Our guide to a North Cornwall Road Trip
Once you are on the A30 and heading for the Cornish border, it becomes clear that you are heading into a different kind of place.
We are embarking on a short road trip around north Cornwall, taking in beautiful coastlines, great places to eat, and rugged scenery that you will want to return to again and again.
Launceston is the first town you reach on the A30 after crossing into Cornwall. A market town with a great deal of history, Launceston is well worth wandering around. A visit to Launceston Castle, where you can sit and have a picnic, would be a relaxing preamble to walking around the historic streets. Once back on the road, you can travel along the A30, across Bodmin moor to the town of Bodmin. If you fancy a break on the way, stop off at the Jamacia Inn, made famous by Daphne du Maurier.
The first part of the road trip is inland and concentrates on Cornwall's market towns. If you have the time, visit Bodmin Jail, which opened in the late 18th century and was used as a prison for both men and women until the early 20th century. Recently, a new hotel has been built on the jail site, incorporating many original prison features. If you like that kind of thing, it is one option to rest for the night in the area.
If you want to skip visiting another town rather than going to Bodmin, the National Trust property at Lanhydrock provides a fascinating insight into a Victorian country house and the impact the First World War had on a prominent Cornish family. The grounds offer ample opportunities to wander in the peace of the Cornish countryside.
Once you have travelled around the interior of north Cornwall, it is time to move onto the coast. Depending on how long you have to stay and how adventurous you are, you can spend two distinct days. If you are travelling during the holiday season or at weekends, it is better to get to your starting points on the coast as early as possible. Heading to Padstow early will mean you can park in either the Railway or South Quay car parks close to the main attractions and spend your time walking around town looking at the shops, grabbing a coffee, and watching the world go by. There is an excellent independent bookshop in town where you can pick up works by local authors, as well as shops selling Cornish gin, home furnishings, and local artworks.
Once Padstow starts to get busy, you can head off across Daymer Bay to the Rock via the pedestrian ferry and take the scenic walk along the bay to Trebetherick, home of a picturesque golf course and the wonderful St Endoc church. The church spent part of the 18th century buried under the sand but is now very much restored. After your time in Trebetherick is over, walk back to Rock and catch the ferry back to Padstow. There are many excellent restaurants and pubs to choose between if you are staying in the area overnight.
For your final day in the area, travel around the coast to Polzeath and walk north along the coastal path to view how beautiful and rugged the north Cornwall coast can be. Alternatively, get up early and get to Port Isaac before the town fills up with Doc Martin devotees and the narrow town lanes become too busy. Again, the views are beautiful.
Once you have finished at either Polzeath or Port Isaac, take a route up the coast and decide whether you want to take in Trebarwith Beach, Tintagel Castle, Boscastle, or head on to Bude before heading on your way.
Your journey around north Cornwall will be made easier by using the myAutomate app. Fuel stations are located in Padstow, Bodmin, and Launceston, and a few rural places in between. Electric vehicle charge points are not always easy to come across, so planning and making sure you will find somewhere to charge is essential. Finally, parking is available in all the places described, although things do fill up quickly in the summer. Most car parks in the locations listed on the road trip now accept payment via one of the various apps available, and mobile reception has improved.