Hi guys, during this May Bank holiday long weekend, we decided to embark on an exciting adventure to explore the South of England in 3 days from London. Our adventure included an amazing Cornwall road trip, but we also stopped in Dorset and in Devon. I understand that this itinerary for a South England road trip must be too tiring or too intense for some, so you can either extend the number of days or tweak the itinerary by removing some of our stops.
I hope this itinerary for a road trip in Cornwall will be useful for you, especially if you’re a planning a nice and exciting road trip from London or any other place that is not too far. You can also learn about the top places to visit in Cornwall as well as about some of the most charming towns in Cornwall from this post. Without further ado, let’s get started.
Our South England road trip itinerary: Dorset, Devon and Cornwall
Below you can see our route map. It’s not as detailed as it was due to the fact, that’s it’s only possible to upload 10 points of call to Google maps, but it sums up our itinerary.
Heathrow -> Lulworth Cove -> Durdle Door – > Torquay -> Trenethick Farmhouse in Saltash -> Looe – > Fowey -> St. Michael’s Mount -> Plymouth -> Porthcurno Beach & Theater -> Land’s End -> Penallick Guesthouse in Tintagel – > Tintagel -> Nectan’s Glen (Waterfall) -> Glastonbury -> Stonehenge -> London Heathrow
We started our trip in Heathrow, where we rented a car through Rentalcars.com (and got cashback through Quidco, always 10% or even more). We often book via Rentalcars because of their full insurance policy. We rented a car in Heathrow to avoid traffic and spending hours getting out of London. However, if you have your own vehicle, it will be easier for you.
We lost a bit of time getting to Heathrow and waiting for the shuttle to the car park, so I just wish we departed earlier than 10 am (my original plan was leaving at 8-8:30 am to be able to see everything).
We also stayed 2 nights in amazing B&Bs in Cornwall. The first one was the organic farm Trenethick, where all the products are sustainable. It’s located close to Plymouth and the second one was Penallick B&B near Tintagel. I liked them both and would recommend them 100%.
Day 1 of our Cornwall and South England road trip:
How to visit the Durdle Door and Lulworth Cove by car
On the first day, as I already mentioned, we left from Heathrow around 10 am. We went directly to the famous Jurassic coast of France to see the Lulworth Cove and the Durdle Door in Dorset. It’s not so easy to get to the Durdle Door using public transport (you need to take a train to Poole and then a Jurassic Coaster Bus X54 to the Durdle Door, but it takes a lot of time – at least 3 hours, but more like 4). So it was a great opportunity for us to visit Durdle Door and Lulworth cove by car.
It took us around 2.5 hours to get there from Heathrow via M3, M27 and A31 and we arrived just on time before the parking in front of the Lulworth Cove got very busy. We decided to park in front of the Lulworth Cove and then to take a 30-min hike to the Durdle Door. If we had more time, we surely would have hiked for longer and would have had a picnic there.
Durdle Door looked very impressive and it’s definitely worth a trip from London (even if you decide to go by public transport – train to Poole and bus), however, it’s of course, way easier to visit it by car.
What to visit on the way to Cornwall? Torquay – the birthplace of Agatha Christie
If you’re wondering, what to visit on the way to Cornwall besides the Durdle Door, Torquay would be a great option. Located in Devon, Torquay is a lovely fishermen town and the birthplace of Agatha Christie. It has so many fish restaurants in the main harbour that it’s hard to choose the best one. However, the fish & chips we tried were absolutely fantastic.
It’s worth walking around the harbour in Torquay and also climbing up to see the panorama of the town. There are also plenty of places to visit around Torquay, e.g. Babbacombe Model Village or Kents Cavern Caves, so if you decide to stay in the area for longer, there are plenty of things to do. Also, Torquay is located in the English Riviera so that you can go for a walk along the coast on a sunny day.
Staying in an organic farmhouse in Cornwall
After visiting Torquay, we decided to head straight to our next destination for an overnight stay. We picked an organic farmhouse in Cornwall called Trenethick B&B. Everything in the farmhouse was organic or free-range and even the furniture was sustainably sourced. It was an amazing stay in a lovely quiet room in a gorgeous house located in a quiet and picturesque location close to Saltash. There were horses, ducks, sheep in close proximity to the farmhouse and overall, it was a relaxing stay. You could pick your breakfast a day before to find it ready for you at the time you have indicated. John, the owner, was also very friendly and a great host overall, so if you’re looking for a great organic farmhouse in Cornwall, you might want to look at Trenethick.
Day 2 of a road trip in Cornwall: Looe, Fowey, St. Michael’s Mount, Land’s End and overnight stay in Tintagel
Looe – one of the prettiest villages in Cornwall
We started our second day in Cornwall quite early – around 8 am. We had a great organic breakfast in the farmhouse, said bye to the owner and went to our next destination, a fisherman village called Fowey.
I have researched the must-visit places in Cornwall and was especially interested in charming towns in Cornwall – in a couple of articles Looe was listed as one of the prettiest villages in Cornwall. Looe is really small, however, it has a very big parking and a huge beach. Also, the town centre is absolutely charming – I haven’t seen anything similar before and (maybe because it was our first town in Cornwall), we were very impressed.
Looe is located on two different sides of the river Looe and is divided into West Looe and East Looe. You can get to the other side by ferry for £0.5 or just walk to the bridge close to the parking lot. Looe had a lot of shops with traditional Cornish pastries, it feels like they are competing between each other (so many there are!).
We thought to spend about 20 minutes in Looe, but we actually were there for almost 1.5 hours and we didn’t even spend any time at the beach. I imagine you would, especially if you’re visiting Cornwall in summer. We visited Cornwall in May (for the first bank holiday) and it was pretty cold – around 13 degrees and very sunny.
Fowey – another charming Cornish town
After Looe, we drove about 45 minutes to Fowey, another one of the prettiest villages in Cornwall. I think Fowey is actually a town and not a village because it’s not so small. If you compare Fowey to Looe, I would say, Fowey is more touristy, crowded and lively, while Looe is more authentic and is a great place for a swim in summer.
Fowey is also quite steep and in order to climb back to the main parking lot, you’ll have to do a bit of exercise. Overall, I would definitely recommend visiting both Looe and Fowey, as they are pretty different and I’m sure you’ll enjoy both just as we did.
St. Michael’s Mount – is it more impressive than Mont Saint-Michel?
You have probably heard of the famous Mont Saint-Michel in Normandy, France. However, England has its own Mont Saint-Michel that is almost as impressive as its famous counterpart. Its name is St. Michael’s Mount. St. Michael’s Mount is located near Penzance (very close to it, so close that you could potentially walk) and you can actually walk there during the low tide, otherwise, you could take a boat. We didn’t have a chance to go inside and see the life on the island, but people actually still live there (mostly the museum employees).
However, if you have time or an extra day in Cornwall, I would definitely recommend visiting the island.
Porthcurno Beach and Land’s End
The last two highlights of the day in Cornwall were the famous Porthcurno Beach and Land’s End. Located literally just 15 minutes apart from each other, these two places are among the top places to visit in Cornwall. Porthcurno beach looks like the Maldives in the photos, but in real life, I must say, it’s beautiful but, of course, nothing like the Maldives (read our post about the Maldives here). Besides, when we arrived, the sun wasn’t hitting the water, so it didn’t look as blue as we thought it would.
However, it’s not only the beach that attracts people to Porthcurno. It’s also the famous Minack Theatre – the theatre built by Rowena Cade after the WWI – nowadays, you can see the performances almost every day. You can see the full schedule and buy the tickets here.
Minack theatre is one of the most famous outdoor theatres and it’s built on a clifftop with impressive views. So again, if you have a bit of extra time, make sure to see a performance there.
From Porthcurno Beach, we headed to the Land’s End – the westernmost point of England. The place is very touristy, expect to find a shopping area, a couple of restaurants and even a cinema there. However, apart from hiking and taking a picture of the famous sign, there is nothing to do there. However, in my opinion, Land’s End was still worth visiting.
Staying in Tintagel – the place of King Arthur
We decided to stay in Tintagel overnight and picked a B&B called Penallick. Our room was spacious and the sea view was amazing. It was located just about 18 minutes walking to the heart of Tintagel, where we had dinner in a pub called King Arthur.
Day 3 of our ultimate South of England road trip: Tintagel, St. Nectan’s Glen and Glastonbury
Visiting Tintagel and Tintagel Castle
On the last day of our ultimate South of England road trip, we went to explore the Tintagel castle, which is connected to the legends of King Arthur (that’s the place where King Arthur was conceived). The castle was sadly closed (better to say the remains of the castle, as it’s really just ruined, but very photogenic ruins). The place where the castle is located is really photogenic and it’s worth staying there for a couple of hours and just hiking. You can also visit the souvenir shop near the castle – that’s where we bought a couple of nice and unique souvenirs from Tintagel. We bought a beer cup, it was £40, but it was definitely the most beautiful beer cup I’ve ever seen.
St. Nectan’s Glen – one of the best waterfalls in England
To be completely honest with you, I never associated England and Cornwall with waterfalls. Before our morning in Tintagel, I wasn’t even aware of St. Nectan’s Glen – Pepe found it on Instagram and suggested to visit it. We spent about 2.5 hours in St. Nectan’s Glen and it was absolutely amazing – it’s definitely one of the best waterfalls in England!
However, here are a couple of things you need to know about St. Nectan’s Glen. There is parking, though it could be pretty busy, so you might take a while looking for a spot. From the parking, you need to walk for about 30-40 minutes to the waterfall. It’s quite a hike, but it’s very beautiful, so the time flies. You won’t even notice how the time passes and you’re already approaching St. Nectan’s Glen.
The entrance is not free – you actually need to pay £6 per person, but that includes free rental of the rubber boots. You will need waterproof shoes, as you’ll be standing IN the water (and pretty deep, until the ankles). Nonetheless, the waterfall is absolutely gorgeous and if you have an opportunity to visit it, go for it.
Make sure to assign about 2.5-3 hours for visiting the waterfall.
Glastonbury – the place of magic in England
After visiting St. Nectan’s Glen, we decided to head back to London, as it was about 3.5 hours away. On the way, we decided to stop somewhere for lunch and Glastonbury seemed like a great option. I knew nothing of Glastonbury beforehand and was pretty surprised it to be associated with magic. All our places of the day 3 were associated with magic – Tintagel (associated with Merlin), St. Nectan’s Glen – a very spiritual place and Glastonbury. We grabbed a quick lunch and walked around the streets of the city – it looked totally surreal with all these shops with magical items. The Abbey was also gorgeous – I wish we had more time to see it properly!
After visiting Glastonbury, we headed back to London to return our car to Avis and head
Summary of our Ultimate Cornwall / South England road trip
To summarise, I really enjoyed our Cornwall and South of England road trip and I would definitely recommend you to go on one. It’s hard to do it by public transport, so the easiest way is to rent a car. Check out rentalcars.com if you don’t own a car. If you have a chance to take more days off, e.g. 4 or 5, I’d say 5 days would be optimal for Cornwall, but if you don’t, 3 days are okay as well.
Some other places I would recommend to visit in Cornwall (even though we didn’t have a chance to go there):
- St. Ives – a gorgeous seaside town in Cornwall, perfect to visit in summer, when it’s warm and you can actually swim
- Eden Project – a gorgeous botanical garden with tropical domes and unique plants from all around the world
- Lizard point – a fabulous place for hiking
- Lanhydrock house – a stunning manor
- Museum of Witchcraft and Magic in Boscastle
In case you have any questions, don’t hesitate to ask!