Rambling UK journey between London + Cornwall. Where should we visit?
June 20, 2016 9:22 AM   Subscribe

We've got 6 days, a car, and an unlimited appetite for adventure and beauty. Where should we visit if we're bumming around in the area/countryside between London and Cornwall? Open to suggestions for delicious places to eat and lovely places to stay as well.
posted by torietorie to Travel & Transportation around Manchester, England (11 answers total) 5 users marked this as a favorite
I can give some recommendations for the Dorset coast leg of the journey:

-Some classic natural beauty spots are Durdle Door + Lulworth Cove.
-If your route can take you down past the Studland/Purbeck area, Corfe Castle is very cool, and a further drive down to Worth Matravers brings you to the quirkiest little sweet 16th century end-of-the-world pub called the Square and Compass. Also on Purbeck, you can stay and/or eat at the justly renowned The Pig.
-Stop at the Seaside Boarding House in Burton Bradstock for a meal or a drink or a coffee or a night's stay - gorgeous view over the ocean, nice boutique-y interior. Just below that is the extremely popular local haunt: Hive Beach Cafe for casual/delicious local seafood.
-Lyme Regis for a stroll through a charming seaside market town in a beautiful natural setting. There's a Hix Oyster & Fish House here that I haven't tried, but I'm a fan of Hix's other spots.

And the whole coast is basically part of the South West Coast path which is gorgeous, and you could pick up little sections of it for day hikes. Gorgeous, gorgeous part of the world - enjoy!
posted by oneaday at 9:44 AM on June 20, 2016 [6 favorites]

Have you ever wanted to sleep inside a ring of standing stones, specifically one larger than Stonehenge? That is, of course, haunted? Check out the Red Lion in Avebury - I'm not sure they still accept bookings (you might have to call), but there are alternatives.
posted by robocop is bleeding at 9:49 AM on June 20, 2016 [1 favorite]

If you like wetlands, you could go to Ham Wall/Shapwick Heath in the Somerset Levels, where you might see bittern and Great White Egret (the first breeding GWE in the UK was there four years ago) as well as dragonflies, hobby, bearded tit etc. (I should say I haven’t been there myself, but if I was going in that direction, I’d put it on my itinerary). And it’s near Glastonbury, which is a fun place to visit.
posted by Bloxworth Snout at 9:55 AM on June 20, 2016

Totnes in South Devon is a lovely town with many fine eateries.
posted by mymbleth at 10:50 AM on June 20, 2016 [1 favorite]

Stop in to the Salisbury Cathedral and view its copy of the Magna Carta. They also have some very old flags that were used by the military, including some that were drowned and survived a fire. Plus the world's oldest surviving working clock.
posted by soelo at 11:45 AM on June 20, 2016

You're probably going to end up at Exeter at some point since that's where the roads to the SW tend to go, don't bother stopping there. I would come out due west on the A30 then dip straight down onto Dartmoor. Consider Totnes as a nice market town. We stayed recently at the Mill End at Sandy Park and its a lovely old building in a fantastic location, restaurant there or country pub 400 yds up the road, v handy for Castle Drogo. South Zeal (/South Tawton) is also a lovely village, 2 pubs, 2 churches, very picturesque. Further south on Dartmoor, Widecombe in the Moor is a bit touristy but a good place to get an ice cream/pasty/afternoon tea and sit on the green.

Totnes is a good place to go on to if you drop out of the south side of Dartmoor. you could also go down to Torquay, though its something I've never got round to.

Castle Drogo I mentioned above is National Trust, and there are some more interesting properties as you go from Devon to Cornwall. Buckland Abbey was Francis Drake's estate, Cotehele (coat-heel) is an estate above the river Tamar, are both interesting sites. While the NT are seen as an older interest mostly, in Cornwall they own many of the car parks near beaches and you can save ~£3 a pop by having an annual membership, plus all the buildings. Since we're on the theme, you might also consider Lanhydrock once you are down in cornwall itself. This is an old house in good condition but the NT have also converted some of the attached land for use for mountain biking, you can hire bikes for a half day (that will be enough) and they have various runs, from dead easy toddler stuff through to black runs that I am told are pretty tricky. We took about 20 people, mixed ages, up there last year and had a really good day.

Where are you headed in Cornwall? There are lots of decent places to visit, Port Isaac is lovely but a bit busy due to being in a TV show. Boscastle is a nice town, refurbed since it was flooded a while back (but can also get busy). Padstow is the foodiest place in Cornwall, TV chef Rick Stein has a See food restaurant, bistro, café, bakery/patisserie and fish & chip shop (diminishing cost) there and a pub (serving food, naturally) about 2 miles up the road. IIRC there's also Michelin starred restaurants there (Paul Ainsworth at no 6) and across the water (Nathan Outlaw).

Are you here to surf or for some other reason? Surfing is mostly on the north coast, stay away from Newquay is my advice. St Agnes is lively but can sometimes be a bit locals only. East end of St Ives bay is excellent, Gwithian beach, Towans, etc. but also Portreath and Porthtowan. Not all offer hire though, if you need it. South coast, Fowey is worth a visit. The Roseland coast and peninsula are beautiful, Portloe is a particular nice place to stop for lunch/afternoon refresher/tea.

See my post from last week for west Cornwall.
posted by biffa at 2:46 PM on June 20, 2016

On the early part of the trip Winchester is worth a visit, particularly the cathedral, if only for the story of William Walker.
posted by Hogshead at 4:32 PM on June 20, 2016

I loved the Lizard peninsula. Stayed in a great campsite at The Lizard (http://www.henryscampsite.co.uk/) and there are beautiful walks from there along the west and south/east sides of the peninsula. If you like English folk music, there's a folk night at the Cadgwith Cove Inn on Tuesdays, and shanties there on Friday evening.

In Cornwall proper, I especially liked the Barbara Hepworth museum in St Ives, and Zennor - nice church with old mermaid carving; good pub; can join a beautiful stretch of the coast walk (heading south from Zennor).
posted by yesbut at 7:24 PM on June 20, 2016

Oneaday has nailed a lot of good ideas.

In Dorset:

studland, corfe castle, lulworth cove, durdle door, burton bradstock, west bay (the watch house cafe there is sister to hive in burton bradstock), DEFINITELY the square and compass in worth matravers (have a pastie, along with crisps and pork scratchings, it's all the food they do, and theres' a tiny free fossil museum attached to it), moreton tea rooms or the tea room at worth matravers, brownsea island, arne, the cerne abbas giant, maiden castle

camp at woodyhyde, nr corfe if you're in the purbecks

In Devon:

salcombe (the ferry inn, and there's a great ice cream shop), hope cove, bantham beach, south milton sands / thurlestone (lovely cafe), the winking prawn at north beach nr salcombe, go for a walk on Dartmoor (watch the weather, try starting at two bridges and walking up to wistman's wood, but research this first and know how to use a map), lynton, croyde

camp at bolberry farm, nr salcombe

have tons of fun, the west country is brilliant.
posted by dowcrag at 12:29 PM on June 21, 2016

My favourite walk on the Lizard Is on the north east corner, park near helford then walk east along the river helford then back along the creek to manaccan then up to helford again. Only the section after manaccan is without a river/seaview so you avoid the usual issue of going back the way you came.

If you're on the Lizard I recommend Roskillys, great ice cream and they do bbq on some summer evenings
posted by biffa at 1:59 PM on June 22, 2016

Memail me if you are looking for things in specific area of interest in Cornwall.
posted by biffa at 1:21 PM on June 26, 2016

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