We’re currently updating many of our South West England destination summary guides and ‘Top 10 Recommended’ lists in preparation for Summer 2011. Not only are we adding new destinations and taking out older recommendations, we’re also adding introductory text and providing more links within the lists such that you can more easily discover new places to visit and things to do in the UK.

For example, take a look at our ‘Top 10 Recommended Places To Visit in Devon’ page.

Up top, you’ll see a new chunk of text under the ‘Places To Visit in Devon’ title. Below that, there are the usual ten recommendations but with those additional links we’ve mentioned.  For this year, we’ve taken out our 2010 recommendation of Widecombe in the Moor within Dartmoor National Park and replaced it with Beer in the East Devon AONB. The new recommendation opens out the possibility of discovering the eastern section of the county.

We’ll be updating these lists throughout the summer.

Some friends came to stay down here on Dartmoor. They very kindly provided some images of Holkham Beach.  Given that the area looks amazing, we’re planning to send one of the team to Norfolk to research and photograph the area. Having tweeted for advice, @montynowad sent the following. We’re hugely appreciative of the effort that went into writing and sending this and felt it best to share the knowledge. So, if you’re researching a trip to Norfolk …

First thing to remember is there isnt a great deal there and generally you need to travel a bit to lots of places. I will start from down the cost and then head up.

Cromer. One of the better seaside resorts, not alot there, gets very busy in summer.
Sheringham, very similar, not far from Cromer so stop off.
Blakeney, this is were all the sand banks start, also not much here but getting quieter now, also the sealion sanctuary and the actual sealions in the sea are here too. Worth a visit, check web for best times.
Wells and Wells Next the Sea … walk up the path that runs parellel to the poty herading out to sea, this is about 5 miles and goes in a giant horseshoe that ends at Holkham. Once out into the sands and the sea you then start to see the attraction. Google Holkham beach and all you see is miles ahead of nothing but sand. The futher you walk the better. I have been ther in peak season and shared it with about ten people, however certain times it get busy.
Attractions there are none, further you walk the less people although once beyond the middle you start joining people coming the other way. The beach when tide is out is about 300 yards deep, it has water streams that get nice and hot to bathe in, the sea is freezing. The dunes that are the sea defence are layered with special grasses that hold the dunes up. It is truly stunning.
Holkham. Aim for Holkham Hall. Directly opp is a driveway, park down there, only acouple of quid. Have a wander arouind the hall, truly stunning. Then go back down the drive and walk through the woods and turn left, again just keep walking.
Burnham Market. Slightly in land. This is known as little Chelsea. One of the most expensive retreats in Norfolk.
Lovely little inn, gets busy, dog friendly, allowed to sleep in your room. Little expensive but your into rich peoples land now. This sits right on a walk too, similar thing. Near here is a rspb reserve, you will see the sign going there on the right. Go down there, get to the part were you pay to park (nature reserves and well kept), go through then park. Just over the dunes about half mile is were they do winkle collecting. Dont go there on your own, sinking sand banks. Again keep walking.
Old Hunstanton. Typical seaside village. Reasonably large.
Heacham. Worth a visit.
Then drive to Sandringham, view the gardens, obviously stunning as the queen lives there.
Drive down into Norfolk from there, aim for Fakenham, Holt. All nice towns. At holt google Little Walsingham snow drop walk. Lovely gardens and staely homes and ruins.
Head into Aylsham and you must go to Hoveton Hall. You can see the hall but nothing special. The Gardens are very special, only just been rebuilt over the last 5 years or so, the walled gardens are very special. A garden worth supporting, £5 to get in but stunning.
Norfolk is very spread out, a photographers dream, a dogs heaven. The people are very nice. Norwich City is also a very nice place to shop. Ground rent is cheap so the shops are all pretty large compared to normal. Especially in Chapelfield.
Just do a bit of research but you could comfortably do the coast in a day or two depending how far you want to walk. Open up Google maps and click away.
Again, big thanks to @montynowad

Quick link to Devon’s prettiest villages.

Having blogged our selections for Cornwall’s prettiest village on Feb 25th of this year, this is a second blog post in a series outlining what we believe to be the prettiest villages in counties and regions across the UK.  Having started in the south west corner of the UK, the next natural choice is the county of Devon.

Devon’s home to some of the most varied landscape in England. From high moors to huge Atlantic-facing beaches, steep wooded valleys to rolling countryside, the Devon landscape’s remarkable. Within this remarkable countryside are some extraordinarily beautiful villages:

Bigbury-on-Sea – most famous for its views of Burgh Island and the internationally famous Art Deco Burgh Island Hotel, Bigbury-on-Sea is in a superb location. Head east on the South West Coast Path past Bantham Beach to Thurlestone. An amazing stretch of coastline.

Widecombe-in-the-Moor – in the east of Dartmoor National Park and home to the ‘Cathedral of the Moors’, Widecombe’s a beautiful moorland village. The local walking and riding are superb.

Clovelly – one of the UK’s most famous and well visited fishing villages. Built into steep coastline on The Hartland Peninsula, it gets very crowded in high season.

Lynmouth – up on the Exmoor National Park coast looking out across the Bristol Channel, Lynmouth is a cracker. Walk the South West Coast Path here or head inland to the National Trust’s Watersmeet.

Mortehoe – at the northern end of Morte Bay, an extremely pretty village offering great access to the massive sand beaches of North Devon. Exmoor’s not far to the east.

Beer – one of our UK favourites. Unique, quirky and exceptionally beautiful. Take the South West Coast Path west towards Branscombe. Magical place.

East Portlemouth – this village is across The Kingsbridge Salcombe Estuary from Salcombe. When the sun’s out, it’s sublime. Great sandy beaches.

Belstone – gateway to the high moors of Dartmoor National Park, Belstone is built next to the gorgeous Belstone Cleave.

Torcross – in South Devon, at the southern end of a massive shingle beach looking out across Start Bay. Perfect for a weekend getaway.

Lydford – this village is in the west of Dartmoor National Park and is known for its National Trust gorge. There’s an English Heritage castle, too.

Again, as is the case with every post in this series, if you have other recommendations then please add them below or @picturetheuk on Twitter. Better still, send us some photographs and we’ll add them to our site.

One of the team here, James White, has spent the last year or so researching and photographing attractions and destinations in London.

Now that we have tens of thousands of London images and detailed research, we’re beginning the process of writing our London summary guides and adding London attractions to PictureTheUK. Each summary guide and attraction is linked to Google Maps and lists local attractions and accommodation.

To give you an idea of our approach to this content, take a look at our Top 10 Recommended Museums in London. Each suggestion is accompanied by photographs, summary information, geo-location on Google Maps and lists of local attractions and local accommodation.

It’s our aim to have comprehensive London information on PictureTheUK by this summer.

Quick link to Cornwall’s prettiest villages.

This is the first of a series of posts listing what we believe to be the prettiest villages in select counties, National Parks and regions within the UK. We’re starting with South West England and then moving north. So, to begin, here are our selections for the prettiest villages in Cornwall. We’ve spent years researching the selections and links are provided to extensive photography and further information. Some villages are chosen for their location, others for their buildings. They’re all superb.

Sennen – for its location. On the west tip of the Penwith Peninsula close to Land’s End, the village looks out across Whitesand Bay. It’s magnificent.

Boscastle – pretty Cornish fishing harbour village leading to the high cliffs of North Cornwall.

Lizard – for its location. The most southerly point of England, the coast here is stunning. Try Kynance Cove.

Tintagel – listed here for its dramatic castle and coastline.

Cawsand – one of our favourites. On the East Cornwall coast, it’s wonderful. Close to the Whitsand Bay which is awesome.

Rock – well-heeled and across the Camel Estuary from Padstow. Included for its beach and views.

Perranporth – for its beach and mighty sand dunes. Amazing place.

Porthcurno – to the east of Land’s End, included for its its beach and cliff top theatre.

Mullion – pretty Cornish harbour and on a stretch of coastline with stunning family beaches. Coverack’s a cracker, too.

Port Isaac – arguably *the* classic Cornish fishing harbour village. On telly lots! We’d also suggest Mevagissey.

Other suggestions include:

Helford – on the Helford Estuary, both the village and its location are wonderful.

Polperro – East Cornwall and close to the popular Looe.

If you have suggestions then please comment and we’ll add them to the list and PictureTheUK. Thanks!

This week, we started the process of publishing our local guides and lists of top ten things to do around destinations across the UK. We’ve been writing about villages down on The Lizard Peninsula in Cornwall. For examples, see our local guides to Helford, Coverack and Mullion.

Each local guide offers a summary of the location and ideas about what to do if you’re heading to a specific town or village for a weekend break or holiday. We also include top ten lists. Emphasis is placed upon images and mapping to help users get information they want, fast. We’re here to offer summary information and to help people discover places to visit. Where applicable, we send the visitor off to more detailed sources of information about a destination after they’ve read and browsed our material.

We write these local guides ourselves as a result of the travelling we do across the UK but we also host guest guides from local experts. Clearly, we offer free promotion and a link to the guest writer. If you’re interested, get in touch.

In the summer of 2010, Channel 4’s ‘Time Team’ excavated a prehistoric settlement in Dartmoor National Park.

The excavation took place within Tottiford Reservoir which was drained for the occasion.

The settlement includes a stone circle and stone rows and the programme is being aired on Sunday 06 February 2011 at 5.25pm.

To explore the area yourself, we’d recommend this circular walk. A short drive away is the National Trust’s Castle Drogo and the stunning Teign Gorge.

To discover more prehistoric sites, stone circles and crosses, we list some here. The list is being expanded weekly, so check back.

North Dartmoor

Over the past month or so, we’ve been adding more content to our local UK travel site Holiday in Dartmoor.

We’ve added around 350 attractions so far, categorising them to help visitors to the Park find what they want quickly. We’ve also been writing about Dartmoor in a new section called About Dartmoor.

Given that the internet is a visual format, we tend to present content in little chunks with lots of photos and maps such that information can be absorbed quickly. However, we’re also adding longer form content with lots of text based around themes.

For example, here’s our piece on North Dartmoor.  This, and other pieces, will get fleshed out over time as we add more content.

Holiday In Dartmoor

We’ve seen in the region of 400% growth in traffic to PictureTheUK over the past year. The technology’s pretty much built now and whilst we’ll continue to tweak and iterate, we’re happy with the site. The idea is to continue adding content over the coming years.

Given that it’s bespoke technology and can be replicated quick, we’ve started building local UK travel sites. The first was Explore Lincolnshire www.explorelincolnshire.com and the second Holiday in Dartmoor www.holidayindartmoor.com.

We’re now looking at new locations and selling the tech. Our intention is to create a network of local UK travel sites.

Top Ten Swindon

In addition to the last post on Swindon, for quick reference, here’s the content of our ‘Top 10 Recommended Things To Do in Swindon’:

1. STEAM, Museum of the Great Western Railway

2. Lydiard Park

3. Lydiard House

4. Lydiard Tregoze St Mary’s Church

5. Lydiard House Walled Garden

6. North Wessex Downs AONB

7. Barbury Castle Country Park

8. Wayland’s Smithy Long Barrow

9. Uffington White Horse on White Horse Hill

10. Avebury Stone Circle World Heritage Site

Clearly, there’s loads more to do in the area and we list many of these here in our Things To Do in & around Swindon section.