The Famous Seaside Towns of the West Country – Part 1

The West Country has attracted millions of tourists each year who come to visit the region for a variety of reasons. The warm summers, the national parks and the cuisine of the area, help to attract people into the area but the biggest reason why people have chosen for the last two centuries to visit the far extreme of Britain is to view the resorts that border both the Bristol and English Channels. In fact, the county of Cornwall has beaches that back onto the Atlantic Ocean. One such resort is the Cornish town of Newquay that is faced by the Atlantic Ocean. Situated on the North Coast of the County, the town’s beaches are famed for the ideal surfing conditions they experience each year.

The most popular beach is Fistral beach which is situated ideally to receive the huge fetch that gives the waves their swell and power. This is ideal for the surfers and goes a long way to explain why the population of the town swells from 22,000 to over 100,000 in the summer months. The area also provides a zoo for tourists to visit plus the area has a number of sheltered village harbours for those wanting a more cultural experience. Every year there is annual “Run to the Sun” event that attracts many runners from around the area.

Surfers enjoying Fistral Beach

One of the oldest resorts in the South West is Sidmouth which is located on the South Devon Coast line facing the English Channel. The town is famed for its Georgian and Edwardian architecture which reflects the popularity of the resort in the 19th century.

As industrialization was sweeping through the country the greater affluence of the nation meant that people could take 2 weeks holiday and head to the sun. This tourism was based around the domestic market and many of the people would travel down from the cooler industrial northern areas. Over the years Sidmouth has changed but it has done so at rather a slow pace. That has meant that it has retained its heritage and culture. One of the most popular events in the town is the annual folk festival which has been held in the first week of August since it was first started in 1955.

The celebration of music, dance, theatre and food in the region is a popular event and swells the local population so much that temporary campsites are needed to be erected. This event reflects the character of the town and in a way Sidmouth has never really changed from being a 19th century resort but this in no way affects its popularity. While Sidmouth appeals to the more mature tourist younger tourists are likely to head to Minehead. Minehead is situated on the North Somerset coast of the Bristol Channel, and is on the door step of the Quantock hills and Exmoor National Park.

Steam trains at Minehead Station

Minehead is home to one of Butlins holiday camps. These camps tend to attract young families as once they have paid for the holiday there are a variety of entertainments that are arranged that keep the family happy all day.

The variety of entertainments on offer means that both the young and older visitors are catered for. The price of the holiday includes all meals so represents value or money for those families on a budget. The camp also has a fun fare and there are amusement arcades both in the camp and in the town.

The town also is the final stop of the West Somerset Steam Railway which has a service of steam trains running daily from Bishops Lydeard, which is 5 miles outside of Somerset’s County Town, Taunton. Tourists from Minehead can go on excursions to Taunton, Watchet, Dunster Castle or a number of other places. There are a number of seaside towns in the West Country that cater for a wide variety of tourist.