Look, it can be tough when trying to whittle down a firm plan of spots to explore on your next trip around England, especially if you’re short on time. This is why I wanted to share some of the best places in the south of England to visit on your next trip. Some the cities, others are tiny little hamlets, but what they all have in common are being places you should definitely think of exploring.
Now, there’s no firm or set rule in what’s considered to be the south of England, but, to keep things simple, I’m not going any further north than the Cotswolds. This way, If you’re staying near the southern coastline you can almost be guaranteed a cluster of little stops along your trip.
With that in mind, I’ve popped a list of some cool places in the south of England to visit whilst you’re here. Oh yeah, and like all our posts, just shoot us a message if you need any other tips or advice. We’re always happy to help.
Take a look, below, at the best places in the south of England to visit. Have the best time!
Perched in the rolling hills of West Sussex, Arundel is totally stunning and one of the best places in the south of England to visit if you love history.
Once you’re here, make sure to wander around Arundel Castle (which is still a family home), see Arundel Cathedral and explore the little craft and antique stores that line the main street. Honestly, I wanted to buy everything when I was there!
Afterwards, pop over the Parsons Table where they have the best food in the whole region. It’s the kinda place where you want to lick the plate clean. The food is so good!
Oh, and if you’re fond of a little tipple, head over to one of England’s finest vineyards, they make a delicious sparkling English wine that’s so good. Thankfully, it’s not too far of a drive and easy to visit for a short afternoon trip.
Perched right at the seaside, Bournemouth is one of the best places in the south of England to visit for the beach. In fact, it’s got around seven miles of sandy beaches which make it a pretty popular spot when we get some of that English sunshine.
Now, you might be wondering if it’s too cold to swim in the sea around Bournemouth? Well, it’s a little chillier than the Maldives but it’s still some of the warmest waters you’ll find in England. Just make sure to slap on some sunblock, that wind can fool you into not getting burnt.
Once here, pop over to explore the harbour area and grab an afternoon tea by hopping above Freida’s TeaBus. If you want a stronger tipple, pop into the Library of Liquor at Larder House too. It’s a hidden speakeasy with some yummy concoctions.
That being said, if you want to make the most of the outside, hop over to Bournemouth Pier. Here, you can zip lining, rock climbing or even buy a few sticks of rock (candy) close by.
Also, if you fancy escaping the crowds, take a little drive to the Purbeck Heritage Coast that’s totally pristine and feels like a million miles away from the coastal town itself.
Located a mere hour’s train ride away from best areas of London, Brighton is a pretty well-known city (Brighton and Hove) in England. Better still, it’s easily up there as one best places in the south of England to visit if you love a spot of culture, food and the seaside.
Now, it’s pretty obligatory to pay a visit to the Brighton Palace Pier, which has stood as a sentinel over the harbour for more than a century. Once here, you can ride a few of the rides – grab some fish and chips and stroll along the wooden walkways all afternoon.
If you love pretty buildings, head straight over to the former royal residence of Brighton Pavilion (or, Royal Pavillion), which is a short walk from the pier itself. Dating back from the 18th Century, it’s an iconic part of the city to see and totally lovely to stroll around.
Afterwards, make sure to make some time to explore the lanes, pop in the little independent stores and grab yourself a few keepsakes from your trip. Now, If it’s the food you’re after, head straight across to Petit Pois Restaurant for a yummy dinner.
That being said, if you want to have a yummy chai latte and fresh lunch, head into down to Wheat & Beans. Alternatively, if you’re really hungry, head over to Halisco who conjure up the tastiest Latin food around.
So, the Cotswolds is a quintessential and charming region of England that looks like it has fallen out of a storybook! It’s the kind of place of thatched cottages, little streams and higgledy-piggledy houses. It’s totally quaint and easily one of the best places in the south of England to visit.
Now, one of the easiest ways to get around the Cotswolds is by car, especially if you want to visit some of the pretty villages and towns. Places like Tetbury, Bibury, Stow-on-the-Wold, The Slaughters and Burton-on-the-Water area must see when exploring.
Take a look at our Costwolds specific post for much more detailed info on the Cotswolds, where to stay and what to eat. It really is a beautiful area.
Now, Canterbury has a very long history in England and was once a site of spiritual pilgrimage way back in the Middle Ages.
Still, to this day, Canterbury is easily one of the best places in the south of England to visit if you love a bit of history. The old city centre still bears its Medieval walls, while the iconic cathedral (which was erected in 597), is totally breathtaking.
Honestly, it’s a pretty epic place for anyone interested in history, as you can also explore the ruins of Saint Augustine, an abbey built in the 6th century.
If you fancy going a bit further back in time, head across to the Roman museum, too. Finally, after a day spent exploring, be sure to stop by Pinocchio’s Restaurant for some of the best pasta… al dente, of course!
Oh yeah, if you fancy a little jaunt from Canterbury itself, pop over to Leeds Castle which is huge and so beautiful to see.
Located on the banks of the River Exe, Exeter has a pretty long history that goes back to Roman times! Better still, it’s really easy to visit Exeter on your trip further west (to Cornwall) and is a perfect stopping point along the way.
Plus, once you’re here, there are lots of things to see and do once you arrive. The original city walls can still be seen in the centre of town alongside the totally gorgeous Exeter Cathedral. Make sure to spend a little time wandering around to explore all the city’s history, honestly, you won’t be disappointed.
Afterwards, head to The Royal Albert Memorial Museum was originally opened way back in 1868. Here you can find all sorts of things from art, history and nature. Oh yeah, and interestingly enough, the city has its very own underground passage, too. Originally constructed back in the Middle Ages as a means of transporting water, today you can take a guided tour through these tunnels, which are as fascinating as they are a little spooky.
For a tasty bite to eat, pop over to Harry’s Restaurant on Longbrook Street. They have the tastiest steaks in all of Exeter.
Also, if you fancy a totally different type of trip, you can fly from Exeter to the Scilly Isles which are about 30-miles from the shore. They are almost tropical and are totally picturesque.
Not too far from Central London, Windsor is a beautiful and one of the best places in the south of England, especially if you love castles! Now, it’s pretty easy to arrive in Windsor by train from London, especially with it taking only about 30-minutes. Once here, make sure to head to Windsor Castle and explore the rooms, grounds and all the history inside.
Just to be on the safe side, I’d always recommend getting tickets before you arrive. Just in case the daily numbers are capped when you want to visit.
Afterwards, pop over to Eton (just across the river) and explore some of the old buildings and colleges before heading to A la Russe for a yummy dinner.
For me, London is easily one of the best places in the south of England to visit, especially if you want a fun city break.
Now, one of the best things about the city is how diverse the different areas of London actually are. Places like Camden, the markets of London, Covent Garden and Greenwich are totally amazing. That being said, you’ve also got some other non-touristy areas such as Peckham that has some pretty cool nightlife and tasty restaurants, especially at the Peckham Levels.
Also, Borough Market is one of the oldest food markets in the entire city, dating back to the thirteenth century. Just make sure to get a Gelato from the nearby 3Bis, too.
Oh, and don’t forget to check out some of London’s secret spots, too.
8.) Watergate Bay
Nestled on the north Cornwall coastline, Watergate Bay is a mere stone’s throw from Newquay and one of the largest surfing hubs in the UK. That being said, that’s not the only reason to go to Watergate Bay.
Once here, make sure to explore the stunning coastline and coastal paths that head across the Cornwall Coastline. Afterwards, pop into Fifteen (Jamie Olver’s restaurant) for dinner and check into the Watergate Bay Hotel. It’s totally gorgeous and the perfect place for a seaside break in England.
Nestled cosily into Mound’s Bay in Cornwall, Penzance is a beautiful coastal town that’s one of the best places in the south of England to visit. IT’s got that warm and lovely Cornwall charm that makes this area of England so inviting!
Once here, take a walk down Chapel Street, which is the most historic avenue in the town. It has a heap of buildings that date back to the 18th The most famous dwelling on Chapel Street is the Egyptian House.
Afterwards, pop on over to the Morrab Gardens offer over three acres of subtropical plants to take in, including palm trees and banana plants, which are quite the rarity in England. Penzance is also home to the infamous Jubilee Pool, which is set between the harbour and promenade. This is the largest art deco lido of this kind in the entire country, and makes a great spot for swimming, sunbathing or picnicking during the warmer months.
Afterwards, pop into the Trengwainton Tearooms that has the freshest scones, Cornish clotted cream and lashings of jam. All washed down with some hot tea. It’s so yummy.
In England, Plymouth famous for its history with the sea. After all, it’s this the place that the Pilgrims originally departed from back in 1620 for the New World. Today, you can visit the Mayflower Steps, a memorial marking the event and a historic spot in the city.
Once here, explore Plymouth Hoe, see the Georgian mansion of Saltram and explore Plymouth Sound itself. For a tasty afternoon tea, head to the Tudor Rose Tea Rooms & Garden which will have you stuffed in no time. If it’s dinner you’re after, pop into the Artillery Tower that has some yummy fresh fish to gorge on.
If you fancy a trip from the city, head over to Dartmoor National Park, head to the north of Devon or head towards Salcombe for a quaint little seaside town.
Portsmouth has often known as a port and naval city, and it is an absolute must visit for anyone interested in British maritime and/or naval history. That being said, it’s not the only reason why you should visit, it’s easily up there as one of the best places in the south of England to visit whilst in the area.
Known as Pompey to the locals, this place currently functions as the most significant base for Britain’s Royal Navy (even more so historically). Today, you can explore the historic dockyard, complete with four different historical ships that call this place home. There are a number of wonderful museums to lose yourself in as well, with one of the most moving being a museum dedicated to the allied soldier’s D-Day invasion in 1944 during World War Two.
While you are in town, be sure to make time to grab a traditional meal of fish and chips at the infamous Still and West, which also has an incredible beer selection to wash it all down.
Okay, so for me, Bath is one of the best places in the south of England to visit… or across England full stop! It really is a stunning town and really easy to visit for a day trip (by train) from London.
Perched relatively close the picturesque Cotswolds, it’s a totally stunning place with so much to do. Once you arrive, make sure to visit the Roman Baths (still perched in the centre of Bath itself), head over to the Bath Abbey and explore the Royal Cresent. Now, Bath has been built using a particular type of local stone, which means all the buildings look very sandy and gorgeous.
Afterwards, pop over to try some of Sally Lunn’s buns (they’re yummy) and gorge at Sotto Sotto (on North Parade). They make a delicious pasta that’s too good to miss.
The stunning city of Salisbury is a totally gorgeous and one of the best places in the south of England to visit, especially if you’re already visiting Stonehenge (that’s relatively nearby).
Housing historic buildings and imposing medieval cathedrals, it’s well worth spending a long afternoon or day exploring the cobbled streets. Now, easily the most famous resident of Salisbury has to be the cathedral. It’s huge and totally awe-inspiring. Better yet, this ornate cathedral dates back to the 13th century and is the home of the Magna Carta, which was one of the first documents to advocate for citizen’s rights in the western world.
For a tasty treat, head over to The Chapter House. That being said, if you plan to visit on the weekend, make sure to book in advance. This spot can get busy.
As I mentioned, whilst you’re in the area, be sure to visit the prehistoric wonder that is Stonehenge. It’s only about nine miles (13 km) south on the Salisbury Plain and pretty easy to visit. It really is one of the best places in the south of England to visit.
Located on the southern coast, Southampton is a city that’s pretty easy to get to when in the south of England.
Once you’re here, make sure to explore the SeaCity Museum, visit the Tudor House and Garden and pop around the Southampton Town Walls. After all, they’re all an easy way to dip into the history of the city.
That being said, if history isn’t your thing, head on over to the Uptons of Bassett which is one of the best chop houses around. Oh, and if you’re looking for a sweet fix, pop into Stakks Pancake House – it’s one of the best places to go for brunch or a tasty dessert.
Fondly known as England’s Riviera, Torquay is well-known for its rugged cliffs pretty beaches and, of course, Babbacombe.
Once you’re here, make sure to explore the cutest model village called, Babbacombe Model Village. It’s almost an institution in Torquay and pretty cute. Afterwards, head to the Kents Cavern which has been one of the most iconic ancient monuments in the area. Finally, pop over to Cockington Country Park that’s totally quaint on a sunny day.
Now, If you’re a bird lover, visit Living Coasts, a place that speaks about the local seabirds while also raising awareness about the importance of conservation. That being said, if you’re not much of a bird watcher, you might wanna give this spot a miss. 😉
After all that exploring, head for dinner at Small World Tapas. They’ve got a massive selection of yummy tapas. I swear, it’s gorge-worthy and easily one of the best places in the south of England to visit.
Weymouth and its surroundings are easily one of the best places in the south of England to visit. Not just because it’s a classic seaside town in England, but because of how many varied things you can do around the area.
Known for its gorgeous promenade of Georgian-style townhouses, Weymouth has a pretty gorgeous beach (with Punch and Judy shows) and an old town for exploring. It’s also got a totally kitsch harbourfront that’s perfect for a stroll.
Now, in my opinion, Weymouth is one of the best places in the south of England to visit if you want to explore the Dorset Area of Natural Beauty. After leaving the city, head east towards Durdle Door, visit the thousands of years old village of Corfe Castle and go fossil hunting on the Jurassic Coast.
Finally, before leaving the area, make a final pit stop at Old Harry Rocks. It’s a totally gorgeous place for a stroll… just don’t walk too close to the cliff edges.
The gorgeous town of Yeovil (in Somerset) is not only home to the Fleet Air Museum, which is the largest naval aviation display in all of Europe, it is also chock-full of picturesque parks and gardens to enjoy. This all means that if you’re really into planes and parks, you’re gonna love Yeovil.
Though don’t worry, that’s not all there is to do in Yeovil. After a little jaunt to the museum, head across to Ninesprings Park which is, perhaps, one of the most famous and beautiful spots here. Plus, it’s all complete with stunning waterfalls and lush scenery.
Afterwards, take a drive out of Yeovil to see the Cerne Abbas Giant, that’s about a 25-minute drive from the town itself. Thought to date back older than the 17th Century, the Cerne Abbas Giant is a huge 55 metres high nude male figure that stands ‘proudly’. Oh, and by proudly, I mean with an erection!
During Victorian times, couples would dance around the earthwork (with a maypole) and hope for fertility. Make of it what you will but it’s many hundreds of years old and easily one of the best places in the south of England to visit.