Take the train to Exeter and arrive in a city full of historical sights. The iconic Exeter Cathedral is a must-see. It’s over 900 years old and features the longest unbroken stretch of Gothic vaulting in the world. Performances by the exceptional choir, which take place for free most weekdays, are not to be missed, nor is the impressive library of documents and literature. Some even say it was the inspiration for Hogwarts’ Great Hall.
On the south coast, hunt for fossils amid sweeping views at UNESCO World Heritage Site the Jurassic Coast. In Plymouth, learn about the region’s storied maritime history. It’s where Sir Francis Drake heard of the Spanish Armada’s invasion then, after finishing his game of bowls, took to the high seas to defeat them. It’s also where the Pilgrims set sail on the Mayflower for America 400 years ago in 1620 and the Royal Navy has been based for over 600 years on Europe’s largest naval base. Head to the English Riviera to relax by the sea and see the sights onetime resident Agatha Christie immortalised as the settings for many of her stories. Up north, you’ll find charming fishing villages and farms aplenty – stop into one of their little shops for fresh produce or some locally-made cheese.
If you’re more interested in hiking, experience the breath-taking landscapes in Dartmoor and Exmoor. Pack a picnic and set off for a day hike or spend a few nights at one of the picturesque campsites or B&Bs.