Road Trip in the South of England

 

Road trips are very high on my list of fun travel breaks. A map, some friends, the open road – what more could you wish for? If you haven’t tried roaming around the countryside in a car yet, you’re missing out! But all is not lost, just in time for this summer, here is a guide for a short weekend road trip in the South of  England. Cornwall and Devon are often hailed as the most beautiful and charming counties of Britain so they make the perfect weekend or indeed week-long getaway.

For convenience, it is easiest for the majority of people to start at Plymouth, and head towards St.Austell, then continuing in a clockwise direction to take in the numerous towns and villages of Cornwall.

Aiming for St.Austell, I’d recommend stopping off here to explore around the area. A must see for any nature lover is the Eden Project, an enormous (possibly the worlds largest) bio-dome complex which houses huge gardens full of tropical and indigenous plants. It’s absolutely stunning, and a great place to take the kids if you need a slight break!

By Jürgen Matern , via Wikimedia Commons

History buffs will love a stop off at Tintagel castle, the famed birthplace of legendary King Arthur and seat of the Kings of Cornwall. Catch the ruins on a sunny day and you’ll be treated to stunning views over the ancient site.

Merry Maidens circle is a picturesque stop and the best preserved neolithic site in the UK. It is a 23m diameter circle made up of 19 granite stones, like a mini Stonehenge in a sense. Take the camera, if you get the right weather you can snap the most incredible photos here.

For lovers of the arts, a must see is the incredible outside Minack Theatre. Hewn into the rocks on the cliffside, this stunning theatre hosts regular summer performances with a truly unique backdrop. This gets extremely popular in nice weather so tickets can be difficult to come by but with a bit of pre-planning, you should have no problem getting to experience this wonderful theatre.

By Benutzer:Chef, via Wikimedia Commons
Don’t forget one of Britains busiest landmarks – Lands End. It is the most westerly point of Britain and attracts a lot of tourists especially in summer, so don’t expect to have it all to yourself. Stare out into the sea and try to catch a glimpse of America…or just take a few snaps for the photo wall.

 

Another stop for art lovers is the Tate St.Ives, one of the four Tate galleries in the UK concerned with modern art. Modern art isn’t always my cup of tea but the Tate St.Ives has some thought provoking pieces which makes a nice break from all that driving. You might need a good cup of coffee after.

 

For leisure activities, look no further than surfing. The South coast has an abundance of places to try your hand at riding the waves coming in from the sea.  St.Agnes is a lovely seaside town ideal to base yourself for a days surfing. Shop around the numerous surf schools and jump straight in. Don’t neglect to stretch afterwards or you might be stiff as a board when you jump back into the car!

It could be just me, but when I think of road trips, the second thing that comes to mind is camping. In the counties of Cornwall and Devon, you will find some of the best campsites in Europe. The English invented the caravan holiday and no one does it better. An abundance of 5 star campsite resorts and stunningly located farmhouse campsites dot the coast, meaning you are never far from a place to lay your head.

Bill Nicholls via Wikimedia Commons

However, a lovely alternative for those not accustomed to “roughing” it in tents, is a stay at a charming traditional English cottage. There’s nothing better than brewing the tea over a roasting fire after a long days drive. A cup of tea along with a Cornish pasty, finishing off with Cornish ice-cream…well that’s the best Cornish experience you’re going to get! Check out Marsdens, where you can book a cottage stay in the South West.

I’ve only included a few of my favourite highlights of Cornwall but pick up any tourist map and you’ll find many more! Cornwall is an absolutely fantastic break and I would put this high on my list of road trips in Europe. Have you been to Cornwall? What places would you recommend, leave a comment below!

 

Enda

Enda Glacken is a native of Ireland who loves writing on all topics relating to Ireland, particularly history and folk tales. When he is not busy running The Celtic Jeweller he can be found exploring around Ireland or on a football (soccer!) pitch somewhere.

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We Said Go Travel

We Said Go Travel