The best places to eat, stay, shop and visit in the South West

South West city breaks

Explore the South West's cities while they take a breather from international tourists
South West city breaks - breakfast at No 15
No. 15 Great Pulteney

While most Brits flock to the coast this summer, take the opportunity to explore the UK’s history-rich cities while they take a breather from international tourists. Here are a few of our favourite South West city breaks

No. 15 Great Pulteney, Bath

The Georgian city of Bath is one of the most popular UK destinations with international tourists so, while travel remains restricted, take the opportunity to explore the city without the crowds.

Bath is brimming with boutique townhouse hotels, but for luxury without the pomp we recommend No. 15 Great Pulteney. The 37-bedroom hotel may look as though it has been lifted straight out of a glossy interiors mag, but its family-friendly ethos and bring-your-pooch policy creates a relaxed and sociable vibe.

Guests receive a complimentary glass of English sparkling wine on arrival and get 10 per cent off dinner in the restaurant which specialises in British dishes prepared with seasonal ingredients.

The Alverton, Truro

Sat on The Alverton‘s spacious terrace with cocktail in hand, it’s easy to forget you’re only a stone’s throw from Truro city centre. The former convent is located among mature gardens at the top of a hill on the main road to the Cornish capital, making it the perfect base from which to explore the surrounding area and Cornish coastline.

Plump for The Captain Suite in the courtyard and treat yourself to a long soak in the freestanding copper tub before an indulgent dinner at The Alverton’s restaurant. If the weather’s good, share tapas-style small plates on the terrace and lap up the Cornish sunshine.

Southernhay House, Exeter

It’s hard to get closer to the action in Exeter than Southernhay House. The Grade II-listed Georgian townhouse is located in a leafy corner of the city centre and is just a few minutes’ walk from the hubbub of restaurants and bars.

Guests are often inclined not to stray far from the boutique hotel thanks to the well-stocked bar (it’s one of the best spots in Exeter to enjoy a cocktail) and intimate restaurant. In summer, the garden is the place to gather for pre-dinner drinks and canapes – choose between classics such as the Espresso Martini (double espresso, vodka and Kahlua) and twists like the Isca Negroni (Exeter Gin, Campari and Belsazar Red).

The George, Cheltenham

Only opened in March 2020, The George is the first of a new collection of hotels from Cult Hotels (sister brand of The Lucky Onion) which will ‘focus on the raw ingredients and cut out the fluff’. The result is design-led rooms featuring all the things you want from a city hotel (super comfy beds, great showers and contactless check-in) but without the unnecessary thrills and extras.

You can grab breakfast at The Diner or snacks from The Pantry, but for dinner we’d recommend booking a table at sister venue No. 131 nearby. Supper is served from 5pm and features a variety of Asian-influenced dishes crafted with seasonal British ingredients.

Bristol Harbour Hotel

While Bristol embraces its bohemian reputation, Bristol Harbour Hotel offers a slice of polished glamour in the heart of the city for those who seek it. The bar (with its marble-topped bar, plush velvet stools and in-your-face artwork) is a luxe spot to enjoy a post-shopping glass of fizz or pre-dinner cocktail.

As well as 42 smart bedrooms, the former bank also houses a spa in the basement (the former vault, complete with bulletproof doors) which includes a heated pool, hydrotherapy pool, sauna, steam room and fitness suite.

Liked 5 of the best South West city breaks? Check out our collection of South West coastal retreats.

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