We noticed that you're using an unsupported browser. The TripAdvisor website may not display properly.We support the following browsers:
Windows: Internet Explorer, Mozilla Firefox, Google Chrome. Mac: Safari.

Cornwall Without a Car

Newcastle Upon Tyne
Level Contributor
52 posts
3 reviews
Save Topic
Cornwall Without a Car

I'm hoping for some honest advice and suggestions please with regard a holiday in Cornwall without a car.

We're hoping to spend about a week in the Cornwall area in the summer, but don't drive. We plan to fly to Newquay Cornwall Airport and are open to suggestions for an intinerary. We have a young son who will be almost 3 by the time we travel and so want to tailor the holiday around activities for him. Being near a beach is paramount, but we also need to be within commutable distance of other attractions and things to do. We're happy to use buses, trains or taxis to get about.

Can anyone suggest the best place to base ourselves, and is a holiday in Cornwall without a car a good idea?!

Thank you!

Looe, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
591 posts
43 reviews
Save Reply
1. Re: Cornwall Without a Car

yes, you can do a holiday in Cornwall without a car but it will take a bit of planning to make sure that you can get to the places that you want to. first off, contact cornwall council and ask for their bus and train maps. it would be useful if you could list down 3 or 4 things that you want to see and then see how accessible they are. also contact CoaST the sustainable tourism people here in Cornwall they will have plenty of downloadable advice. the issue is not getting from town to town but to attractions many of which are outside of towns or only have 1 or 2 buses a day. it can be done but without a lot of forethought. also, if you can avoid school holidays.

Bodmin, United...
Destination Expert
for Cornwall
Level Contributor
12,573 posts
81 reviews
Save Reply
2. Re: Cornwall Without a Car

You can get around without a car, just takes a bit more planning. I would advise basing yourselves fairly close to the airport as you are flying to Newquay, and not further west as transfers could turn out to be expensive. Lots of places spring to mind, Mawgan Porth, Looe, Polperro, and Mevagissey being my first thoughts.

What sort of accommodation do you want? What attractions do you want to see? What attracted you to Cornwall in the first place?

http://www.cornwallpublictransport.info/

This is the information you need about public transport, have a look and get some sort of idea which places are served best.

Cornwall, United...
Destination Expert
for Cornwall, Isles of Scilly
Level Contributor
1,846 posts
25 reviews
Save Reply
3. Re: Cornwall Without a Car

My advice would be don't try to do too much. Research the things you want to see and plan around those and how you will travel there. Your little boy will love the beach so I would think that would dominate your activities. You will not be able to see everything because the more remote places may not be served well by public transport . So just chill and go with the flow!

Newcastle Upon Tyne
Level Contributor
52 posts
3 reviews
Save Reply
4. Re: Cornwall Without a Car

Thanks for all your replies. All very useful info and things to consider. It certainly sounds like we need to think around our trip and plan it well.

In terms of what attracted us to Cornwall, it would mainly be the beautiful beaches that we've seen pictures of and heard great things about. Almost everything we've read about the area suggests it's perfect for young children. We're keen to have a UK holiday, as ashamedly haven't visited many parts of our own country and want to see more, and we found travelling abroad with our son last year quite stressful because of the heat and cuisine (our normally very hearty eater decided he didn't like any food offered to him whilst in Spain, so it was a struggle). Cornwall also seems to have a lot to offer in terms of bistros and eateries, and quirky shops etc - all things my husband and I will enjoy.

I think attractions on our list so far would be The Eden Project, Lappa Valley Steam Railway and Newquay Zoo (which look like winners for a 3 year old!). But would love to know what else is recommended. Obviously though, as long as the weather is good, the beach would hopefully occupy much of our time.

We did really want to do a Featherdown Farm holiday, and considered Boswarthen Farm in Penzance, but decided this is definitely a no-go without a car! Maybe next year (driving licences pending!).

Bodmin, United...
Destination Expert
for Cornwall
Level Contributor
12,573 posts
81 reviews
Save Reply
5. Re: Cornwall Without a Car

I don't think anyone would recommend staying near Penzance with your list of interests as they are all in the east of the county while Penzance is in the west. Although it might not look far on a map, driving usually takes a bit longer here due to volume of traffic and narrower roads.

Have a look at this place

http://www.pentewansands.com/

and see if this might suit you. It's right on the beach, good for families and has a bus route going right past it with links to St Austell, which will give good rail and bus links to other places you are interested in. It's close to the Eden Project too.

Cornwall, United...
Destination Expert
for Cornwall, Isles of Scilly
Level Contributor
1,846 posts
25 reviews
Save Reply
6. Re: Cornwall Without a Car

Eden is interesting but unless you are really interested in plants and ecology you will find it expensive. Also not much fun for your little lad. Given the efforts of going by public transport you may prefer to go elsewhere. I have never been to Lappa Valley but the zoo is very good. It isn't very big but we'll worth a visit. Have a look at the visitcornwall website, focus on the things you would like to do. Test your journeys using www.travelinesw.co.uk . Post back with your ideas and I am sure we will be able to advise you further.

Plymouth
Level Contributor
2,778 posts
45 reviews
Save Reply
7. Re: Cornwall Without a Car

As you are flying into Newquay, you are probably best off staying somewhere on the coast between Newquay and Padstow, as these are the only places served by regular direct bus from the airport. Anywhere else will involve lengthy bus journeys or expensive taxis. Lots of lovely beaches all the way along this stretch of coast. IMO Padstow is the nicest place - lovely small harbour town with nice beaches in walking distance, on a river estuary so maybe a bit more sheltered than the open sea, ferries across the river to more beaches, bike hire on the Camel Trail. Perhaps less well connected to other places by public transport than Newquay, but there is a bus to Bodmin where you could visit the old gaol and the Bodmin/Wenford railway (steam trains) which your son will probably love.

Destination Expert
for Cornwall
Level Contributor
946 posts
6 reviews
Save Reply
8. Re: Cornwall Without a Car

Firstly, yes you can holiday in Cornwall without a car, but you do need to choose your base carefully. Also you can use www.travelinesw.com to look at connections to get an idea of frequency and doability.

would second Padstow as a good base with public transport, although the transport is only in that north Cornwall area. Plenty to keep you busy for a week though. I think Penzance and Falmouth are great car-less bases but they are difficult to get yo Newquay airport from. If you didn't mind looking at a cab I would seriously consider Falmouth - great beach, nice easy walking in and around town, gorgeous scenery, boat rides and excellent choice of restaurants and pubs. Padstow is more "foodie"

Loughton, United...
Level Contributor
6,477 posts
358 reviews
Save Reply
9. Re: Cornwall Without a Car

We did this a while back and found Redruth a suitable centre

Cornwall, United...
Destination Expert
for Cornwall, Isles of Scilly
Level Contributor
1,846 posts
25 reviews
Save Reply
10. Re: Cornwall Without a Car

While Redruth is central and good for transport it is not really a town for tourists. It would be necessary to take public transport to go everywhere including the beach.