Although our motorhome hire company is based in Cornwall our campervans regularly tour all Britain and Europe. We understand a lot of our customers are looking to hire a motorhome and then travel further afield. In this blog entry we highlight our popular South Coast tour. With the option of a one way motorhome hire ending in Norwich or a circular route along the coast before heading back across country via the historic town of Cambridge and Oxford. We’d recommend taking 3 weeks for the full circular tour although it can be done in less if you’re restricted for time.
For the article we’ve presumed your motorhome hire starts and ends at Newquay airport. If preferred we can arrange home delivery or provide parking for your vehicle whilst you travel. It’s also possible for us to meet you at a local station. We meet you in the arrivals carpark and handover the vehicle. We don’t just pass the campervan over and leave you to it, we provide a comprehensive walkthrough the van making sure you’re comfortable with the vehicle and answering any questions you may have before you set off. In addition to this, all vehicles come with a handbook and on-board tablet to ensure you have all the information you need to enjoy the trip.
South Coast Motorhome Tour: Outward Leg
Renowned for it’s selection of restaurants, bars and clubs, Newquay itself is a popular resort town. The nightlife is popular all year round. The iconic Fistral Beach is the capital of the UK surf scene with plenty of surf hire facilities on hand for all your requirements. For the less adventurous, there’s a great selection of places to eat overlooking the waves where you can watch the experts without getting wet yourself!
After spending time on the beaches of Cornwall, your next stop heads over the border into Devon. To enter the county you need to point the motorhome east and cross the River Tamar, via the toll bridge or Torpoint Ferry. As you tour the city the maritime history of Plymouth becomes clear. Whether looking around the Hoe or visiting the Mayflower Steps, the sea is never far away. For families, the aquarium is well worth a visit with rays, sharks and turtles as well as hundreds of fish!
After a night in the bustling city of Plymouth, Dartmoor has plenty of space to get closer to nature and stretch your legs. Famous for it’s wild ponies, the National Park has plenty of walks and cycle tracks to enjoy. Our on-board motorhome tablet has plenty of suggestions for the ideal route for you to explore. Dartmoor is actually one of the few places in England to encourage wild camping As long as you’re sensible there a lots of places suitable for an overnight stop in the motorhome. If you feel you’d prefer the luxury of mains electricity and atmosphere of a campsite there are plenty to visit.
Having had a taste of the wilds on Dartmoor, night four takes us back to a city. Exeter is a compact city cramming a lot into a small space, so much so that we’d recommend leaving the motorhome at a site or the park and ride and travelling in by bus. The focal area of the city is definitely the Cathedral, with cultural highlights all around the surrounding area. As well as the cathedral, we’d recommend a visit to the city’s underground passages. Take a guided tour under the city and learn more about the history of the area.
Depending on how long you have the motorhome for, the South Coast between Exeter and Bournemouth has loads to see. For example the towns of Salcombe and Lyme Regis are both great seaside stop offs, with family friendly activities such as fossil hunting available. As you reach Bournemouth itself there are plenty of things to do. Monkey World is always worth a visit and the town has loads of great restaurants and bars. Make sure you take a walk along the pier to take in the sea air!
Over the next section of the journey the motorhome will pass through the New Forest and Southampton. Both well worth a night or two if you have the luxury of taking your time. Similar to Dartmoor, the New Forest is famous for it’s ponies, with traffic regularly being stopped as wild herds cross the road. With lot’s to do and see, we don’t expect customers to travel more than a couple of hours at a time, this section could take anywhere from 1 to 3 nights.
Regardless of where you finally stop, we wouldn’t go further than Portsmouth. If travelling further you risk spending too long driving rather than relaxing and enjoying what the area has to offer. Portsmouth is packed with museums and attractions linked to the British Navy. It’s possible to visit both HMS Victory and the Mary Rose at the historic naval docks.
Leaving Portsmouth you will head through the South Downs and eventually reach Brighton. Another iconic city filled with independent shops in areas like The Lanes, numerous restaurants and famous tourist attractions such as the Brighton Pavilion and the Pier. Another idea whilst visiting Brighton is to take advantage of the regular train service to London. If booking in advance the tickets are very reasonable and the trains quickly get you to the big city. Leaving the motorhome parked up on site and travelling into the capital by rail is hassle free and easy. This option means people regularly elect to spend a couple of days in Brighton rather than heading further along the coast after a single night.
Depending on the amount of time spent in Brighton there are several options, some may wish to visit Eastbourne whereas others may spend time in the High Weald AONB. Eventually, the route heads east to Hastings and the nearby village of Battle. With the whole area famous by the battle of 1066, visiting Battle Abbey, the castle and the battle of Hastings museum gives a full day of history. The cliff railways give a unique birds-eye view of Hastings, the views looking out over the town and the English Channel are worth the visit. It’s hard not to imagine the invading forces of the French arriving!
The next stop on the route is Canterbury, before reaching the cathedral city the road passes the impressive Bodiam Castle. Canterbury is best known from the famous Canterbury Tales although it was actually founded in Roman times. As you may expect there’s plenty of old buildings to take a look around. For lovers of the outdoors there are walks and cycle rides around the River Stour. For families, Howletts Wildlife Park has lions, tigers, rhinos and gorillas to see.
Having completed the run across the South Coast, it’s time to head north-east towards Norwich. The Norfolk Broads provide a nice alternative to the beaches and sea-side towns. Swapping piers and deckchairs for barges and windmills. From Norwich it’s possible to end your tour. We’ll meet you at Norwich airport for the handover and you can fly back home after a great experience during your motorhome hire.
South Coast Motorhome Tour: Return Leg
For those having booked a longer motorhome hire it’s time to start the return journey to Cornwall. Rather than head back along the coast, it’s better to travel across country via a different route. First stop on the return leg is Cambridge, the university owns numerous colleges and museums in the city. A day wouldn’t be enough to visit them all so some people decide to stay a couple of nights. To see the city from a different perspective it’s possible to take a tour on a punt, pole driven boats travelling slowly back and forth on the river. The nearby city of Ely is tiny but also worth a look around.
Next stop for the campervan is the royal town of Windsor. Most famous for it’s castle it also has a large park and plenty of shops and restaurants to make a pleasant day’s visit. Windsor is close to Ascot and also has it’s own race course. If you fancy a flutter, a day at the races could be a good shout. For families, the Legoland theme park is a must-visit with rides and attractions for young and old alike.
Our second famous university on the return leg of the tour arrives in the form of Oxford. Again a city with plenty of churches, museums and galleries to tour. The Museum of Natural History is a great location with a nice range of dinosaur exhibits that kids love. The attached Pitt Rivers Museum even displays some genuine shrunken heads! On the outskirts of Oxford lies Bicester Village, an outlet mall providing an alternative destination for those seeking some designer retail therapy.
No tour of England would be complete without a visit to Stonehenge. Although passing nearby whilst travelling to Bournemouth at the start of the tour, we prefer to visit on the way back home. Taking the motorhome through the North Wessex Downs. Interestingly English Heritage submitted plans to increase motorhome parking at the stones in the Summer of 2016. This makes it even easier to visit in a campervan.
Depending on how many nights have left of your motorhome hire there are several different route options following Stonehenge. With travel to Bath, Bristol and the Cotswolds all possible. We always enjoy visiting Bath. The city is famous for it’s Georgian sandstone buildings and Roman baths. The baths are well worth a visit although with it’s high sulphur content sampling the water is definitely an acquired taste!
Also on the route home is the famous village of Glastonbury. Although known for it’s huge festival in June it has plenty more to see. The ruined abbey, Wookey Hole caves and the Tor are all highlights. The climb up the hill is definitely worth the effort with the summit providing stunning views of the Somerset Levels.
The final destination on the South Coast motorhome tour is back to Newquay Airport. Returning the van to us is quick and easy. We meet you in the departure car-park and you leave the van with us before catching your flight. Although the tour takes 3 weeks, the memories and photos of an unforgettable road trip around Southern England last a lot longer!
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