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Highlights of South West England – Suggested Self Drive

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Highlights of South West England

This itinerary gives you a real flavour of the region, with six counties and no less than four UNESCO World Heritage sites, historic cities, breath-taking countryside, picture postcard villages, and stunning seascapes all on your route.
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 – Shaftesbury – Dorchester (184km)
Stop at Stonehenge to marvel at the standing stones and the engineering skills of our ancestors. Drive 30 minutes through rolling countryside and you’re in the town of Shaftesbury, full of historic buildings and great literary connections. Continue south through Dorset villages to the Jurassic Coast.

Day 2: Dorchester – Exeter – Dartmoor – Plymouth (156km)
Drive into Devon to Exeter to see the impressive 12th century cathedral. Head inland to the Dartmoor National Park; its wild landscape is believed to be the inspiration behind Conan Doyle’s epic Sherlock Homes story, ‘The Hound of the Baskervilles’. Pass by granite outcrops known as Tors as you journey to the Maritime City of Plymouth.

Day 3: Plymouth – Polperro – St Michael’s Mount – St Ives (123km)
In Polperro stroll the narrow streets before heading further into Cornwall to the iconic St Michael’s Mount, a monastery that dates back to the 8th century. Drive through Penzance stopping at Land’s End and Botallack before reaching the beaches of St Ives.

Day 4: St Ives – Padstow – Port Isaac – Bath (340km)
Back up the coast past Newquay to Padstow, a pretty harbour made famous by celebrity chef, Rick Stein. Wander the harbourside and winding streets before a short trip to the tiny port village of Port Isaac, then it’s a 3 hour drive to Bath.

Day 5: Bath – The Cotswolds (150km)
Head through the Gloucestershire towns of Tetbury and Cirencester and into the Cotswolds. There are so many lovely towns and villages, each bursting with old-world charm.

Customise this itinerary to travel at your own pace.
Spend more time in The Cotswolds or make your way back to London

Highlights worth seeing along the way
Lulworth Cove –
On the UNESCO World Heritage Jurassic Coast, this stunning horseshoe shaped bay is a must-see.
Walk round to Durdle Door – Along the cliff top from Lulworth Cove to this natural limestone arch you’ll enjoy the spectacular view of the emerald land and white cliffs cutting into the blue sea.
Powderham Castle – Of the Earl and Countess of Devon. The castle has been owned by the same family since building commenced in 1391.
Plymouth Hoe – One of the world’s finest natural harbours and the scene of some of the world’s most iconic voyages including Sir Francis Drake fighting the Spanish Armada, to Sir Francis Chichester’s first solo circumnavigation of the world.
Botallack – Follow the coast road to see iconic Crowns engine houses, part of Cornwall’s unique mining heritage.
Isles of Scilly – Just 45 kilometres off the coast by boat from Penzance or a short flight from Land’s End, Newquay or Exeter, you can enjoy a relaxed pace, explore Tresco Abbey Gardens and wildlife watch.
Bath – A unique World Heritage city where you can bathe in natural hot spring spa water. Bath has been a popular destination for relaxing spa breaks for thousands of years and combines stunning architecture, fascinating history and excellent restaurants and shopping.

Our favourite places to stay:

• Westwood House Guest House, Dorchester
• The Imperial, Plymouth
• Pedn Olva Hotel, St Ives
• The Slaughters Country Inn, Lower Slaughter

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.

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