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There’s nothing quite like the sight of bumper-to-bumper traffic snaking into the distance to dampen the holiday spirit. Travelling to Cornwall by car during the holidays can be a headache. Whilst this is a very easy way to see the county, we’re encouraging our adventurous visitors who are keen to get off the beaten track to leave the car at home or at your holiday cottage. With trains running every hour from London, plus extensive bus and train networks and widespread eBike hire available across the county, it’s never been easier to have a car-free holiday in Cornwall.
Here are a few little tips on what’s practical and what’s not – all in the name of easing the traffic on Cornwall’s tiny roads, reducing the carbon emitted from the journey down and giving you a more real, explorative holiday.
Services from the capital reach St Austell in 4 hours 20 minutes, Truro in 4 hours 40m, and Penzance and Newquay in 5 hours, so you can hop on an early morning train from Paddington and arrive in Cornwall in time for lunch. Or choose to make the journey part of the holiday and catch the Night Riviera, Great Western Railway’s eight-hour sleeper service from London to Penzance, which departs London at 10.30pm every night except Saturday. Cornwall is also home to one of the most beautiful rail journeys in the country (pictured) – jump off at St Erth and onto a train to St Ives for a stunner of a journey.
Open top coaster services run in several coastal areas, linking popular towns, beaches and attractions, allowing visitors to soak up the scenery as they go. The Atlantic Coaster runs between St Ives, Newquay and Padstow, whilst the Land’s End Coaster takes in some of the region’s favourite heritage sites and coastal hotspots. The Lizard Coaster explores Cornwall’s most southerly region, whilst the Falmouth Coaster lets you hop-on and hop-off at local sites, such as Pendennis Castle and the Maritime Museum.
If you’re not averse to the odd climb or two, cycling is a great way to get around Cornwall, and there are always eBikes to take the strain when the going gets tough. Great Western Railway accepts bikes on most of their routes, though you must always book a space in advance. Alternatively, hire a bike once you’re down here – you’ll find local bike hire outlets in all the destinations we feature. The bike hire outfit Cornwall Bike Hire will deliver road bikes and eBikes to locations throughout the county. Or you can try our friends, Global Boarders, based in Gwithian — a great way to explore west Cornwall. There are some great cycle paths to explore on two wheels, such as the family-friendly Camel Trail, the scenic Clay Trails and the challenging Bodmin Beast cycle trail.
Don’t forget to pack your walking boots – with Cornwall’s 300-mile South West Coast Path and a staggering 2,400 miles of inland paths, Cornwall is a walker’s paradise. The coast path is within striking distance of many of our cottages, but it’s also easy to reach eateries, beaches and local attractions by foot, too. Many of our places have local OS Maps available, so lace up for some great hiking adventures.