There are so many terrific things to see right across the UK. Sights that are intriguing are the ones that catch my attention. Places with a story behind them. So it got me thinking, what an idea it would be to chart a few of these places – and their captivating stories – in mapping fashion.
So I’m going to get started in the South West, and then work up, across, one side to the other and onward, taking in some of what I reckon are the most enchanting places, so you can factor them into your road trips, and maybe even share your own experiences with us!
Lacock Village, Wiltshire
It really is no wonder this charming Wiltshire village is such a popular location for filmmakers. Think Pride and Prejudice, Emma, Cranford and Harry Potter and you’ll only be skimming the surface of the long list of TV and box office hits this picturesque place has played host to.
Nestled in the delightful Wiltshire countryside, Lacock is a National Trust village that is brimming with allure. Chocolate box cottages, inviting inns dating back to the 15th century and the 13th century Lacock Abbey with its medieval cloisters form the backdrop to an inspirational destination. Lose yourself in the crannies and nooks of the winding streets, take in the calming scent of the spring and summer flowers and indulge in all the local crafts and pottery shops have to offer.
You could easily spend a few days here, enjoying the laid back atmosphere and exploring nearby attractions such as the Chippenham Museum & Heritage Centre, the Lady Margaret Hungerford Almshouses and Schoolroom and Bowood House and Gardens, all marvels of this hidden gem of a West Country county.
Read more about Lacock Village on the Visit Wiltshire website.
Cheddar Gorge, Somerset
What a sight to behold this wondrous place is! Britain’s largest gorge is formed from breathtakingly dramatic cliffs that soar 450 feet to spectacular stalactite caverns. Renowned the world over, Cheddar has been honoured with the esteemed title of an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, and is a melting pot of fascinating tales of prehistoric ancestors, as well as a haven for caving and rock climbing aficionados.
So who exactly was Cheddar Man? It is stories like these that make these places so intriguing. Britain’s oldest skeleton, Cheddar Man was found in Gough’s Cave. Take a tour and you’ll learn all about the cave’s creation through the Ice Age, how it was occupied during the Stone Age, and how the Victorians pioneered its exploration, opening the way for today’s visitors.
And then in striking contrast there’s Cox’s Cave, a glistening underground labyrinth of iridescent colours and fantastic calcite sculptures, mirror pools and cavorting fountains.
Walking, climbing and awe-inspiring view admiring are all on the agenda at this magnificent venue. It’s a real road- trip-wish-list-topper in my opinion.
Learn more about Cheddar Gorge and book tickets on the Cheddar Gorge official website.
I can’t help but hold my breath and let out a huge ‘wow’ when I see the outstanding beauty that is Tintagel, arguably North Cornwall’s most enchanting attraction.
Perched atop the coastline of this wonderfully rugged county, Tintagel affords dramatic sea views from the castle ruins that still to this day command authority over the headland and outlying island. Steeped in myth and mystery and long associated with the legend of King Arthur, it is a place that has throughout history provided creative inspiration for writers and artists alike.
Gazing out to the azure blue seas ebbing powerfully against the craggy and time-eroded cliffs, you can’t help but feel a tingle as the mystical history infiltrates your senses. Dating back to Roman times, Tintagel Castle has to be one of the most iconic attractions the length of the South West. Take a tour of the 18-acre island with its chapel, pretty garden, tunnel and well; meander its stunning coastal paths – four legged friends welcome; and sample an authentic Cornish cream tea at the gorgeous beachside café.
And finally, don’t miss the National Trust managed Old Post Office that dates back to the 14th century and often plays host to family events such as Victorian bread making; Granny Wobbly’s fudge and the ancient Norman church of St Materiana which has changed little in over 900 years.
Find out more about Tintagel on the Visit Cornwall website.