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Cornwall Road Trip Guide & 4 Cornwall Itineraries To Follow!

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Cornwall is possibly the best part of the UK to do a road trip in because a road trip in Cornwall will take you to an unbelievable amount of beautiful places in Cornwall!

On a Cornwall road trip, you’ll come across pristine beaches and secret bays. There are castles and old theatres to see, rock pools to swim in, beautiful Cornish towns, villages and harbours to visit, amazing cafes and restaurants and lovely accommodation,

And whether you have 3 days in Cornwall or 7 days in Cornwall, you will be able to see a lot of this!

In this Cornwall travel blog, I’m going to give you all you need to know to plan a road trip around Cornwall, the best places to visit in Cornwall, how to plan your Cornwall itinerary and some driving tips for Cornwall!

Cornwall Road Trip

The Wandering Quinn Travel Blog Cornwall road trip
Keep reading for your full Cornwall Road Trip guide!

Best Places to Visit in Cornwall

When it comes to planning road trips and a trip in general, the first step is to suss out where the best places to go are and where they are on a map so you can realistically see where you can visit in the time you have.

Although part of a road trip is being on the road, we really don’t want to spend all day driving, to be exhausted from it and not have enough time to enjoy where we are driving through!

Here is a list of the best places to visit in Cornwall on a road trip and below is a map of Cornwall to help you plan your trip around Cornwall.

  • Padstow
  • Harlyn Bay
  • Botallack Mines
  • Constantine Bay
  • St Michael’s Mount
  • Bedruthan Steps
  • Newquay
  • Watergate Bay
  • Fistral Beach
  • Treyarnon Bay
  • St Ives
  • Lands End
  • Falmouth
  • Eden Project
  • Kynance Cove
  • Chapel Pool
  • Port Issac
  • Truro
  • Tintagel Castle
  • Polzeath Beach

You may recognise many of these great places to visit in Cornwall and best things to do in Cornwall, but if you are looking for places you haven’t heard of and that fewer people know of, make sure you read my hidden gems in Cornwall list!

The Wandering Quinn Travel Blog Cornwall road trip St Michaels Mount
St Michael’s Mount is an iconic place for your Cornwall Road Trip!

Map of Places To Go On Cornwall Road Trip

Car Hire in Cornwall

If you have a car then great, if not, you’ll need to hire a car and there are a few ways you can do this.

If you are coming from overseas to Cornwall you could hire a car at one of the London Airports and drive to Cornwall. Or you could hire one from the closest city or airport to where you live,

Or, as I explain more below in how to get to Cornwall, you could fly into Cornwall Newquay Airport, or get a train to Newquay and hire a car from here. This option will save you a lot of travel time and driving time!

I recommend using Rental Cars for car hire in Cornwall as they work with all the top car rental agencies in the UK. Search for car rental prices and availability here!

Planning a Cornwall Road Trip

Personally, I think the best way to plan road trips in the UK is to focus on visiting a different area each day, this is what I did on my Cornwall road trip, Wales Road Trip and Devon Road Trip and it worked well!

For example, because Cornwall has both a North Coast, South Coast and the very Western tip of the country, it’s a good idea to plan each day in Cornwall in one of these areas so you aren’t doing driving long distances every day.

Because the thing about Cornwall is although the distance doesn’t look far on the map, it does take much longer to drive distances in Cornwall than it does in other areas of the UK because of the narrow, windy roads, and the traffic if you go in the summer!

The driving time in Cornwall will also really surprise if you are not from the UK and are travelling from somewhere like the USA or Australia!

Cornwall Roads

On that note, let’s touch on how to drive in Cornwall to help you prepare for the roads in Cornwall!

You may be familiar with small country lanes but if you haven’t done much driving outside of a city or you’re from overseas then there are a few things to note:

  • Make sure you have petrol and fill up when you get low rather than waiting to the last minute as country roads are lacking in petrol stations.
  • Drive really slowly along country lanes, even if someone is behind you. 20mph is a good speed.
  • Keep looking ahead! I know we look ahead when driving but looking even further ahead and looking around corners more is best to check for oncoming traffic.
  • Be mindful of the pull in points so if you need to back up you know where the last one was.
  • If someone pulls in for you, always put your hand or a few fingers up off the steering wheel to say thank you.
  • Locals in Cornwall might seem unfriendly on the roads because they can get annoyed with the amount of tourists on the roads, especially in summer when it gets really busy, still, be polite to them, this is their home after all!
The Wandering Quinn Travel Blog Cornwall Road Trip, Cornwall Roads
Roads in Cornwall can often be this narrow so you have to drive carefully!

Getting to Cornwall

Getting to Cornwall can take a number of hours because of how far South and West it is, this is why you should plan your Cornwall itinerary with at least a few days to spend in Cornwall to make your trip worthwhile.

London to Cornwall for example takes about 6 hours but if you are coming from the South or from London, there are lots of nice places to stop on a Cornwall road trip from London like Dorset and Devon if you have time.

Another option is to fly to Newquay Airport and hire a car in Newquay. Flying to Cornwall may seem extra fancy but it’s a huge time saver and internal flights can be really great value with airlines such as EasyJet!

I recommend using Rental Cars for car hire in Cornwall as they work with all the top car rental agencies in the UK. Search for car rental prices and availability here!

Stopping will really enhance your overall trip and will help you see lots more beautiful places in the South of England!

Here’s my full post on how to do a London to Cornwall Road Trip and 12 Places to stop!

The Wandering Quinn Travel Blog Cornwall Road Trip Lands End2
Get ready to see some amazing places in Cornwall like this!

Where To Stay in Cornwall

There are lots of places to stay in Cornwall for all different budgets and trip types.

You may associate road trips with #vanlife right now, or camping from your car, and whilst this is of course a great way to travel and stay in Cornwall, you don’t have to do a road trip like this!

I like road trips in the UK that have a base for at least 2 nights in each location as I think it’s the easiest way to see a lot whilst also being enjoyable without having to check-in and check-out of new places every day, this is especially the case when travelling with children and as a family.

A friend of mine recently stayed in one of the Classic Cottages in Cornwall and really recommended it, she loved the self-catering aspect which is definitely great when you’ll be out on the road a lot of the day and being able to come home to a comfy, cosy Cornish cottage really did make her trip memorable.

Getting accommodation near the coast is most ideal for your road trip around Cornwall if you plan on focusing on the coastline and best beaches in Cornwall, which after all, is what makes Cornwall so amazing!

The Wandering Quinn Travel Blog Cornwall Road Trip, sunset
Imagine being able to pop out of your accommodation to see the sunset in Cornwall!

If you are testing out Van Life either in your own van or one you are renting, there are lots of places to camp along the coast and lots of campsites available.

Camping itself is also a great option for Cornwall because typically it has some of the warmest weather in the UK, and if you have always fancied wild camping, here are some wild camping spots in Cornwall to try.

The Wandering Quinn Travel Blog Cornwall Road Trip, camping accommodation

Cornwall Road Trip Itinerary

Depending on how long you have to spend in Cornwall and how much of the county you want to see, I have detailed some brilliant Cornwall itineraries to follow to help you plan your Cornwall road trip itinerary.

3 Day Cornwall Road Trip Itinerary

– Focusing on Southern Cornwall starting at the very South tip

Day 1: Land’s End, Porthcurno and Minack Theatre

Day 2: The Lost Gardens of Heligan and Mevagissey

Day 3: Eden Project

See the full 3 day Cornwall itinerary here!

The Wandering Quinn Travel Blog Cornwall Road Trip Lands End
A stop in Lands End should be on every Cornwall road trip itinerary!

Search for car hire in Cornwall here!

4 Day Cornwall Road Trip Itinerary

Day 1: Penzance, Mousehole & St. Michaels Mount

Day 2: Porthcurno

Day 3: St. Ives & Zennor

Day 4: St. Agnes & Newquay

See the full 4 day Cornwall itinerary here!

The Wandering Quinn Travel Blog Cornwall road trip st ives
St Ives is one of the best places to visit in Cornwall!

5 Day Cornwall Road Trip Itinerary

-Focusing on Northern Cornwall with some South Coast Stops too

Day 1: Plymouth

Day 2: Falmouth, Kynance Cove, Lizard Point, St Michaels Mount, Penzance

Day 3: Minack Theatre, Porthcurno Beach, Lands End, St Ives

Day 4: Padstow, Harlyn Bay, Bedruthan Steps

Day 5: Tintagel Castle 

See the full 5 day Cornwall itinerary here!

Padstow is a popular town in Cornwall, here’s my post on the best things to do in Padstow and near Padstow!

The Wandering Quinn Travel Blog Cornwall road trip, Padstow
Padstow is a popular Cornish Town and should be a stop on your Cornwall road trip!

7 Day Cornwall Road Trip Itinerary

-Focusing on the North Coast but also lower South Coast and travelling slowly

Day 1: Boscastle – Tintagel Castle

Day 2: Newquay

Day 3: St Ives

Day 4: Geevor and Levant Tin Mines – Land’s End – St Michael’s Mount

Day 5: Lizard Point

Day 6: Falmouth

Day 7: Truro

See the full 7 day Cornwall itinerary here!

The Wandering Quinn Travel Blog Cornwall Road Trip Eden Project
The Eden Project is one of England’s biggest attractions!

FAQ About a Cornwall Road Trip:

How long does it take to drive around Cornwall?

From the Eastern side of Cornwall to the Western tip it takes about 2 hours to drive through Cornwall however because you are going to be stopping a lot on your Cornwall Road Trip and itinerary the distances will be much shorter.

Is it easy to drive around Cornwall?

Yes, the roads can be narrow, windy and busy in places in Cornwall but in general, the roads in Cornwall and good and easy to manage with the help of a satnav.

How many days do I need in Cornwall?

Because of the long drive to Cornwall, I suggest at least 2 days in Cornwall, 3 days is also a good time. However some people easily spend 7 days in Cornwall on a holiday in England which is a good amount of time to relax on some days and visit new places on other days.

What is the best time to visit Cornwall?

Most people visit Cornwall in the Summer months so they benefit from the warmer weather however Cornwall can be visited all year round. The positive to going to Cornwall in the winter is fewer people even if the weather isn’t as good. Spring and Autumn are also considered the best time to visit Cornwall.

I hope that helps you plan your road trip around Cornwall!