Scenic Road Trips in France and Cornwall

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With the warm weather hopefully not too far away, you may be thinking of getting away for a while. But where to go? Well, if a scenic road trip sounds like fun, we’ve got two options which are great for both couples and families. So will it be the lush countryside of France, or home comforts of the Cornish coast? Read on to discover what both have to offer…

‘Dover to Calais’

Begin your road trip by taking the ferry from Dover to Calais. Tickets are available from as little as £39 each way, with a journey time across the channel of approximately two and a half hours. For a quicker route you can take the Eurotunnel from Folkstone, which takes only 35 minutes but is a little dearer at around £59.

Once you’ve arrived in Calais, head south along the coastal D940, taking in the stunning views of the Côte d’Opale as you drive past. For some lush, sandy beaches why not stop at Le Cap Blanc Nez, or if breath-taking cliff side views are more your thing go further south to Cap Gris Nez.

Continue on to Boulogne-sur-Mer, which is a former Roman settlement. It’s the second most visited location in the region of France due to its history, rustic charm and for being the home to the largest aquarium in Europe, Nausicaá. Also known as the City of Art and History, Boulogne has plenty to see; the Castle Museum has an impressive collection of Oceanic, African and Egyptian art, whilst the old town still has remnants of the Roman camp it was built upon. Boulogne also boasts a UNESCO World Heritage site in the form of a Twelfth century Belfry.

Next, drive further south along the D940 to Le Touquet and Étaples. Separated by only a narrow river, these two coastal towns offer some of the freshest seafood you’ll ever taste. Le Touquet is also known as the playground of the Parisian elite; the streets are lined with posh little boutiques from the 1920’s. Once you’ve sampled how the other half live, head east to Saint Omer via Hesdin, enjoying Hesdin’s Spanish architecture along the way.

Saint Omer is a quaint little town famous for its distinctive beer, so be sure to have a tasting session whilst your visiting. The town also boasts an 800-year-old cathedral and World War II museum, both of which are worthy of your time. The surrounding area of Saint Omer is full of thousands of acres of wet marshland, and boat tours are available to see the beautiful natural scenery and wildlife.

As you make your way back north to Calais, allow yourself enough time to stop off in Ardres, another quaint town. Don’t miss your chance to stock up on some superior quality French wine, as well as wandering the little streets exploring the old churches, little shops and eateries. Once the day is at an end, head back north to Calais for the journey back across the channel.

‘Cornwall’

When thinking of an idyllic beach holiday, it’s easy to overlook the beaches right here in the UK.

To get your holiday started, pick up the Atlantic Highway from the M5, just south of Bristol. This stretch of road hugs the coast of northern Cornwall, offering gorgeous scenery and quick access to some of the UK’s best beaches.

Port Gaverne should be the first place you visit. Despite being very small, Port Gaverne is a great spot to view wild seals out from the headland, or if you’re lucky, basking sharks, dolphins and porpoises. Visitors can also explore tide pools and caves, as well as taking in some great views via walks along the cliffs. From Gaverne you can take a leisurely walk to the historic fishing village of Port Isaac.

Eight miles away from Port Gaverne are the idyllic sandy beaches of Daymer Bay. Never overcrowded, Daymer Bay is a perfect spot to relax. Take a stroll through the sand dunes to the tiny stone church of Saint Endonoc. Dogs are welcome on the beach, which can be good or bad depending on your preference. It’s not really a surfer’s beach, but perfect for swimming, kayaking or windsurfing.

Further along the coast, just off the A30, sits Perranporth. This is the ideal spot for the adventurous at heart, with the beach here offering activities such as surfing, kite surfing, horseback riding, cycling, land boarding and buggy riding. You can also explore rock and tidal pools to see the wildlife in its natural habitat. And don’t forget to refresh your palette at the ‘Watering Hole’ right next to the beach.

Next on the list is St Ives Bay, featured prominently in Virginia Woolf’s 1927 novel, ‘To the Lighthouse’. Stretching all the way from Gwithian down to Porthmeor, visitors will love the huge expanse of sandy beaches on offer here. St Ives is also jam-packed with shops and cafes, not to mention the home of Tate St Ives, the Cornish branch of the Tate Modern. Soak up the sun before treating yourself to a cream tea and fresh crab tart in one of the café’s.

Bypass the tourist-trap attractions of Land’s End and head straight to the sandy beaches. Sennen Cove is a surfing hotspot, drawing big crowds from all over the UK. For safety reasons, flag markers indicating safe bathing zones that are continuously updated throughout the day. Sennen is a laid-back town that plays host to a number of beachfront cafes, restaurants, pubs and shops; providing everything you could need on your holiday.

Continue on the A30 until you reach the B3315 and Porthcurno, the closest thing to an island paradise on offer in the UK. Porthcurno is famous for its gorgeous turquoise waters and fine white sand. A calm stream flows through the beach too, which makes it an ideal place for young children to practice swimming. Porthcurno beach is a stone’s-throw from Minack Theatre, so be sure to take in a show while you’re nearby.

For the last stop on your sojourn through Cornwall, Kynance Cove is the perfect send-off. Right along the Lizard Peninsula, Kynance Cove will be certain to leave a long-lasting impression with its stunning caves and rock formations. Soft white sand is also revealed at low tide, creating a perfect sunbathing spot. Despites its truly secluded appearance, getting to the beach is relatively easy, with parking only a ten-minute walk away.

Then it’s time to head back to the M5, leaving the sun, sand and scenery of Cornwall behind.

Andrew Segal works for iCarhireinsurance.com, a leading provider of car hire excess insurance. He writes regular blogs covering a wide range of topics related to insurance, holidays and travel in general.

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