SW Coastal Road Trip Day 3 – Brixham, Totness, Dartmoor & St Ives

Another early wake up on Day 3 for a full day of action and exploring with Tasmin as our tour guide showing us around Brixham, Berry Head, Totnes and Dartmoor before we headed across to St Ives!

Our first stop was Berry Head just around the corner from Torquay and Brixham. It was a beautiful spot for a walk and to enjoy the sea views off the cliffs! Berry head is a nature reserve and coastal headland which houses an old quarry, a lighthouse and a cute little cafe for anyone wanting a hot drink and a cake whilst they take in the views of the ocean! It was a gorgeous spot and I’m glad we went on such a hot day! Its also one of only 7 Unesco Geoparks in the UK, 140 only in the world, how fascinating is that? It certainly didn’t disappoint.

Once we had finished in Berry Head it was off to Brixham. A bustling and very colourful seaside town on the coast of Devon. The houses were all beautiful colours and there were endless families crabbing in the harbour! I hadn’t been crabbing since I was a kid so this was so great to see which they had managed to catch with their lines and bits of bacon on the end. Of course fish and chips was in order. Tas took us to this amazing fish and chips shop called Rio’s Fish & Chips restaurant and takeaway. We decided on a takeaway and went and sat at Brixham Breakwater, a small flat stoned beach just the other side of the harbour!

The food was amazing and we spent the next half a hour watching and learning how to skim stones. Tas and Brad were really good but I just got into the habit of just throwing them into the water and giving up. But I tried and thats what counts!

Next up on our travels was the cute town of Totnes. With a beautiful river on low tide as we arrived we walked up the main high street which is a slight hill to enjoy all the small independent shops and to watch them make fudge in the window at Roly’s Fudge Pantry. A place we noticed is EVERYWHERE. Exeter, Lincoln, Brixham, Bournemouth, you name it chances are they have a shop there. We ventured up a small alleyway underneath the archway that hung over the main high street to find a quaint church of Totnes with low hanging trees all down the pathway, It was really beautiful. Followed by a browse in a book shop, mine and Tas’ favourite place! We then headed back down the hill for the next leg our journey!

Tas wanted to take us to Princetown in the Dartmoor National park and it was without a doubt the most stunning part of the trip when it came to driving routes! There were wild horses everywhere and sheep all over the hills and in the road that you had to slow down and swerve just so you didn’t hit them! One sheep did decide to run out in front of the car but thanks to Brads quick reactions he was safe and so were we! Honestly the views were like something from a movie, I’d never expected views quite like those here in the UK but how mistaken I was. It was breathtaking.

We arrived in the small village of Princetown and decided we wanted to have a look at Dartmoor prison. The prison is a category C mens prison with huge granite walls and a very gothic looking demeanour. We made it to the outside gate before realising we probably shouldn’t snoop any further but it was so cool as I’d never been so close to a prison before and I have a real fascination with prisons (dark tourism and all that). After a full day of exploring it was getting late and we still had an hour and a half drive to St Ives from where we were we decided to have a quick tea at The Old Police Station cafe in Princetown before we all went our separate ways.

We couldn’t have had a better day with Tas as our tour guide showing us places we had never even thought to go too! Plus it was so so wonderful to spend time with her, especially as when we left Dartmoor for St Ives she had an hours drive home for herself she brought us all this way. I’ll always be grateful for this time spent.

Next up was St Ives! Once we jumped in the car again we were off to our Hobbit Home! Yes you read that right, Brad and I were staying in a coastal Hobbit Home! It was so cool. The driveway once we arrived was small, narrow and windy and if anything a little bit dangerous. Once we arrived we grabbed our wheelbarrows, popped our luggage in the barrows and trekked our way across the field to our hobbit home.

We had our own hammock outside and a log fire too for us to prepare which accompanied an honestly box at the entrance where we could pick up a bag of wood. £5 down later and cracking fire we absolute could not complain. That same evening we used the communal kitchen and living space to cook up an easy meal of tortellini. The shared kitchen was amazing, wonderfully decorated and literally had everything you could ever need. The only things we brought was our food! Really resourceful. There was also perfectly clean and functioning toilets and showers but if you didn’t want to do the trek from your hobbit home or cabin up to the communal areas you had the option of a compost toilet. Personally, I chose the communal area toilets because the smell of the compost one nearly knocked me clean out. That and there was no good lighting in them either so if you fell over, oops.

The Hobbit Homes themselves were super cosy. There was a double bed and inside was a hamper with blankets inside if we needed them for around the fire. There were fake candles which were cute and fairy lights all around the cabin which gave it such a homely feel and there was plenty of room for our bags and belongings. You really are one with nature though as just as we went to sleep something started scratching at the walls of the home and naturally, not literally, I shit myself.

It was a great night and just as the sun was setting we ventured up to Knills monument which was only a 10 minute walk from where we were staying and got the most beautiful 360 view of the St Ives coastline, St Ives itself and we watched the blood moon come over the hills. It was definitely one of the most relaxing nights on the trip ready for another day of exploring the next day!

St Ives town and Newquay are up next!

SW Coastal Road Trip Day 2 – Durdle Door, Exeter & Torquay

After an awesome first night in Bournemouth Brad and I were up early (which makes a nice change) and ready for our next adventure to Durdle Door, Exeter and Torquay all in one day!

We decided to get some food once we had arrived at Durdle Door so skipped out on breakfast to get on the road. It took us about an hour to get to Durdle Door from Bournemouth and once we arrived it was already getting busy! We paid the £5 car parking fee for 4 hours and headed down the big cliff to see the sights! Before you make your way down the cliff there is a cute little ice cream shop and a pasty van so we made note of those to make sure we grabbed some food once we made it back up to the top again.

Fun fact: Durdle Door is part of what is known as the Jurassic Coast! What is this? 96 Miles of English Heritage Protected Coastline!

Top tip. DON’T WEAR FLIP FLOPS. The views are beautiful and its really pleasant but the pathway down in white gravel and I nearly fell down multiple times I had to hold onto Brad basically all the way because the one time I let go I fully nearly stacked it. Once we made it to the top of the cliffs overlooking the beach we were in awe. On the left was Man O War Beach and further down from that was St Oswalds Beach. The water was beautifully blue and clear we could’ve been in another country! Then to our right was the monument itself, the beautiful Durdle Door and beach! We headed down the steps to the stoney beach to get a closer look. The waves were crashing and we took a seat right on the shoreline to enjoy the sun. We then headed up the beach to enjoy and sit in the small caves in the cliffs too.

Finally we grew an appetite and it was back up the hill (which was a struggle in the heat and flip fops) and onto the next part of our journey. NOT BEFORE a pasty and a sausage roll overlooking the Jurassic Coastline.

Then it was my turn to drive the 2 hour Journey to Exeter. Unfortunately for us Exeter was not what we expected and we didn’t find all that much to do. We headed over and saw the cathedral in all its glory which was an absolutely phenomenal piece of architecture.

Once we had seen the cathedral the town centre was pretty quiet so we decided to head to a riverside pub for a light snack and a pint (or a cup of tea if you’re me). We walked towards the River Exe and walked past what is known as and what is left of the old Medieval Exe Bridge which has been around for centuries. It was really cool to see the last remains of this piece of old historic architecture! We then walked along the river until we arrived at The Mill on the Exe pub and sat by the river to enjoy our pit stop!

Then it was back to the car for the rest of the drive to Torquay to see my beautiful friend Tasmin! Tasmin lives in Torquay so it would have been SO RUDE to no pop in. To top it off she also did us a huge favour, saving us a fair whack of money on accommodation, and let us stay with her as a bonus. I’ll always be thankful as this also meant we got to spend more time together and it had already been 11 months since I last saw her at our graduation. The Journey from Exeter took us 40 minutes which was really nice and short! When we arrived in Torquay we had a dinner booked to get ready for!

Once we were ready it was into Torquay Harbour for a meal at Twenty 1! This restaurant overlooked the harbour and the 4 of us enjoyed beautiful sunset views, great food and drinks and even better company. We laughed all night and caught up with everything possible, it was such a lovely evening with friends and I was so grateful to be able to do this.

For dinner I think we ordered the whole menu. I had the Chicken and Chorizo flatbread pizza as well as the Tempura Halloumi and the Cheesy Garlic Bread (because no meal is complete without cheesy garlic bread). Another brilliantly priced meal as well with a good vibes atmosphere and great cocktails!

We walked home along the harbour back to Tas’ house well and truly full of food for a final late night cup of tea and bed ready for Tas to show us around Berry Head, Brixham, Totnes and Dartmoor the next day! Another successful travelling day completed!

Our South West Coast Road Trip Introduction!

With Lockdown easing in the UK and both My man and I having been at home inside doing nothing but exercising, reading books and getting a tan living that furloughed life for about 5 months, my stepmum suggested a road trip. We had money saved for a future trip that keeps being pushed back and back due to Covid, and now with more time to save EVEN MORE, why not go out and spend some of it?

So thats what we did.

We decided on a 7 day South West Road trip! So where did we start? Easy, we headed straight down to Bournemouth from Bedfordshire. From there it was 7 days of driving and exploring different cities, beaches and places we had never been!

Here is our itinerary, this absolutely 100% changed as we were going because there is just SO MUCH to see. We did so much and every day was such an adventure, so the below was our original Itinerary, below THIS is our ACTUAL itinerary;

Stop 1: Bournemouth

Stop 2: Durdle Door

Stop 3: Exeter

Stop 4: Torquay

Stop 5: Salcombe

Stop 6: St Ives

Stop 7: Lands End

Stop 8: Newquay

Stop 9: The Eden Project

Stop 10: Bath

Stop 11: Stonehenge, then Home!

All in all you are looking at a good 15-17 hours driving across 7 days in a little Renault Cleo with the two of us an our bags! We split the journey between us as we are both insured on the car and only spent a grand total of £60 in petrol! Thats it!

So below, see out ACTUAL itinerary and what we actually got up too, because there were definitely a few more stops than the above, but we also removed one stop, see if you can figure out which one it is!

Stop 1: Bournemouth

Stop 2: Durdle Door

Stop 3: Exexter

Stop 4: Torquay

Stop 5: Brixham

Stop 6: Totnes

Stop 7: Dartmoor

Stop 8: St Ives

Stop 9: Lands End

Stop 10: Newquay

Stop 11: The Eden Project Hangloose Zipwire

Stop 12: Bath

Stop 13: Stonehenge & Home

So we added another 2 stops after not going to Salcombe and exploring more of the area around Torquay, so Brixham, Totnes and then Dartmoor national park and even going to see the Dartmoor Prison! This was all with my lovely friend Tasmin who lives down this way, it was amazing to see a familiar face who I haven’t seen since September which was also a dream and could be our tour guide!

So here is the route we took below, this is a very basic look as Google maps only lets you have 8 stops and I didn’t add Home (at the start or the end) to the stops but from there to Bournemouth is 2 and a half hours (4 hours if you go along the M25 Car park which we absolutely did). Also from Stonehenge to Home is another 2.5 hours. I also missed out the small stops we did around Brixham, Totnes and Dartmoor but that added another hour and a half to the journey going between these places as you can see below! I added the map separately below.

In total driving time was 17/18 hours including the journey home from Stonehenge which I haven’t shown and from Home to Bournemouth (because as much as I love you guys I don’t want you knowing where I live, haha!).

So over the next week I’ll be sharing with you our epic adventure, I’ll also be posting all the Airbnb’s we stay in and what we got booked in!

If you don’t want too wait and read it you are also more than welcome to watch my youtube video right here!

J x