South West England is a mainly rural region with a coastline along both the Bristol Channel and English Channel which is by far the longest coastline in England and has many seaside fishing towns. It is the largest in area of the nine official regions of England, covering 9,200 square miles (23,800 km2) and the counties of Gloucestershire, Bristol, Wiltshire, Somerset, Dorset, Devon and Cornwall, as well as the Isles of Scilly. Five million people live in South West England.
The region includes the West Country and much of the ancient kingdom of Wessex. The largest city is Bristol. Other major urban centres include Plymouth, Swindon, Gloucester, Cheltenham, Exeter, Bath, Torbay, and the South East Dorset conurbation (which includes Bournemouth, Poole and Christchurch).
There are eight cities: Salisbury, Bath, Wells, Bristol, Gloucester, Exeter, Plymouth and Truro. It includes two entire national parks, Dartmoor and Exmoor and a small part of the New Forest is also within the region; and four World Heritage Sites, including Stonehenge and the Jurassic Coast.
The South West region is probably England’s most well-known holiday hotspot, being home to some of the most famous seaside resorts and iconic monuments. Pretty villages and harbours in Cornwall, many with sweeping sandy beaches, such as St Ives, Polzeath and Port Isaac to name but a few, give way to sophisticated seaside resorts in Devon and Dorset which include Bournemouth, Torquay and Ilfracombe.