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Five Early October days beginning in Wells.

A short trip has just been suggested by my cousin, to pick up her daughter after a cooking course in Shepton Mallet (near Wells). Arrive 10/9 and depart 10/15 from Bristol. We know we want to see Wells, Glastonbury, Bath and Bristol. We have been to London before, so we want to be staying in the Southwest. Should we make the effort to get to Cornwall/Mousehole? We will probably not come back, as this will have been checked off our bucket list, so itinerary suggestions are welcome. We do not mind traveling to a different place/B&B each night if necessary. We are 60s and fit, and mostly want to see sights, churches, stone rings, gardens, Holy Grail, ruins and great pubs! We have rented a car. All suggestions are welcome, as I am not able to find a whole lot online other than the great Rick Steve's videos which cannot cover everything. Many thanks.

Posted by
2467 posts

That's not an easy question as it all depends on priorities. We drove from near Port Isaac to Wells recently, with a stop to see Glastonbury Abbey easily in less than a day, so it is doable. I am glad we stopped at the Abbey but an hour/hour &half was about all we needed there.

We didn't go further into Cornwall than Port Isaac (about 2 1/2 hrs drive for us), so I can't speak to Mousehole. We are big Doc Martin fans and loved walking through Port Isaac and then climbing the ruins of Tintagel (very close). I would have loved more time in that area. It is so beautiful. It was definitely worth the trip for us.

We attended Evensong at Wells Cathedral and loved that, as well. For some reason, Bristol didn't sound appealing so we skipped that (with limited time). Stonehenge is about 1 1/2 hrs from Wells. We went to both Stonehenge and Avebury and if I had to choose only one, it would be Stonehenge. I wasn't quite expecting that for myself.

You could do:
Day 1 Bristol.

Day 2 long day trip to Bath (morning) and Stonehenge (mid afternoon)

Day 3 Wells and Glastonbury, staying in Wells.

Day 4 Drive into Cornwall (how far might depend on how long you want to spend driving back to Bristol.

Day 5 See some of Cornwall and drive back

Those are long tiring days. You could just as easily spend an entire day in Bath, an entire day in Wells, do Stonehenge and Avebury as a day trip, maybe see Salisbury Cathedral, and have plenty to do!

Posted by
6113 posts

Unless you want to spend your whole visit In the car, drop Cornwall and focus on the Wells area.

Posted by
2066 posts

If you have a base in the Wells area, I would suggest a day trip to the Exmoor National Park. http://www.visit-exmoor.co.uk/exmoor-national-park
So, head for Bridgewater & then the A39 to make your first stop in Dunster. Then, have a quick look at Minehead before going back onto the A39 and after about 2 miles, look for the little lane (right) that leads to Selworthy - all typical thatched cottages. Them back onto A39 and head west via Porlock to Lynmouth.

Now I would suggest, you head back for 'home' via B3223 over the moors to Simonsbath to then proceed east. (You could add 'Tarr Steps' - if you are good at map reading). As an alternative, you could go all the way to Illfracombe before heading back east.

(Cornwall is quite a long trip and really requires at least 4 full days to do it justice).

The Exmoor area is little known by Americans. High land rises steeply from the sea. If you do this trip - try and make sure it is the day with the best weather. (Cheddar gorge & caves would be OK for a bad weather day). I would not bother going to Bristol.

Posted by
4 posts

Gwynn, Emma, Jennifer, Keith and James- thank you so much for your comments. I think we definitely will skip Mousehole, and depending on how much we accomplish on the first couple of days may sneak down to Port Isaac or into Exmoor as James suggested. It will also depend on how comfortable we are with the driving! Many thanks. And I look forward to going through your pictures James.

Posted by
4 posts

James,
I just finished looking at all of your noted pictures. They are wonderful, and lead me to add Exmoor and Cheddar Gorge to my itinerary. This will be a great trip!

Posted by
2066 posts

Cheddar gorge is a bit commercialised but still worth a look if you are in the area. I would take a look at the areas of interest on Google Earth. Note that many of the roads in Somerset are just 1 lane each way and can be slow going. The only rally fast road is the M5 (motorway - like an interstate).

Posted by
239 posts

As most people have said, Cornwall is probably too far for such a short stay--it might look close to Bristol on the map, but the journey isn't quick no matter how you go about it. You might want to try Devon though. Travel by road or rail would be much quicker and the county is under-rated by overseas visitors. It is one of my favourite parts of the country and Dartmoor is a wonderful place.

Posted by
4 posts

Pete W. Thank you for your comments. We like to see the sights that are not hugely "touristy" so will take your advice into consideration as we make our
plans. We are very excited to explore areas we have never seen.