— Travel Blog
SOUTHWEST ENGLAND CAMPING TRIP:
8-DAY ITINERARY FULLY MAPPED
England is filled with pretty country lanes which are made for a perfect road trip. In this blog we share our itinerary around the south west coast with beautiful views, such as castles, villages, coastlines and camping spots on a 8-day road trip in south west England. This trip is fully mapped out, each day which is super easy to follow, all you have to is press on the map and follow the Google instructions.
This was one of the biggest trips we have planned throughout England, it was quite pleasant creating this itinerary. Choosing the location was a bit difficult as there were so many different beaches but we tried to choose a variety so there were different views and surroundings. The beautiful landscapes and quaint villages were just all so magical and we would return to see most of them and more !
7 tips & tricks
The below 8-day London to London loop itinerary is a tour, which visits lots of different places around the south west coast. We tried to squeeze a lot of the activities in this trip so it’s designed more of a taster of the south-west country rather than the full on experience. However, if you have more time on your hands we encourage staying perhaps 2-3 days in some of the locations to visit, rest and admire all the views. There is so much to do and see. So it doesn’t matter if you’re a busy road tripper, somewhat like us or if you prefer a more chilled holiday and leisurely pace, you can easily do that as well with this itinerary.
To make this blog easy going and itinerary easy to follow we have mapped out an overview map with the locations. But this can be difficult to follow therefore each day has been broken down and have mapped out the locations on Google map so all you need to do is click on it and press START. It’s so simple and after reading each of our activities you can decide if you want to include it in your trip or simply just remove it and continue with your own personalised trip. Whole overview map of all the places visited via google map: https://www.google.com/maps/d/edit?mid=15RI2wD8XXv3Ah3uh021tIgfuG_E6ZjsO&usp=sharing
If you would like to get a better feel of our trip we actually did a vlog too !
So here it is: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lbV8dadypTY
Day 1 activities Sunday 26th July – Google map route for day 1
- Old Harry rocks
Postcode: Unnamed Road, Swanage BH19 3AU
Parking cost: 4/7 pounds for 2 hrs/ all day
Old Harry, and the remains of Old Harry’s wife, have been carved by the action of the waves. It has beautiful views over Studland Bay and Poole Harbour. We parked at the South Beach National Trust Car Park and walked up to the viewing point which was a 20 min walk roughly. It’s a bit windy on the hill so I suggest you grab something to cover your throat or bring a jumper even if it’s on a sunny day. It definitely has amazing views of Jurassic Coast, however, we found the next location way more beautiful.
- Dancing ledge
Post code: Durnford Drove, Langton Matravers, Swanage BH19 3HG
We parked at the Spyway national car park and walked down to the dancing ledge. Please bear in mind that there is a steep hill so you need to be prepared for the walk down and especially up. However, with breaks it will be fine. The natural pool seems safe to have a swim on a warm day. We were in a hurry so didn’t get to swim this time however, we saw lots of rocks climbers and some people swimming.
To get to the natural pool you actually need to go down a mini edge, it can be dangerous especially for those who may not be fit or have difficulties with their legs. It’s a good idea to have someone to give you a hand to get down. We had a lovely lunch sitting on the rocks, listening to the waves crashing. We absolutely enjoyed the peace, the sound of the waves, the pool was super clear and if you are one for rock climbing then it’s definitely a place to visit.
- Lulworth cove
Post code: West Lulworth, Wareham BH20 5RS
Car park: £5 half a day
We parked Lulworth and grabbed the most delicious ice cream from Jacks Homemade ice cream. It’s next to the car park bit, honestly it was so fresh and so good. We walked to see the cove, took lovely pictures, it definitely has one of the most scenic views. It’s absolutely beautiful. I wouldn’t miss this location to be honest because it is definitely something you will remember. If you have more time on your hands you can bring your blanket and swim wear, because the water looks super clean and it has a lovely beach if you head down the hill.
IMPORTANT NOTE: We didn’t actually know this, till this date. But if you would like to drive to the durdle door car park instead of walking up the hill, you can do so because the parking ticket is actually transferable between the two apparently. This would have made us very happy if we knew however, we had a great walk.
- Stair hole (2minute by car, so explore by foot)
Post code: Stair Hole, Cranborne Rd, Swanage, Wareham BH19 1LB
This is basically at the same place next to the lulworth cove, you walk pass it so you can’t miss it. It has beautiful landscapes and natural colours on the rocks.
- Durdle door ( few minutes from stair hole)
Post code: Unnamed Road, Wareham BH20 5PU
We walked from Lulworth cove to Durdle door. It’s a pretty easy path to find as it mainly straight down and that’s it. However, we went when there were restrictions due to Covid and they had in place a one way system. This one way system took you all the way around and was very tiring. The actual place was supposed to be just through this straight path, where two people can pass through each other no problem and it would be considered as a socially distancing, therefore, the one way system did not may sense. However, we followed the rules and by the end of that walk we were super tired and just wanted to go back home.
Make sure to wear appropriate footwear e.g. trainers. The beach is with stone not sand, so not too pleasant to stay or go swimming. There are no facilities at the beach. Going downhill it is mud/grit, so can be slippery. Going down the stairs to the beach is very slipper so be careful. The hills are steep, but with rest you should be more than fine with children. It’s definitely scenic and worthwhile.
A beautiful place, combined with lulworth cove. Just remember to bring some cash for a car park ticket. We took around 2 hours for lulworth and durdle door.
- Camp at Dartmoor shepherds hut (£18 for a camp pitch)
Camp website: http://www.dartmoorshepherdshuts.co.uk
Camp postcode: Higher Michelcombe Farm, Ashburton TQ13 7SP
We can’t say too much about this camp as we arrived very late and we set up in pitch black and left first thing in the morning, practically cooking breakfast in the car because it was pouring down with rain. The place seemed lovely, there are plenty of trees around to find your parking space with the car (I think many of us love the privacy, so if it’s not too busy I think you can find a spot or two). There were also big groups of people, so I think if you’re travelling with friends its a good camping spot. The camping spot has toilets and shower blocks. There are 6 separate male and female showers and 6 separate male and female toilets. Washing up sinks, a washing machine, fridge freezer and charging lockers for devices. All with plentiful free hot water! Feel free to leave a comment if you visit this place and review how it was.
Day 2 activities Monday 27th July – Google map route for day 2
- Dartmoor national park, Haytor rock.Postcode: Ilsington, Newton Abbot TQ13 9XS
It is definitely beautiful there if you like landscapes. It was super windy that day, so I assume at the top it’s always like that, so I suggest bringing a jacket. The climb is steep and therefore isn’t easy for the less mobile or those with push or wheelchairs.
There are toilets open at the visitor centre. In general the car park is very cheap, roughly around £1-2. There isn’t a cafe at the centre however we heard there is a lovely hotel within walking distance called Moorland which does a lovely pot of tea with biscuits.
- Postbridge Clapper Bridge at dartmoor national park Postcode: Yelverton PL20 6TH
There is car parking at the side of the road. It’s a scenic place to have a lovely picnic and just to relax especially in dry weather. The bridge (early Medieval), the river, the countryside surrounding it was just so idyllic. We would love to return here and spend much more time just exploring the town. It’s a must see if you’re going past Moor.
- Bigbury Beach (Kingsbridge)Post code: Unnamed Road, Bigbury-on-Sea, Kingsbridge TQ7 4AS
The beach is nice and sandy with minimal pebbles. The way to the beach is very narrow with lots of bends. I suggest checking out the tide times before going, so you can reach the Burgh island. We didn’t have a chance to go over there as there was still some water however we did walk on the beach and had a lovely view from either side watching the waves. The car park is a bit expensive and ensures you bring CHANGE, because the connection is not great there and can’t pay by phone. In the lower car park there are toilets and a coffee shop which apparently sells very nice coffee, so check that out if you’re a coffee lover. The beach is dog friendly, so you will find many dogs on there. Overall it was lovely watching the waves, the island and great company.
- Penhale touring park for 2 nights (£48) – great campsiteWebsite: http://www.penhale-fowey.co.uk/
Post code: Penhale Caravan & Camping Park, Penhale Farm, Fowey PL23 1JU.
Welcome to our second favourite campsite during this week. We stayed here two days so we can visit Eden project and then head off to lizard point. Just to sum up our camp I will list the pros and cons. Pros: Site had nice sizable pitches. We stayed in a normal tent pitch with no electric hook up. Clean facilities, there was a lady cleaning throughout the day and she was super lovely.
THE VIEWS. Best thing was probably the views where you can see the distant sea and surrounding countryside. Lots of bins for rubbish, place to dispose of waste and grey water. Dog friendly Owners friendly, but do not hassle you in any way but are they if you need them. Easiest is to call. Cons: Showers was closed because of Covid I guess, but I think it could have been kept open with enough space. Bit slopey but not too much. Not much that can change Some road noise, but the stunning views more than compensate for that. It’s a bit windy as it’s an exposed location.
Day 3 activities Tuesday 27th July – Google map route for day 3
Map: https://goo.gl/maps/BTkNxQwA7AdLRHyi9: https://goo.gl/maps/RShC44NQ4WNEcyDn7
- Eden project
Postcode: Bodelva, Par PL24 2SG
Ticket price: £28 per adult. Check the website for family options.
Eden project has been on our bucket list and no matter the reviews and ticket price we wanted to visit. It is definitely a really nice place and makes you wonder at the majesty of Nature. Especially during the climate changes, the domes are essential, it definitely lifted our spirit by the end of it. There are quite a few things I would like to cover on this trip so to make it easier I will split it to the pros and cons of Eden project
– The ceramic 20ft smoke ring sculpture was interesting.
– Love the domes, the rainforest one especially.
– Really enjoyed walking up high through all the trees and canopies, and enjoyed spotting the wildlife such as the roul Birds.
– Hand sanitiser available at lots of points and social distancing encouraged throughout.
– We loved the huge banana leaves, and learning about the different plants that live around the world. Perfect spots for photographs.
– They had a lavender field outside which smelt lovely.
– Huge gift shop, we bought some beautiful plants. One died (maybe we didn’t know how to look after it) but the other (pink cactus) is still alive.
– Many people said they like the zip line but having spent so much money already we didn’t want to spend more.
– A bit overpriced since some of the stuff was closed due to Covid such as: cool room in the dome, a bridge in one of the domes etc.
– Long walk from the car park down a slope, so uphill on the way back. Remember which car park you are in as they are all labelled as different fruit.
– Not much staff around in the domes to control everyone.
– There were lots of kids even during Covid restrictions running around and some even jumping and climbing on things. Some of the signs and pieces of information looked tired and could be worked on.
– I would have also liked to see more staff in the domes to ask questions about the plants and domes.
– Don’t touch the handrails inside the domes because there are a lot of ants. I got some crawling up my arm haha. – Not much choice for food. They have certain opening hours and we missed it so there wasn’t much choice and seemed expensive anyways.
There’s plenty of things to do in the Eden Project, you could easily spend a whole day there if you wanted to read every informative board but we completed it in a couple of hours. Overall a lovely place and beautiful. Would definitely recommend it compared to the lost Garden of Heligan!
- St Catherine’s Castle
Postcode: S W Coast Path, Fowey PL23 1JH
Having finished at Eden project so quickly we were looking for places to visit that was near by to our camp and we found this historic castle. St Catherine’s Castle is a Henrician castle in Cornwall which was built approximately in 1538 and 1540, in response to fears of an invasion of England by France and the Holy Roman Empire. When you arrive at the car park, directional signs seem to be non-existent so try and keep an eye out for the English heritage flag which should give you an idea where to go. You need to pass the beach and go up the steep steps. Bit of a walk to get to however the views are superb, you can also go inside the castle and look around. Although it’s not big, it’s secluded and there aren’t many people there, I think it’s definitely nice for a pit stop however we would’ve liked to see some more information about the castle about what the remains are and what it looked like back in the days.
- Go back to camp Penhale touring park
Post code: Penhale Caravan & Camping Park, Penhale Farm, Fowey PL23 1JU
Second day at the camp, it was great, nothing much has changed. The views are still amazing, peaceful. We had a lovely dinner cooked on the portable stove and some drinks. Getting ready for tomorrow and packing up to travel to Lizard point.