Currency: Pound Sterling
Time Zone: GMT
Tipping: 10 to 12% is usual for hotels with 10 to 15% being usual for restaurants. In each case, it is not necessarily added to the bill. If a service charge has already been added, no further tip is required.
With wild moors, spectacular coastline and some of the best beaches in Britain (Torquay has 3 European Blue Flag beaches alone), the South West is a strong contender for England's best looking region. Home to the counties of Dorset, Devon, Somerset, Cornwall and Wiltshire, on coach holidays to South West England you'll find monumental greats from Stonehenge and the Avebury Circles to the World Heritage City of Bath.
Whether you're after culture or coast, coach tours to South West England take in the best of the area's gems. Slightly balmier temperatures make it all the more alluring; unwind on clean, inviting beaches from Bournemouth and Weymouth to the palm tree clad Torquay at the heart of the English Riviera. Garden enthusiasts can revel in a superb selection of gardens – think the Lost Gardens of Heligan, Eden Project and a handful of National Trust gardens – and for families there are top attractions from Monkey World and Newquay Zoo to the West Somerset Steam Railway.
Nature lovers can enjoy the region's Jurassic Coast and Cotswolds. For the more active, there are dedicated walking tours of both, all fully guided. Newquay offers a more contemporary feel, whilst Bristol and Plymouth are great for shopping. Come the winter, Bath is also home to a Christmas market that gives those on a continent a run for their fairy lights.
All tours are on a coach travel or self-drive basis and include accommodation at a good quality hotel. Tours to coastal towns like Torquay and Newquay tend to be resort-based holidays with plenty of time to spend at leisure, while others feature good local bases from which to explore.
To help you have an enjoyable holiday in South West England, take a look at these useful tips and advice provided by the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO):
Health and Travel Insurance
Local Laws and Customs
Health and Travel Insurance
British Citizens are advised by some of our tour operators to have travel insurance before going on a tour or holiday, even if it happens to be in your country of residence. As a British citizen you will be entitled to free emergency health care on the NHS.
If you are visiting England from outside the United Kingdom and fall ill or are involved in an accident and are from any member of the European Economic Area or Switzerland, you can obtain free or reduced cost treatment with The European Health Insurance Card (EHIC). Comprehensive travel insurance is advised for all other nationals planning on visiting the England.
If you need to contact the emergency services whilst in England simply dial 999 or 112 to ask for an ambulance.
Most destinations are generally trouble-free, however as with all places that you are not familiar with, keep an eye on your belongings and if necessary lock them away somewhere safe back at your hotel if possible. Keep an eye on everyone in your party and do not go off with people you do not know. Buy your own drinks and keep sight of them at all times. Be aware of your surroundings and don’t venture off on your own.
Local Laws and Customs
Queuing is a British Institution - jump a queue at your own risk!
Drug offences will carry penalties in the UK, so avoid getting involved with anything whilst in England. Please note the narcotic plant Khat/Qat is legal in the UK, but is not in a majority of other countries so never try to export this when leaving the UK.
If you are visiting from outside of the United Kingdom, it is wise to check customs requirements before you travel. If you are planning to bring alcohol, tobacco or souvenirs into the country, you need to be familiar with the UK's custom laws. For those people coming to the UK from the EU, you are allowed to bring an unlimited amount of most goods for your own use without paying tax or duty.
However, if you are travelling to the UK from outside of the EU, you are given an allowance of how much alcohol, tobacco, perfume, souvenirs and other goods. If you go above this allowance you may have to pay tax or duty. It is worth checking the HM Revenues and Customs website before you travel.
When travelling between the UK, Northern Ireland, the Channel Islands or the Isle of Man in most cases an official form of identification such as a Driver's License will be ok. However, some airlines will insist you show a passport so check before you travel.
If you are travelling to England from Australia, Canada or the USA, you must have a valid passport for at least three months beyond the length of your stay. EU nationals need to have either a valid passport or identity card.
Visas for the UK are not required by those travelling from Australia, Canada, USA or EU for stays of up to six months.
Any other nationality looking to visit the UK must contact the local embassy to check visa requirements.
The South West England is vast in terms of what is available to see and do whilst staying here. Some gems of the region include:
Make sure you visit the quaint and picturesque villages in the rural setting of the Cotswolds. You'll be spoilt for choice with the number of villages to see but some of the most well-known are Bourton on the Water and Burford. If you are looking for a market town to visit then Cirencester is the place, known as the 'Capital of the Cotswolds'. The town has a market place as well as an impressive St John Baptist Parish Church.
Western Super Mare
Visit the traditional seaside resort of Western Super Mare and spend some time on Weston Bay with its miles of sandy beach and a fantastic promenade. No trip here would be complete without a visit to the Grand Pier which is home to a ultimate 21st Century indoor theme park as well as various cafes, restaurants and shops.
A great town which has something for everyone including beautiful beaches, various parks and gardens as well as great shopping. The Pier is one of the town's most distinctive landmarks and you can take a fantastic stroll from there to Boscombe Pier and if you don't fancy the walk back, hop onto the land train.