historic Yarn Market in the centre of Dunster and take a stroll to the nearby working watermill.

For the tastiest bite to eat, drop by Reeves Restaurant that makes the tastiest dishes and some of the best cocktails in all of Somerset. 

Plus, if you’ve got time, you can take time to explore Exmoor National Park. If you’re lucky, you might even spot some of the resident deer. 

Read more: Visiting Dunster and Exmoor

14.) Liverpool 

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Probably best known as the home of the Beetles, Liverpool is a pretty cool and down-to-earth city that’s got a lot going for it. 

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It’s the kind of place that’s got something for everyone. Once you’re here, pop into the Beetles Story to learn all about the city and the Beetles themselves. Afterwards, stroll on over to Liverpool cathedral and see the gothic architecture that’s so imposing. 

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If you’re looking for a lively spot, head on over to Matthew Street. Though, pick your timings well as it can get very busy after a footie match in the city. Oh yeah, and for a tasty bite to eat, pop into Cowshed who have some yummy meat dishes.

15.) Chester

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Another English city, close to the Welsh border, Chester has thousands of years of history and is really easy to visit if you’re on a road trip near Manchester or Liverpool. First built by the Romans, Chester has a long history that you can easily find when rambling around the city itself. 

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Make sure to walk the city walls, see Chester Cathedral and walk the Chester Rows (which are so beautiful). The rows are filled with lots of independent shops and little cafes which are lovely to visit. 

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Oh yeah, and for a delicious Sunday Roast, pop into Upstairs at The Grill. You’ll have to roll yourself out of the door! 😉

Read more: Best cities in England to visit

16.) Lacock 

Lacock is easily one of the prettiest towns that you can’t miss when exploring England. Almost entirely owned by the National Trust, it’s kept so much of its history and heritage for us all to enjoy today. 

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Once here, make sure to wander the historic streets, filled with historic cottages and old workhouses.

Plus, you’ve gotta make sure to stop off at Lacock Abbey, too.

Read more: Exploring Lacock

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