Five amazing rural spots for a quiet autumn weekend away in South West England

South West England is a beautiful region with hundreds of miles of the best coastline in the country, as well as plenty of unspoilt countryside.

If you want a nice city break, places like Bristol or Bath are perfect. However, if you want a quieter pace of life, and the opportunity to explore the amazing natural landscapes in the area, you may want to try some more rural locations instead.

Read on to learn about five amazing rural spots for a quiet autumn weekend away in South West England.

1. Shaftesbury

You may find Shaftesbury familiar on your first visit because the picturesque market town featured in a prominent TV advert.

Hovis used the now iconic “Gold Hill” in a nostalgic advert featuring a young boy pushing his bike up the hill to deliver some bread.

That image of a quaint market town is indicative of the atmosphere you will find in Shaftesbury, staying in a traditional inn or bed and breakfast.

Shaftesbury is the highest town in Dorset, so you get breathtaking views over Blackmore Vale. The surrounding countryside offers plenty in the way of relaxing walks and you are well located to visit some of the big attractions in the region.

You are relatively close to Stonehenge, the Jurassic Coast, and Bristol, so there are plenty of places to take day trips during your stay.

The town itself is steeped in Saxon history and there are some excellent museums to visit including the Shaftesbury Abbey Museum and the Gold Hill Museum. The Shaftesbury Heritage Trail is a fun way to learn more about the history of the town while taking in some nice views too.

2. Corfe Castle

The village of Corfe Castle, not far from Shaftesbury, is named after the ruined castle that sits atop the hill.

Many people staying nearby visit the castle, but the village itself is a great place for a long weekend. There is a good mix of historic hotels, self-catering cottages, and campsites so you have plenty of accommodation options.

As well as visiting the ruins and the attached museum, you can see an impressive model village showing what the castle looked like when it was in full working order. There are lots of well-marked cycle trails and walking routes around the castle to explore too.

If you want to venture outside the village, there is a fully restored steam railway that runs between Corfe Castle and Swanage, with a free museum to visit.

Autumn is a particularly good time to visit Corfe Castle if you are a foodie, as the Sausage and Cider Festival takes place between 22 and 30 October. There are also nature events for children run by the RSPB, and a blues festival in nearby Swanage from 5 to 8 October too.

3. Dawlish

Most seaside towns are best visited in the summer, but Dawlish has far more to offer on top of the beautiful golden beaches.

The town centre is built around the Lawn and Brook, where you may spot the famous black swans that the area is known for. You will also find lots of great shops and an interesting museum about the history of the area.

Dawlish is an especially good place to visit if you want a more active getaway. It is popular with cyclists as the Exe Estuary Trail offers an exciting off-road route between Dawlish and Exeter. Naturally, the town is the beginning of many scenic coastal walks too.

Additionally, you are only a stone’s throw away from Dawlish Warren Nature Reserve, which you are free to walk around. Autumn is the perfect time to visit this 500-acre stretch of sand dunes, grassland, and mudflats as around 23,000 birds migrate to the area between August and March.

4. Chipping Sodbury

The medieval market town of Chipping Sodbury is the ideal location if you want a rural getaway that is still close to Bath and Bristol.

It is a very architecturally interesting town, with a mix of buildings from the Tudor era all the way through to late Victorian. The large high street usually has lots going on, including a farmer’s market that runs twice a month and the town hall hosts various events throughout the year. This autumn, you can enjoy a comedy club and a craft and gift fair, for example.

The surrounding area has plenty of sites of interest to offer too, such as Little Sodbury Manor, the remains of a 15th century manor house. You are also well situated to visit Horton Court, an impressive manor house where popular historical dramas such as Poldark and Wolf Hall were filmed.

5. Tintagel

Tintagel is a popular destination for visitors hoping to explore the north Cornwall coast. It sits on a beautiful stretch of coastline and is close to other great tourist destinations such as Port Isaac and Bude.

Tintagel is known as the supposed birthplace of King Arthur so expect to find lots of historical sites and activities, including Tintagel Castle and immersive King Arthur’s Great Halls experience. Even the post office is a tourist attraction as it is a National Trust site dating back to medieval times.

There are some breathtaking natural beauty spots in the surrounding area too. Merlin’s Cave is a 100-metre long cave network that runs underneath the cliffs, with an image of Merlin carved into the rockface.

You are also just a 10-minute drive from St Nectan’s Glen, a forested area with a stunning waterfall at the heart of it.

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Please note

This blog is for general information only and does not constitute advice. The information is aimed at retail clients only.

Posted in Blog.