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Anyone who thinks Britain doesn’t have any decent beaches has clearly never visited the South Coast! With sandy beaches, stunning clifftop walks, and incredible features such as Durdle Door, the coastline of the SouthWest rivals that of some of our European neighbours and is something everyone should experience at least once.
Start this trip on Dorset’s Jurassic coast, filled with stunning clifftop walks and incredible geological features. Whilst you’re there, check out Lulworth Cove’s iconic Durdle Door.
Continue along the south coast to Britain’s surfing capital down in Cornwall. The sandy beaches and impressive waves at Fistral beach attract surfers from all over the world, and with a plethora of surf schools down there, there is plenty of opportunity to try it out for yourself. During the summer, it’s warm enough to sunbathe as well, meaning you don’t need to go abroad to get a tan. Continue with a couple of nights in Devon and explore the rolling hills ad beautiful coastline of Exmoor National Park. End your trip with a night in the Peak District – explore the wild countryside, admire the breath-taking views and incredible natural attractions, such as the many caves and nature reserves found in the area.
GOAT Roadtrip Leeds Depot (58 Commercial Road, LS5 3AQ)
Pick-up in the afternoon on the first day and drop-off in the morning on the last day (specific timings depend on the vehicle – see here). To extend your stay by adding more nights, please specify in your enquiry.
Dorset (2 Nights) Cornwall (2 Nights) Devon (2 Nights) Peak District (1 Night)
Leave your car securely parked at our depot in Leeds or have it delivered locally for an extra fee.
The journey from Leeds down to Dorset is a bit of a slog (for people who don’t appreciate the fun of a roadtrip, a good playlist and some road snacks). But either way, it is all worth it once you make it down to the coast. The rest of the journeys after this are more scenic and exciting. A slight detour through the Peak district should help and a stop in the North Wessex Downs will help break up the journey.
With two nights in Dorset, you’ll have a full day to make the most of the stunning stretch of coastline. Spend the first day visiting the iconic Durdle Door beach, possibly the most famous site along the Jurassic Coast. At the top of the cliffs that overlook Lulworth and Durdle Door, follow the South West coast path for a stunning walk along the cliff tops. Both Bat’s Head and White Northe cliffs make sensible check points, both of which offer amazing views from the cliff top. It’s about half an hour each way to Bat’s Head and an hour each way to White Northe, so head to whichever one you have time for.
If you’re looking for a slightly less trodden path, Hive beach at Burton Bradstock is just a few miles down to road and is more popular with locals as it’s still pretty undiscovered by tourists. There are also plenty of clifftop walks in either direction from the Hive. If a sandy beach is a must, Knoll Beach in Studland is only about half an hour away and is incredibly popular with both locals and tourists.
After a couple of days exploring the Jurassic coast, head on down to Cornwall. It can be done in just over 3 hours, but we’d recommend a 40-minute detour, going via Haytor Rocks and Tavistock, taking you along some beautiful stretches through Dartmoor National Park. It may add a bit of time to your journey, but it beats the motorway!
If you enjoyed the beaches in Dorset, you’re in for a treat once you get to Cornwall. Get yourself some surf lessons down at Fistral Beach, the surfing capital of the UK. After a day catching some waves and chilling on the beach, check out the amazing Eden project. Several plastic domes simulate a variety of climates from all over the world, allowing plants from a wide range of different environments to grow there. After your fill of science, head to the end of Britain and enjoy the stunning cliffs at Land’s End. Spend the evenings pottering around the quaint Cornish towns like Polzeath and Newquay, sampling the local pasties and seafood and stopping for a few pints in cosy pubs.
After enjoying what Cornwall has to offer, take the short journey up to neighbouring Devon, the last stop on the south coast. Take the A39 through some of the quaint areas of countryside before arriving at the final stop in Devon. It’s the way Google Maps will take you and should get you there in less than two hours.
Spend the day exploring the hills and woodlands across Dartmoor. The woodlands and rivers through Fingle Gorge are a good shout, starting at the Fingle Bridge Inn and working your way up to Castle Drogo in a fascinating two-hour circular walk. If you are looking to get one last trip to the beach in, Woolacombe beach and Saunton Sands near Barnstaple are the solution, and the coastal walks along that stretch of coastline will rival those found in Dorset.
Before making your way back to Leeds, you’ll get a night at the final stop, the Peak District. Travelling by Motorway, it should take you just shy of 5 hours, but we’d recommend taking the coastal route, along the A39 through the Quantocks, stopping in either Minehead or Bridgewater for lunch. It’ll add about 45 minutes to the journey but will make the trip a lot more enjoyable – no one wants to drive hangry!
A night in the Peak district should give you enough time to get one last experience of the English countryside before heading home. Start off in a quaint village such as Bakewell or Bamford, and take a walking trail starting from there. The journey back to Leeds isn’t too far, so we would recommend the 20-minute detour going via Snake Pass, as it’s famous for being one of the most scenic roads in the UK.