Top picks from our Devon & Cornwall road trip

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900 miles later…

We knew Cornwall was going to be a popular getaway, especially this year, so we made sure to book hotels in advance and have a clear itinerary in place.

I am a bit of an over-planner and wanted to make sure that we had plenty to do every day. Unfortunately, I didn’t account for the fact that Kip would have to do all of the driving as we couldn’t add me to the hire car insurance and he ended up navigating around 900-miles.

Despite the long stretches, we managed to spend time in some of the most beautiful parts of the UK that we haven’t visited before.

My tip, pick two or three key areas and give yourself time to explore them. Consider the time it will take you to find parking as that would eat into whatever plans you have (we had to skip Minack Theatre because it took a lifetime to get in and out of St Ive’s). Don’t stress too much about where you eat but I did book a table for dinner in advance.

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Day 1

From Hertfordshire to Beaulieu in New Forest

Beautiful part of the countryside and close to The Pig and Limewood Hotel.

Drive on to Durdle door

It’s a steep walk down and are some steps down to the beach area. One side will lead you to a calmer cove, the other half is a little windier but you get the best view of Durdle Door.

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Next up is Poundbury on the outskirts of Dorchester

One of the most peculiar places I’ve been to in the UK. The town concept was advocated by Prince Charles and aims to present a modern setting with a variety of architectural styles. It feels a bit like a movie set, there are no road signs and you can park anywhere for free with no threat of a ticket. Stay at Duchess of Cornwall.

Day 2

Another long day ahead set your satnav towards Salcombe Harbour

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This was one of our favourite stops. It’s a picturesque port town with a bustling high street, a great food scene, beautiful views and it’s very own gin distillery. Parking however is tricky, make sure you have a plan in place, don’t drive through the town and be prepared to wait around for a free spot in one of the main car parks.

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Eden Project

We loved going to the Green Planet in Dubai so were curious to see this enormous nature concept. Split into two sections, one side is the Rainforest Biome and the other is the Mediterranean Biome and both have been beautifully designed. Unlike the Green Planet, there aren’t many animals or birds to see but there is a Zip Line and other adrenaline-pumping activities to enjoy.

Next up, Penzance

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It might not be as pretty as Salcombe or St Ives but the views and the crystal clear waters were amazing and some buildings were beautiful too, including the Artists Residence where we stayed for one night. Lovely hotel, but the room we had was too small and hot so try and get a bigger room if possible. Be prepared for noisy seagulls to keep you up at night!

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Day 3

St Michael’s Mount

We didn’t book to go inside but you can take the boat from the beach to cross to the historic castle. If the tide is out, there is a walkway that emerges from the water. We spent the early morning admiring it from the beach, there were hardly any people, the sun was peeking through the dark clouds and the water was achingly cold but it was one of our favourite mornings from the trip.

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St Ives

We ventured to St Ives via the Three Mile Beach. After you cross the busy car park towards the footpath, you’ll see the fluffy white beach stretching out in front of you. It was busy, but there was still plenty of space in the early hours of the day. I wish we stayed there or skipped it altogether because getting into St Ives in the afternoon was a nightmare. Parking, as expected, was almost impossible and the narrow streets were overflowing with people. It was a pretty place to explore and is worth visiting, but come as early as you can. The time we spent parking meant that we had to skip Minack Theatre which I would love to see on our next road trip down.

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Our original hotel booking was cancelled a few days before we set off and we ended up with a pricier stay at the Penventon Park Hotel. It was within an easy drive of St Ives, the staff were great and the breakfast was spot on. However, the interior was dated, the rooms were clean but need a facelift and the swimming pool area was dark and uninviting and unfortunately for me, my daughter wanted to swim so I had to shiver for half an hour while she splashed around. Not worth the price we paid when comparing to the stylish pub hotels we have stayed in so far. However, we picked up some amazing fish and chips at Seasmiths next to the Porthtowan beach after having a quick drink at The Unicron on the Beach.

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Day 4

Bath

We love Bath and it’s a great stopover on our way back home to Hertfordshire. We explored new parts of the city and had one of the most delicious lunches of our trip at an intimate Tapas restaurant called Pintxo. It’s pricey but the food was divine and the service was excellent. We would drive all the way to Bath just to eat there again.

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For our last night, we stayed at a gorgeous pub called The Litton. Located in the quaint village of the same name with a stream running behind it, it was a perfect blend of traditional and contemporary. Our room was spacious, featured a separate living room and had access to a little communal courtyard. The restaurant was vast with a good menu although it could do with a few more options for the mains and kids.

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For our next voyage, we will aim to keep the itinerary small to give ourselves more time to explore and to cut down on excessive driving. I managed to create a route that could’ve taken us to France and back, and that’s extreme even for me!

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