Driving to Cornwall tomorrow, any tips?

(53 Posts)
flowery Fri 23-Aug-13 07:35:43

We are travelling from Cambridgeshire. I realise the traffic will be an utter nightmare so looking for tips on routes to take, what time to leave (have been advised 3am, 4am, 7am and overnight so far), good places to stop etc
We have two DC 6 and 3 if that helps.

Am hoping the journey doesn't make me regret booking it!

Thanks in advance smile

Morgause Fri 23-Aug-13 07:38:54

Get past Bristol as early as you can then enjoy the scenery. It's a long journey but a pretty one.

CorrieDale Fri 23-Aug-13 07:41:13

Hope it goes well for you! We break the journey in Devon for a night or 2. That way we don't travel too far on a changeover day (Friday and Saturday). Agree that you need to be well past Bristol by 9am.

Avoid m4/m5 around bristol if you can. You can either go a30 I to Cornwall or a39 on the north.

I'm sooty but it will be hellish. I'd leave very early or mid evening to avoid the worst of it.

My geography is shocking, but if you were planning to use the a303 anywhere near Stonehenge, be aware that there are major roadworks as they've closed a nearby road.

I'm clearly not sooty, but I am sorry!

OohMrDarcy Fri 23-Aug-13 07:43:13

I am going tomorrow too - with a 6 and 3 year old as well!

We are driving from hampshire and leaving at 5am if that helps - we did it at the start of the holidays too and leaving that time was perfect... not many traffic issues at all. So basically - leave as early as you can bear!

Meglet Fri 23-Aug-13 07:44:43

We leave at 8am from Hampshire and the traffic is still grim. Always drive via the A30 as it reminds me of my childhood and I'm a LP so I like my comfort zone.

Stonehenge area tends to be one huge traffic jam. There's a little chef not long afterwards. The rest of the drive to exeter isn't too bad. Exeter services is huge and a PITA to get into via the roundabout but they have an M&S food as well as the usual motorway fare.

It's one hell of a drive but worth it.

PartyFops Fri 23-Aug-13 07:53:18

OK, I live in suffolk and drive to Pastyland a lot as I am from there. The best route really is A11, m11 m25 m4 m5 a30. There are other routes but that really is the best. I would suggest leaving at about lunchtime, stop at Lydiard Park near Swindon, it's a big country park with a great huge play park etc. Just 2 mins off M4.

If you leave at 1, with a good stop off and a few wee stops it will probably take you about 6.5 -7 hours all in. By that time the Bristol and Cornwall end will be clear.

Have fun, enjoy Cornwall. I will be there in a few weeks.

domesticslattern Fri 23-Aug-13 07:56:11

The service stations are hell on earth on Fridays and Saturdays in August. Massive queues to get in and completely over run when you manage it. Ideas to stop slightly away from the motorway itself are v sensible.

We always leave later - because I pack in the morning! So are behind the early starters and it works well. So I'm with PartyFops on the lunchtime start.

flowery Fri 23-Aug-13 08:17:05

Really good tips, thanks all.

Helpful about services domesticslattern, will have to look for some alternatives as we will need to stop fairly often I think.

Eek!

PartyFops Fri 23-Aug-13 08:19:48

There is a big sainsburys and shopping centre literally 1min off the M5 at Taunton, that's always a good stop off for dinner, petrol etc.

bodiddly Fri 23-Aug-13 08:23:16

We go every year and find that if you leave as early as possible (5am at the latest) then we sail through. If you go m4 m5 at that time of day you sail through. Any later and your journey could take double the time. Take some breakfast and eat on the way. Audio story CDs for the kids or a DVD. If you put them in the car in their pjs they will probably go back to sleep for an hour or so. You see plenty of people at the services that have done the same thing. Have a lovely holiday!

flowery Fri 23-Aug-13 08:27:47

Ooh yes supermarkets for stopping a good idea, they have toilets and parking and can buy supplies!

We have DVDs in the car bodiddly, they are a godsend! Boys are briefed that they have to go back to sleep in the car- course the problem is at this time of year it will be daylight but even if they don't go straight to sleep I'm sure they will at some point.

This is all really helpful thank you.

pinkpiggy Fri 23-Aug-13 08:30:25

I agree to go Bristol way on the motorway as early as possible. I would avoid the A303 and smaller roads, you can easily add hours onto your journey. Good luck!

thobblywighs Fri 23-Aug-13 08:35:21

For the last two years we have stopped off here
www.heartlandscornwall.com
It's free and there are playgrounds and bits and pieces for the children to do and plenty of opportunities for them to stretch their legs. There are places to buy food and also space for a picnic.
I love Cornwall.
Have a great holiday.

missmapp Fri 23-Aug-13 08:37:19

Agree about the services. we left at about 4am a few years ago, reached a services at Exteter about 7am, walked in expecting it to be deserted and was greated by Boden overload!!! It was packed, and queues for everything.

Now, we stop at a little café and it is much better!

RegainingUnconsciousness Fri 23-Aug-13 08:40:27

I live on he A30. Give us a wave on the way past grin

Even we've made the mistake of going 'into town' on a Saturday and then taking well over an hour to get home.

Small price to pay to live in such a lovely place though.

Have a nice holiday!

TheDoctrineOfPositivityYes Fri 23-Aug-13 08:46:19

Can you leave at 8pm tonight, drive for four hours whilst the kids sleep in the car, stop wherever that gets you (hopefully past Bristol?), carry them into a Travellodge and then set off again at 6-7am

flowery Fri 23-Aug-13 08:51:15

grin at Boden overload!

Will wave Regaining!

*Doctrine we did discuss that, but discounted it, because last time we did something similar, DS1, aged 2, didn't sleep at all in the car, managing to stay awake until 11.30pm when we got on the ferry, so we've not done it since!

BoffinMum Fri 23-Aug-13 08:54:30

I haven't done the trip but from what people are saying here. I would be tempted to stay in a Travelodge near Bristol and take my time TBH.

Wish there were more trains to places like this.

PartyFops Fri 23-Aug-13 08:55:33

Agree that Heartlands is Fab!

TheDoctrineOfPositivityYes Fri 23-Aug-13 08:56:36

At 6 and 3 I'd've risked that it might go better this time, I think! Good luck whatever you do!

MorningHasBroken Fri 23-Aug-13 08:57:01

Tesco in Exeter is off the same junction as the services - go straight past them and follow signs to the superstore. Kids now say it doesn't count as a holiday unless we've had a tesco fry up on the way grin

RegainingUnconsciousness Fri 23-Aug-13 08:57:14

"Wish there were more trains to places like this"

Oh yes! There is talk of rebuilding a couple of lines near here, but nothing concrete still. Fingers crossed!

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