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Perfect Holiday Haven

16:18 Posted by Richard Horsfield
CORNWALL is a "perfect holiday haven" and Devon the envy of the rest of England according to a new guidebook which pours buckets of praise on the Westcountry.

Set against a backdrop of recessionary fears, trendy travel book publisher Lonely Planet has compiled its guide to the highlights and lowlights of Great Britain.

Released today, the book's authors give the various pockets of the far South West glowing reviews, drooling over "Cornwall's culinary renaissance" and Devon's mix of high-octane "exhilaration" on the coast and serene churches inland.

While it cocks a snook at Plymouth's buildings that "even the architect's mother might question", the only other criticism of note is to describe North Devon's "classic" seaside resorts as "slightly faded".

The eighth edition of the guide, which saw a team of researchers spend months sampling sights, places to eat and accommodation, could provide a welcome boost to Westcountry tourism as the economic squeeze alters the way people are holidaying.

David Else, the co-ordinating author, said soaring numbers of Britons plan to escape within the UK this year. He has dubbed them "staycationers".

He said: "These staycationers can't afford all the costs associated with holidaying abroad, especially in light of the Eurozone being so expensive, and have realised that they can find better value at home.

"The fantastic summer weather forecast has been an extra incentive for Brits to stay at home and explore more of their own country."

The entire county of Cornwall, a "rugged wedge of rock" that offers "impossibly pretty beaches, improbably quaint villages and impressively craggy cliffs", is "in the midst of a renaissance".

Cooking and culture are leading the reboot, with Rick Stein's Padstow food empire and Jamie Oliver's Fifteen restaurant in Watergate Bay the most obvious symbols of success.

It says: "Indulge in an adrenalin sports frenzy at party-town Newquay or explore global habitats at the Eden Project. Go all mystical at Arthurian Tintagel, all arty at St Ives, or all funky at a festival. It really is rather wonderful way out West."

Lonely Planet is just as gushing about life on the other side of the Tamar. "If counties were capable of emotions, those in the rest of England would envy Devon," it begins. "It's all to do with a rippling landscape studded with prehistoric sites, historic homes, vibrant cities, ancient villages, intimate coves and wild, wild moors."

With a choice between "a Michelin-starred meal at a swanky restaurant or a fresh crab sandwich sitting on the beach", the emphasis appears to be on variety. The guidebook adds: "In Devon a day's drive can take you from Exeter's serene cathedral, via Torbay's coast, to the yachting haven of Dartmouth, where Agatha Christie's mysterious gardens wait in the wings.

"Totnes provides the eco-awareness, Plymouth provides the party and wild Dartmoor provides the great escape, while the north coast tempts you into the waves."

It even looks beyond Plymouth's much-derided architecture. "Its setting on the fringes of an impressive natural harbour and just a few miles from the wilderness expanse of Dartmoor makes it an ideal base for activities," it says.
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1 Response to "Perfect Holiday Haven"

  1. Deborah Said,

    Cornwall is the perfect holiday haven. I have lived here all my life & there are still hundreds of beautiful places I haven't visited yet.

    Posted on 23 May 2009 at 15:50


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