West Country

Worldwide /  Europe /  Great Britain (England, Scotland and Wales) /  England /  West Country
Map Loading
in West Country

Destination Information

England’s West Country is a timeless region, chiefly composed of rolling and wooded countryside where tiny stone villages are tucked into folds in the land. However, in central Devon, the high moorland of Dartmoor can change from benign to forbidding in seconds, while the dramatic cliffs of Cornwall’s Penwith coastline take the full force of the North Atlantic swell. Both Exeter and Wells are justly famous for their medieval cathedrals, while farther south, you will find romantic fishing ports such as Fowey, Portloe and St. Mawes. The best months for a visit are June and September.

Editor Tips

An Exquisite Cathedral

Gothic cathedrals are among the glories of England. Salisbury is the most elegant, Durham the most imposing and Canterbury the most historically important. However, I have always felt a special affinity for Wells Cathedral in Somerset. The 13th-century west front is a sublime synthesis of form, decoration and figurative sculpture that many architectural historians consider to be unsurpassed. The St. Andrew’s Cross arches under the tower are unique, and the ancient stained glass in the Lady Chapel is exquisite.

Seafood in Dartmouth

In the ancient port of Dartmouth in Devon, home of the Britannia Royal Naval College, I found an excellent seafood restaurant to replace the sadly shuttered Carved Angel: The Seahorse. The attractive town of Lyme Regis in West Dorset is home to HIX Oyster & Fish House (Cobb Road. Tel. [44] 1297-446-910), a fine place for lunch overlooking the sea.

Delightful Gardens

In March and April, the Cornish gardens of Trewithen, Trelissick and Glendurgan are ablaze with an astonishing array of camellias, magnolias and rhododendrons.