Days out and things to do in the South-West and surrounding areas
Search our site for where to go, things to do, courses, rainy days out, and holiday accommodation in Bath, Bournemouth and Poole, Bristol, Cornwall, Cotswolds, Devon, Dorset, Gloucestershire, Somerset and Wiltshire. Check out regular special offers on self-catering cottages in the region.
Bath, Bristol and Somerset
Home to Exmoor National Park and three Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty, Somerset has unique natural features like the famous Cheddar Gorge and Caves. Learn to capture the beauty of the landscape at a One-Day Going Digital Workshop at Dyrham Park, a spectacular late 17th century mansion, garden and deer park, close to Bristol, Bath.
A World Heritage Site, Bath has some of the finest architecture in Europe such as the Bath Assembly Rooms, the Royal Crescent, the Circus and Pulteney Bridge, the Roman Baths, the Jane Austen Centre and the Thermae Bath Spa. Take a Stonehenge and Bath tour for a memorable day out or discover the city by bike with Biker’s Delight.
Wells is said to be the smallest city in England and it is certainly one of its most picturesque. Whilst here make time to visit the Wells Cathedral, a magnificent building dating back to 1175. A few steps away is Vicar’s Close, the only remaining complete medieval street in England, tapering by 10 feet (3.0 m) to make it look longer when viewed from the bottom.
The Bishop’s Palace is a place full of secrets, stories and stunning scenery, with its medieval palace buildings and ruined Great Hall, 14 acres of gardens to explore, exciting events and activities, a family friendly cafe and much more. The Palace is also famous all over the world for its swans who ring a bell alongside the gatehouse when they want food.
Bristol is the city of bridges, balloons, boats, Brunel and Banksy, with a fantastic range of things to do whether you’re looking for a great day out for all the family, a romantic break or a little adventure. Just outside Bristol sits Noah’s Ark Zoo Farm , a unique zoo and working farm set in 100 acres of beautiful countryside.
For something different , why not take to the skies for a Balloon Flight and drift effortlessly over Somerset’s towns, villages and countryside? Or sleep in a Gypsy Caravan amidst the peace and tranquillity of rural Somerset, cook on a fire and discover how to relax properly.
For longer stays in a quiet woodland setting, try the Alpine Grove Woodland Park, a unique log cabin retreat set in 8.5 acres of parkland.
Wimbleball Lake in Somerset’s Exmoor National Park offers first class facilities on and off the water. It has an outdoor activities centre where tuition is offered in various watersports, a premier trout fishery, miles of footpaths for walking and cycling, an electric all-terrain mobility scooter for visitors with impaired mobility, and a campsite adjacent to the water’s edge.
Bournemouth and Poole
Visit Bournemouth with its seven miles of golden beaches like the family friendly Alum Chine, the iconic Bournemouth Pier, the award-winning Boscombe Spa Village and Southbourne. Take your children to see the Corfe Castle Model Village or hire a beach hut or bikes for a great old-fashioned family day out by the sea.
Front Bike Hire on Bournemouth seafront is located 200 metres east of Bournemouth pier. With miles of beach promenade to explore in both directions.
Exmoor Zoo is a unique and an unusual zoo to visit! Since opening the zoo has grown every year, changes keep taking place and new babies are born, so even a visit last year will today see new exhibits and animals!
Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly
Cornwall has the longest stretch of continuous coastline in Britain, with tiny fishing villages, smuggler’s coves, spectacular beaches, sweeping bays, dramatic cliffs, beautiful moorland and countryside.
Discover Porfell Wildlife Park, Cornwall’s biggest exotic animal sanctuary. The Park is home to to exotic animals including beautiful birds like kookaburras and macaws, old reptiles like giant leopard tortoises, amazing monkeys, graceful zebra and eland, crazy ostrich and an ever-growing gang of meerkats.
For more than 40 years, Cornwall has been known as the home to British surfing. The waves which pound the Cornish coastline are created by deep Atlantic low pressure systems which unleash their powerful swells eastwards creating some of the best surfing conditions in Europe. You can learn to surf locally at the Bluewings Surf School.
Cotswolds, Forest of Dean, and Gloucestershire
Come to the Cheltenham Festival, pay a visit to Batsford Arboretum, Court Barn Museum, Gloucestershire Warwickshire Railway, tour the area with Biker’s Delight, or enjoy some retail therapy at one of the many farmers’ markets.
Visit Painswick Rococo Garden in Gloucestershire, a fascinating example of a flamboyant and sensual period of English Garden Design.
For an exciting family day out, try the Prinknash Bird and Deer Park, where there are no fences and children can experience feeding the birds, learning about beautiful exotic birds, deer, pygmy goats and donkeys, exploring the stunning parkland, or having a birthday party in the painted gipsy caravan on site.
Devon has traditional fishing villages, sandy beaches, unspoilt landscapes and a wealth of attractions. Unwind at a spa, get active, try one of the water-sports in Devon, or visit Dartmoor and Exmoor. Go walking in Bovey Valley Woods , join a fully guided cycling tour with Devon Cycle Tours, take a landscape painting course at Lower Hummacott, or spend a few days in a green Helpful Holidays cottage.
Roadford Lake on the Devon/Cornwall border is the largest lake for watersports in the South West. At the lake you can enjoy a range of water-based activities including sailing, windsurfing, kayaking and multi-activity days. You can also visit the indoor climbing wall, experience the high ropes course or try your hand at archery.
North Devon is a perfect holiday setting, whether you are looking for a weekend break in Devon, romantic getaway or family holiday. It has fantastic sandy beaches, and areas rich in wildlife and nature, making it a perfect base for exploring and discovery.
Dorset’s coastline and award winning beaches are perfect for lovers of the great outdoors. It has idyllic landscapes perfect for walking or cycling, and great spots for sailing and windsurfing.
See the rock formation of Durdle Door and the beautiful Lulworth Cove along the World Heritage ‘Jurassic Coast‘- a fascinating area that’s great for fossil hunting too. Learn to sail at the Shell Bay Sailing school near Poole harbour, or visit the beautiful Knoll Gardens on a Wildlife Open Day..
Nothe Fort in Dorset is an award winning visitor attraction, come rain or shine. The Fort was built by the Victorians to protect Portland Harbour and to this day it remains one of the best preserved forts of its kind.
The Brownsea Open Air Theatre is set on The National Trust’s Brownsea Island in Poole Harbour, Dorset, a stunning natural backdrop for a wonderful Shakespeare production.
Or explore impressive stately homes and gardens such as Stourhead or Longleat – a fantastic Elizabethan country house set in 900 acres of gardens and safari park! Walk or cycle through the Wiltshire countryside and you’re likely to spot giant white horses carved into the chalk hillsides while stumbling across delightful little villages too.
Bowood House & Gardens in Wiltshire offer a fantastic day out for all the family. Children will love the Adventure Playgrounds and Soft Play Palace (also suitable when it rains). Everyone will enjoy exploring the 100 acres parkland designed by ‘Capability’ Brown, or visiting the House with its extensive collection of artefacts.
Set in beautiful countryside on the Wiltshire & Hampshire border, Cholderton Charlie’s Farm is a Rare Breeds Farm and Play Park in a converted milk dairy farm. The farm is located only 4 miles from Stonehenge and offers agreat, fun day out for all the family and in any kind of weather.