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Central place to stay?

Calgary
Level Contributor
46 posts
83 reviews
Central place to stay?

Planning our first visit to Cornwall for 5 nights first week in June and already know what we want to see from Dartmoor through to Landsend, Port Isaac, etc. Just wondering about a good area to stay for those 5 nights as we don't want to jump around from night to night. Being North American, we are more accustomed to driving distances than our Eurpean friends. In relative terms, everything is the Cornwall region is easy driving distance for us.

Torquay?, Plymouth? Falmouth? Maybe someplace inland, though a coastal location sounds more attractive.

Suggestions, advantages, disadvantages comments greatly appreciated.

Jerry from Calgary

Loughton, United...
Level Contributor
6,836 posts
391 reviews
1. Re: Central place to stay?

We stayed at Redruth last year. Not the most attractive Cornish town but very central, especially for buses.

Cardiff, United...
Destination Expert
for Cardiff
Level Contributor
9,378 posts
64 reviews
2. Re: Central place to stay?

Being North American you are less accustomed than your European friends to driving on roads as busy and narrow as those you will encounter in Cornwall, with lots of stopping, starting, slowing down, reversing because there's a car coming the other way and the road isn't wide enough for you both, trying to overtake a tractor that you've been stuck behind for five miles, etc.

You will soon learn to temper your expectations of driving times/distances.

Two of the places you've named as possibilities aren't in Cornwall. Where is the focus of your trip going to be? If it is Cornwall, then you definitely want to be based somewhere in the county.

Edited: 2:00 pm, April 16, 2014
Cornwall,UK
Destination Expert
for Cornwall, Isles of Scilly
Level Contributor
3,538 posts
376 reviews
3. Re: Central place to stay?

For Cornwall, you must stay on the coast where the real beauty is for your first visit.

I suggest Fowey which is mid way down the South coast. You can get to most of Cornwall and Dartmoor in an hour or so, and its a lovely little riverside estuary town with good restaurants, pubs and a decent little selection of shops. Its full of character and would make a good base for your trip. http://www.fowey.co.uk/

Bodmin, United...
Destination Expert
for Cornwall
Level Contributor
12,639 posts
84 reviews
4. Re: Central place to stay?

If you want to see Cornwall, then don't stay in Torquay or Plymouth. Badcat's suggestion of Fowey is a good one, or you could also look at nearby Mevagissey or Charlestown.

I would also agree that although you may be used to driving long distances, the roads here are very different.

Calgary
Level Contributor
46 posts
83 reviews
5. Re: Central place to stay?

I apologize if my comment sounded rude. It was simply an observation with no intent of any kind behind it. My wife and I have traveled three times by rental car throughout other parts of Great Britain and certainly understand some of the complexities of driving there.

I also apologize for not appreciating the location of the boundary between Devon and Cornwall. I had intended to include them both but could find no forum that dealt with them together. Hence I would like to expand my request here to include both. We will visit both from one location.

Jerry

Edited: 3:13 pm, April 16, 2014
Cardiff, United...
Destination Expert
for Cardiff
Level Contributor
9,378 posts
64 reviews
6. Re: Central place to stay?

"I apologize if my comment sounded rude"

Didn't particularly, just teasing you, and if you've driven before in the UK then you will have some appreciation of the differences. The country roads in Cornwall though are especially narrow and often very busy in the summer and quite different to even the kind of driving you would normally encounter in other parts of the UK.

I know you said you don't want to jump around from night to night, and that's fair enough, but I think you might consider at least two bases rather than one. Maybe one in Devon and one further west. It would cut out a lot of duplicate driving back and forth which would more than cancel out the moving of location.

Fowey as mentioned above is a good shout for Cornwall.

Destination Expert
for Cornwall
Level Contributor
973 posts
8 reviews
7. Re: Central place to stay?

I can't think of one base that would serve you from Dartmoor to Land's End, without a huge amount of driving. If you already have your must sees in mind, perhaps you could share them with us and we could advise better? I think having one base in the East and another in the far West would make sense but it would be good to hear exactly what you have in mind.

Calgary
Level Contributor
46 posts
83 reviews
8. Re: Central place to stay?

We used to be the type of traveler that would try to hit at least 3 venues in a day and then plop straight into bed after an early meal. We want this time to be more relaxing so mostly one venue per day, maybe two if the route seems practical. We have 5 full days available.

- relaxing loop drive around Dartmoor Park stopping at some promoted places but also wherever and whenever we want

- there appears to be a loop drive at Landsend, again where we would hit highlights but stop at leisure

- we are Doc Marten fans so intend a visit to Port Isaac

- we have Methodist background so want to visit the John Wesley Museum in Truro (might be able to combine this with Port Isaac)

- visit to Torquay and beaches (may not need a full day but we have time to consider other things in the region as well)

- since posting the message noticed the Lost Gardens of Heligan and my wife loves gardens (recommendations for others greatfully accepted)

- and finally our visit will include a Sunday so if you have any, recommendations will be greatfully accepted for a nice church, any denomination, preferably cathedral style with a good choir - doesn't have to be like Canterbury but something nice

Thanks so much to all for your suggestions.

Edited: 6:17 pm, April 16, 2014
Destination Expert
for Cornwall
Level Contributor
973 posts
8 reviews
9. Re: Central place to stay?

Hi

Thanks, this is very helpful. With that in mind I would suggest you stay somewhere in South Devon for the first couple of nights. Torquay or around perhaps.

Then come and stay in Truro, from where you can drive to Land's End (will still take almost two hours). Truro is reasonably close to Heligan, and there is usually a Sunday sung eucharist at Truro cathedral.

Port Isaac is a bit further away, maybe you could divert between south Devon and torquay to see it on the way down?

Couple of questions:

Torquay and beaches - any particular reason for these specific places? There are lovely beaches all over Devon and Cornwall.

I am not aware of a wesley museum in Truro. There are Wesley sites in Launceston and near Redruth (Gwennap pit)

I will echo general warnings about roads - the biggest road down here is the A30 which narrows to one Lane at various places. It will take longer than you think to drive around and I've met several traumatised Americans and Australians in Cornish villages before!

Edited: 2:36 am, April 17, 2014
Destination Expert
for Cornwall
Level Contributor
973 posts
8 reviews
10. Re: Central place to stay?

Oh and Falmouth is lovely. Would be a good base instead of Truro.