So many people post on social media about driving to Cornwall and what’s the best time of day to leave home… we try and offer some suggestions to help plan your journey. 

Cornwall is one of the UK’s top County’s for domestic tourism. Upwards of 4 million travel to our beautiful shores each year.
The most common change-over days are Fridays & Saturdays which reflect the peak traffic on the roads into and out of the County. For future stays, if accommodation allows, try and plan your arrival and departure day Sundays-Thursday (we appreciate not always possible with self-catering properties).
Ideally, if you live further north than, say, Birmingham, (and budgets and timings allow) perhaps consider breaking your journey by staying overnight around Bristol or Exeter – there are a number of good Premier Inns & Travel Lodges conveniently located on or near the M5. This would then allow you to leave home after your own rush hour, arrive late evening and get up and go the following morning after a hearty (early) breakfast.
Sometimes, no matter how well you plan or how early you leave, it can be down to the sheer volume of traffic, weather conditions, an accident or over-running road-works which impede your journey… so make sure (if you have young children) there’s plenty of on-board entertainment and good tunes.. and plan your stops on route.
Using the Waze app can be an excellent addition to an old fashion map and even your sat nav. Waze helps to navigate around traffic and roadworks as it is group-user app with live updates. However, remember that if you deviate off the M5, you are likely to be small country lanes and many others may be choosing that same route too!
So that all said, it sometimes is potluck but be patient, the pot of gold, that is SE Cornwall, awaits you and you you will soon be easing your way into holiday mode with your first sip of local beer, lick of an ice-cream, or bite of a pasty !
The sandy beach in Looe awaits for your first dip !
Many have asked for ideas of what to do if you arrive early and your are unable to get into your accommodation until check-in time… many places open for breakfast and lunch so book ahead; pack a small bag with towels & swimwear, & if it’s good weather, enjoy the various beaches in SE Cornwall.
Or plan a visit to one of the local attractions, or even pop into Plymouth for a look around the old Barbican, the newly opened museum & galley, The Box, or a visit the fantastic National Marine Aquarium. From Plymouth, you are then under 20 miles to paradise.
The National Marine Aquarium, Plymouth
Of course, the return journey is never going to to be the same as you already leaving us behind with a suitcase (or two) of laundry and the thought of returning to work. So best advice, book your next stay whilst you are with us to help take your mind of it.
Seriously though, there really is no ideal time to leave, unless you can travel Sunday-Thursday.. but the same guidance applies, leaving as early as you can – the good thing about travelling to/from SE Cornwall, is that we are the first destinations over the Devon border so you do not have to travel too far after the M5/A38 & the same applies in reverse.
Another consideration; visit away from the peak summer months.. there is so much to see and do year-round and Autumn, Winter & Spring in SE Cornwall can be just stunning and (avoiding half term holidays) a lot quieter too.
As (they use to say) let the train, take the strain. Again, not ideal for everyone but there is a good service with First Great Western linking Penzance to Paddington with various stops along the way; changing and Bristol for to Birmingham, Manchester & beyond. You alight at Liskeard for the branch line to Looe.
The scenic railway line from Liskeard to Looe
Similarly, National Express Coaches, whilst not avoiding the traffic, offer a pretty cost effective way to travel and you can jump off at Liskeard and take the branch line to Looe, or the No 73 bus to Polperro.
The picture perfect harbour of Polperro

You can see further information on the Getting Here section of our website.

If you have any ideas & suggestions, please do share them – but remember, sometimes it is just the luck of the draw on the day you travel – but a warm Cornish welcome always awaits on your arrival.