Round trip Cornwall, Devon, Somerset, & Oxford: Example route + map
On vacation in South-West England? Use our mapped out round trip with itinerary + tips!
Discover the most beautiful spots of Cornwall, Devon, Somerset, & Oxford: ancient ruins, extraordinary landscapes and bustling beaches.
Planning to visit South-West England? Our itinerary is the perfect start to your Cornwall, Devon, Somerset, & Oxford trip.
Day 1: Dover to Salisbury
If you want to travel around South West England, you are able to take your own car by taking the ferry via Dover. The first stops on this day are not in South West England but are definitely worth it to visit.
The most important monument you will see today is Stonehenge. This centuries-old sight has left an impression on many people over the years because of the mystery around it. End your day in Salisbury, a city best known for its 13th century cathedral which is still attracting many visitors until this day.
Day 2: Salisbury to Weymouth
On the second day you will get to know the beautiful places along the Jurassic Coast. As an example, you will visit the Lulworth Cove. This is a part along the coast with unique shapes (formed by the power of meltwater during the ice age) and beautiful blue water. The road continues along the winding roads and fantastic scenery from Dorset to the seaside resort of Weymouth, which is the end of the day.
Day 3: Weymouth to Exmouth
Depart from Weymouth, a colorful seaside resort with a sandy beach. Via the beautiful landscapes of Dorset you will discover Chesil Beach. This is one of the largest pebble beaches in the United Kingdom and is part of the UNESCO World Heritage List. Along, don't forget to stop at the many castles along the way. One of them is Cadbury Castle. This would be the legendary Camelot castle of King Arthur. End the day in the seaside resort of Exmouth. This city is very popular amongst families from the UK.
Day 4: Exmouth to Plymouth
On the fourth day you will mainly travel through the Dartmoor National Park. It is a vast heathland with a robust landscape of rocky hills, swamps, forests and rivers. Visit the many ancient tombs, Neolithic monuments, stone circles and ruined medieval farmhouses. The day ends in Plymouth.
Day 5: Plymouth to Penzance
Today we depart from Plymouth. This is a historic port city known for its maritime past and the Barbican quarter, with its charming cobbled streets. In 1620, The Pilgrim Fathers took the Mayflower from here to America. Along, you will also get to know Cornish Riviera, which means that you will pass by many beaches on this day.
You will also pass the southernmost point of Great Britain, Lizard Point. It was here that Marconi in 1900 laid the foundation for his invention of wireless communication and thus radio.
Day 6: Penzance to Bodmin
The day starts in Penzance. This city has the mildest climate in the whole of the United Kingdom and therefore welcomes you with palm trees and other subtropical plants. In Penzance it is advisable to stay for several days as the Scilly Islands are nearby and are well worth a visit.
On the Scilly Islands you can find hidden bays, beautiful rock formations, prehistoric remains and much more. If you're traveling from Penzance to Bodmin, you can expect a lot of Neolithic monuments such as Pipers Standing Stones and Merry Maidens Stone Circle.
Day 7: Bodmin to Taunton
On the seventh day of the round trip you leave the Cornwall region behind and head towards Somerset via North Devon. You will get to know the moorland Bodmin Moor where large animals wander around, which gives it something extraordinary. You'll also take a long trip through Exmoor National Park and pass by Tintagel Castle. A perfect combination of history, myth and breathtaking scenery. Legend has it that the legendary King Arthur was born here. The day ends in Taunton.
Day 8: Taunton to Bath
On day 8, you will visit some of the most famous historical and natural highlights of this part of the country. You will discover a lot of charming country houses like Barrington Court and Lytes Cary and pass Glastonbury which is famous for its music festival.
Along, you will come across Cheddar Gorge. This is one of the most beautiful, natural phenomena in Somerset. Take a walk there, discover caves, or enjoy many other activities. This is a paradise for nature lovers. End the day in the beautiful Georgian Bath.
Day 9: Bath to Gloucester
Depart from Bath, A beautiful city known for its natural hot springs and elegant 18th century homes. Today's first destination, day 9 of the trip, is Bristol. Afterwards, the road takes you through Gloucestershire, where you can discover even more breathtaking scenery and historical sites.
Along the way, you will come across the beautiful Forest of Dean. A beautiful piece of forest where you can find the Puzzlewood. A centuries-old piece of forest that would have been the inspiration of author J.R.R. Tolkien in writing the Lord of the Rings. The day ends in Gloucester.
Day 10: Gloucester to Bourton-on-the-Water
On this day you will depart from Gloucester to explore the northern part of the charming Cotswolds. The Cotswolds are seen as one of the most beautiful regions in England, and deservedly so.
If you're a fan of idyllic villages and beautiful scenery, the Cotswolds is right up your alley. Visit the beautiful country houses and gardens and make a stop at the Snowshill Manor or the famous Hidcote Manor Garden. The latter has been a source of inspiration for many and may also inspire you to create your own garden.
Day 11: Bourton-on-the-Water to Cirencester
The day before you've discovered the northern part of Cotsworlds. However, today you will take time to explore the southern parts of the Cotswolds. Once again you can expect beautiful scenery and idyllic villages, with a hint of history.
You'll get to see some of the villas from Roman times, including the Chedworth Roman Villa, which is one of the largest Roman villas in Great Britain. The day ends in the charming Cirencester, the largest city in the Cotswolds.The city already existed in roman times but was called Corinium back then.
Day 12: Cirencester to Oxford
The last day of the tour takes you from Cirencester to the famous university town Oxford. Along the way make sure to make a stop at the Corsham Court. This is a stately mansion that is best known for its impressive British art collection. Further down the road you will come across one of the most important prehistoric sites in Great Britain, Avenbury.
Avebury is not as well known as Stonehenge but is definitely worth a visit. This Neolithic monument consists of 3 stone circles, one of which is the largest in Great Britain. Your tour ends in Oxford. This city is best known for its prestigious university. In addition to the university, there are many other highlights in this city that are definitely worth a visit.
Discovering South West England with your own car?
The Channel Tunnel (Chunnel) takes you (by car) from the French Calais to the British Folkestone. From there you can continue your trip in the direction of Southwest England via Salisbury.
Many ferries will take you from Calais to Dover which is in the south east of the country. Other routes are also possible such as between Plymouth and Roscoff or Saint-Malo, or to Poole from Cherbourg. On many of these ferries it is also possible to take your car with you.
Discovering South West England by car? What to look out for?
The most important thing to remember is that in England people drive on the left side of the road. If you've never done this before, it may take a while to get used to. Also take into account that there are a lot of narrow roads with many curves. Don't drive too fast and always keep in mind that you might run into an oncoming car. Read all about driving on the left in our separate blog.
In the summer you can expect busy roads with occasional traffic jams in South West England. Be patient, and if you prefer to drive at your leisure, pull over to let faster drivers pass: frustration can lead to accidents.
To South West England by plane? Is it possible?
To reach South West England you can travel by plane to one of the airports located in London: Healthrow, Gatwick, Luton or Stanstead. There are also smaller, regional airports in South West England, such as Bristol and Exeter. You can even take a flight from London to Land's End in the far west of Cornwall or to the Scilly Islands.
How to travel around South West England by public transport?
A railway line running all the way to the end of Cornwall connects most of the towns and villages in South West England. So most of South West England can be done perfectly by train. The local buses are less recommended because they are unfortunately not frequent enough and are therefore not reliable enough to plan your entire trip.
Along, take into account that most of the sights away from the cities are not easily accessible by public transport.
What is the best time to visit South West England?
Although this region is beautiful any time of year, it's best not to come in the middle of the winter. It's wet, cold and stormy.
Summer is the most popular period, especially for the beach holidays in Devon or the Cornish Riviera.
Many of the main and most famous highlights will be very busy at during the summertime. It can therefore be a good compromise to come in spring or autumn: the weather may be a bit unpredictable at times, but it will be a lot less crowded.
Which car to rent?
- Are you still unsure which car to rent for your road trip?
- Do not rent a car that is too small, go for a comfortable car.
- Be sure to book an all-inclusive insurance policy so you can drive around in peace.
- A reliable car rental company is Rentalcars (very large offer).
- Read more tips about renting a car on vacation.
Where to spend the night in South West England? (with discount)
Looking for a place to stay during your trip through South West England? Then we advise you to search especially in the neighborhood of Plymouth, Penzance and Salisbury. These are the cities where they offer the best stays.
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