Cornwall fans will get their money’s worth on this trip!
However, you see very little of the rest of the beautiful country (which is an extraordinary pity!).
But if you want to see Cornwall halfway, there is unfortunately little time for exciting stays along the way. Nevertheless, you should calculate at least 14 days for this tour.
The Trip to Cornwall
Even if we want to reach our destination Cornwall as soon as possible, the trip there is already an experience. And 8-10 hours of driving without a break is a bit too long, so stop in Salisbury with its really beautiful old town and the great cathedral, almost as an appetite stimulate for the following days.
Next stop is Lyme Regis on the Jurassic Coast on the English Channel. A real seaside resort with a lot of charm, which is also a lot of fun due to its hillside location. If you have some time, visit the nearby town “Beer” – this nice place is really called so!
Along the “English Riviera” it continues south-east, past the seaside resorts of Torquay and Paignton down to Salcombe. This place is fantastically located in a rugged coastal landscape and just from higher paths you have wonderful views towards the coast and the romantic river valleys of the interior. This is also where Overbeck’s Garden is located, but from our point of view it is not a real must – instead, a coastal hike is worthwhile! From now on, on very narrow roads (have fun self-driving!) through a great landscape more or less close to the coast to the east towards Plymouth. There, unfortunately, we have to circumnavigate a deep water incision that protrudes deep into the country. But we are finally crossing the border into Cornwall.
Cornwall – on the coast of the English Channel
We use the trip to create some distance and only stop in the coastal town of Looe with its nice old town. From here we start at Talland Bay, a wonderful area on the English Channel. The adorable Polperro should definitely be visited! On the River Fowey is the village of the same name (pronounced “Foy”), also here a visit can be recommended after crossing the river by car ferry.The estate “Menabilly” above Fowey was the residence of the writer Daphne du Maurier. It served as a model for the Manderley estate in her novel Rebecca.
A small tip for those who don’t want to travel only: In the just north of Golant (pronounced “Galaaant”) you can either go on your own or by canoe and kayak in the extensive side arms of the River Fowey. The tranquility there is incredible and great bird watching is practically guaranteed. David and Karen from boat rental company Encounter Cornwall are perfect guides and hosts – greetings to them when you’re there! By the way: Be careful when parking your car – the waterfront is always flooded at High Tide!
Continue towards St. Austell, where one of the most famous Cornish breweries is located. But the most interesting part of the city is Charlestown, the ancient harbour with the historic sailing ship.
Now deep in Cornwall, the Lost Gardens of Heligan is one of the best gardens in the south of England. Don’t miss it!
On the other hand, the close “Eden Project” can be omitted in good conscience.
Back on the coast, it’s worth visiting the towns of Mevagissey and Portmellon. Via Portholland come to the Roseland Peninsula, a somewhat remote peninsula, which is all the more exciting in terms of landscape and invites you to explore on very (!) narrow roads.
Nice tastings like Portloe or Portscatho invite you to visit, a more or less long hike on the Southwest Coast Path at St. Anthony’s Head along the great coast is highly recommended! A highlight is St. Just in Roseland with its incredible beautiful cemetery. With the “King Harry Ferry“, a chain ferry (it moves forward by chains), we cross the extensive estuary of the River Fall and immediately reach the remarkable Trelissick Garden. Cornwall has countless beautiful and interesting gardens. All of them are not even manageable. For this, it’s worth looking for a slightly different and unknown garden – like Enys Gardens near Penryn with incredible bluebell fields in spring!
The south of Cornwall
A town worth visiting is Falmouth, just across the water street from Roseland. The old Pendennis castle (now owned by English Heritage) offers great views!
Glendurgan and Trebah, two interesting gardens lie next to each other on the banks of the Helford River – but we clearly recommend the privately run Trebah Garden! Now you pass the absolutely worth visiting fishing village Cadgwith (well, it’s a very short detour there) all down to the southernmost point of England – Lizard! Also a peninsula and perfect for beautiful coastal walks.
Passing the tiny fishing port of Mullion Cove (the magnificent house at the top of the mountain is the Mullion Cove Hotel) and the larger port town of Porthleven, we reach one of the highlights: St. Michael Mount, the British equivalent of Mont St. Michel in France. It is followed by Penzance, a big city for Cornwall – here we recommend a visit to the beautiful Trengwainton Garden. Passing Newlyn with its harbour is reached the adorable village of Mousehole (pronounced “Mousel”). We prevent the further trip to “Lands End“, the westernmost point of England. The amusement park there is just a deterrent! Better, we drive straight to the Cornish city of artists and art lovers: St. Ives! Anyone who has ever seen the incredibly turquoise shimmering water in the harbour and all around understands the fascination of this place for painters and artists. And a branch of London’s Tate Gallery has turned St Ives into a mecca for art lovers.
On the Atlantic coast of Cornwall
Now let’s drive the Atlantic coast from Cornwall to the north. It’s very different here than on the coast of the English Channel – much rougher with lots of sand dunes, as you can see on the beaches of Holywell Bay. The weather comes from the sea, so Portreath with its high waves is extremely popular for surfer. Unfortunately, Cornwall Airport in nearby Newquay is only served by a few cities, otherwise it would be an ideal starting point for our travel.
Passing Padstow, Wadebridge and rugged Port Isaac we reach Tintagel. According to legend, the castle of King Arthur was located here, but this is historically impossible.
Our last place on the coast is the nice Boscastle with its natural harbour, before we make a short detour to Bodmin Moor inland to the Golitha Falls. However, please do not expect spectacular waterfalls, but a beautiful forest area with the River Fowey, which invites you to walk.
Back through the Dartmoor
We have now left Cornwall and drive via Tavistock into the largest bog in southern England, the fabled Dartmoor. Via Widecombe-in-the-Moor we go up to the Haytor, where we have a fantastic view over the Dartmoor and far beyond in fine weather. Now it’s not far to our last stop Exeter. A short stroll through the city, but above all a visit to the great cathedral is worthwhile. Also a small detour to the River Exe with its nice shore to represent legs is recommended. After all, the journey from here goes directly from London’s Heathrow Airport and our not-so-short journey through Cornwall is unfortunately already over. Maybe again soon?
And these are some places enroute:
London Heathrow Airport
Salisbury, Wiltshire, England
Lyme Regis, Dorset, England
Beer, Devon, England
Dartmouth, Devon, England
Salcombe, Devon, England
Cadgwith, Cornwall, England
Mullion Cove, Cornwall, England
Mousehole, Cornwall, England
Portreath, Cornwall, England
Exeter, Devon, England
London Heathrow Airport
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