West Country beach holidays

Discover the pleasures of the English Riviera

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Ronnie McCluskey

Ronnie McCluskey
HomeAway travel expert

West country beachThe 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 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 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 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 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 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

Stares Nest - the quintessential Dartmoor cottage

This amazing cottage has been in the owner, Jane's family for many years, and as her and her partner Stuart are architects it's been sensitively restored to a very high standard. It really is the quintessential Dartmoor cottage, combining the cosi...

Cozy cottage close to Salcombe and great sandy beaches

The cottage is in the village of Frogmore, a pretty Devon village and one which has managed to hang on to its pub, the excellent Globe Inn just one minute's walk, its Post Office and the locally renowned Frogmore Bakery & General Stores. You can e...

Hope Beach House is only 50 metres from a stunning sandy beach

The Beach House at Hope Cove is only 50 metres from a stunning sandy beach and one of the most spectacular sections of the South West Coast Path. Hope Cove was once known as a smugglers haunt but is now the perfect spot for a seaside holiday with ...

Castle Cary, Somerset

Castle Cary, Somerset Stunning designer home in rural Somerset - perfect for friends & family Welcome to our stylish & comfortable design-led home with a rear facade of glass & steel floating staircase. The perfect rural retreat in a traditional ...

Luxury Holiday Cottage Complex South Devon indoor pool, playrooms, nr beach

Higher Bowden holiday cottages are luxury self-catering holiday cottages in Devon suitable for all the family set within a complex in a spectacular rural setting of 6.5 acres - a designated area of outstanding natural beauty. The cottages are loca...
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