Finding Things to See in the South
A look at the way in which things have gone over the last few decades would lead one to suspect that there is a certain British disrespect for counties as local authority areas. Taking that further, fingers could be pointed at various U.K. governments when it comes to expressing this kind of disdain for local government. With all their chopping and changing, it's amazing that English counties have such a profile when it comes to the provision of visitor information, more so than at English national level as it happens. In a way, it might be said that the association of local folk with a certain traditional county area far surpasses the ebbs and flows of political organisation.
In spite of all this jostling, England's counties and regions are the places to look when planning an outing and there's so much available that covering it all here would for a very large collection. Clearly, localism is very much alive and well with communities displaying a certain pride in their local patch. So, rather than attempting to get it all included like local news sources, I have opted instead for a more select approach: starting with those areas that I have visited myself and including over time those areas that I have investigated from afar.
The south of England never has seen that much of me because the hills of the north have been much better at drawing me. Nevertheless, I have been known to pay Oxford a visit and travel to Hertfordshire on business. Activity on Twitter too has brought things to my attention that I otherwise may not have sought. Together, these have helped me to build up what you find below. Where one time might have seen me say that my regular haunts were sufficient for me, I now am open to other horizons and some of what's below appeals to me. Hopefully, it does the same for you.
Finding Things to See Around Cornwall
Something tells me that this part of England is about the same distance from London as, say, Aberdeen. That it is the final destination for one of Britain's two overnight sleeper train services may have something to do with that impression. The county is, of course, host to Land's End and that brings a goodly number of folks wanting to walk or cycle between there and John O' Groat's in Scotland. Being surrounded by the sea on there sides also means that plenty of coastal exploration is available for the more active of inclination too. Needless to say,what I have said so far only scratches the surface of what Cornwall so I'd suggest that you go and take a look at the website to see what other charms await a visitor.
These islands were once beloved of a one time Labour Prime Minister, Harold Wilson. That they are as far flung as they are must mean that a stay on them must feel like a world away. The brochure is littered with scenes containing blue skies and azure seas that make you wonder if it really is like that for much of the time. Apparently, they have Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty status too so the scenery must be worth the effort.
Finding Things to See Around Devon
Though I'll readily admit that I've yet to visit Devon, there does seem to be a lot to savour down there. In fact, there was a time when I was happy to stick to exploring the north of England, Wales, Scotland and Ireland so I discounted England's southwest. The change to this is a certain satisfaction with having a little nibble of an area such as what I gained last May when I went to the Isle of Man.
With two coastlines and two national parks (Exmoor and Dartmoor), it never can be said that Devon is lacking in possibilities for someone like who seeks out quieter corners but the south coast also offers plenty for those seeking to be surrounded by people too. My interest may have been aroused by my following a bus user from Torbay on Twitter but I'll never rule out a possible trip south sometime using the above websites (the first is the official county-wide article) to help me plot a course. Mind you, I'm not so easily sold on clotted cream accompanied sweet treats but there's plenty more than those to Devon.
It isn't for nothing that Devon has given its name to a period in geological history and the area around Torbay is involved in that story, as populous as it is these days. Maybe that is the reason that this part of the world has been declared a geopark and this is its official website. Maybe, it's one that needs attention from those that frequent purely for the seaside resort attractions that it offers.
Admittedly, much of this stretch of coastline is shared with neighbouring Dorset but it is a World Heritage Site thanks to its geology and it extends as far west as Exmouth in Devon from Swanage in the other county. It's been photographed many times too so that's one way in which it came to my notice. In addition, the very long National Trail that is the South West Coast Path follows the outline too so it crops up in walking magazines as well as photography ones. This website from Devon and Dorset county councils should let you in on what draws all the attention.
This is one of two national parks that you'll find in Devon and the website is that of the local tourism assoication. It's a lavish affair and that's what you need for encouraging visitors to come to your patch. All the usual types of information are here and it looks like a very good place to start when pondering or planning a visit to this upland area.
While the city of Exeter is the county town, Plymouth is the largest city in Devon and this is the website promoting its delights. There seems to be plenty to do around here and Dartmoor is not far that away either so it could be a good base for a first trip to the area.
Finding Things to See Around Essex
Any illusions that Essex was devoid of green countryside and places to see were dispelled by a feature in the March 2012 edition of Discover Britain magazine. In fact, there does seem to quite a lot to see and this county council visitor website does no harm at all in providing the usual fare that anyone needs in order to plan a trip anywhere.
Finding Things to See Around Hampshire
Until I happen on the local county council's website, I had no idea that there were two national parks covering different parts of the county. While I knew about the New Forest National Park, it never crossed my mind the the South Downs one crept in here too. After those, there's the North Wessex Downs AONB too so there should be something here for those wanting to find a quiet peaceful corner for a little escape from the everyday hurly burly.
This is the second most recently National Park that was set up but this website is trying to appeal to more than the usual nature appreciating and peace seeking types that might be attracted to such places. Certainly, there is a very upbeat video on the website that shows the other things that you can do there too with things such as theme parks, shopping and nightlife getting a look in too. Pleasure seekers and romantics are more than welcome too, it seems. Well, those of us who are lovers of fine countryside might not spend enough...
It may be off its coast and possess a very independent identity but the Isle of Wight entry still fits in the Hampshire section because you have to get there from the mainland somehow. With over half the island designated as an area of outstanding natural beauty, it looks as if there's something for those seeking out unspoilt spaces too. Walkers very definitely are welcome here and there's a Walking Festival here every year too. With the variety of what's on offer, I am not too surprised that folk are drawn here from the everyday hurly burly. Now, why am I being reminded of the Isle of Man as I consider the prospect of a visit to what lies off part of England's south coast?
Finding Things to See Around Hertfordshire
The town beside it looks a very strange sort of place but this is an appealing counterpoint and it's near Hatfield's train station too. There are royal connections and quite a lot to see by all accounts, particularly given that it's one of England's ten Treasure Houses and there's a lot to see on the website as well. The estate village also is a pretty place to with a church of some antiquity. It's all a far cry from modern attempts at urban planning that sit across the busy A1000 from it.
Finding Things to See Around London
This website has the word "official" stamped all over it and comes from an organisation promoting the city to more than potential visitors. Everything that anyone needs to plan a trip to the city to see what's there is here and major upcoming events get splashed across the home page too so you know what's happening. Looks a good place to begin.
This is a website devoted to the town in southeast London that gave its name to Greenwich Mean Time and the Greenwich Meridian. Visitor information is featured, otherwise I wouldn't include it here, along with news and photo entries that give you a flavour of what it's like to live here.
Finding Things to See Around Oxfordshire
It was a pair of business trips that took me to Oxford before I decided to pay the place a proper visit on a sunny day in February. For anyone partial to stunning elegant architecture, it certainly is a top place to explore. Of course, there's more to Oxfordshire (Oxon. for short) and this official website promotes both as destinations. Should worth a look then.
To my mind, Oxfordshire has always seemed a little too far north to be included in the south east of England though that's the region to which it belongs. This is the officlal website of Tourism South East and covers not just Oxfordshire and the nearby Home Counties but also all the way south to Brighton and such places. Is using the name of a certain classic pop music group for the site a little too clever though?
Finding Things to See in Somerset
It's a county that seems to have a lot to offer the visitor. For one thing, it plays host to most of the Exmoor National Park with the rest forming part of neighbouring Dorset. In addition, the county also features threes AONB's: Quantock Hills, Blackdown Hills and Mendip Hills. These seem to be just a selection of the county's delights since many more feature on the website. Naturally, these are accompanied by the information that you need to organise places to stay and work out what to do while on a visit. This is a part of the world that I have yet to visit but it looks as if I have been missing out on a lot, given what I have found on this website.
Finding Things to See Around Suffolk
Apparently, Suffolk offers a bit of variety with unspoilt coastline, interesting towns and rolling countryside. It has its famous characters too with the likes of Gainsborough and Britten coming to mind. My attention may drift towards hill country and what's nearer to hand but it's always good to take of note of what is on offer elsewhere.
This is a national park shared with Norfolk that conserves the area's wetlands. They may lack hills like other parts but the uniqueness of habitats and diversity of wildlife make this a special place and there's plenty of scope for water-based recreation too. Naturally, the website offers all that you need to plan a visit of your own.
Finding Things to See Around Sussex
Brighton seems to be a vibrant sort of place and it has the visitor website to go with that sort of image. It just goes to show that you can come a long way from seaside roots. For those seeking a less frenetic break, there's a mention of walking and cycling through the surrounding countryside too.