London-to-Cornwall sights/lodging?


Sep 20th, 2008, 11:47 PM
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London-to-Cornwall sights/lodging?


My family is in the beginning stage of planning an August 2009 trip to Cornwall for a friend's wedding, which will be in St. Mawes. We're scheduled to fly into Heathrow from the US a few days before the wedding. Because we arrive in the mid-afternoon, we're planning to go straight to an airport hotel and let the kids (ages 9 and 5 by then) romp in the pool, sleep, eat, and whatever else they feel inclined to do (rather than stuffing them into a car right away).

The next morning, we'll pick up a rental car, cram the kids inside, and drive to the St. Mawes area...but we'd like to see the sights along the way. From looking at a map, it appears that Stonehenge is on the way-ish, and that's of definite interest to the kids (and the adults, too!).

What else should we stop and see along the way? Our plan is to make a full day of it, although if people feel that we should take two days to make the drive, that's a possibility as well.

Also, does anyone have any suggestions for lodging in/near St. Mawes?

Many thanks for any recommendations!

miamatusow is offline  
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Sep 21st, 2008, 06:16 AM
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It's basically a full day's drive without counting any stops for sightseeing, unless you plan to leave at the crack of dawn (which I would doubt if you have to pick up the car first) or are happy getting to your destination really late.
Nonconformist is offline  
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Sep 21st, 2008, 06:28 AM
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Along your way you will find:

- Windsor Castle
- Stonehenge
- Salisbury
- Stourhead Castle&Gardens
- Fleet Air Arm Museum
- Montacute House
- several churches

I would think about driving directly to Stonehenge and to stay overnight in the area (e.g. Salisbury). This gives you the chance to see Stonehenge at sunset and sunrise and gives you more time for the day of the long drive.

Driving time from Heathrow to St. Mawes would be 5-6 hours (without detours) and from Heathrow to Salisbury 1:30.
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Sep 21st, 2008, 11:18 AM
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Although somewhat pricey the Hotel Tresanton in St. Mawes is absolutely memorable. We could look off our balcony at night and watch the little lighthouse on the point across the water. We stayed in May and there were vases of fresh tulips all around in the hotel.
hopingtotravel is offline  
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Sep 21st, 2008, 11:30 AM
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Instead of a business hotel at the airport - I'd stay the first night in Windsor. There are several advantages. First it is a major "site" w/ the castle and all. It is only 7 miles from LHR so you won't be cramming the kids in for a long drive. And finally - if you get pick up your car the day you arrive - you will be able to get away much earlier on day two. (But honestly, after a transatlantic flight, and early morning getaway is unlikely)

Then - Don't try to drive all the way to St Mawes in one day. Take at least 2 full days - three would be better. What is enroute? TONS of things from Stonehenge/Salisbury to Bath to Wells/Glastonbury to amazing sea and moorland scenery . . . . .
janisj is online now  
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Sep 21st, 2008, 02:33 PM
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If you haven't driven in the UK before I wouldn't recommend driving the day you arrive. Staying at LHR gives you the benefit of not having to haul your luggage around the first day. It also allows you to take the tube into central London in the evening. Taking a train to Salisbury or Bath and rent the car there the next day is also a good idea.

Stonehenge and Salisbury together are a good match since they are close together. There is also Old Sarum just outside Salisbury. The drawback to Stonehenge is it is not really on the route between London and Cornwall.

If you decide to do a two day trip, which I recommend here are some not well known sites in Wiltshire.

You can google these or use Wikipedia for details.

Avebury is another stonehenge near Stonehenge. The benefit here is you can walk among the stones and there is a small museum.

The Caen Hill Locks in Devizes on the Kennet Avon Canal. There is also a museum at the top of the locks.
MikeS is offline  
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Sep 21st, 2008, 07:53 PM
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Thanks for the information! For us, the advantage to staying the night at a Heathrow-area hotel is that we can do it on hotel points, so it's free. It doesn't sound as though staying there is much of a problem IF we take two days for the trip.

Janisj: That's a great list - are there any other specifics that we shouldn't miss?
miamatusow is offline  
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Feb 11th, 2009, 05:06 PM
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When we are in Cornwall, we always stay in Lamorna Cove. There is a beautiful cottage on the cliffs and you can see the sea from every room! We always visit the Minack theatre, St Ives, Lands End. This is a stunning part of the world and if you are visiting St Mawes, it is not far away.

Check out:

Have a great trip!

Springer86 is offline  
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Feb 11th, 2009, 05:21 PM
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Do get cracking on your reservations for Cornwall. Do you want a cottage, B&B or hotel?

Any chance there's a block of rooms set aside for wedding guests?

I've stayed in hotels in St. Ives which is further west and also near Looe, too far in the other direction, so can't recommend anything specific.

If you Google St. Mawes accommodation, you'll a variety of listings. Everything fills up fast for August.

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Feb 11th, 2009, 06:44 PM
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We took it in stages and were glad we did. Bath (also Castle Combe, the "prettiest village in England"), Weymouth (with Portland, of course, where you wave at the French across the channel...), Plymouth, Padstow (Bedruthan Steps!), with many swing-by stops on the way, incl. Stonehenge, of course.

Get the smallest car you can, the roads are narrower than you would like them to be. Even seemingly main roads (marked in red on the map, A roads). The unforgiving tall hedges or - worse - stonewalls on either side allow for no give, so when that milktruck comes barreling towards you, every inch of your car's width is worth a white knuckle.

We had a VW Golf and wished we had something smaller at times.

Concentrate, or the speed cameras will get you.

Use your turn signal, not your wiper - but you'll find that out the hard way...
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Feb 11th, 2009, 08:45 PM
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Re: St. Mawes, we stayed at Tresanton in 2001 not too long after it opened and still have incredibly fond memories.
hopingtotravel is offline  
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Feb 11th, 2009, 10:24 PM
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If you'll notice - the OP posted this back in Sept and has not been on fodors since then. This old thread was topped by a first time poster advertising a B&B.
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