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Cornwall, Devon & Somerset – Suggested Self Drive

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Cornwall, Devon & Somerset

Drive to Land’s End and back to experience breath-taking coastal scenery, fabulous restaurants with treats of local produce, line-caught fish and seasonal vegetable and wander through a variety of English Gardens.
Exploring England is easy. In the countryside, the roads are excellent, well signposted and largely toll free. Distances between towns are short and driving is on the left hand side of the road, same as in New Zealand.

Suggested Itinerary
Day 1: London – St Austell (335km)
St Austell is a town which in the 18th century prospered from the mining of ‘white gold’. Explore the Holy Trinity Parish Church and the Italianate facade of the Market House in the historic core.

Day 2: St Austell – St Ives – Newquay (117km)
Discover a castle, a sub-tropical garden paradise and a close-knit island community; stride over the causeway or cross by boat, depending on the tide, to reach St Michael’s Mount. As you go to St Ives, visit the village of Penzance and The Minack Theatre, perched on a cliff.

Day 3: Newquay – Padstow – Tintagel – Barnstaple (117km)
Explore parts of this coastline by kayak or walk the Heritage Coastal Path. Visit the lively surf town of Newquay and the fishing port of Padstow, home of Rick Stein’s Seafood Restaurant. Immerse yourself in history and the legend of King Arthur at Tintagel. After all this activity, a delicate Devon cream tea in Clovelly is just the thing.

Day 4: Barnstaple
Head to Exmoor National Park which is the ideal place to enjoy the outdoors, everything from coasteering to cycling, horse riding to walking the Coleridge Way or riding the vintage West Somerset Railway.

Day 5: Barnstaple – Salisbury (190km)
Today’s highlights will include a steep walk to the top of Glastonbury Tor to admire the stunning views across the Mendip Hills. If it’s mid-week, stop at Wells for the Farmers’ Market before meandering through the Cheddar Gorge made famous by its Somerset cider and Cheddar cheese.

Customise this itinerary to travel at your own pace.
Discover more of the South West or make your way back to London.

Highlights worth seeing along the way
St Austell Brewery –
Explore beer making from the heady heights of the mill and enjoy a tutored tasting.
The Eden Project –
Nestled in a huge crater, housing the largest rainforest in captivity are stunning plants, exhibitions and stories which all serve as a backdrop to the ‘Great Gardens’.
The Lost Gardens of Heligan –
Immerse yourself in Europe’s largest garden restoration to discover the intriguing story of how a thousand acres of manicured and productive gardens were lost under a sea of brambles and ivy after the outbreak of WWI.
Minack Theatre –
Perched on the cliffs high above the Atlantic Ocean in Porthcurno (32 kilometre round trip from Penzance) you’ll discover the incredible story of its creator, Rowena Cade.
Tate St Ives –
Admire the masterpieces by giants of British Modernism, notably Barbara Hepworth and Ben Nicholson.
Kayaking in St Agnes –
Explore this World Heritage Cornish mining area and the wildlife, beside colourful cliffs, spacious caverns carved out during the Poldark mining era and secluded beaches.
Rick Stein’s Seafood Restaurant & Cookery School –
Courses, evening demos and skills workshops, all with Stein’s relaxed signature style.
Clovelly –
Set into a steep hillside, Clovelly has a single cobbled high street that winds its way down to the ancient harbour.

Our favourite places to stay:
• The Arches B & B, St Austell
• The Pentire Hotel, Newquay
• Royal & Fortescue Hotel, Barnstaple
• The Chapter House, Salisbury

Choosing your Rental Car 
Take into consideration the size of the vehicle you require. We strongly recommend a minimum 1.4 litre for two adults. If the vehicle is to be used for day touring from a central base and not for transporting your luggage, a smaller vehicle may be adequate. We suggest you book your car before leaving home as this will save money and ensure you get the car of your choice.

View for more HOT UK & Europe road trips

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