Hidden Gems

Most of you will have been to the south west of England. And you’re likely to have your own personal favourite spots and places to go. But do you really know where to find the best bits along the 660 miles of coastline South West 660 will take you to?

With the help of lots of local knowledge, South West 660 has handpicked the best of the best for you to discover and enjoy; there is something here for everyone.

We hope you enjoy the unexpected beauty of the south west!

Where would we go?

Our recommendations

Cape Cornwall (TR19 7NN)

Everyone knows of Lands End but just up the coast is somewhere known as the local’s Lands’ End – Cape Cornwall. A beautiful, unspoilt headland topped by a mine chimney that looks like an obelisk – used by shipping as a navigation mark and known locally as the ketchup bottle, not only for it’s shape but also as a nod to the Heinz company that bought the headland and donated it to the National Trust in 1987. Until the first Ordnance Survey around 200 years ago it was thought to be the most Westerly point of mainland England, hence the nickname. Just offshore are two rocky islets called The Brisons. They’re often referred to as “Charles De Gaulle taking a bath” – when you see them you’ll know why!

Putsborough Beach (EX33 1LB)

At the most southernly tip of Woolacombe Beach, Putsborough Beach offers all you’d want from a beach in South West England, and more: golden sands, fantastic waves, a brilliant beach café, and ever so slightly ‘tucked away’.

Porthgwarra (TR19 6JR)

Between the Minack Theatre and Lands End there is a sign on a tight bend for Porthgwarra. A narrow (even by Cornish standards) lane winds past a farm and down into a steep valley at the bottom nestles a few cottages, a car park, a terrific café and the most stunning little cove with a steep, cobbled slipway leading to a sandy beach. A real hidden gem, unknown by most until it featured as a location in the recent “Poldark” series (where Demelza spies on Ross skinny-dipping!). We take great delight in telling visitors the tales of smugglers and wreckers using the tunnel to access the beach under the cover of darkness – in fact it was dug by miners from nearby St Just to allow farmers to easily collect seaweed for use as fertiliser but don’t let the truth get in the way of a great story!

Blue Peter Inn, Polperro (PL13 2QZ)

A pub as you’d want a pub in a Cornish fishing village to be. Cosy, warm, friendly and quaint. Good ales on tap, decent food too. But most of all – a place where locals and visitors alike meet and have a great time.

The Scott Arms (BH20 5LH)

Take a short detour off the Swanage to Corfe road, and grab lunch at the attractive, ivy covered Scott Arms in Kingston. Nestled in a pretty Dorset village, The Scott Arms offers local ales and great pub food and a beer garden which offers panoramic views over Corfe Castle, and the beautiful Purbeck countryside. After lunch, take a stroll to the nearby coast which offers some of the most dramatic of all the Dorset coastline, with rolling hills and the stunning azure waters of Chapman’s Pool.

Watcombe Beach (TQ1 4SH)

Torbay can seem like quite an urban stretch of the route, but there is a little known sandy cove just moments from the bustle of Torquay. Reached by descending a steep path through the woods (which deters many), intrepid explorers are rewarded by a secluded crescent-shaped beach, which is perfect for an Autumn dip in the aquamarine sea while the water is still warm.

Start Point Lighthouse (TQ7 2ET)

Some two miles off the main road and accessed by car through a narrow lane, Start Point is situated on one of the most exposed peninsulas on the English Coast, running almost a mile into the sea on the south side of Start Bay between Kingsbridge and Dartmouth. With 180 degrees or so sea views, Start Point Lighthouse is well worth the short detour.

The Turf Hotel (EX6 8EE)

Uniquely situated on the westerly borders of the River Exe, this beautiful pub with rooms can only be reached on foot or by boat. Great food, and if the weather permits, al fresco dining at ‘the Turf’ is a great experience.

Hidden Hut (TR2 5EW)

During the day, the hut serves a small menu of simple, freshly-made lunches and refreshments. No need to book, just turn up and order. All items are packed to takeaway onto the beach as a picnic. No deep-fat fryers, just a simple outdoor stove and indoor bakery oven. The menu is always sourced from the best pick of local ingredients and made fresh each morning.

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