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Most scenic route with villages from Cornwall back to LHR?

My husband and I are touring England this June and my mother will be joining us for our Cornwall leg of the trip. We'll fly down to Newquay, stay in Boscastle for a week, then journey back up to Heathrow by car. After skirting the north side of Dartmoor, it looks like our choices are 1. A30 and A303 through Blackdown Hills and Cranborne Chase, 2. or M5 and M4 cutting north of Bristol through the southern Cotswolds and through North Wessex Downs.

My mother has never been to England and so I'm hoping on our route we can stop at a quintessential English country village with cottage gardens, since Cornwall is more, well, Cornish. My husband and I have already been to Castle Combe, and I imagine the A-roads will be more scenic than the motorways anyhow, so I'm leaning toward route #1, but I wonder if that traverses any villages that would fit my mother's ideal of the picturesque Thomas Kinkade-esque place.

Posted by
8889 posts

Definitely take the A30/A303 option after Exeter. It is a few minutes longer than M5+M4, but is a lot better drive. Instead of a 6-lane motorway, you get a mix of 4-lane dual carriageway and 2-lane single carriageway. You actually drive past Stonehenge.
Not being a motorway, but an upgraded route with by-passes around towns, it has turnings off to villages. In some places you will see signs propped up along the road advertising pubs and restaurants in these villages.

Here is one I discovered some years ago:,-2.6019733,3a,75y,0.49h,84.44t/data=!3m6!1e1!3m4!1snEmdz0fvXDLKvbb8ZKsONw!2e0!7i13312!8i6656
There are lots of others.
This is in a village called West Camel. Nearby is an Iron Age hill fort, which was re-occupied by refugees from the destroyed cities when the Roman Empire fell, and it remained occupied for over 100 years. Think every post-apocalypse survivor movie you have ever seen. Given the name, it is one of the candidates for the legend of Camelot.

Posted by
30291 posts

As the A303 gets closer to London it joins the M3. Just south of there is the beautiful city of Winchester, and just east of Winchester on the A31 is Chawton, which is where Jane Austen lived. You can visit her house, and the house has a nice garden. The whole town of Chawton is full of small cottage gardens - most pleasant.