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The southernmost county in England, Cornwall is famous for its fabulous beaches, picturesque villages, Celtic heritage, and rich inland history. Wrapped together in a breathtaking landscape that is almost surrounded by sea, Cornwall is packed with activities and days out, making it one of the best UK road trips.
One of my favorite holiday spots as a kid, activities like surfing and hiking, spending lazy days on the beach, visiting attractions and learning about history and culture, and sampling the delicious local food means the best of Cornwall has plenty to keep everyone busy!
In this ten day Cornwall road trip guide we share travel tips, a fantastic route that hits all the top spots, things to do and see along the way, and hotel recommendations to help you plan your perfect road trip around Cornwall.
Where is Cornwall England?
Cornwall is a historic and ceremonial county in the southwest of England, bordered to the north and west by the Atlantic Ocean, to the south by the English Channel, and to the east by the county of Devon, with the River Tamar forming the border.
Cornwall forms the westernmost part of the South West Peninsula of the island of Great Britain, with the southwesternmost point being Land’s End and the southernmost Lizard Point.
The ceremonial county of Cornwall also includes the Isles of Scilly, which are administered separately. Cornwall’s administrative center is Truro, the only city in the county.
Is this your first time visiting the United Kingdom? Get all the information you need in our UK Travel Guide, including what to pack, the best time of year to go, getting there, and practical tips to help you have the best trip!
Getting to Cornwall
Whether you’re taking a Cornwall road trip in a car, motorcycle, campervan, or motorhome, self-driving is absolutely the best way to explore this spectacular part of the United Kingdom.
You can stop whenever you want, try new activities, visit places you see along the route, and have the freedom to change plans at the last minute.
One of our top road trip tips that will make a huge difference to your Cornish road trip is not to drive to Cornwall on a Friday, Saturday, or Bank Holiday!
This is because lots of holiday lets, caravans and campsites have ‘changeover’ day on a Saturday, so the one single A30 main road which crosses into Cornwall just before Launceston is often gridlocked, meaning the A303, which is the main arterial south from the south of England, also backs up. Nightmare!
If you’re coming to Cornwall by plane, fly into Newquay Airport to start your roadtrip, with direct flights from London Gatwick, Manchester, Doncaster, Liverpool, Glasgow and Aberdeen.
If you’re coming from further afield, head to London Gatwick Airport and connect from there, or pick up a hire car and take a road trip to Cornwall through the counties of Surrey, Hampshire, Wiltshire, Dorset, Somerset and Devon, a journey of around 4-5 hours. We recommend booking flights with Skyscanner for live deals and the best prices.
Are you planning to rent a car in Cornwall? As one of the largest car hire aggregator companies in the world, we recommend Rentalcars.com because they have massive purchasing power which enables them to secure the best car rental prices, which benefits you when you’re planning a roadtrip in England.
For a real adventure, hire a motorhome or campervan in the UK. We recommend AutoEurope for their large range of fully equipped vehicles, competitive pricing, and great customer service. Motorhoming in Cornwall can be a challenge, with narrow lanes and small villages – unless you’re an experienced motorhomer, a campervan is probably a better idea 🙂
Best Time for a Cornish Road Trip
March to May
Early spring can be wet and cold on the Cornish coast but from late April and May onwards the weather is generally warm and sunny, although you may still get chilly rainy days, so take layers and keep your eye on the weather forecast – a real British occupation!
June to August
During the busiest time in Cornwall, tourist traffic peaks in late July and August, and the roads into the county can become congested. It’s also when Cornwall experiences the warmest and driest weather, making it an attractive place to spend the school summer holidays. But, you’ll need to book your accommodation well in advance, as popular spots book up early.
If you’re not traveling with kids, June is the best month to visit – the weather is mild and sunny, attractions are open and beach days are a real possibility, but there are a lot fewer people around.
September to November
Early autumn, between September and early October, is a lovely time to visit, with warmth still in the air but a sense of peace as the season comes to a close.
Towards the end of September, the Cornish weather starts to turn and becomes unpredictable. Some days can be sunny and dry, but the chances of rain and windy Atlantic storms increase by the day.
December to February
You’re unlikely to see snow, but it most definitely will be cold, wet, and pretty miserable. You may well be the only tourist in the entire county, but it wouldn’t be our choice to road trip Cornwall in winter!
RELATED POST: 14 Stunning Places for Autumn Breaks in the UK
Make sure you have travel insurance you can trust when visiting England. We recommend True Traveller for their 5-star TrustPilot reviews, variety of cover options, best activities cover as standard, great prices and excellent service.
Cornwall Road Trip Map & Route
The region can be explored in 3 to 4 days, but you will only touch the surface. Instead, take 9 to 10 days to appreciate Cornwall’s breathtaking coastal views, historic landmarks, myths and legends, and exceptional cuisine.
The starting point for our ten day Cornwall itinerary is Looe on the south coast, an hour’s drive from Newquay Airport across the county on good main roads.
From there, you’ll follow the gentle and picturesque coast south, right down to the most southwesterly tip of Land’s End, before heading north along the wilder Atlantic Coast to experience some of Cornwall’s most famous spots.
You probably won’t be able to do and see all the things we suggest in this itinerary, which we’ve visited over many family holidays in Cornwall. But we wanted to include as much detail as possible, so you can pick the things you enjoy most and maybe spot others along the route.
- Lonely Planet Devon & Cornwall
- The Rough Guide to Devon & Cornwall
- West Cornwall: Land’s End Guidebook: Penzance, Lamorna, Porthcurno, Zennor & St Ives
Looe – Mevagissey – St Mawes – Truro – Lizard – Penzance – Mousehole – Porthcurno – Land’s End – St Just – St Ives – Newquay – Padstow – Port Isaac – Tintagel – Bodmin Moor – Bude
How to use this map – Use your fingers (or computer mouse) to zoom in and out. Click or touch the icons to get more info about a place, and click the arrow in the box top left to open the index. To add to your own Google Maps account, click the star next to the title of the map.
Cornwall Road Trip Itinerary
Day 1: Looe to Mevagissey
The first day of the Cornwall road trip explores the lively town of Looe before heading southwest to the traditional Cornish fishing village of Mevagissey.
Start your exploration of Looe with a visit to the Old Guildhall Museum and Gaol to learn about the town’s history. Here you can explore the old jail cells and various artifacts, photographs, and records that are hundreds of years old.
Afterward, take a short walk to the harbor to try your hand at crabbing, a fun activity for the whole family. All you need are a bucket, net, and line which you can buy at the harbor, and some bait – crabs seem to like raw bacon best, but anything will do, even a bit of Cornish pasty! Just remember, you can’t eat these crabs and need to put them carefully back into the sea before you leave.
While at the harbor, visit the Looe Harbour Heritage Centre in the old Sardine Factory with exhibitions that detail Looe’s fishing history. Stop by the coffee shop for great views of the river.
See the morning out at East Looe Beach. You can fish, relax on the golden sands, or take a boat tour to Looe Island Nature Reserve, managed by Cornwall Wildlife Trust. The island, also known as St George’s Island, boasts a variety of animals, birds, and fascinating history.
For lunch, go to the charming Lookout or the colorful Island View Café for stunning views of the island.
About 23 miles from Looe, stop at the 30-acre Pinetum Gardens in St Austell. The gardens boast over 6000 types of plants and offer a lovely backdrop for gorgeous pictures or taking a walk before hitting the road to Mevagissey.
Once in the charming fishing village of Mevagissey, visit the local museum in the old schoolhouse. It displays the village’s history, fishing, and local life. Model train enthusiasts will also enjoy the Mevagissey Model Railway Museum, which has numerous well-preserved working train models.
Book a boat trip or sea safari at the harbor to try your hand at sea fishing, or if you want to explore the coastal caves and hidden caves, and see the local wildlife, like dolphins and seals.
If you prefer a land-based activity, take the six-minute drive northwest of Mevagissey to explore the fantastic Lost Gardens of Heligan. These beautiful gardens are Europe’s largest garden restoration and are filled with exotic plants, sculptures, and hidden treasures, with productive gardens, pleasuare gardens and even a jungle to explore.
Back in town, treat yourself to something at The Cornish Fudge Shop, your first opportunity to sample one of Cornwall’s most famous foods, handmade with local ingredients and love!
For dinner, visit the Salamander Restaurant or try the exceptional fish and chips at The Fishermen’s Chippy if you don’t mind a takeaway.
Upmarket: Lugger Hotel Portloe – Booking.com | Agoda
Mid-Range: The Llawnroc Hotel Gorran Haven – Booking.com | Agoda
Budget: The Wheel House B&B – Booking.com | Agoda
Eden Project Side Trip
Located in St Blazey between Looe and Mevagissey, the Eden Project is one of Cornwall’s huge success stories. Built on a reclaimed china clay pit a few miles from St Austell, this otherworldy place is worthy of a full day’s visit.
A global garden, where you can discover the natural world and explore huge covered biomes, the Eden Project is home to the world’s largest indoor rainforest and a beautiful and fragrant indoor Mediterranean garden. There are also extensive outdoor gardens, contemporary artworks, performance and storytelling and a handful of cool places to eat.
Day 2: Mevagissey to Truro
The second day of the itinerary takes you to the lush Roseland Peninsula and the inland capital of Truro.
The Roseland Peninsula is about 16 miles from Mevagissey and boasts stunning landscapes and picturesque villages.
Start your trip to the peninsula on the western part of St. Mawes. Visit the historical St. Mawes Castle, one of King Henry VIII’s best-preserved coastal artillery fortresses, which has beautiful views of the Fal Estuary, or you can admire the views on a boat trip from St. Mawes to Falmouth, the Fal Estuary, and the nearby St. Anthony’s Head.
On the eastern ‘finger’ of the peninsula, you can visit one of several beaches, including Portscatho Beach, Towan Beach, and Little and Great Molunan Beach on the southern tip – the latter neighbors St. Anthony’s Head, which is an excellent spot for birdwatching.
To save some driving time, catch the King Harry Ferry, a vehicular chain ferry that crosses the River Fal in Cornwall from Philleigh to Trelissick in just five minutes.
En route to Truro, stop at the Punchbowl and Ladle for classic British pub grub and small plates before continuing your journey.
Approximately half an hour north of Roseland is the beautiful town of Truro. It is the capital of Cornwall and offers travelers a lot of history and stunning natural scenery.
See what is on at the Gothic Revival-style Truro Cathedral, who provide a rich visitor experience through worship, music, events, arts and learnin. Afterward, take a short walk to the Royal Cornwall Museum, which offers interesting exhibits on Cornwall’s history, culture, and natural environment.
Truro is also known for its shopping. Stroll through the town center to visit various independent shops, boutiques, and larger chain stores.
Go for an early dinner at The Rising Sun Pub or The Cornish Vegan, which serves an entirely vegan menu.
Upmarket: The Alverton – Booking.com | Agoda
Mid-Range: County Arms – Booking.com | Agoda
Budget: Barley Sheaf – Booking.com | Agoda
Falmouth Side Trip
If you have an extra half a day, Falmouth on the beautiful Fal River in an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty is well worth visiting.
The spirit of the sea boasts a rich maritime heritage and is home to the National Maritime Museum Cornwall, some great beaches, tall ships, traditional Cornish pilot gig rowing, kayaking and diving.
Falmouth is also a creative town, full of art galleries, exhibitions and a loads of independent shops and boutiques. The award-winning Falmouth Art Gallery is one of the leading galleries in the South West.
Day 3: Truro to Penzance
The third day of the Cornwall road trip offers the dramatic Lizard Peninsula and pretty Penzance.
If you are traveling with children or you’re a big kid yourself, stop at the popular Flambards Theme Park in Helston en route to the Lizard Peninsula.
Upon arrival in Lizard, known for its rugged coastline and picturesque landscapes, visit the southernmost point of mainland Britain. It offers stunning sea views, towering cliffs and sea stacks, and local wildlife.
The Lizard Heritage Coast stretches from Porthleven to Enys Head, the most southerly point of mainland England, and enjoys the warmest climate in mainland Britain. The Peninsula is a place of rugged coastline of Serpentine rock, gentle heath, and grassland, and hosts several coastal nature trails and the long-distance South West Coast Path.
There are good sandy beaches south of Porthleven including Gunwalloe Church Cove Beach, Kennack Sands and Kynance Cove. This small yet stunning bay has white sand and crystal-clear turquoise water, perfect for swimming, sunbathing, and exploring underwater rock formations with a snorkel.
The Lizard Peninsula has several National Trust properties. Visit the historic Lizard Point Lighthouse, which offers guided tours, or the Trelowarren Estate and the fishing village of Poltesco.
Enjoy lunch at Polpeor Café in Lizard or Wavecrest Café in Lizard’s Point, which has lovely outdoor seating and ocean views.
En route to Penzance, stop at Marazion to visit St Michael’s Mount. This island is roughly 500 meters from the mainland and boasts an ancient castle and scenic gardens. You can reach the island via a causeway during low tide, or by boat from Marazion when the tide is too high to cross by foot.
In Penzance, just five miles from Marazion, you can experience a thriving arts community with plenty of galleries and studios to explore. The Newlyn School artists were attracted by the wonderful Cornish light and landscape, and are famous for painting outdoors or en Plein air.
You can visit Newlyn Art Gallery & The Exchange and the Penlee House Gallery and Museum to see local artworks from the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. Another notable museum is the Cornwall Contemporary on Chapel Street, which celebrates local talent.
Walk along the promenade stretching for miles along the magnificent coast. It offers stunning views of the sea and the town and is a great way to take in the local scenery.
For a peaceful stroll surrounded by local flora, head to Morrab Gardens in the heart of Penzance, known for its Mediterranean and sub-tropical plants including the enormous Giant Gunnera, which benefit from the Gulf Stream climate. Outside of town, you’ll find the traditional Trengwainton Gardens and the natural and dog friendly Tanglewood Wild Garden.
Penzance is known for its fresh fish and seafood. Try some for dinner at the Michelin-starred The Shore Restaurant or Cork And Fork, known for using the freshest local ingredients.
Upmarket: The Beach Club – Booking.com | Agoda
Mid-Range: Crown Inn – Booking.com | Agoda
Budget: Treventon Guest House – Booking.com | Agoda
Want to plan your own road trip? Get our step-by-step road trip planning guide to help you organize the perfect trip, find out how to road trip on a budget, or get ideas and inspiration with our favorite European road trips.
Day 4: Penzance to Land’s End
The Penwith Heritage Coast wraps around the tip of Cornwall from Penzance to St Ives, and is our favorite part of Cornwall, with gorgeous beaches, legends aplenty and cute fishing ports.
Head south for the charming traditional fishing village of Mousehole (pronounced Mowzle), one of Cornwall’s hidden gems (as much as anything in this part of the world can be!). With a thriving harbor and a tumble of narrow cobbled streets to explore, there are lots of things to see and do in the village.
The tip of the Cornish peninsula has some amazing coves and beaches and Porthcurno is one of our all-time favorites. The soft white shell sands are overlooked by the open-air, cliffside Minack Theatre that hosts a range of summer performances and boasts breathtaking sea views. You’ll need to get to the beach early in the summer months, as the car park fills quickly.
If Portucurno is too busy for you, try nearby Pedn Vounder Beach which is reached by a craggy cliff path from the South West Coast Path, Porthchapel Beach which requires a similar scramble, or Porthgwarra Beach, which is a bit easier to access and has caves and rock pools to be explored when the tide is out.
A bit closer to Land’s End is the fabulous Nanjizal Beach. Also known as Mill Cove, the boulder-strewn beach is at the end of a shallow valley and boasts particularly clear water. It’s a spectacular 30 minute walk from Porthgwarra to Nanjizal Beach and the last bit is via steep steps – but it’s worth it once you get there!
Land’s End is the most westerly place in England and is famous for its dramatic cliffs, stunning views, and rugged coastline. Visit the Land’s End Visitor Centre, home to several attractions, including a 4D cinema, interactive exhibits, and a gift shop. It’s a great place to learn about the history and geography of the area.
Ensure to get a photograph of the iconic Land’s End sign dating back to the 1950s and made famous by the thousands of celebrity End-to-Enders who have posed beside it before or after their journeys across the length of Great Britain from Scotland’s John O‘Groats to Land’s End.
Finish the morning with lunch at The Land’s End Restaurant or the Old Success Inn by Sennen Cove.
Upmarket: The Ship Inn Mousehole – Booking.com | Agoda
Mid-Range: The Land’s End Hotel – Booking.com | Agoda
Budget: Boskennal Farm Pod St Buryan – Booking.com | Agoda
Don’t forget your road trip essentials! Our free road trip checklists help you remember everything, including road trip snacks, podcasts and road trip songs for the journey!
Day 5: Land’s End to St Ives
Today sees you continuing along the Penwith Heritage Coast, through an area rich with history and legend, and Cape Cornwall, the only ‘cape’ in England.
Take the coast road from Land’s End past the glorious Sennen Cove, a great spot for a dip or a spot of bodyboarding as you head north to St Just, where you’ll be well into Poldark country!
Properly known as St Just-in-Penwith, St Just is situated on the edge of the moors and was originally the center of the tin mining industry in this part of Cornwall. The town’s past is reflected in the streets of granite cottages and disused engine houses which dominate the landscape.
There are a couple of art galleries in town, including the Jackson Foundation Gallery, an award-winning and carbon-negative art space that celebrates the relationship between art and the natural world. There are also a good collection of gift and artisan craft shops, cafés, and places to eat in town.
Just to the west of St Just is Cape Cornwall, managed by the National Trust. The distinctive headland juts out into the Atlantic Ocean and is part of the so-called Tin Coast and a Cornish Mining World Heritage Site. There are fantastic walks from Sennen and Pendeen along the South West Coastal Path to the Cape.
As you begin to head north to St Ives, stop at one of the historic tin mines along to coast, to learn more about the industry that Cornwall’s economy was built upon. At Botallack, the famous Crowns engine houses cling to the foot of the cliffs and industrial ruins including chimney stacks and engine houses stretch across the wild landscape.
The Geevor Tin Mine Museum has underground hard hat tours led by ex-miners, and the chance to pan for minerals above ground, and at the Levant Mine and Beam Engine, you can watch the 1840 beam engine worked by steam and follow in the miners’ footsteps through the tunnel to the man-engine shaft.
Don’t miss the ancient landmarks of Lanyon Quoit, a megalithic tomb, and Mên-an-Tol, a Bronze Age site with a rare holed stone, believed to have curative powers.
If you fancy a late-afternoon dip as the sun starts to descend, head for Porthmeor Cove, Veor Cove, or Porthzennor Cove. If you prefer to stay dry, stop in at Rosemergy Farmhouse for a delicious Cornish cream tea – just make sure to spread the jam first, followed by the cream!
About 18 miles northeast of Land’s End is the picturesque coastal town of St. Ives, a popular tourist holiday destination. You’ll be arriving in the late afternoon, so check in and head down to Fore Street for restaurants, bars, and a lively holiday atmosphere well into the evening.
Upmarket: Carbis Bay and Spa Hotel – Booking.com | Agoda
Mid-Range: Harbour Hotel St Ives – Booking.com | Agoda
Budget: Stargazy Shepherds Hut – Booking.com | Agoda
More UK Travel Ideas
Day 6: St Ives
Make the most of your non-driving day by visiting one of St Ives’ seven fantastic beaches. The long stretch of Porthmoer Beach is where I spent hours bodyboarding in the waves as a kid, now a popular surfing beach along with Porthgwidden Beach and Bamaluz Beach.
Harbour Beach, Breakwater Beach, Lambeth Beach, and Porthminster Beach face into St Ives Bay, making them usually much calmer places to swim and paddle, and great for families with small kids.
If you want a huge, endless and often empty stretch of sand, head for Carbis Bay Beach, a mammoth 25 acres of golden sands lapped by beautifully clear water.
Art lovers can delight in St Ives’ art galleries, including the Tate St. Ives and the Barbara Hepworth Sculpture Garden and Museum, in the sculptor’s former studio. These galleries showcase the work of some of the most renowned artists of the 1900s. Another notable gallery worth visiting is the Penwith Gallery hosting contemporary and historical exhibitions.
There is also the Leach Pottery Studio, founded by Bernard Leach, a British studio potter and art teacher, regarded as the ‘Father of British studio pottery’. You can take a tour of the studio and see the pottery being made.
For those with a sweet tooth, visit Moomaid of Zennor on Wharf Road. This popular ice cream parlor offers an array of intriguing flavors, like ‘Prosecco Sorbet’ or ‘Shipwreck,’ which combines sea salt, dulce de leche (caramelized milk), and honey.
Finally, take a late afternoon walk to St Ives Head and the small stone-built St Nicholas Chapel, also known as the Island Chapel. The small peninsula lies on the SW Coast Path and has spectacular sunset views.
If you are dining out, try The Searoom by St Ives Liquor Co. or The Bean Inn Vegetarian Restaurant if you have specific dietary requirements.
Day 7: St Ives to Padstow
The seventh day of the road trip lets you explore Newquay and Padstow.
About 23 miles from St Ives en route to Newquay, stop at Healy’s Cornish Cyder Farm. You can book a tour of the farm and brewery and pick up some delicious Healy products, like cider jams, preserves, and country wines.
Newquay is a seaside town boasting some of Britain’s best beaches, the most iconic being Fistral Beach, popular with surfers. Closer to town, Newquay Beach and Towan Beach with its sea-filled pool are popular with families, as is Great Western Beach with many caves and rockpools to explore at low tide.
Lusty Glaze – I just love that name – is like a theme park beach, with lots going on including junior Baywatch, high ropes courses, kite surfing, a daily BBQ, and even a crèche! And finally, if you want the opposite, with just sand, sea, and peace, head for Whipsiderry Beach, beautifully sheltered by the surrounding cliffs.
A Newquay family favorite is Trenance Gardens and Leisure Park. The park features beautiful gardens, a lake, and a mini-golf course. If you have time to spare before lunch, have a quick exploration of the Cornwall Aviation Heritage Centre, dedicated to the aviation history of Cornwall and featuring a collection of aircraft, engines, and other aviation artifacts.
Treat yourself to a light lunch at Gwenna Teahouse or Fore Street Cafe Bar before continuing to Padstow.
Padstow is a charming working fishing port about 17 miles from Newquay. Before you get there, make a stop at Carnewas to see the Bedruthan Steps. This steep staircase features 149 steps that have been carved into the cliff face and serve as the only means to access the Bedruthan Beach beneath the cliffs, as well as giving magnificent views of the nearby rock stacks.
Once in Padstow, walk a bit of the Camel Trail, a scenic route alongside the River Camel, or stretch your legs and stroll around the colorful harbor full of fishing boats.
For an activity that is slightly less strenuous, visit the Padstow Museum. This small museum showcases the history of the town. It has a collection of artifacts and exhibits that tell the story of Padstow and its people.
If you are traveling through Padstow between April and September, make sure to visit Prideaux Place, a stunning historic house built in the 1500s. It is open to the public and boasts gorgeous gardens and a collection of antique furniture and artwork.
Another must-see in Padstow is the beautiful interior of the 13th century St. Petroc’s Church, which stands where a church has stood since 518 CE.
If you have time, catch the summer ferry from Padstow to Rock, on the opposite side of the Camel Estuary. Known as ‘Chelsea-on-Sea’, Rock is reputed to be the home of more millionaires than anywhere else in Cornwall. But we’re more interested in the fabulous Rock Beach, a long sandy stretch that fronts the village and is popular with swimmers, sun seekers, and wind surfers.
Afterward, dine at the famous Rick Stein’s restaurant, Stein’s Fish ‘n Chips (open for dinner Thursday to Saturday), or Paul Ainsworth at No. 6 for a Michelin-starred experience.
Upmarket: Padstow Townhouse – Booking.com | Agoda
Mid-Range: The Old Custom House – Booking.com | Agoda
Budget: Drang House – Booking.com | Agoda
Day 8: Padstow to Tintagel
On the eigth day of the Cornwall road trip, you will pass through Post Isaac and end the day in Tintagel.
Port Isaac is a charming fishing village on the north coast of Cornwall, known for being the setting of the fictional village, Portwenn, in the ITV comedy-drama series Doc Martin.
You can even go on a Doc Martin tour, which includes visiting the Doc Martin house at the top of Roscarrock Hill, easily recognizable from the show. Or you can take yourself to the town alone instead to walk around and admire the white-washed cottages, flower gardens, and historical buildings.
Visit the working Port Isaac fishing harbor, the heart of the village. Watch the boats on the slipway from the old-school harbor wall and enjoy the stunning views of the ocean and the charming Cornish cottages scattered around the bay. You can take a boat trip to explore the coastline or even hire a rod and go fishing to try your hand at angling.
On land, you can explore Doyden Castle, a National Trust property and one of the best Cornwall castles to stay in, and the unique and beautiful handmade ceramics at the Port Isaac Pottery Studio. Afterward, visit the Old Schoolhouse Gallery, which exhibits work from local artists and artisans, including paintings, pottery, and jewelry.
About 10 miles / 16km from Port Isaac is the small coastal village of Tintagel, known for its dramatic natural scenery, 13th century castle, and connections to the legend of King Arthur.
Legend has it that the medieval Tintagel Castle on a clifftop overlooking the ocean was the birthplace of King Arthur, who was possibly a warrior that led British armies against Saxon invaders in the 6th century, although historians cannot confirm King Arthur’s existence.
You will also see Gallos, the King Arthur statue, an 8-foot-tall bronze sculpture by Rubin Eynon of a ghostly figure with a crown holding a sword, and Merlin’s Cave, beneath Tintagel Castle. This cave is said to be where the wizard Merlin once lived.
Visit the 14th century Post Office, which now serves as a museum, and St Materiana’s Church. The small chapel sits on a hill overlooking Tintagel, offering visitors panoramic views of the village and the rugged coastline.
Stroll around Tintagel village to see a charming mix of shops, cafes, galleries, and fascinating historical buildings.
Close to Tintagel village in Trethevy is the pretty Saint Nectan’s Glen, a wooded and rocky valley stretching for a mile along both banks of the Trevillet River. The glen’s most prominent feature is St Nectan’s Kieve, a fantastic sixty-foot / 18-meter waterfall through a hole in the rocks. Many believe the glen to be one of England’s most spiritual sites, and tie or place ribbons, crystals, and photographs near the waterfall.
End your day with a lovely dinner at the King Arthur’s Arms Inn Restaurant or Tintagel Brewery Bar and Bistro.
Mid-Range: St Tudy Inn Bodmin – Booking.com | Agoda
Mid-Range: King Arthurs Arms – Booking.com | Agoda
Budget: Dolphins Backpackers Hostel – Booking.com | Agoda
Day 9: Tintagel to Bude
On itinerary day nine, the road takes you to the mysterious Bodmin Moor and the holiday town of Bude.
Pop inland from Tintagel and explore the wonderfully peaceful Bodmin Moor, or Goon Brenn in Cornish.
Bodmin Moor is 80 square miles / 208 square kilometers of granite moorland that dates from the Carboniferous period of geological history and is home to Brown Willy, which at 1,378 feet / 480 meters is the highest point in Cornwall, and Rough Tor, a slightly lower peak.
A deeply historic place, Bodmin Moor hosts countless ancient monuments, such as the Hurlers, Rillaton Barrow, the Trippet Stones, Leskernick, and countless other menhirs or standing stones, cairns, and settlements. The southeast corner of the moor forms part of the Cornish Mining World Heritage Site.
One of the best ways to experience Bodmin is Alpaca trekking when you get to walk with these wonderful creatures and enjoy the far-reaching views of the moor, followed by a Cornish cream tea!
There are several beaches in Bude, including Summerleaze Beach, which is a central hub of sand, surf and sun and all the watersports you could want. Summerleaze is connected to Crooklets Beach, with its vast expanse of sand and rock pools when the tide is out. Between the two is the Bude Sea Pool, popular with swimmers and paddleboarders.
Make sure to visit the Cornish Pie Company for the best Cornish pasties, turnover-shaped baked shortcrust pastries filled with beef and vegetables. There are lots of details that make Cornish pasties Cornish, like the semi-circular shape and side-crimped along the curve, but all we know is that they are yummy!
Upmarket: The Beach – Booking.com | Agoda
Mid-Range: The Falcon Hotel – Booking.com | Agoda
Budget: Sea Jade Guest House – Booking.com | Agoda
England Road Trip Resources
Here are the websites and services we personally use and recommend for traveling in England.
Information About Driving in England
Whether you’re driving Cornwall in a car or camper or riding a motorbike, ensure you’ve got all your documents handy and your spare tire is in good condition. If your Cornwall road trip itinerary is longer than a few weeks, you may want to consider a vehicle service before you go, and breakdown cover is probably a good idea.
- Drivers from non-EU countries may require an International Driving Permit. The general rule is that an IDP will be required if your license is not in Latin script. Check with your car hire company or embassy if you’re in doubt.
- You must have at least 3rd party insurance for your vehicle.
- Your car must be considered roadworthy in the country in which it is registered.
- Your headlights must be adapted for driving on the left if your vehicle is registered outside the UK.
- Unlike France, the UK does not have laws that require you to carry certain equipment in your car, but that doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t. Being prepared in the event of an accident or a breakdown is invaluable. Ideally, you should carry a reflective jacket, a warning triangle, a first-aid kit, and a fire extinguisher.
- Understand insurance options, mileage limits, and fuel policies before booking a rental car.
- Check the car for damage on collection and make sure anything you spot is noted, and the same again when you drop it off.
- Remember to drive on the left during your trip to England!
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