Scott and I are both completely in love with the south of England. We’ve called it home for pretty much our entire lives and we’ve found so many beautiful places to visit in south England to keep us hooked for many more years to come.
So if you’re looking for the best places to go in south England for a day trip, weekend getaway or to add to your longer UK itinerary, then we’ve got you covered with these 27 unmissable places to visit south of the Midlands.
Are you ready for your UK bucket list to get a whole longer? Great, let’s go!
The Most Beautiful Places To Visit In South England
The infamous World Heritage-status Jurassic Coast runs for 96 miles from Exmouth in East Devon and through Dorset before finishing at Studland Bay.
It’s most famous for its 185 million years worth of geological history and is the perfect place to find fossils and other treasures from the Triassic, Jurassic and Cretaceous periods.
But there are also some stunning places to visit all along the Jurassic Coast where you can find incredible sea views, wildflower meadows, pristine beaches and more!
Here are our favourite places to visit along the Jurassic Coast that we recommend you add to your South England bucket list straightaway!
Thanks to authors like Jane Austen and Beatrix Potter, Lyme Regis is one of the Jurassic Coast’s most famous towns.
And as it’s a popular Victorian seaside town, it has also got lots of pretty areas to admire.
From seeing pretty little boats moored in the harbour and wandering around pretty parks to finding old Victorian lamp posts and mooching inside bustling boutiques, you’ll never run out of things to do and see in Lyme Regis.
Salcombe Hill is along the coastal walk that you can follow from Sidmouth in East Devon and it’s so pretty!
Not only can you gaze at stunning ocean views but you’ll also see these same views framed by the rust-coloured Triassic cliffs that Sidmouth is known for.
Plus in the summer months, you can also find a beautiful wildflower meadow up here too!
Lulworth Cove and Durdle Door
Another of the Jurassic Coast’s most famous spots, Lulworth Cove is home to a pretty little bay, sandy beaches and fantastic sea views.
Durdle Door is also just over a mile away from Lulworth Cove and many visitors follow the coastal walks between the two.
Swanage is home to sandy beaches, charming tea shops, quaint houses – and perhaps its most famous landmark of all – Corfe Castle.
Most visitors just come to see Corfe Castle but you could easily spend a full weekend exploring all the pretty little nooks and crannies of this charming seaside town.
Bonus: Burrow Farm Gardens
While you’re in the Jurassic Coast area, be sure to stop off at Burrow Farm Gardens, which is roughly 20 minutes north east of Lyme Regis.
It’s nicknamed East Devon’s Secret Garden and is home to 13 acres worth of stunning gardens complete with ponds, gorgeous viewpoints – and perhaps our most favourite feature of all – a Secret Garden gate.
It’s also dog friendly – such a great bonus!
Declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1987, the ancient Roman city of Bath is as beautiful as it is historic.
From the incredible architecture of Bath Abbey and the Baths that helped to put this city on the map to the pretty botanical gardens and charming Regency houses you’ve seen slapped all over period dramas on the TV, there’s so much to love about this city.
You could easily spend a full weekend exploring Bath but you can still see so much even if you’ve got just one day to spare.
READ MORE: HOW TO SPEND THE PERFECT ONE DAY IN BATH
Bonus: Bowood House & Gardens
It’s not every day that you visit somewhere that truly takes your breath away and has you wishing to come back again before you’ve even left.
We discovered this place by chance while researching Poldark filming locations and we knew we just had to visit.
Not only is there a stunning Georgian property to see here, but the grounds are nothing short of magical. You’ll find grottoes, temples, a waterfall and even an arboretum (or pinetum) here.
You may even be lucky enough – like we were! – to see hundreds of geese basking in the sunshine and even glimpse some deer through the trees. Incredible!
Oxford is a truly iconic English city and is full of beautiful architecture you can’t help but stare at!
Some of the city’s highlights include the Radcliffe Camera, Oxford Castle and the Bridge of Sighs.
But while you’re here, you should also make it your mission to enjoy afternoon tea in one of the city’s many charming tea shops.
You can also follow a path along the canal, which finishes near Port Meadow – a large open green space full of wildflowers during the spring and summer months.
Bonus: Blenheim Palace
If you’re visiting Oxford, then you should also try to get tickets for Blenheim Palace, which is roughly 20 minutes north of the city.
Although the palace and grounds are magnificent on any given day, this palace is truly INCREDIBLE to visit at Christmastime.
Each year, the palace puts on the most incredible sound and light shows throughout its gardens and the palace truly comes alive with spectacular themed decorations.
Last year, Alice in Wonderland took over the castle but other years have included Cinderella and other popular fairy tales.
Tickets don’t come cheap – but it’s seriously worth it!
Having lived in Bristol for close to a decade now, we might be a little biased to include it on this list of beautiful places to visit in south England.
But there are definitely so many things that make this city such a charming place to go!
From historic buildings in the old part of the city and magnificent ships moored in the harbour to various spectacular city viewpoints and even Banksy murals dotted throughout the city, there are so many reasons why you should visit Bristol.
Once again, you could easily spend a full weekend here, but if you’ve only got one day, then here’s how to make the most of it.
READ MORE: EPIC ONE DAY IN BRISTOL ITINERARY
Exmoor National Park
Exmoor National Park in Devon is one of our favourite places to go in south England as there’s so much to do out in nature here.
If we could name drop just a couple of unmissable places to visit in Exmoor, they would be Heddon Valley (for the views, coastal walks and secluded cove) and Watersmeet (for the riverside strolls, woodland walks and foxglove fields).
Dartmoor National Park
Also in Devon, Dartmoor National Park is another beautiful place to explore.
Once again, you can’t really go wrong wherever you go.
But some of our favourite places in Dartmoor are Lydford Gorge (for the 100 foot high waterfall, riverside strolls and interesting legends), Hay Tor (for stunning views and rocks shaped like a giant’s foot) and Becky Falls (for yet more waterfalls and an ancient woodland).
We couldn’t possibly write about the most beautiful places to visit in south England without mentioning the country’s capital city could we?
There is a lot of beauty to find in London – especially if you know where to go.
While all the usual tourist sights are incredible to see firsthand, you should also make it your mission to see the various parks and green spaces throughout the city including Holland Park, Hyde Park, Kew Gardens and WWT London Wetland Centre.
The mews are also well worth finding, which are little cobblestoned streets free from cars and home to incredible wisteria-strewn houses.
Not to mention there are also lots of pretty little boutiques to discover in boroughs like Mayfair, Chelsea, Notting Hill, Covent Garden and Kensington.
If you think historic cities are beautiful then you’ll LOVE Salisbury!
It’s home to 700 year old pubs, Tudor houses, a magnificent cathedral and even an original Magna Carta you can see up close.
How incredible is that? You can easily see the highlights of Salisbury in just one day – and you’ll love every minute!
READ MORE: ONE DAY IN SALISBURY – 15 BEST THINGS TO DO
While you’re in this area, you should also take a day trip from Salisbury to Stonehenge, which is easily one of the UK’s most iconic sights and is just 10 miles north of the city.
Bonus: Highclere Castle
Also, if you’re a fan of Downton Abbey then you’ll also love a trip out to Highclere Castle, which is less than an hour away from Salisbury.
It was the principal filming location for Downton Abbey and is even home to an Egyptian exhibit in the basement.
Well worth visiting if you can get tickets – but you will need to plan months ahead.
The south of England is home to so many towns and cities that are well known for their Regency buildings and Georgian architecture.
But Cheltenham is the most complete Regency town in the whole of the UK!
If you love houses and buildings akin to what you’d read about in a Jane Austen novel or see in a period drama, then you’ll love Cheltenham as you’ll find streets full of these houses everywhere you look.
READ MORE: 7 TOTALLY FUN THINGS TO DO IN CHELTENHAM
While you’re in this area, you might also want to think about a day trip to Puzzlewood, which is roughly an hour south west of Cheltenham.
It’s an incredible wood to wander around and was also used prominently in Star Wars and other hit TV shows and movies!
We know. We know. Cornwall is an entire county in south west England, so what’s it doing among all these cities and towns?
Simply put, you just can’t go wrong wherever you end up in Cornwall.
In our opinion, it’s one of the best places to visit in south west England and is usually the first place we recommend to anyone who wants to see the country outside of London.
For now, here’s what we recommend you start with…
Known as King Arthur’s birthplace, Tintagel is home to an ancient castle and a charming little village in north Cornwall.
Plus the sea views from the top of the cliffs near the castle are incredible to see first hand!
Porthcurno is home to a pristine sandy beach overlooking a calm bay. But it also has another incredible and very beautiful feature!
It’s home to the Minack Theatre, which is an open air theatre carved into the side of the cliffs and overlooking the sea.
Coming here makes for a truly magical evening but you will need to book months ahead!
St Ives along the north coast is one of Cornwall’s most popular seaside towns – and it’s easy to see why!
It’s home to several clean sandy beaches, amazing coastal walks, calm bays and lots of charming seaside boutiques to have a mooch about in.
You should definitely make it your mission to spend a full weekend in St Ives – if not longer!
Lost Gardens of Heligan
The Lost Gardens of Heligan near Mevagissey is such a pretty place to wander around, but it also has a really interesting history.
The gardens date back to 1766 but they became neglected and completely overgrown during WWI.
It wasn’t until 1990 when the gardens were discovered again, renovated and later opened to the public.
And thank god they were too!
The Eden Project near St Austell is another charming place to discover in Cornwall with its dome-shaped biomes home to tropical rainforests and thousands upon thousands of different plants, flowers and foliage.
READ MORE: THE BEST OF CORNWALL 3 DAY ITINERARY
The Cotswolds stretch for a whopping 800 square miles – and there are so many beautiful towns and villages worth exploring here.
This is where you come in England to see quintessential chocolate box villages complete with thatched roofs, honey-coloured houses and colourful bunting in the spring and summer months.
Just like Cornwall, the Cotswolds deserves its very own blog post, which we’ve already written for you – check it out here!
Found just across the bay from Poole in Dorset, Brownsea Island is well worth making the trip.
The views across the bay are incredible and you’d be forgiven for thinking you’ve been whisked away abroad somewhere.
Not to mention you might spot some pheasants, peacocks and red squirrels, which all roam free around the island.
Exeter doesn’t usually make it onto lists of the most beautiful places to visit in south England, but we think that’s a total shame.
Full of Tudor buildings and timber-framed houses, the city is so historic and is full of interesting stories and legends like ‘The House That Moved’.
Plus Exeter Quay is also a charming place for a wander where you’ll be met with views across the river and charming tea rooms, antique shops and other artisan boutiques!
You should definitely spend at least a day exploring Exeter. But if you can also stay overnight, then we’d definitely recommend it!
Ilfracombe in north Devon is another one to add to your list!
It’s home to incredible coastal walks, which overlook both the ocean and bustling harbour, as well as seaside boutiques, quaint tea shops and even a towering 66 foot tall statue made by Damien Hirst.
Bonus: Beautiful National Trust Places Worth Visiting
Although we’ve included 27 different places on this list, we’d be kidding if we told you we were finished.
But at the risk of this blog post becoming mammoth sized like our UK bucket list did, we will stop there for now.
If you do want to find lots more beautiful places to visit in south England, then you should check out our post all about National Trust places in the UK.
There are lots more beautiful places included in that list that we’ll think you’ll love. Enjoy!
We hope this blog post serves as some fantastic inspiration for beautiful places to visit in south England!
Which places have caught your eye? And can you think of anywhere we’ve missed out? Let us know in the comments section below…
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