Returned a couple weeks ago from a whirlwind 2 weeks in the UK. Traveled with my husband and our 9 year old son, as well as a couple of other families we know well- in total we were a group of 7 adults and 5 kids. It went shockingly well given the number of kids and our constant moving around. This trip was loosely inspired by The Dark is Rising book series, as well as Arthurian legends and whatever other mystical stories we could gather. I got some great tips from this forum (especially about how to get laundry done on this whirlwind tour!).
Day 1- Early morning arrival in Heathrow after a red-eye flight. Once we collected our rental car we set off to Lulworth Cove to see the Durdle Door. It was stunning, and a bit of sunshine and walk was just what we needed to get acclimated after the flight. We then drove up to Dorchester, which was chosen simply for its proximity to Lulworth and keeping the driving on our first day down to a minimum. Stayed at the Best Western Wessex Royale Hotel, which was unremarkable but fine. Went to the Dinosaur Museum for the kids, and enjoyed some beers at the Convivial Rabbit Micropub, and then a great dinner at the Brewhouse & Kitchen- Dorchester has a really interesting reclaimed industrial buildings area that looks very worthy of future exploration.
Day 2- Drove on to Exeter, where we stayed at the Queens Court Hotel, again unremarkable but fine for one night. Really enjoyed the Royal Albert Memorial Museum and St. Nicholas Priory (there was a historical reenactment event going on at the priory, lots of people in garb and some great docents explaining the history). Exeter has so many restaurant options, we landed at George's Meeting House for dinner, which was great for a big group. I really enjoyed our short time in Exeter and hope to make it back some day, it's a bustling little city!
Day 3- One of our must-see places was Wistman's Wood in Dartmoor, so we drove through moody Dartmoor to park at Two Bridges Hotel and walked over the moor to the wood. Absolutely loved the drive through Dartmoor, stopping for sheep and ponies to clear off the road, the lonely vistas stretching out before us. The roads were very narrow and a little stressful at times, but it was well worth it for the scenery. After our walk in Dartmoor we drove down to Mevagissey, which was perfect as a stop for a few hours. This was one of our Dark is Rising-inspired must-see locations, and it did not disappoint. Stopped into the James Dunn house tea room for a cream tea (which was excellent), walked along the quayside, and took the kids to the small aquarium. After Mevagissey we continued on to our stop for the night in Falmouth. We stayed at Lyonesse B&B, which was fantastic- very comfy room and fabulous breakfasts. Dined at The Shed for dinner, good pub grub and despite the rain, good outdoor seating.