- Manoir saint Helen
Why Brittany is the destination for your next holiday
Just an hour away from the UK is the coast of France. As easy to reach as popular UK weekend and short break destinations, the Brittany coastline is the best holiday destination you may never have considered or discovered. A short ferry hop makes it ideal for both hardened francophiles and first-time visitors alike, with dramatic coastlines and sandy beaches.
With over 2,860 kilometres of coastline and a hilly inland with ancient forests connected with Arthurian legend, the landscape is absolutely breathtaking. Some beaches are busier than others, so the region is ideal for those looking for a lively family holiday and something a little more off the beaten track.
Brittany has everything; the variety along the shoreline is vast. Rocky bays in the north leading down to sandy stretches and an emerald sea in the south. The sea views are spectacular. With strong links to Cornwall – Cornish nobles fled to France during Anglo-Saxon invasions, calling the region “Cornouaille” – the Brittany coast has many of the same attractions. However, the area has a strong cultural identity all of its own.
Things to do
The Brittany coastline is a real haven for those looking for an active break. Surfing and sailing are popular, with maritime schools along the coast. Book surf and sailing lessons as well as kayaking and SUP or paddle boarding, or book a session to learn how to sail a sand yacht on the beautiful beach at Saint-Efflam.
The historic towns and villages dotted along the coastline are all worth a visit. Saint-Malo’s 18th-century ramparts (an upgrade from the 12th-century architecture) are crying out to be walked along, taking in the sights of the old town. The walled city is great for a seafood lunch or dinner after your walk.
Along the coast is Dinan, the early mediaeval walled town with picturesque cobbled streets and half-timber houses. The 13th-century castle is an excellent starting point for a 2.5-kilometre walk along the ramparts before stopping for lunch at one of the restaurants on Rue du Quai.
Prehistoric Monuments, Myth, and Legend
The Breton language is still proudly spoken, and there is a strong Celtic tradition with both music and dance. However, the area has been settled for thousands of years. The village of Carnac is famous for more than being a traditional fishing spot. Some 6,000 years ago, 3,000 standing stones were placed in a variety of sites. They make for some staggering photographs, particularly at sunrise and sunset. The Menac and Kermario sites can be accessed easily and visits are free between November and March.
The area is also home to the Breton city of Ys, which legend dictates is buried under the sea in the region of Cornouaille. 30 kilometres west of Rennes is the Paimpont Forest, the remains of vast ancient woodland. In Arthurian legend, this area is called Broceliande. Get a map to explore the forest from the Chateau de Comper museum, and find the Fountain of Eternal Youth, and the stone in which Viviane imprisoned Merlin.
Places to stay
Brittany is not short of fantastic accommodation options, right the way along the coast. Hotels, campsites, bed and breakfast accommodation and other holiday apartments are all available enabling you to find the perfect combination of privacy and service that’s right for you. Seaviews, small resorts and pretty villages all offer a variety of accommodation.
Family owned and run accommodation such as Le Manoir St. Helen is perfect for larger groups looking for somewhere to stay for a special getaway, or for an exclusive wedding or birthday party.
You’ll never discover all of Brittany in just one visit, and you’ll want to return year after year.