Best Places to Visit on the South Coast of England

The south coast of England is a diverse region that covers the counties of Dorset, Devon, Cornwall, Hampshire and Somerset. There are many things to see and do on this stretch of coastline from beautiful beaches to quaint villages. Here are some of my favorite places in the south coast:

Best Places to Visit on the South Coast of England

The lifeguard’s lookout hut on the cliffs in Cornwall


If you love the sea, Brighton is the perfect place to visit. It’s a seaside resort on the south coast of England where you can watch boats drift by and enjoy some drinks at one of its many pubs. The pier is another feature that makes Brighton so popular: it stretches over 1 mile (1.6 kilometers) into the water and has an amusement park at one end.

The Royal Pavilion, which was built in 1787 for King George IV and Queen Caroline, is also worth seeing if you’re visiting Brighton. This palace-like building has been used as a museum since 1901; today it houses many artworks including those by Sir Joshua Reynolds (1723–1792). As well as being home to these historic buildings and museums, Brighton has a long history of hosting music festivals; several are held there each year—in fact one festival is called “Brighton Festival”.

Isle of Wight

The Isle of Wight is an island off the south coast of England, and it’s one of the most popular tourist destinations in the UK. It has a long history as a tourist destination, dating back to Roman times when Julius Caesar famously visited Britain and met Queen Boudicca on this island. The Isle of Wight is also famous for its beaches—Bembridge Beach is justly renowned for its beautiful scenery, while Sandown Bay is home to one of Europe’s largest tidal bores.

The nightlife scene here has really taken off in recent years too with lots of great pubs and clubs dotted around the town centres on both sides of the island (Yarmouth and Ryde are particularly good places to start).


Dorset is a county in the south west of England. It has a reputation for its sandy beaches and Jurassic Coast, which runs through Dorset from east to west. This stretch of coastline is home to some of the most stunning natural landscapes in the UK.

With so many beautiful places to visit, it’s no surprise that Dorset has become one of the most popular holiday spots for tourists from all over the world. Visitors who love walking or cycling can enjoy some fantastic trails along this coastline; meanwhile, those who want to explore more historic sites can visit museums such as Corfe Castle and Cerne Abbey.


Bristol is a great city for shopping, with a vibrant nightlife, foodie scene and music scene. The city has more than its fair share of festivals—most notably the Bristol International Jazz & Blues Festival—and the city’s creative scene is thriving.

Bristol is a great city to explore. The City of Bristol boasts some of the most beautiful architecture in England, including the Stokes Croft area, which has been dubbed “Bristol’s Brooklyn.”

New Forest

The New Forest is a natural wonder, and it’s home to more than 1000 historic sites. This area of ancient woodland was designated a National Park in 2005, and it’s also been named as a UNESCO World Heritage Site for its cultural significance.

The largest remaining tract of unenclosed pasture land in Europe, the New Forest offers plenty of opportunities for hiking, cycling and horse riding through its diverse landscapes. You can also enjoy some wildlife watching at RSPB Minsmere nature reserve or go bird-watching at Lyndhurst Castle Gardens & Arboretum.

If you’re looking for something more luxurious than your typical camping trip—and you don’t mind driving just outside of London—the 5-star Cranley Hotel might be right up your alley! Their spa offers massages with aromatherapy oils made from locally sourced ingredients like lavender and chamomile; they even serve tea grown on their own estate!

South Downs Way

The South Downs Way is a long distance footpath that runs for over 100 miles from Winchester in Hampshire to Eastbourne in East Sussex. It passes through a variety of landscapes and offers excellent views across the whole length of the South Coast.

The walk itself is relatively easy, although it does get quite muddy in places. You can go as far or as little as you want to – there are many options along the way (the National Trail website has details of these).

You can see everything from rolling chalk hills, medieval villages and ancient churches to wildlife such as deer and birds of prey. If you’re lucky, you might even spot an otter! If it’s not too wet then there are plenty of opportunities for horse riding too – just remember that there aren’t many types of accommodation on offer so make sure you bring sleeping bags and food with you when camping overnight!


Kent is a county in the South East of England. It has a coastline on both the English Channel and the North Sea, and it has five distinct regions: The Weald, Romney Marsh and Dungeness, the Isle of Thanet, Dover and Canterbury.

Kent is known for its hop gardens, orchards and vineyards which produce some fantastic fresh produce to enjoy while you’re there. Kent also has a long history of human settlement reaching back around 1 million years ago when people first came here as hunter-gatherers following herds of wild animals through Europe.

Durdle Door

Durdle Door is a natural limestone arch located in the village of Lulworth Cove. It is part of the Jurassic Coast, which stretches for over 100 miles along England’s south coast. The local tourist board says that Durdle Door is one of Britain’s most photographed landmarks, and it’s easy to see why.

The creation of Durdle Door began millions of years ago when a series of landslides created an arch in the cliff face at Lulworth Cove, leaving just enough space for ships to pass through during high tide (the name “Durdle” comes from the Old English word “door,” meaning opening or hole). Visitors can walk around this historic landmark during low tide and enjoy views of Stonebarrow, another seacliff nearby whose shape resembles a pyramid.

Isle of Purbeck

The Isle of Purbeck is a peninsula in Dorset, England. It has a rich geological history and is home to many fossils. Artists such as Margaret Leighton, Alfred Munnings and Edward Burne-Jones have been inspired by the Isle of Purbeck’s stunning scenery. There are also plenty of beaches where you can take in coastal views or simply relax with your feet in the sand while enjoying seafood or other local delicacies.


If you’re looking for a relaxing seaside getaway, Cornwall is your place. This county in the south-west of England is known for its beaches and rugged coastline, which are dotted with fishing villages and seaside resorts. The county has more than 100 castles, including one of Elizabeth I’s favorites: St Michael’s Mount. There are many gardens as well, including Penzance’s Botanical Gardens and Newlyn’s Tate Gallery.

These places are wonderful places to visit on the south coast

  • Dorset: Great for a day trip
  • Devon: You can get there easily by train or car, and it’s also a great place to stay overnight. There are lots of things to do once you arrive, including visiting the National Trust’s Seaton Court at Sidmouth or Dartington Hall in Totnes. The town of Dartmouth itself is beautiful and has plenty of shops for food and drink!
  • Cornwall: Another lovely place where you can drive or take the train, this is also one of my favorites when it comes to places on the south coast. There are some really nice villages that lie along this stretch—including Looe, Polperro and Padstow—but one spot I would recommend visiting is Mevagissey; its harbourside pubs have some good seafood dishes available should you fancy dining out tonight (and probably tomorrow night too).

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We hope that this list has inspired you to visit some of your favourite places on the south coast, or perhaps even discover new ones. And if you’re looking for more things to do in England, be sure to check out our list of Best Places to Visit in England. is supported by its readers. When you buy through our links, we may receive an affiliate commission at no additional cost to you. Check disclaimer and about us.