for one person on their own... or up to eight people
Cornwall is about 280/300 miles (440/480 klms) WEST from London and Heathrow or Gatwick. Thats about 5 hours travelling by train or car. Much longer by coach - they roam about, picking people up and dropping them off. Add at least an hour if coming from central London - horrendous traffic travelling at the speed of an ancient tortoise has to be allowed for.
If you arrive at Heathrow and plan to take the train down to Cornwall, the quickest and cheapest way is to take a bus to Reading and get on the train there. However, if you've got one of the Train Passes which allows you as much travel as you want (go anywhere, on certain days), then going into London to get on the train at Paddington won't make any difference financially - but going from Heathrow into London/Paddington IS travelling EAST and away from Cornwall.
If hiring a car and driving down from Heathrow, we suggest you get onto the M25 heading south east and anti-clockwise (the M25 orbits London so you can go clockwise or anti-clockwise). Go off onto the M3 heading WEST. Once on the M3 be aware that the M3 actually goes to Southampton, which you DO NOT want to do! Therefore at a certain point (after 30 miles (48 klms) or so) you must branch off LEFT onto the A303. Whatever you do, don't miss this branch off, because if you do it will add a long and tedious time to your journey! Once on the A303 you just follow your nose to Exeter. At Exeter you branch off onto the A30 heading for Okehampton. Then follow your nose and you'll come straight to Cornwall. (We Cornish say "Oggie Oggie" as we re-enter Cornwall - we know we're home then.).
Coming from Heathrow, if you DO want to come down the M4 then head clockwise on the M25. Then get onto the M4 heading WEST. Keep going for about 120 miles. At Bristol get onto the M5 heading SOUTH. Keep going for about 80 miles. At Exeter, get onto the A30 heading for Okehampton, then follow your nose into Cornwall. The M4/M5 route is longer, but much faster.
'M' roads, (Motorways) are the UK's principle highways - wide, several lanes and fast.
As you know, there are various websites which link you to B&B and Hotels, BUT, at every large town there is a "Tourist Information Centre" (TIC), which has a list of most of the accommodation in the area. They've usually got a website or an online brochure, and between them they cover all Cornwall (and all the UK as well). TICs are run by the Local Government Authority.
Cornwall is about 80 miles long and 20 miles wide in the middle. About 80% of Cornwall's boundaries are coastline - therefore there are lots of pictureque fishing villages you can stay at. Lots of picturesque villages inland too. And a few very nice towns, also. Also just one or two places you'd not choose to have as your holiday base (Cornwall's long history of mining has left its mark - much of it good, poignant and interesting, some of it just plain 'scruffy').
If you don't have a car, think about how far you will have to travel to the places you want to visit - and how you are going to get there. The bus services and the train services are good but you MUST plan ahead to get the best out of them. See our very basic list of Cornwall's attractions - and search Google.
Think about places to eat at night - some villages don't have a restaurant - others have a just one good pub (inn) with good, nicely cooked food - in other, bigger locations there are plenty of good eateries to choose from. Usually the food in Cornwall is 'high standard' - these days.
If you are going to arrive at your accommodation after 6pm you should telephone your accommodation hosts and let them know. UK law allows Hotels, Guest Houses and B&Bs to re-let rooms if people haven't arrived by 6pm AND they haven't telephoned to advise of their pending late arrival. If you do intend to arrive late and you let your hosts know you will find they are very helpful and will even wait up for you (usually)
Most UK establishments provide a full English breakfast - we enjoy it (especially when away on holiday) - so if you have any special dietary requirements or preferences then let you hosts know when you check in the night before - they should ask you (but they might forget)
Your B&B hosts will also be pleased to help as best they can on places to visit, how to get there, etc, etc.
You'll have got used to driving on the left hand side of the road by the time you get to Cornwall, but if you intend to go "off the beaten track" - which you must do to get the best from Cornwall - you won't be prepared for the very narrow, twisting lanes and the high hedges.
The writer of this little piece has been driving around them for the best part of 35 years, so he feels qualified to offer a few small survival tips.
Good luck - and enjoy!
We hope you enjoy your visit... and come again.
Heathrow (LHR), Gatwick (LGW),
Southampton : Ocean, QE2, Mayflower,
Terminal 5 (Mayflower Terminal),
Ask for a Quotation!
London Heathrow to Cornwall £400
London to Cornwall £480
Southampton & Portsmouth to Cornwall £370
All other locations please enquire for price.
to and from Cornwall... for 'Cornwalltour' search: London Paddington to Truro www.thetrainline.com
Merchant House in Truro is a friendly, welcoming place to stay for every nature of visit...read more
Video of Cornwall and the West of England (created by Anthea from Australia who toured Cornwall with her husband Gary in 2011 - with Cornwalltour)
Plus - First Class Airport and Cruise Ship Shuttle Service for the West of England and Cornwall - Optional Extra!