Days out in Devon and Cornwall are simply great, whether you live here or are just visiting. We've put together a few ideas for a great day out in Devon and Cornwall - and all our suggestions are based on personal experience. If you have any other ideas for great days out in Devon and Cornwall, please do contact us.
Probably Cornwall's best-known attraction. The Eden Project's mission is to promote the understanding and responsible management of the vital relationship between plants, people and resources leading to a sustainable future for all. Step into the giant greenhouses (biomes), and see a wealth of plant life from all over the world.
Tips: Allow all day, and enjoy lunch at one of the nice (and affordable) restaurants serving quality local food and drink.
For a distinctly different day out in Devon and Cornwall, the Tamar Valley Line is hard to beat. The Tamar Valley Line is a real, working railway line, popular with commuters from Gunnislake, Calstock and the Bere Peninsular wanting to beat the traffic for their daily trip into Plymouth. But the Tamar Valley Line is also great for a day out. Join the train at Plymouth and enjoy the ride past the Tamar Bridges and though the stunning countryside of the Tamar Valley. Hop off at Calstock for a riverside pub lunch at the Tamar Inn. Or continue onto Gunnislake to enjoy some of the most spectacular views available from any railway line in the country. Travel on a Sunday and you can purchase a Sunday Rover ticket which not only covers your rail journey but also includes a vast network of local bus services, for an all-in bargain price.
A bike ride for all the family - with no hills! The Camel Trail is a disused and resurfaced railway line, running to Padstow from Poleys Bridge via Wadebridge and Bodmin. It follows the route of the River Camel and you can walk, cycle, ride horses or just sit and watch the abundant wild life.
Salcombe is without doubt one of the most picturesque seaside villages in Devon. A maze of narrow streets winds down to the idylic waterfront overlooking the Salcombe estuary. But by far the best way to experience Salcombe is from a boat. Hire one for an hour or two from one of the quayside boat hire operators, and explore the higher reaches of the estuary, or head out towards South Sands and take in the lovely beach. Sea air works wonders for the appetite, so round off your day with a sumptuous traditional afternoon tea at the Thurlestone Hotel, just a few miles up the peninsular. If you opt to spend a night or two in Salcombe (and we recommend that you do!), the Marine Hotel overlooks the water and has great leisure facilities and good food.
The above are just a few suggestions for great days out in Devon and Cornwall. We'll have more days out for you soon, but in the meantime visit our links page for more ideas. Or if you have your own suggestion for a great day out in Devon and Cornwall, please contact us.
Plymouth - Devon's city by the sea - is so great for a day out that it's difficult to know where to start! Arrive early, and enjoy a hot bacon roll or "half a yard of sausage" at the legendary Cap'n Jaspers in Plymouth's historic Barbican area. Explore the Barbican waterfront, and the maze of narrow lanes which lead from the quayside. No visit to Plymouth would be complete without a walk on the historic Hoe. Lovely green lawns with the natural backdrop of Plymouth Sound - ideal for watching the comings and goings of warships, cross-channel ferries and pleasure boats. Then stroll down into the city centre - chain stores, specialist shops and restaurants of every description. And if you've come by car, finish your trip to Plymouth by driving east to Jennycliff where you get a bird's eye view of the city and the Sound. For an overnight stay, try the perfectly located Holiday Inn Plymouth, or the new Jurys Inn Plymouth.
Many places in this world are described as "magical". But we can think of no place that better fits this description than the truly "magical" Isles of Scilly. You can take the MV Scillionian from Penzance - but it takes over 2 hours and can be a little choppy! The best bet is to fly with Skybus from Newquay or Lands End. You'll enjoy a spectacular short flight before landing on the hilltop airport. No need for shuttle buses or hire cars - there are only about 5 miles of roads on the whole island. Just stroll from the airport into Hugh Town, via the lovely Porthcressa beach. Then perhaps hire a bike, take a bus tour, or speak to the boatmen on the quayside about a day trip to one of the "off-islands". There is something unique and indescribable about the quality of light and fresh air on the Isles of Scilly. You'll defintely enjoy a day trip - and you'll vow to come back for longer next time!
To be fair, this is neither a day trip, nor is it in Devon or Cornwall. But while you are visiting Devon and Cornwall (or if you live here) it would be a shame to miss the opportunity to visit the Channel Island of Jersey. Fly from Plymouth to Jersey in just 45 minutes with Air Southwest. Do hire a car as it is particularly cheap here, and is the best way to see the island. The capital of St Helier is a good starting point, and the indoor market with its fresh fish, flowers and much more is well worth a visit. There are many beaches, but St Brelade's Bay is perhaps the best (and has some nice waterfront hotels). Before you catch your flight back, pay a visit to St Ouens Bay and Corbiere Lighthouse, close to the airport. For your stay in Jersey, whether for one night or longer, there is a wide variety of hotels from big luxurious places to simple, family-friendly places. We particularly like the Chateau La Chaire, a country house hotel in Rozel Bay, the Hotel L'Horizon overlooking St Brelade's Bay, and the Pomme d'Or which is right in the heart of St Helier. If you have children, and are staying for a few days, the Merton Hotel has great facilities including its Aquadome indoor and outdoor pool complex.
Classic Car Hire Cornwall
Definitely not a cheap day out, but we can think of no better way to experience Cornwall than in one of a range of beautifully preserved classic cars from the award-winning Cornwall Classic Car Hire. Perfect for a special occasion (or if you just love classic cars). Put the roof down on the Jaguar E Type convertible, or just watch heads turn as you cruise past in the Austin Healey 3000. They even provide a drop-off and pick-up facility. Just make sure you bring a hamper of picnic goodies to make your day complete.
If you have just one day in Cornwall, then our recommendation is that you head west - as far west as you can go! The St Ives/Penzance/Lands End triangle is manageable in a day - but a few days would definitely be better. Start in St Ives. Fabulous beaches, the Tate St Ives, narrow winding streets and of course the artists' studios for which St Ives is rightly renowned. The light in St Ives has a quality which would inspire anyone to paint. After St Ives, head south for Marazion, and walk the causway to St Michael's Mount (tide permitting). Then journey towards Lands End, making sure you visit the picture-postcard-perfect village of Mousehole. When you finally reach Land's End, don't be put off by the almost "theme park" attractions. Just park the car, and walk to the very tip of Land's End. It's a magical place, especially when the sun is setting into the distant horizon with the Isles of Scilly easily visible on a clear day.
A "virtual" day out Cornwall
If you can't come to Cornwall, one of the absolute best websites we know to help you experience Cornwall as if you were here is CornwallCam. The CornwallCam website features photographs taken in and around Cornwall, updated several times every week. An absolute must if you want a taste of Cornwall from the comfort of your own home.
Gardens in Devon & Cornwall
If gardens are your "thing", Devon and Cornwall has plenty to choose from. The Eden Project is an obvious one, and does justify all the hype. But there are plenty more besides. We particularly like the Lost Gardens of Heligan, which extend to some 80 acres and include some intriguing walled gardens. The Garden House is another charming garden, with rambling walks through formal and wild areas. Mount Edgcumbe House is a Tudor house set in a restored 18th century garden with spectacular views of the sea and rare and ancient trees (you can take the Cremyll passenger ferry from Plymouth).
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If you fancy taking to the sea to experience Devon from a different angle. the Ilfracombe Princess offers sectacular wildlife and coastal cruises. Apparently there are frequent sightings of seals, porpoises and dolphins. The vessel itself was new in 2005 and is licensed for 100 passengers (and obviously departs from Ilfracombe).