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What town is a good base when you aren't renting a car?

Texas
Level Contributor
21 posts
What town is a good base when you aren't renting a car?

We will be spending a few days in Cornwall (arriving from Portsmouth), and strongly prefer not to rent a car. What town would you suggest as a good base to explore and make day trips from using public transportation (bus is fine)? We would like to visit Port Issac, and see some of the coastal area that has been shown on Poldark. We don't care about Poldark specific things, just the general beauty of that coastal area. We would be interested in visiting anywhere with shorter, easy hikes to experience the scenery. Thanks in advance for your help!

16 replies to this topic
Machynlleth, United...
Level Contributor
2,465 posts
5 reviews
1. Re: What town is a good base when you aren't renting a car?

Lots of similar threads in the Cornwall Forum.

Such as

https://www.tripadvisor.co.uk/ShowTopic-g186…

And the recent (4th Dec) Trip report from Moira , who stayed in Fowey.

I'm responding from the UK forums so will leave it for the locals to comment about access to Port Isaac. I don't think it's easy/possible by public transport .....

Marlow, United...
Level Contributor
5,676 posts
26 reviews
2. Re: What town is a good base when you aren't renting a car?

What time of year will you be visiting? That makes a massive difference to available bus services as extra routes/services get laid on in summertime to cater for holidaymakers.

However, to explore rural Cornwall a car is a real boon.

Cornwall, United...
Destination Expert
for Cornwall, Isles of Scilly
Level Contributor
2,677 posts
35 reviews
3. Re: What town is a good base when you aren't renting a car?

I suggest you plot the places you want to visit on a map, the Poldark locations are listed on the internet. Look for a place to stay that’s near where you want to go. Then look at public transport on the Cornwall Council website or use travelinesoutheast.org.uk to work out if the journey is possible. When you have some sort of basic itinerary come back to the forum for further help and comment.

Sorry if this sounds unhelpful but as stated above this question has been asked, and answered, many times on this forum.

Cheltenham, United...
Destination Expert
for Cotswolds
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3,292 posts
6 reviews
4. Re: What town is a good base when you aren't renting a car?

"A few days" - you realise that Portsmouth to "Cornwall" is the best part of a day, and similarly back to (say) London.

Port Isaac is served by a bus 5 times a day from Wadebridge, and for that reason I frequently recommend Wadebridge as a good base, as it is a good transport hub. The coastal bus also serves attractive places such as Tintagel Castle, Boscastle and Crackington Haven, and with careful planning 2 places can be visited in 1 day.

Padstow (apparently) is a Poldark location, and the whole coast - Bedruthan Steps, Porthcothan, Mawgan Porth - between Padstow and Newquay is easily walked using the bus route from Wadebridge/Padstow. Other Poldark locations are much further West in the county and impracticable to visit from the North Coast. The other recognisable location, Charlestown is on the opposite South East coast and is about 2 hours by various complex routes.

I was only going to post the tip that Wadebridge and Padstow are shown as destinations on the National Rail web-site, using the bus connection from Bodmin Parkway. In checking this I noticed that Portsmouth-Padstow advance fare is £85.60, whereas Portsmouth-Bodmin (same train) is £30.00, so you'd be charged £55.60 for a £5.00 bus fare!

Bodmin Moor could be visited from Wadebridge, either St Breward, or Camelford - there are well documented moorland walks from Camelford to Advent, or Rough Tor/Brown Willy.

As others have said it would be easier to advise on a more detailed itinerary.

Warwickshire...
Level Contributor
1,551 posts
2 reviews
5. Re: What town is a good base when you aren't renting a car?

You should check out the various Rover Tickets

Freedom of South West Rover (includes Portsmouth)

Freedom of Devon and Cornwall Rover

Ride Cornwall Ranger

St Ives Bay Line Day Ranger

Looe Valley Line Ranger

May be others

You should also consider getting a Rail Card such Two Together Railcard if applicable which gives discount off these tickets

Southampton, United...
Level Contributor
3,709 posts
285 reviews
6. Re: What town is a good base when you aren't renting a car?

Carbis Bay just outside St Ives has a train station, taxis and frequent buses both north and Southwards along the Coast.

Cornwall, United...
Destination Expert
for Cornwall, Isles of Scilly
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2,677 posts
35 reviews
7. Re: What town is a good base when you aren't renting a car?

Carbis Bay to Port Isaac by public transport will take between 3 and 4 hours and require 2 or 3 changes. It would allow around 3 hours to look around before making the journey back. Peak summer timetables might be more frequent but the journey will still take the same time.

Texas
Level Contributor
21 posts
8. Re: What town is a good base when you aren't renting a car?

Thank you all for the information. This is just a small part of a larger 23 day trip to England and Ireland (Scotland is tempting, but I doubt we will fit it in). This portion of the trip will be occurring during the last week of March. We are aware that Portsmouth to wherever we end up in Cornwall will be a full travel day, but don't mind that. We do realize that driving would make more sense on paper, but my husband is very tall and doesn't fit well in most American cars, so rolling the dice on fitting in a rental is one stress we don't want to add.

Just to clarify, while I mentioned Poldark, it was more to give a sense of what type of scenery we wanted to see. We don't care about going to exact sites featured in the show, just the beautiful coastal scenery they have in general. I do apologize if my questions seem repetitive, but most of the searches return threads from quite a while ago and UK transportation seems to change up a bit (different passes, bus routes, etc.). I will explore the suggestions that have been mentioned and welcome any additional input.

Bandung, Indonesia
Destination Expert
for Bandung
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5,371 posts
839 reviews
9. Re: What town is a good base when you aren't renting a car?

I think the best options are Wadebridge and Padstow. The biggest large town is Newquay which is also good to have as a base, but I sense think you'd prefer to stay a little more north. Don't forget to visit Tintagel.

Cornwall, United...
Destination Expert
for Cornwall, Isles of Scilly
Level Contributor
2,677 posts
35 reviews
10. Re: What town is a good base when you aren't renting a car?

I wouldn’t recommend staying in Newquay unless you like surfing and/or clubbing. Wherever you decide to stay the sticking point might be the journey to Port Isaac. Padstow might be a good option. Unfortunately the buses will still be on the winter timetable and will not be as frequent as in peak season.

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