Top campsites, caravan parks, walks, beaches and places to eat
The South West of England is one of the most beautiful spots on the nation. The neighbouring counties of Devon and Cornwall – the southernmost tip of the nation – have long been popular holiday destinations.
Devon is unique for being the only county in the UK with a north and south facing coast; it is also host to England’s only natural UNESCO World Heritage Site, the ‘Jurassic Coast’, which stretches along the Dorset and East Devon Coast and is well-known for its geological curiosities (and great walks).
And for UK holidaymakers keen to eschew cramped resort holidays abroad and enjoy a real ‘staycation’, this guide to the two southwestern counties will give you some ideas for planning your trip. From tips on caravan parks and caravans for sale through holiday park operators like Park Resorts, to secluded campsites and great walks, we hope there’s something for all tastes!
Self-catering accommodation is big in both Cornwall and Devon, from cottages to campsites. Some of these self-catering residences are decidedly upmarket – such as the Barclay House Cottages in Looe (they have a Jacuzzi!) – but you can find some lovely B&Bs and guesthouses too. The Padstow, Polzeath and Wadebridge area is lovely – though St Agnes is a pretty place for camping (at Beacon Cottages).
For families and couples: Bideford Bay in Devon is a beautiful caravan park for active, outdoorsy families. The area is an excellent starting point for walks and a centre for surfing in the area. You can also try nearby Croyde Bay for surfing and water sports. For campers who want to be on the edge of one of the county’s two national parks, Runnage Farm campsite in Dartmoor is a top spot – again wonderful for kids with a hunger for the outdoors.
Walks and activities
Where to begin?! Cornwall, and Devon alike, is one of the UK’s best places to walk, with the inland wonders of Bodmin Moor alongside the umpteen coastal walks and farm options. Why not head down to the southernmost tip of the country, to Land’s End, and walk along to much-celebrated Sennen Cove, in all its craggy beauty?
Like Cornwall, you’re a bit spoilt for choice here, but we’d recommend getting stuck into the two national parks in the area. For a coastal walk with exceptional views, starting at Greenway Quay and winding along the Dart Estuary and joining up with the coastal path to skirt along the Kingswear Peninsula with provide you with some stunning views back across the land and sea.
Food and drink
Amazing seafood and locally-sourced veg and leaves like samphire, asparagus and wild garlic, are all on the Cornish menu. The Carnewas Tea Rooms are near the stunning Bedruthan Steps, one of the region’s most famous views – and will provide you with the right sustenance mid- or post-walk. Padstow has Rick Stein’s famous fish restaurant – and his new Cornish Arms down the road in St Merryn.
Famous for its cream teas, and rightly so, there are many great places to grab the perfect scone and clotted cream in Devon. If the kids want the best fish and chips in Britain - head to The Fish Shed in Topsham. And you’ll find some really old-time cream tea and hospitality at Docton Mill and its tea rooms.
For more information on both counties, the Guardian Travel website has some excellent interactive guides.