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Explore Cornwall with Expedia’s Travel Guides to find the best hotels, flights, holiday packages and more!
Cornwall has always been very much the wild west of the UK. This ancient Celtic kingdom’s untamed coastline is blessed with ruggedly beautiful beaches and a creative spirit tempered by a hint of mystical magic.
And the only real way to experience it is on a road-trip of a lifetime.
Hiring a car in Cornwall gives you the freedom to roam off the beaten track – and this sense of independence is a very Cornish trait.
Whether you are arriving by train in St Austell, touching down at Cornwall Airport Newquay or pulling in by coach at Penzance, Expedia can help you arrange convenient car hire. What’s more, our network of car hire providers ensures that you always have access to all the latest deals on car hire in Cornwall and a great selection of cars.
To book your car hire in Cornwall simply enter the dates you require the vehicle for and we’ll do all the hard work for you. We return results for a range of cars – that can be easily filtered – so that you can quickly find the best prices.
You can book your car online and it will be waiting for you at your chosen location when you arrive. If you are planning a road trip and wish to leave the car at a different location to where you first hired it, this is also simple to arrange.
So, the only difficult thing is deciding where to visit. And we’ve got you covered here as well. Read on to discover our suggested itinerary for a Cornwall road trip to remember.
Having arranged your car rental in Cornwall it’s time to hit the road.
We started our drive in St Austell. Passing the scarred landscape that the tin industry created, notably the spiky hills and mineral pools known as the 'Cornish Alps', we drove south to the Lost Garden of Heligan. Here we stretched our legs as we strode across England’s Burma rope bridge in the jungle.
Truro was our next port of call. The Cornish capital is overlooked the three mighty spires of its 19 th century cathedral. The weekly market was in full swing on the paved piazza at Lemon Quay, so we picked up some goodies for tomorrow’s picnic.
The irresistible lure of the rugged coastline next saw us hitting the hidden coves of Portloe before we reached the River Fal. The iconic King Harry Ferry took us from the Roseland Peninsula and delivered us into Falmouth. The third largest natural harbour in the world is also home to some terrific coastal walks along its cliffs. Try the Swanpool to Maenporth route for its ocean views and opportunities to spot wildlife.
From Falmouth we snaked our way south to Lizard’s Point. This is the most southerly tip of the UK mainland. We parked up to enjoy the views from the lighthouse and were lucky enough to spot seals basking on the rocks as the ocean pounded them with spray.
At St Michael’s Mount we timed our arrival with the low tide. At this time, you can walk across the cobbled causeway to explore the ancient castle whose rough and ready charms are offset by the most delightfully manicured gardens.
With a slight sense of dread, we continued driving toward the place where the UK comes to a crashing halt: Land’s End. After admiring the view from its granite cliffs, we took a well-deserved pitstop at the 19 th century First and Last Inn.
As we headed up Cornwall’s southwest coast we sensed the change as seabirds flying above the waves were increasingly joined by surfers riding their crests. The drive from Land’s End to Zennor is unbelievably stunning, with the road obligingly hugging the coastline all the way. Passing abandoned tin mines, solitary lighthouses, evocative farmland and romantic Cornish villages that demand you pull over for an obligatory cream tea.
At Zennor we considered the local myth of a mermaid who enticed a parishioner to elope with her but, just beyond this, the mythic art of St Ives was laid out before us. While not mythic, Rick Stein is certainly a hero of ours, so we holed up in Padstow for the night and ate at his restaurant.
We spent the next day in Newquay, having booked some surfing lessons for the day. Epic fail are the best two words to describe our experience, but we had plenty of fun.
Speaking of epic our next destination was King Arthur’s Tintagel, complete with Merlin’s mysterious cave at its base. From the castle there are equally epic views over the surrounding landscape and coast.
Continuing north, Boscastle is a wonderful Cornish village set in a natural inlet. Strolling through the village and around the harbour you can’t help feeling like you have stepped back in time.
Unfortunately for us our time was up. We returned our rental car to Bodmin, but not before pulling over for one final cream tea!
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