When you think of sunswept beaches, surfing and top-quality seafood restaurants the UK is probably not the first country that pops into your mind. This is a true shame, as England’s south coast boasts everything you might want from a seaside destination. The UK has some of the cleanest, sandiest, and most picturesque beaches in Europe, and it’s one of the world’s top locations for watersports – perfect if you’re traveling with kids.

But that’s not all. Dotted throughout the stunning coastline are some of the most romantic and quaint traditional villages you could hope to encounter. A journey to the South Coast is a foray into the UK’s living, breathing rural history, and lets you encounter some of the most iconic experiences deeply embedded in our cultural history. Local pubs, thatched cottages, castles, and windswept coastal vistas await you.

If you’re visiting the south coast, there’re a few destinations you simply cannot afford to miss out on. Here’s a local’s advice on where to go. A local’s guide to the South of England

Durdle Door

This resplendent rock archway is an impossibly beautiful sight. Hidden deep in the heart of Dorset’s Jurassic Coast, Durdle Door attracts visitors from all over the world who come seeking out one of the UK’s most compelling natural wonders. Starting in the gorgeous little fishing village of Lulworth, visitors hike over the hillside next to Man-of-war bay, before being treated to one of the best views in the country. It’s a fantastic day out.

Corfe Castle

The location of this historic landmark makes it an unmissable destination. Nestled between sweeping hillsides and flanked by the adorable village of Corfe, this 11th-century fortification is today a little worse for wear. This only adds to its magic though. As you explore the fascinating stories hidden within the castle’s history don’t forget to take a quick hike up the neighboring hillsides. The views are breathtaking.

Porthcurno Beach, Cornwall

We weren’t lying when we said the UK has some of Europe’s best beaches. Porthcurno makes this clear with its majestic yellow sand, turquoise waters, and sweeping green hillsides. At low tide, visitors can explore the bays and paddle in the nearby stream which runs unhurriedly to the ocean. It’s Cornwall’s own little slice of paradise. If you’re planning a visit, don’t forget to check out the famous Minack theatre and make the short trip to Land’s End a few miles north.

Arundel Castle

A trip to Arundel Castle gives you the perfect blend of traditional English experiences, historical interest, and aesthetic beauty. The castle itself is swathed in stunning green foliage for most of the year and strikes an awesome figure throughout. Explore the castle gardens and courtyards before taking a look inside at its incredible collection of antiques.

Exmoor

Last but certainly not least, you can’t leave the south without experiencing some real British countryside. Rolling green hills, sweeping fields of lavender, wild ponies, and mighty coastal cliffs all blend together in the pastiche of rural beauty that is Exmoor national park. If I were you, I’d rent a room at one of its many idyllic local inns. You can hike through the beautiful countryside by day before curling up in the home comforts of a traditional English pub at night. It’s the perfect thing for a romantic getaway weekend.

So on your next trip to the UK, make sure you don’t miss out on the chance to explore its South Coast. You definitely won’t regret it! For an easy way to get out of the city and see the countryside, check out our day tours from London.