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Written by Savi, 47 Comments

Cornwall, with its quaint hamlets, hidden coves, stunning coastal scenery, and cobbled lanes wouldn’t be out of place in a fairy-tale. One of our favourite road-trips in England, this drive along the Cornish coastline, has repeatedly been adjudged one of the most scenic drives in the world.

First the essential stuff. Cornwall has a variety of lodging options, but try booking a typical English cottage if you are travelling in a group. It heightens the experience of travelling to the countryside. Next, rent a car for your road trip. Make sure you compare prices on a price comparison portal as they can vary from company to company. Now that car hire comparison and lodging is out of the way, here’s a sneak peak at the itinerary –

 

Road Trip London To Cornwall Map
Map for our Road Trip From London To Cornwall

 

Distance: 700 miles

Stops: London→  Polperro → Falmouth → Cadgwith → Lizard Peninsula → Penzance →Land’s end → St. Ives → London

What to expect: White-washed villages, coastal walks, sea-side towns, cobbled lanes, Cornish pasties, and English tea-houses

 

 

The drive from London will take you through endless canola fields (in summer), orchards, and stunning stretches of green countryside.

London Cornwall Road Trip
Endless Canola Fields

 

On reaching Cornwall, spend your days savouring the following areas:

  •  Polperro

One of the most picturesque villages in the area, Polperro is an absolute feast for the senses. Think storybook stairways, tiny houses, wild flowers, and Cornish confectionary.

Make sure you try the crumbly English scones with clotted cream and jam at Bean and Scone, a local tea-house.

London Cornwall Road Trip
A Boat ? A Flower Pot ?
London Cornwall Road Trip
Cornish villages- right out of a fairy-tale
London Cornwall Road Trip
Scones with jam and clotted cream at Bean and Scone
London Cornwall Road Trip Polperro
Yet another confectioner
  • Falmouth

Walk around this town absorbing its fascinating maritime history. Its beaches offer a number of water-sports. If you’re a history buff, make sure you visit the Pendennis Castle.

 

London to Cornwall Road Trip
A street called ‘Little Laney’ – that’s how quaint Cornwall is 🙂
  • Cadgwith

Park your car at the Cadgwith car park and take the walking path to the village. Cadgwith is a magical fishing village with a small harbour and dozens of thatched huts. Wander through its meandering alleys – you will pass by sailors, shops selling fresh sea-food, and a number of local inns.

Cadgwith Cornwall
The fishing village of Cadgwith
Road Trip London to Cornwall Cadgwith crabs
Fresh crabs for sale
Road Trip London to Cornwall
The harbour

 

  •  Lizard Peninsula

This well-known peninsula is dotted with beaches and is the perfect base to explore Cornwall’s coastal scenery. Spend a day looking for hidden coves, relaxing by turquoise waters, and feasting on battered fish and chips.

Road Trip London to Cornwall
The Lizard Peninsula
Road Trip London to Cornwall
Hidden coves
Road Trip London to Cornwall
Turquoise waters
  • Penzance

Penzance is famous for its Celtic Cross but we are partial to the Minack Theatre, an open-air theater built on a cliff overlooking the sea. A reasonable entry fee, £4 (as of September 2013), gives one access to the theater.

If you’re visiting between May and September, book tickets to catch a performance at Minack Theatre. The dramatic backdrop ensures an experience like no other.

 

Road trip London Cornwall Penzance
Minack Theatre – A theatre like no other
London Cornwall Road Trip Minack
Minack Theatre
Road Trip London Cornwall
The stairs at Minack Theatre
  • Land’s End

Land’s End, the western-most point of mainland England, offers amazing views of the Atlantic Ocean. Park your car and walk around as you absorb the sight of twinkling waters stretching to infinity.

Road Trip London Cornwall Lands End
Thatched cottages on the way to Land’s End
London to Cornwall Road Trip
The two of us at Land’s End
  • St. Ives

If all that walking has left you hungry or you’re missing urbanity, head to Cornwall’s most popular seaside town for some traditional Cornish pasties. There is no dearth of restaurants, ice-cream parlours, and pubs in St. Ives. Beware, it can get very crowded during the summer.

Road Trip London to Cornwall St. Ives
St. Ives
Road Trip London to Cornwall Cornish Village
A typical Cornish village

Cornwall is the perfect English retreat complete with local food, meandering alleys, thatched huts, stunning scenery, and countless walks in the countryside. We’re in love!

Have you ever been to Cornwall? Is it on your bucket list? 🙂

If you’re mulling about what to pack for Cornwall, here’s an outfit post for you 🙂

If you, like us, love road trips, you must have a look at all the road trips we have done till date !

47 thoughts on “The Great English Road Trip : London to Cornwall

    1. Hi Ben,

      Yes, we have driven quite a lot across Europe, not in one single trip though (if that’s what you were hinting at) 🙂

      Driving in Europe is the best way to explore the place, except for when we are in busy cities like Paris or Berlin

  1. Hi, I stumbled on to your blog while doing some research for my family’s half-term holiday to Cornwall. Great photos and tips on where to go. Many thanks!

    1. Hey Karen – we spent 5 days in Cornwall. It takes about 6-8 hours to get to Cornwall from London. Once you’re there all these places are a short drive away 🙂

  2. Looks and sounds amazing. We’re thinking of going to London this summer but I am the worst at staying in one place and love road trips so this is pretty perfect. I have two questions if I may ask. How many days does this iternity approximately take? And how much did you spent on this trip?

    1. Hey Amy – you can spend as long as you want in Cornwall but you’ll need at least 5 days if you’re driving down from London to Cornwall 🙂

  3. Hi guys

    This looks awesome . Looks like another road trip ( like Spain ) which I am going to copy ! 🙂

    Am guessing this took at least 5-6 days ? Any chance you could send me a more detailed version .. I know I am being lazy 🙂 but hey .. You guys are spoiling us 🙂

    1. Hey Amar 🙂

      Happy to help – can you just email us with what more details you want and we can guide you accordingly.

      Cheers

        1. Hi Amit – We followed the itinerary detailed in the first photo. This is it: London→ Polperro → Falmouth → Cadgwith → Lizard Peninsula → Penzance →Land’s end → St. Ives → London

  4. Hi Guys,

    Thank you for this lovely post – planning on totally replicating your itin – Any recommendations for places to stay? We’re 4 adults.

    I generally just use Airbnb – but would love any and all advice.

    Thanks much!

    Gautam

    1. Hi Gautam,

      We made Falmouth our base and it was perfect for day trips to all the nice places. We booked a B&B on AirBnB too.

      Cheers

  5. We’re arriving in Southampton on May 8, 2016 and fly back to the U.S. on May 15, 2016. If anyone has any suggestions as to what to do in Cornwall, I’d appreciate it.
    Thank you,
    Bob Ezzard

    1. Hey Robert – we had a mixed experience at the B&B we picked in Cornwall. Consequently we can’t recommend a hotel/B&B in the area. Having said that, I’d suggest picking a family-run B&B or typical English cottage for your stay in Cornwall 🙂

        1. Hi there
          Love your itinerary. We have 6 days one we arrive in Cornwall . Where do you suggest we base ourselves . We were thinking St ives and Megavissey. Any advice.
          X Carol

  6. Hi Savi Cornwall is beautiful. Been there last May. Would like to make a road trip in mid December 2016. Do you think Winter is a good time to visit. Thanks.

    1. Hey Alice – the weather can be pretty unpredictable in winter. But if you get sunny days winter can be gorgeous (though v.cold) in Cornwall 🙂

  7. Hi! Love your website and thank you for the great insight on your travels! I am planning to visit Cornwall via train from London – but do you suggest we get a car while we are there? My concern is that I don’t know how to drive manual unfortunately. And how difficult is it to get around without a car? I appreciate any information you have! Thank you!

    1. Hey Lisa – it’s not terribly hard to get around without a car in Cornwall but your exploration will be limited to the village you’re staying in if you don’t have a car. Rent an automatic?

  8. Hi Vid!
    Your Cornwall trip is awesome! Was your Cornwall trip during summer? How many days?
    We will be exploring South west England around mid April for 7 days.
    Is spring a good time to visit Cornwall? I guess there will be no canola field, green countryside to see in spring?
    Did you make any stop between London & Polperro or between St Ives and London?

    1. Hey Rebecca,

      We went over the Easter break and it was quite cold at times 🙂 That said, Spring is definitely a great time to visit Cornwall. I’m pretty sure there will be a green countryside although the Canola fields will be hard to find 🙂

      We did stop in Bath for a few hours! Perfect place to break the journey for lunch or a cuppa!

  9. Hi! We only have 3 full days, and two nights ,starting in Bristol and ending in Maidenhead. Want to experience some of this beauty. Any recommendations for this time frame? Thanks ! Leslie

    1. Hey Leslie,

      Starting in Bristol and ending in Maidenhead with just 2 nights in hand, heading to Cornwall is not a good idea 😉 You could spend the a night or two in Bath and explore that area!

  10. Hello,

    I’m from Canada and planning a trip to Cornwall in the autumn. Which towns do you recommend I stay at along the way?

    Thank you!

    1. Hey Andrea – if you’re driving from London to Cornwall then you needn’t halt along the way at all – you’ll reach Cornwall in a few hours 🙂

  11. Hello guys,

    Loved reading this blog and beautiful pictures. I am travelling to London from HK during Christmas and New Years. Was planning to rent a car and drive around from 1 – 4 January. Any input from you guys will be greatly appreciated 🙂 I am guessing it would be too cold to visit Cornwall at this time.

    Cheers.

    1. Hey Arjun UK’s weather is super unpredictable that time of year. It’ll definitely be super cold in Cornwall and everywhere else but cities like Edinburgh and York make for a great lil city break with all the Christmas markets etc

  12. Hi Savi,

    We are looking into visiting England in the spring (4 gal pals!). We were thinking of spending a few days in London, possibly a few days in the Cotswolds & then some time in the Cornwall area. We like the idea of renting a property as we like to immerse ourselves in the community rather than staying in a hotel. Is there any spot/town/village you would recommend staying in based on your experience?

    Thanks so much,

    Lynn

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