Devon and Cornwall

Old Feb 12th, 2020, 07:33 PM
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Devon and Cornwall

We will be visiting Devon and Cornwall by car for the first time in mid May and will have 7 nights to spend. Will fly in and out of Heathrow. Any suggestions as to what towns we choose for our base(s) and recommendations for charming mid to upscale accommodations (10 to 25 rooms or so)? Any favorite towns or historical must see sights?
Thank you.
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Old Feb 12th, 2020, 09:22 PM
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I suggest you read a couple of guidebooks. And search for accommodation on booking.com or similar. Why did you opt for Cornwall and Devon without any knowledge of it?
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Old Feb 12th, 2020, 09:31 PM
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It is the one part of the UK that we haven't visited.
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Old Feb 12th, 2020, 10:18 PM
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Devon & Cornwall covers a lot of territory. There are countless places to stay. Sooooo - the suggestion of a guide book is pretty much on target. Unless you have at least some ideas what you'd like to see and where you'd like to do anything we suggest would just be throwing things against a wall to see what sticks.

(what is the rest of your itinerary like? I do hope you don't plan on driving directly to Cornwall from LHR)
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Old Feb 13th, 2020, 06:10 AM
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Hi Janis, I am actually using four different guidebooks, but I often find that personal recommendations can be very helpful.We are concentrating on the Devon/Cornwall area since we only have a week and hope to make two bases there for a six night stay in total. Final night will be spent near Heathrow. We will be heading in the direction of Devon the morning we arrive since we have already visited some of the highlights along the way on other trips . I see that there are some old threads that I am finding helpful as far as suggesting some favorite towns and sights but any personal recommendations are always appreciated.
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Old Feb 13th, 2020, 06:59 AM
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While personal suggestions can be helpful, they will be of a limited nature. Lots of great places to stay but only a relatively few on this site have probably visited . The booking.com site is excellent IMO as they only allow reviews by people who have actually stayed at the place. They offer hotels, B&B’ s, apartments etc. I suggest coming up with a itinerary first then think about accommodations.

You’ve given us very little in regard to your interests and while there are charming places to stay in Devon and Cornwall, knowing what you mean in terms of actual costs for mid to upper range would be helpful too.

More information on your interests and actual price range.
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Old Feb 13th, 2020, 08:21 AM
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We like to visit castles, churches, abbeys, National Trust houses and particularly like just wandering around charming villages and stopping for tea and a scone. Not big museum goers except in large cities. Enjoy driving and seeing beautiful scenery. As far as hotel prices, range would be approximately 175 to 300 pounds (preferably including breakfast.)
Hope that helps.
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Old Feb 13th, 2020, 09:33 AM
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Use Booking.com to compare hotels. Hotel Tresanton comes to mind immediately with your budget, although the location (St Mawes) is slightly compomised by being at the end of a peninsula. There are regular short ferries across from there to Falmouth though.

If not, Falmouth and St Ives are popular places to stay. Penzance is up and coming but at the far end of the county.

You will have a good selection of country houses and gardens to visit (e.g.Trelissick and Trebah). The castles are generally small and fort like. The main attractions are the scenery (fab coastal walks), mining history, art galleries everywhere, seafood, and river/creek cruises.
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Old Feb 13th, 2020, 12:00 PM
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" We will be heading in the direction of Devon the morning we arrive since we have already visited some of the highlights along the way on other trips"

I sort of feared that Please do not drive on your arrival day. I am assuming you are flying in over night - right? Driving with jet lag and likely 'micro sleeps' is as dangerous as drunk driving.

Stay the night maybe in Windsor and get a car then next morning. OR - go in to London, and either stay the night - or take a train the same day from Paddington down to Devon or Cornwall. Then collect a car the next morning which you can drop at LHR before flying out. One way drop off fees are typically low or non-existent. Fares from Paddington to say Plymouth can be as low as 34
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Old Feb 13th, 2020, 01:46 PM
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Yes best not to drive on arrival.
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Old Feb 13th, 2020, 03:53 PM
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Originally Posted by Odin View Post
Yes best not to drive on arrival.
I imagine very few listen to these warnings, especially those who feel pressed for time &/or have never heard of jet-lagged driving. Remember Alfred E. Newman . . . What, me worry?
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Old Feb 13th, 2020, 06:15 PM
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Thank you RM67 for the helpful information as well as the concerns about driving on the first day from the rest of the group. Interesting suggestion by Janis regarding train travel from London to Devon. We will look into that. Thank you!
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Old Feb 13th, 2020, 08:28 PM
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I agree with those stating that driving as soon as you get there is not a good idea. Even though you may be familiar with driving on the left side, I always found it took me a while to get used to it after a period. Best to do that when we’ll rested.

Here are a few of my favorite castles. For Devon, there is Okehampton. The castle ruins are scattered over a sloping hill but a lovely setting with a small cafe serving tea. Then Tintagel Castle, Totnes Castle and Launceston Castle Barnstaple has no castle but might possibly make a good base for exploring nearby places. Clovelly is another pleasant spot for a short stay.

For Cornwall, if you are into walks, the coastal path from Looe to Polperro is spectacular and the fishing village of Polperro is interesting. I will also put in a pitch for a visit to the Minack Theatre near Portcurno. This was on the itinerary of a tour I did several years ago. Initially, I was thinking I’d give it a miss if possible, but it turn out to be my favorite place we visited in Cornwall. Check out their website. I’d put it down as a must see. Near Tintagel is the port of Boscastle with 17th and 18th cottages and the village itself is pressed between a narrow ravine. Nice spot.

I did a trip report on a tour I did of Devon and Cornwall several years ago. You might check it out for further possibilities.

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Old Feb 13th, 2020, 09:11 PM
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You don't have to go into London to take a train to the southwest. Take the RailAir bus to Reading and catch a train on the same route. There are also direct National Express coaches to places like Exeter or Plymouth. Once you have decided on your first stop you can check which is fastest (I tend to prefer the train but the National Express coaches are comfortable and direct is always good).

The issue with driving right off a long distance flight is not just that you may be driving on the other side of the road, but that the time change will cause microsleeps.
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Old Feb 13th, 2020, 09:32 PM
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"You don't have to go into London to take a train to the southwest. Take the RailAir bus to Reading and catch a train on the same route"

One difference though - the RailAir bus to Reading takes from a little under an hour to 90 minutes depending on traffic. The train in to Paddington takes as little as 15 minutes.
Trains to say Plymouth leave Paddington every 30 to 60 mins depending on time of day.
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Old Feb 13th, 2020, 09:37 PM
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https://www.firstgroup.com/railair/r...iday-timetable

Plus 23 minutes from Paddington to Reading. Haven't checked prices but would be amazed if Heathrow Express plus back to Reading would be less than RailAir.

Last edited by thursdaysd; Feb 13th, 2020 at 09:44 PM.
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Old Feb 14th, 2020, 05:19 AM
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We will be doing a third trip to Devon and Cornwall this year. Even if we are inclined to rent a car (NOT EVER), we would not do it our first day. But we do like to "get moving" our first day.

I know this is not your first trip, so I assume you'd be familiar with drivng on the left. Even so, I'd still take the Heathrow Express to Paddington and then take an express train to your first pit stop in Devon. Stay the night; pick up the car.

Exeter, Devon would probably be a good place to find your rental car, and I'd wait to pick it up until you did a bit of Exeter. Exeter Cathedral is unusual, and even after decades and decades of visiting the same, we particularly enjoyed this one. You'll find out why "the mouse ran up the clock." You can easily drive back east if need be.

As to where else you'd go--I don't think our interests* match yours, so I'm of little help. I wanted to go to Devon and Cornwall for our family history because my husband's paternal line came from Altarnun, Cornwall (where Doc got married on Doc Martin) and my maternal line came from a little Devon town of Honiton. We actually do like museums--the art in the Penzance area influenced generations and it was great to experience the light that infiltrates these tremendous works. We both have a hatred for castles (we and others were accidentally locked in a dungeon once in France. Long story). However, we both love house tours for some reason, and that seems to be a match for your interests. Not far from Liskeard is one of our favorite stately home tours ever--Lanhydrock House. I could have spent eons in the kitchens alone.

Another driving force in our touring was my lifelong reading. Daphne du Maurier, Mary Stewart, etc were part of my childhood. Devon has quite a few Jane Austen connections. Movie and tv settings abound here. If that in any way intrigues you, you could follow the footsteps of Daphne.

Do look at the Visit Cornwall website for ideas. I also have done two reports-- a Cornwall and a Devon/Cornwall -- that might be of use.

I must emphasize that you have to get moving on accomodations. It's amazing how this area gets booked up fast.

Happy planning.

AZ

*I did share with my husband that you like to stop for tea and scones. He chuckled and said, "Never happened for us. A beer, hell yeah."





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Old Feb 14th, 2020, 05:14 PM
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Thank you for all of your helpful advice. I have been reading the trip reports that two of you suggested and wrote, and I am noting a number of interesting sites to put on our list to see.
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Old Feb 14th, 2020, 05:56 PM
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I, too, am a big fan of National Trust properties. If you find yourself near Newquay in Cornwall I recommend a visit to Elizabethan house & garden, Trerice, which I visited several years ago & loved.

https://www.nationaltrust.org.uk/trerice



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Old Feb 15th, 2020, 12:00 PM
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Thank you for the information. I will add it to my list.
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