UK

12 Places to Visit in South England

You may have read some of my other posts recently ‘24 Places to visit in the UK‘ but I’ve been doing even more staycation research and decided to pull together another blog post focused around the best places to visit in South England, as well as another on the best places to visit in North England too. 

One of my favourite things to do is to go for a staycation, as there are so many beautiful places to visit in the UK and I am always adding new destinations to my bucket list.

From charming cottages to lake-side cabins, and from exciting city breaks to hiking in the mountains, there’s an abundance of places to visit in Southern England. A week in Britain offers travellers some of the best scenery, from the far-flung reaches of Scotland to the coast of England and the cliffs of Wales. But this blog post on the best places to visit in South England focuses solely on the southern part of the country. 

The south of the UK is home to ancient towns, historic cities, beautiful beaches and stunning woodlands, and whether you are exploring London, Bournemouth, Bristol, Cornwall or The Cotswolds, there is something for everyone. There are so many things to do in south England…

To help you plan your UK adventure, I have pulled together this list of the best places to visit in South England.

In hope that this post inspires some of you to travel closer to home over the coming months, instead of flying elsewhere. Keep reading for the best places to visit on south coast of England.

Here are the places you MUST add to your trip around in South England..

Places to Visit in South England

ENGLAND

London

Of course, you can’t visit the UK, without heading to England’s capital city London. Top of my list of places to visit in South England is London, one of the most prestigious cities in the world and it certainly has a lot to offer tourists, but what about those of us who live close by, and want to explore without the crowds and chaos? The best time of year to visit London is anytime!

I grew up about an hour outside of London, so it’s been a city which I would easily access and I would regularly come into the city for work, socialising or relaxation. But last year I got to the point where it got boring, so I started exploring lesser-known destination in London, including Hackney, St Katharine’s & Wapping, Hoxton, Shoreditch and Soho. This blog post of the places to visit in south England will help you plan your trip. 

Check out my blog post to spending a fun-filled 2 days in London.

 

Bournemouth

One of my favourite things to do as a kid was to go on a Bournemouth holiday. And now we’ve got our own family, I wanted to take her to see what all the fuss was about.

Bournemouth is located on Britain’s South Coast and offers visitors long sandy beaches, adorable beach huts, the Pier, art exhibitions, dramatic seascapes, tropical gardens, nightlife and traditional fish & chips. It’s easily one of the best places to visit in south England.

It’s the perfect place for a weekend break away with your partner, family or girlfriends. Whether you visit in the summer season or the Christmas period, things to do in south England, especially in Bournemouth which has so much to do, all year round.

With staycations becoming more popular in recent years and a stay on the coast, one of the UK’s favourite types of holidays, Bournemouth is setting the standard for that great British weekend away.

Check out my blog post on spending a weekend in Bournemouth.

Bournemouth Holidays

Cornwall

Are you looking for a weekend staycation in the UK? Use this Cornwall itinerary! And make a weekend break in Cornwall top of your list. There are so many places to visit in Cornwall, so this guide will help you decide where to go in Cornwall, where to stay in Cornwall, where to eat in Cornwall and much more. Use this guide as a Cornwall itinerary for your weekend in Cornwall. 

Another one of the best places to visit in south England is Cornwall is the ultimate UK summer staycation with its mild climate, breathtaking scenery and long stretches of sandy beaches. Located on the southwestern tip of the United Kingdom, it offers tourists moorlands, beaches, cliff faces, great cuisine and much more.

The county of Cornwall culminates at the promontory Land’s End, with views out to the Atlantic Ocean. The south coast is often dubbed the Cornish Riviera, due to it’s temperate weather, longer summers and picturesque harbour villages. 

Check out my blog post on spending five days in Cornwall.

 

The Cotswolds

When looking for south-west England destinations, you’ve got to stop at the beautifully rural Cotswolds, with rolling hills, stone villages, winter walks and a beer by the roaring fire in a local pub, but with easy accessibility from London.

It is also becoming a foodie capital of the country with amazing pubs, restaurants and cafes popping up all over the region. Whether you fancy a good walk, pub lunch, or a pamper at a spa, there is no better place than The Cotswolds. It’s top of my list of things to do in south England.

The Cotswolds straddles five counties, and although the vast proportion of it is within Oxfordshire and Gloucestershire, it even goes as far north as south Warwickshire and touches the edges of Worcestershire and Wiltshire too. 

I have visited The Cotswolds so many times over the years and I always fall further in love with this beautiful region in the UK. Whether you fancy a good walk, pub lunch, or a pamper at a spa, there is no better place than The Cotswolds.

Check out my guide to spending the weekend in The Cotswolds.

Places to Visit in South England

Bristol 

Some towns in Britain have always been seen as a hipster or ‘up and coming’ in recent years, but Bristol really is a cool city, with a very interesting and exciting future ahead of it. 

Bristol is a city straddling the River Avon in the southwest of England with a prosperous maritime history. Its former city-centre port is now a cultural hub, the Harbourside, where the M Shed museum explores local social and industrial heritage. The harbour’s 19th-century warehouses now contain restaurants, shops and cultural institutions such as the contemporary art gallery The Arnolfini.

There is so much to see including, Bristol Zoo Gardens, Clifton Suspension Bridge, Brunel’s SS Great Britain, Bristol Museum & Art Gallery, Floating Harbour, Cabot Tower and Bristol Cathedral. Add Bristol to your list of the best places to visit in south England.

 

Oxford

Another south-west England destination, is Oxford, a city of many attractions, and it’s near impossible to see all of this wonderful city in 48 hours, however, I am going to give it a go within this guide.

During the time I spent in Oxford, I did a walking tour of Oxford’s most famous tourist spots including the Thames, we visited the oldest pub in Oxford, Turf Tavern, we dined at The Handle Bar and explored The Covered Market.

I’ve actually only been to Oxford a handful of times before, despite it only being 45 minutes away from Milton Keynes, and my last trip to Oxford really reminded me why I need to spend more time here.

There is so much to do and see here, making it one of the best places to visit in south England – from the university to the river, and from all the amazing top-notch restaurants to the blinding nightlife. Another one of the best places to visit on South coast of England.

Check out my guide to 48 Hours in Oxford.

Places to Visit in South England

Cambridge

Only a short train ride away from London, another amazing place to visit in south England, is Cambridge seems to be the city that has it all. The shops, the cafes, the architecture, the history, the museums and the river.

Cambridge is a city on the River Cam in eastern England, home to the prestigious University of Cambridge, dating to 1209. University colleges include King’s, famed for its choir and towering Gothic chapel, as well as Trinity, founded by Henry VIII, and St John’s, with its 16th-century Great Gate.

University museums have exhibits on archaeology and anthropology, polar exploration, the history of science and zoology.

There are lots of exciting things to do in Cambridge, UK, but what are the top 7 fun things to do in Cambridge? Read my blog post for the best places to visit on South coast of England.

Check out my guide to spending a weekend in Cambridge.

 

Bath

Last year I took a trip to Bath for my birthday and even though it was July it was pretty downcast. 

Did you know that Bath is the only place in the UK where you can bathe in warm, mineral-rich thermal waters, which come directly from the natural hot springs? Because of the cities Roman history, it has become a big tourist spot for millions across the world. The entire city is a World Heritage Site!

Behind the stoned buildings of Georgian Bath is a city that has plenty to see and do; a host of great eateries to visit and a vast array of accommodation to suit all budgets. Check out my favourite five fun things to do in Bath, to make sure that you make the most of your visit to this gem of a city that boasts a history sweeping back to the Roman times.

The springs are situated deep beneath the city and there is archaeological evidence that there were people hanging about the hot springs at least 8,000 years BC! 

Brighton

Last summer we drove down to Brighton for the weekend, and my we picked a corker of a weekend to visit. The sun was out, it was around 26 degrees and we even managed a quick dip in the sea! We arrived on Saturday, and after checking into our room at Ibis Brighton, we headed on down to the seafront, where we grabbed an ice cream, and a beer on the beach.

We started out to the sea, wondering why we don’t live anywhere near to the sea back at home, in awe of its beauty and calming atmosphere. And if you need ideas of things to do during a trip to Brighton I love this list of quirky things to do in Brighton.

Then we headed on down the beach, taking a stroll down the Brighton Pier. Arabella was in awe of all the slot machines, and we had a go on some of the slots before Theo attempted to win a minion toy on the pickup machines, like in Toy Story.

Brighton Pier is amazing, with lots of do, places to eat and such a wonderful British tradition. There were lots of tourists but you’ve got to expect that in mid-summer on a scorcher of a day. Add this place to your bucket list of places to visit in south England.

Check out my blog post on spending 48 Hours in Brighton.

 

Dorset

I headed down to the coast for a weekend by the sea and a well-needed catch-up. For our holidays in Dorset, we stayed just outside the beautiful town of Bridport, in an adorable cottage on a working dairy farm. 

We spent the weekend driving around Dorset, up and down the coastal roads, spending the morning at Durdle Door, the afternoon at Lulworth Cove, and then sunbathing in the sunshine in the morning at Hive Beach Cafe just down the road. 

The cottage was perfect for our adventure in Dorset and provided us with a great base to explore both Dorset and beyond. For our weekend by the sea, we decided to take a relaxed approach to explore, heading out to the eastern tip of the county on Saturday.

And then heading back west, through Durdle Door and Lulworth Cove, and then on Sunday we explored the villages around Bridport, before heading on to the west coast, and exploring the towns around Axminster. 

Dorset is a county with a long history and provides visitors with the best of both, the countryside and the ocean. You can venture to inland Dorset, with its hamlets of thatched cottages, wooden-beamed pubs and watermills and then within minutes, you can be looking out to sea, with the pebbled beaches and ice cream huts dotted along the beaches. Have you been to this iconic places to visit in south England?

Check out my blog post guide to a weekend in Dorset.

Holidays in Dorset Durdle Door

ISLE OF WIGHT

I visited the Isle of Wight last summer for the first time but within hours I had fallen in love with its relaxed atmosphere, the smell of sea air, and stunning views from every corner of the island.

We stayed at Darwin Escapes’ Woodside Bay Lodge Retreat, which was the perfect base for our long weekend away. Unlike the old-style holiday parks, Darwin Escapes offers 5* luxury cabins with incredible views, and cabins with everything you could need for a weekend retreat.

The cabin we had had two bedrooms, sleeping 4 people, an open plan kitchen lounge area, plus a decking area out the front for dining on those warm summer evenings.

We then spent four days exploring the island, from kayaking at Freshwater Bay with Adventure Activities and dining at The Cow Co, to zip-lining at Tapnell Farm and dressing up at cowboys at Blackgang Chine. We had so much fun over the weekend and I really fell in love with this wonderful little island. A dreamy south-west England destination!

Check out my guide to visiting the Isle of Wight.

 

JERSEY

Last year I flew to spend a weekend in Jersey! I spent 48 hours exploring this wonderful island, including three days and two nights. Jersey is the largest of the Channel Islands, between England and France and even though it is a self-governing dependency, it still sits within the United Kingdom. It may not be on the island of the UK, but it is one of the best places to visit in south England.

The island is a real mix of British and French cultures, with streets signs in French and English, many towns named after French phrases and lots of French-inspired cuisines. The island is known for its beaches, cliffside walking trails and historic castles and there’s just so much to do on this tiny yet wonderful island.

The island is possibly most famous for the Jersey War Tunnels complex, in a former hospital excavated by slave labour, which documents the island’s 5-year German occupation during WWII. So what are you waiting for? There are so many things to do in south England, including in Jersey.

Check out my blog post on things to do in Jersey

OTHER BLOG POSTS

17 Destinations You Won’t Believe are in England

The best beaches in the UK

21 Unique Stays on Airbnb

15 of the Best Hikes in the UK

12 Weekend Breaks for a Staycation in the UK

 


My Travel Tips and Recommendations

Flights

To book flights, I always use flight search engine, Skyscanner, I regularly use the Everywhere tool to find the cheapest places to travel. It’s how I get to travel so much all around the world. I find it the easiest way to compare flight prices across airlines and get the best deals. 

Accommodation

For accommodation, I usually book most of my hotels or hostels through Booking.com. I love using this platform as it provides me with some amazing deals for accommodation all around the world. Or if you prefer, I also recommend using Airbnb. If you haven’t signed up with Airbnb already, you can use this link to get £25 off your first visit!

Photography and Technology

Here is a list of the technology I always travel with:

Travel Insurance

Picking travel insurance that covers you in all eventualities is an essential part of planning a trip for every single person. If you can’t afford travel insurance, you can’t afford to travel. You never know what’s around the corner. World Nomads is an affordable option that I personally recommend. BOOK HERE

 

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Thank you for reading and as always happy adventuring! If you have any questions about the destination please leave these in the comments below.

If you’ve enjoyed this post, please share it for me with all your friends and family!

Sophie X

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