Cornwall & Isles of Scilly
Home to the world belly boarding championships, the Port Eliot festival and more than 300 beaches, Cornwall is Britain's most westerly peninsula.
Picturesque villages feature in many TV programmes and Rick Stein's passion for local, seasonal food has gone a long way to secure the county's position as a foodie destination. But Cornwall isn't just for holidays, it's a great place to live and raise a family. The Duchy sat near the top of 2012's Happiness Index, with low crime rates, great schools and stunning coast all listed as reasons to be cheerful if you live here.
Truro is Cornwall's only city and the good quality of local schools make it a popular choice for families, but from Bude to Penzance no two communities are the same, even if they might happen to be side by side.
The north coast around Tintagel is steeped in Arthurian legend and the Scilly Isles have been inhabited since the Stone Age. Launceston's castle nods to its heritage as Cornwall's ancient capital and Looe is one of Britain's busiest fishing ports, though perhaps less well known than Padstow or Newlyn.
Bodmin is surrounded by stunningly beautiful moorland and St Austell is the heart of the clay country. Falmouth harbour welcomes cargo ships and fishing boats and the charm of St Ives attracts artists from around the world.
Winters are mild and summers can be wet, but there is no shortage of rainy day activities! The Maritime Museum, Tate Cornwall and the Eden Project offer year-round family events, particularly during school holidays.
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