Driving from Norfolk to Cornwall. Tips wanted from experts!

(11 Posts)
MegBusset Thu 26-Apr-12 16:41:41

We are going to Cornwall for a fortnight in August - driving from Norfolk. DC will be 3 and 5, reasonable car passengers but get fidgety after a couple of hours! Any tips on what time of day to travel? Should we stop over on the way (if so where) or do it all in one go? Will the traffic be hideous??

OP’s posts: |
bronze Thu 26-Apr-12 16:43:47


We're going to north Devon in July (from norfolk as you know)

We have dss and DVD players. Both with kids headphones. Apart from that we're going for grin and bear it

LaurieFairyCake Thu 26-Apr-12 16:47:55

I've done it a few times - one time I set off at midnight, everyone apart from me slept all the way - it was lovely to wake them up on the beach at 6am and buy bacon rolls. Then I got to go to bed and dh and dd went to the beach.

Two other time we left at 4/5am thinking we'd get there for lunchtime - unfortunately that was the M5 awful traffic accident day both times and we sat in a traffic jam stationary for 6 hours.

If I was doing it this year I'd take the first option. Coming back you have to be very disciplined or stay all day in Cornwall as leaving later than 9 ish gets you stuck on the A30 when it goes into single road. This added an hour to our journey last time.

MegBusset Thu 26-Apr-12 17:02:45

Are you leaving in the morning? Just a bit wary of hitting the M25 late morning on a Saturday in August <shudders at memories of M25 on Good Friday>

OP’s posts: |
einsteinsrelative Thu 26-Apr-12 17:05:44

Stop off at National Trust places along the way for an hour or two each break. Fun, breaks the journey and always good cafes. Cliveden and then Stourbridge would be ideal for Norfolk to Cornwall. Buy yourself membership first if you don't already have it.

einsteinsrelative Thu 26-Apr-12 17:06:00

sorry, StourHEAD

MegBusset Thu 26-Apr-12 17:11:04

We do have NT membership, I'll give those a look.

We can't check in to our caravan til 3pm which is an extra complication - if we arrive early in the morning we'll have a long wait til we can get unpacked. I never relax on holiday til I've unloaded the car and had a cuppa.

OP’s posts: |
BiddyPop Tue 01-May-12 11:30:22

Distractions should also include colouring pages and crayons (so no sharpening of pencils needed en route, and no felt tips in a confined space!!) - print off a few free colouring sheets of their favourite characters (lots on web), and maybe a few activity ones if they would be interested/able for them. Have some blank sheets too for just drawing. And do a few (homemade/web) car-bingo type sheets - pictures of things like trucks, buses, windmills, factory chimneys, farm animals, different coloured cars, birds etc - to mark off.

Absolutely YYY to DS and travel DVD!!!

Plenty of snacks (preferably non messy) - little tubs of raisins and other dried fruit, rice cakes (chocolate or yoghurt covered ones maybe?), jelly sweets, tubs of cereal...And drinks in non-spill cups. Which can be doled out from the front.

Perhaps a few small things to distract after a while - like old or new toys wrapped up (worked great to have a few poundshop things wrapped on 6 hour flight last year for DD), a small etch-a-sketch/magnadoodle (just notebook sized) was non messy, little puzzle, new cheapy doll, car, etc. Dole them out sparingly and one at a time. Perhaps a new comic ("Friends"?)or a few favourite picture books if they are ok reading while travelling (some can, others can't). Or something to keep their hands occupied but not too small pieces - maybe a couple of cars or big duplo but not lego.

Have plenty of car-games in your head/on a list. Singing "wheels on the bus" or "Old McDonald" (I had a wide range of animals, including zoo animals, for regular commutes home in rushhour), counting different coloured cars, ..will try to think of more. You'll find lots of ideas on the web generally though (about.com can be great for things like this).

Have a spare change for all in car, wipes and nappy sacks (even if neither are still in them - or else bin liners - just in case you need to contain anything), tissues, travel potty if needed. Make sure the kids seats are comfy - we often put DD sitting on a cushion in hers (she tends to bring her cushion to sleep on anyway) for long journeys, we have a small rug that she can snuggle under if she's tired and might drop off, and she always has her favourite teddy too for a snuggle. Know how to put their car seats into a comfortable recline for either early start before they're awake, or for after a rest stop and hope they sleep then.

BiddyPop Tue 01-May-12 11:32:58

And if you can't check in to caravan, put swimming things, a football and a picnic where you can grab it for when you do get there - as you may find some running around time will help.

If you can, build in some running around time on stops too. Especially one around lunch - food and activity, followed by snuggling back up in the car nice and cosy for a sleep (turn up heat too after lunch to get them snoozy).

mummymeister Tue 01-May-12 14:53:30

Avoid using the A30 and use the A38 instead. You just stay on the motorway past Exeter and it turns into the A38. you can pick up the A30 in bodmin if you need it as the A38 goes into there too. Lanhydrock house outside Bodmin is very nice as a stopping point - plenty of space to run around in.

CharminglyOdd Tue 01-May-12 15:07:09

We did this journey (Norfolk to Cornwall) several times a year every year until I was twelve, then less frequently after. Always left before 8am going down and at 0830 coming back. When we were very young (your DCs ages) we stopped overnight in a cheap Travelodge and went places like Wooky Hole or the Clarks Outlet Village to stretch our legs. DSis went through a phase of being violently carsick, so that's probably why they broke it up.

It depends where in Cornwall you are headed. With good traffic you can get to North East Cornwall in about six hours with no stops. For the same area with more realistic breaks it's around eight hours.

TBH if you can get a cheap Travelodge in the Bristol/Somerset area then I'd do it, especially as you can't check in before 3pm. It would make everything more relaxed for you, especially as it's the first time you've made the journey.

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