London to Cornwall - Overnight stop or go all thway in one day?

(37 Posts)
imme Tue 17-Jun-14 16:29:42

We're off to Cornwall in July and will stay near Bodmin. We have done the journey in the past in one day but I am now thinking about breaking up the journey into two days. We have a baby girl who hates going in the car so I thought we should keep travelling time to a minimum.
If we did the journey in one day we would leave very early on Saturday. If we did it in two days we would leave on Friday lunchtime, stay somewhere on route and then take it a bit easier on the Saturday in order to arrive at the cottage early afternoon.
What do people recommend? And if we stay somewhere en route, where would be a nice place?

PestoSurfissimos Tue 17-Jun-14 16:35:28

It's about 6 hours drive from London to Bodmin. I would do it with a stop half-way for a break. You will probably find your baby is better in the car on this journey as it is virtually all motorway or dual carriageway cruising. My bet is she'll conk out and sleep!

CMOTDibbler Tue 17-Jun-14 16:36:48

If she hates being in the car, then I'd leave at 6pm, and drive till you get to Exeter services and stay at the Travelodge (I think thats the brand there) around midnight.

Then you have the morning to do things before you get to the cottage.

That way, the vast bulk of the travel will be when shes asleep and it will be nowhere near as stressfull.

CheshireSplat Tue 17-Jun-14 16:37:01

My DD hated going in the car so we always travelled in the evening (my parents live about 4 hours away) putting her in the car about 7 as if it was bed time. Then she'd sleep for at least a couple of hours. A daytime trip would have been torturous for us! Not sure if that would mean you'd be too late to check into your accommodation though.

eurochick Tue 17-Jun-14 16:40:07

Leaving London at 6pm sounds like a bad idea. It will take you a couple of hours to travel about 10 miles!

imme Tue 17-Jun-14 16:42:20

Thanks for your replies. Interesting suggestions to travel in the evening. Had not considered that option. In our case it would mean travelling through London on a Friday evening though, I wonder if the traffic could be really stressful..
Oh decisions decisions!

imme Tue 17-Jun-14 16:43:27

cross post eurochick about the traffic!

CharlesRyder Tue 17-Jun-14 16:45:28

It isn't 6hrs to Bodmin!! Even super conservative googlemaps says 4.5hrs from Canary Wharf to Bodmin. We do Slough to Boscastle in 3!

Anyway, I would leave half an hour before whatever time her longest nap is dose of calpol as you leave and just do a short stop somewhere on the M5. She'll sleep for a good half of the journey assuming she goes a couple of hours at a nap?

DS was a car hater so someone would always sit in the back with him on long journeys with a supply of milk/ crackers etc.

MyHovercraftIsFullOfEels Tue 17-Jun-14 16:46:55

Which side of London are you coming from? We would do South West London to a lot further down Cornwall in 4 hours under normal conditions, so would never consider splitting the journey overnight. Now with DC, we just stop for lunch or something at a point depending on whether or not he's asleep.

I understand that the traffic on Saturdays may be worse though, as it's changeover day.

If you're going M4 M5, then I guess a stop at Exeter might make sense. If you're going on the A303 there are plenty of small places you could stay, although I can't personally recommend any, as we haven't tried them.

PestoSurfissimos Tue 17-Jun-14 16:48:44

I meant with stops, CharlesRyder and being conservative to allow for weekend traffic smile

imme Tue 17-Jun-14 16:53:04

We're coming from SE London. last year we left at 9:30 on a Saturday and it took us close to 8 hours I think. This was due to traffic as well as gazillions of breaks with a toddler. Probably due to lack of planning.
So far the longest nap she does is about 1.5 hours but the timing depends entirely on the time when she woke up from her previous nap. TBH I am dreading it because I cannot bear hearing her cry whilst DH is pretty relaxed as it 'doesn't bother' him. Car is too small for me though to sit in the back between pre-schooler and baby.

CharlesRyder Tue 17-Jun-14 16:57:58

In these circumstances I might have been pretty tempted to go to Kent!!

I reckon leaving at bedtime would be your best bet if it didn't cause a check in problem. Will the cottage owners leave the key somewhere for you?

allmycats Tue 17-Jun-14 16:59:29

I would set off around 4.00am on the Saturday morning - OR try and book the Friday night as an 'extra' where you are staying.
By splitting into 2 short journey you are making yourself an awful lot of work.

OddFodd Tue 17-Jun-14 17:00:58

I'd leave London about 8pm on the Friday and do what CMOT said. You can get to Exeter by about 11

CointreauVersial Tue 17-Jun-14 17:02:38

Ha ha, Charlesryder - did you ever try that journey on a Friday evening? Or pretty much any time in the summer holidays?

We take two or three days to do the journey from Surrey - it is do-able in one go but much more fun to stop at a couple of places on the way, so the journey becomes part of the holiday.

Last year we stopped at Exeter and Truro, the year before was Lyme Regis, Bath and Dartmoor. We are off again in July, and I'm thinking south coast, maybe Salcombe? Or Weymouth?

Ragwort Tue 17-Jun-14 17:03:15

We travelled regularly to Cornwall from way beyond London and wouldn't have dreamed of stopping half way (and Bodmin isn't even that far into Cornwall is it). confused However you must be mad to leave London at 9.30am - that is bound to be the worst possible time for driving. hmm

We used to set off around 4/5am so DS slept most of the time anyway.

Alibabaandthe40nappies Tue 17-Jun-14 17:04:13

I would just do it in one day. Evening travel is fine if you can do it in one hit, but travelling late, then stopping you will get the bad traffic and then possibly children who won't sleep in the hotel because they've been asleep in the car for too long. Then you are all knackered and grumpy when it comes to carrying on the following day.

I would be ready to go the night before, then get on the road at 7am and you'll be in Cornwall by 2pm even with a couple of stops because you'll be ahead of most of the traffic.

CharlesRyder Tue 17-Jun-14 17:05:26

No- and clearly I do not wish to!! grin

It is my idea of hell to break a journey over days and stay in a bunch of different places. It would break into my pottering time! Horses for courses I guess.

CharlesRyder Tue 17-Jun-14 17:08:36

I do the M4/M5 trip to Cornwall every year in August btw- but not from inside the M25.

We do Slough -> M25 ->M3 ->A303 to Lyme Regis as a there and back day trip regularly.

Damnautocorrect Tue 17-Jun-14 17:19:12

For us (London) 4-5 hours doable in one go, stop at Exeter makes it easier though.
I've left at 5/6ish in the morning and we were there for a delicious breakfast. Ds slept through. We've also left at 7pm and got there late. Again ds slept through.

Damnautocorrect Tue 17-Jun-14 17:22:25

Coming home I'd get up early and stop somewhere for the day on the way back, (Bristol? Longleat? Western super mare) have fun and then carry on the journey late afternoon /evening.

eurochick Tue 17-Jun-14 17:29:46

SE London makes a big difference. You've got to go through or round. I generally favour going out and round and it takes me about an hour and a half on average just to get to the M25/M3 interchange. It took me over 2 hours on Saturday.

CointreauVersial Tue 17-Jun-14 17:51:20

For me, a week in Cornwall isn't long enough, so I love extending the holiday by a couple of days at either end, and stopping at places we'd otherwise miss.

We did do it in one go a few years ago, and it took about 7 hours (all the way to Penzance). Unfortunately, sitting in one position for so long put my back out, so I spent the first half of the holiday in agony. shock

GoblinMarket Tue 17-Jun-14 17:55:05

go for it in one - we did similar with NO stops and a car full of kids last week

eatyourveg Tue 17-Jun-14 19:40:25

I'd go M4, stay the night in Bath and head down the M5 the next day

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