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One-week road trip southwest England

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One-week road trip southwest England
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Hi!

I am a master's student in Oxford with 6 months left until graduation, but, unfortunately, I haven't had many chances to explore beautiful England due to covid. So, I've decided to go on a one-week road trip starting on April 12 because then many restrictions will be lifted in England.

My main interests are nature and sightseeing and I don't mind long drives.

After some research, I found the following Cornwall itinerary but I'm not sure whether it's suitable for this time of year and whether it encompasses the most scenic spots in the area.. so how would you change it?

Day 1 | Lost Gardens of Heligan – Portloe – Falmouth

Day 2 | Cadgwith Cove – Lizard’s Point – Kynance Cove

Day 3 | St Michael’s Mount – Land’s End

Day 4 | Sennen Cove – Cape Cornwall – Zennor

Day 5 | St IvesPadstow via the beaches

Day 6 | Port IsaacTintagel

Day 7 | The Atlantic Highway

Also, there are many routes from Oxford to Lost Gardens of Heligan, which one is the most pleasurable, and are there places worth stopping at along this route?

If you don't think that Cornwall is a good idea, please let me know if there are alternative one-week, nature-focused, solo-friendly road trips in England that you recommend.

Note: a few days ago I made another post asking about a road trip in Wales but some respondents, who I'm grateful to, dissuaded me, and it seems like a good idea to postpone it, especially that England will allow outdoor dining while Wales will not (which is a deal-breaker for me as I'm traveling alone).

Many thanks!

26 replies to this topic
Bodmin, United...
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for Cornwall
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1. Re: One-week road trip southwest England
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I think your struggle will be to find accommodation. Have a look at what is available before making any decisions as you may have to adjust your itinerary.

I’m never in favour of trips like this as you will be doing a lot of driving and not actually seeing very much. Cornwall is best enjoyed at a much slower pace, as we say down here, do it dreckly

England, United...
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for Somerset, Solo Travel, Exmoor National Park
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2. Re: One-week road trip southwest England
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Yes, where will you stay?

It has to be self catering accommodation and at the moment it is school holidays with everyone coming out of lockdown and having moved already booked accommodation to this summer.

So finding one night accommodation during a school holiday will be difficult.

Can you borrow a tent and are you hardy enough to camp in early spring weather?

Otherwise I'd be inclined to suggest you find somewhere to stay for a week and drive to these places. Most are on the west coast. And you will need provisions. Best to buy before you leave and have a box in the car. I did Europe like that.

The Atlantic Highway - will you use this to drive back? It is a lovely drive and so many things to see along it but it will take time.

I wrote and article about this and it remains the same. But this coveres Devon and Somerset. I didn't get time to include Cornwall before TA stopped us.

https://www.tripadvisor.co.uk/Travel-g186369-c218734/Somerset:United-Kingdom:A.Beautiful.Journey.A39.html

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3. Re: One-week road trip southwest England
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Thanks for the heads-up regarding accommodation. I will make reservations ASAP (cancellable where possible), but I want to factor in your suggestions about the itinerary first. Thanks!

Cornwall, United...
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4. Re: One-week road trip southwest England
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Is this just your route or are you planning to stop and explore these places? You don’t seem to have allowed much time to get out of the car and look around. Heligan is half a day minimum and has to be booked in advance. St Michael’s Mount is closed.

St Ives and Padstow and Falmouth are a day each. What do you want to get out of your holiday?

Bear in mind that with the extra visitor numbers the traffic, already congested will be even heavier so it will take longer to get from place to place on our often narrow roads.

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5. Re: One-week road trip southwest England
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It does seem too busy. Any suggestions on what to change/omit?

Bodmin, United...
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6. Re: One-week road trip southwest England
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Have you found accommodation? Unless you have somewhere to stay you won’t be doing any of it.

When you have found accommodation come back and we can tweak your itinerary

London, United...
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7. Re: One-week road trip southwest England
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I would postpone your plans until after mid May at least. Not that much is changing next week, the greater change will happen on May 17th, if plans go ahead. From next week you still can't stay in hotels, etc. with the exception of self-contained accommodation. Also restaurants and pubs still won't be able to have people inside.

Cornwall, United...
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8. Re: One-week road trip southwest England
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Most places offering self catering book by the week, and never by the night - too costly and time consuming turn around.

A tent or camper van is your only option until after the 17th May, but many places are already fully booked.

Machynlleth, United...
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9. Re: One-week road trip southwest England
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OK, you have a week free from 12th April, and don't know any part of the south-west, and under current regulations must stay in self-catering accommodation, which is easier to book by the week. Not impossible for shorter periods, just fewer options.

What you probably haven't realised is that most of the south-west is densely packed with places of scenic interest, so staying in one location still gives you lotsof opportunities for driving around and exploring.

I wouldn't tie yourself to Cornwall, where there is very little available accommodation. If you can find somewhere, great. But also consider Devon and Dorset, also largely rural counties, with varied Coastline. I seldom make the trek all the way to Cornwall as I love these other counties too much.

Www.cottages.com still has over 100 properties in 'South-West England' for 7 nights from 12th April. Probably more if you book 5 nights till17th as Saturday (or Friday) is the usual changeover day. Or maybe you can find two different locations for 3 or 4 days each.

When you've found some candidates that meet your price and other criteria, mention the locations on here and we could advise which we'd prefer for the range of places you could explore from that base.

Liverpool, UK
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10. Re: One-week road trip southwest England
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I think it's a nice idea, while the place isn't too busy and taking advantage of University holidays before the school holiday periods that will be packed.

If you are planning to leave on the Monday 12 April, I would book somewhere for 4 nights and then somewhere else for 3 nights, or just 6-7 nights somewhere reasonably 'central' like Newquay and accept a few hours a day driving back and forth on the same roads. You are self catering with possibly an outside pub meal, so it doesn't really matter if you are in a town or not IMO. Since after Easter, this is still off-peak or mid-peak and there will be self-catering choices available. I would aim to sight-see one main place a day (e.g. Tintagel or Heligan gardens (if you like gardens) or Lizard Point or St Michael's Mount) and see how you get on - and then you can be flexible with the weather and avoid Saturday and Sunday at the most popular places (like Tintagel). Noting of course you can't go inside any indoor attractions, so you might want flexibility for weather.

Getting from Oxford, checking in and out of accommodation and returning will take 1/2 day each (maybe more if travelling back on the Sunday), so just pick the 5 highlights from that list for your 5 full days.

e.g. Monday: Drive from Oxford to Dartmoor, stop at Hay Tor, continue via Widdecombe in the Moor, Dartmeet, Merrivale for the views (and possibly an outside pub lunch), then onward to accommodation around St Ives. This is a long day with ~6 hours of driving.

Tues-Thu 3 full days to see the southern highlights, St Michael's Mount, The Lizard, and a coastal walk through some of the Coves.

Fri move accom: drive up to Tintagel for the day and then check in to accommodation at Padstow or Fowey or similar.

Sat full day for either gardens (Heligan or others) or spend time on a river estuary

Sun drive back to Oxford.

Edited: April 07, 2021, 5:33 pm
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