August has come and gone, the schools are back and your fading tan may well suggest it’s time to pack away the shorts and swimsuits for another year. However, we’re determined to cling on to summer for as long as possible, hence why we’ve planned out a late summer road trip along England’s south coast.
Kicking off in the seaside town of Brighton, our journey heads west past award winning beaches, stunning coastlines and countless charming towns before wrapping up in Newquay, one of the UK’s favourite holiday destinations. So what are you waiting for? Book a car hire in Brighton and prepare to hit the road.
As one of the most popular cities on the South Coast, or anywhere in Britain for that matter, Brighton has plenty to offer and is the perfect place to kick off your road trip. Stroll along the two mile promenade, tuck into an ice cream on the world famous Brighton Pier or spend the day lounging on Pebble Beach. The choice is yours.
Make the 50 mile journey west to the naval city of Portsmouth, home to the Royal Navy Museum and the Portsmouth Historic Dockyard. Make sure you also find time to visit the fascinating D-Day Museum, the only British museum which is solely dedicated to telling the story of that historic day during the Second World War.
Continue your journey to the New Forest National Park and its vast open fields, ancient forests and fascinating wildlife. Exit the M27 and cut through the heart of the park towards the delightful seaside town of Lymington. Here you can wander through the old cobbled streets down by the harbour, or hop on the ferry to the Isle of Wight (crossing time is roughly 40 minutes) for a spot of lunch in the cosy village of Yarmouth.
Continue inland towards Dorchester before heading south to Weymouth, a truly picturesque town and home to one of England’s most popular beaches. The white sand of Weymouth Beach stretches along the coast for three miles, while the town’s bustling Georgian seafront is home to an array of restaurants, shops and bars. Don’t miss out on a trip to Nothe Fort, one of the best preserved forts of its kind, where you can enjoy unrivalled views of the Jurassic Coast.
The walled city of Exeter lies in the heart of Devon and can be reached in well under two hours. Delve into its rich history with a walking tour of the city’s underground tunnels which date back to medieval times, or browse the natural history collection at the award winning Royal Albert Memorial Museum. If you’re holidaying in Devon, pick up a car hire in Exeter and explore the area for a day or two. You may not have time for a full south coast road trip, but there’s still plenty to see round this neck of the woods.
The English Riviera
Blown away by the scenery so far? You ain’t seen nothing yet. Take the coastal route south towards Torquay and feast your eyes on a coastal stretch most commonly referred to as The English Riviera. Prepare yourself for award winning beaches, stunning views and even the odd palm tree as you continue through the charming seaside towns of Paington and Brixham. If you have time, stop by the village of Cockington just outside Torquay and stroll around what is often described as the quintessential English village. Thatched cottages, colourful gardens and tea shops await.
Time to get yourself back behind the wheel and head south into Cornwall; destination, Falmouth. This popular sailing spot features the world’s third largest natural harbour, while a string of beautiful beaches such as Swanpool, Maenporth and Castle Beach are all within easy access of the quaint town centre.
No self-respecting road tripper passes through Cornwall without stopping off in St Ives, easily one of the most picturesque towns in the British Isles. It really does have it all, from breath-taking scenery to its cobbled streets, old fisherman’s cottages and sub-tropical climate. Oh, and it’s also a major art centre, jam packed with galleries and exhibitions throughout the year.
You’ve reached the end of your route, but don’t worry, you’re going out on a high. Newquay ranks amongst the top holiday destinations in the UK, and for good reason. It’s home to some of Cornwall’s best beaches which attract thousands of sunbathers and surfers throughout the year. Fancy catching a few waves yourself? Pick up a car or van hire in Newquay and pop your boards in the back before heading off on a tour of the beaches. Once you’re all surfed out, head back into town and sample the vibrant nightlife.
All revved up for a late summer road trip? Check out some of our other posts for extra inspiration: