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The tide gently lapping at your toes; a paperback in one hand and an ice-cold beverage in the other; the sun, blistering and bright, working its magic on your tan. Well, perhaps you can discount that last part – nonetheless, the usual conventions of a beach holiday can easily be enjoyed without leaving the British Isles. The West Country is a perfect example of this, combining a distinctly English charm with seaside sensibilities and some truly spectacular scenery. With a spot of luck, the temperatures of Spain and France may even venture north for the duration of your stay, contributing towards a truly unforgettable holiday experience.
The West Country has no true parameters as an unofficial region. The consensus, though, suggests that anywhere along the southwest coast – Gloucester to Torquay, stretching along the peninsula to Land’s End – falls within this category. The locals will certainly proudly boast of that distinction, and after a visit, it’s clear to see why.
Top five West Country beach holiday destinations
Beach holidays in Torquay
Don’t let Basil Fawlty put you off visiting Torquay. The barmy hotel owner was in a state of exasperation – but perhaps if he'd taken a break from berating guests and strolled along one of his hometown’s beautiful beaches, he’d have felt more at ease. Meadfoot beach is among the finer choices, the craggy terrain affording the perfect opportunity to explore the rock pools for signs of life. Keep a keen eye on the water too: it’s not uncommon for dolphins to be glimpsed just off the shore.
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Beach holidays in Penzance
Reaching far into the English Channel at almost the tip of the country lies the town of Penzance, famed for more than the fictional pirates that loom large in the opera for which it provides the setting. Promenade beach and Battery Rocks beach are both superb options for their landscapes and seaside sensibilities; but unfortunately the very existence of both is at the mercy of the tide on a day-to-day basis. For peace and quiet, not to mention a safe swimming area, Eastern Green is a pretty safe bet.
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Beach holidays in St Ives
It’s consistently voted as Britain’s best seaside town, and to spend one day on the beaches around St Ives is to fully appreciate why. Porthmeor is the largest and most popular with families and surfers alike, offering fantastic views as well as challenging waves for those occupying a board. After dipping your toes, duck into famous Porthmeor Café for a cold jug of Pimm’s or a slice of cake. Sheltered by the fully functional harbour walls, Harbour Beach is another terrific place in town to whittle away a few hours.
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Beach holidays in Hayle
Just across the bay from St Ives lies the somewhat lesser-known Cornish port of Hayle. It’s a small wonder why the beaches of this sleepy town haven’t yet managed to challenge for their neighbour’s crown; but with a three-mile stretch of delightful golden sands to explore, you’ll be glad it’s not teeming with tourists. The area is popular with bird watchers keen to catch a glimpse of the lesser-sighted osprey and avocet, but the likes of sprawling Towans Beach is another fine venue for surfings and even kite buggying.
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Beach holidays in Weston-super-Mare
Nestled on the coastline just a short distance from the urban hub of Bristol, you can find what some lovingly refer to as the Blackpool of the South. In fairness, the comparisons are fairly evident. The beach is one of the longest in the UK and an undeniably pleasant experience all round; especially if you take the time to explore the wonders of the Grand Pier and the family-orientated SeaQuarium. Don’t forget to purchase a “kiss me quick” souvenir hat before you leave.
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West Country Holiday Rentals
Be debonair in this smartly tailored Victorian town-house for 7 (and up to 8). Situated in a tranquil, residential avenue, only 5 minutes from the Bath Spa train station and city centre, this handsome house is the suave solution for a savvy city b...
In a winsome 17th century Georgian terrace nestled in a quiet country lane is a romantic little hideaway for 4 (and up to 5 with sofa bed). Picturesque country walks following in the footsteps of Jane Austen offer sweeping views of the city in one...
A famous historic love affair is celebrated at this glamorous 2 bedroom, 2 bathroom Georgian apartment for 4 (and up to 6) guests. Situated at the centre of this beautiful city and with a pretty courtyard garden, the house was once home to the inf...
As glamorous as the movies, this picture perfect and super-stylish Bath- stone manor house for 16 (and up to 20) is a dream country home set on 98 acres. Only a 10 minute drive from the centre of Bath and poised above a picturesque valley, surroun...
Telling the story of an epic love affair, this glamorous 6 bedroom, 4 bathroom Georgian town house for 12 (and up to 16 guests) in Bath’s beautiful city centre will have you spellbound. Home to famous historic resident, the gorgeous Lady Emm...