Cotswolds, Devon & Cornwall Self Drive — 8D/7N

Castle Coombe – photo courtesy of Great Britain Tourist BoardRomantic legends, pirates and smugglers, castles and cottages, all out of the timeless past and neatly packaged for an experience you’ll never forget!

The Cotswolds is a range of hills in west-central England within the ceremonial counties of Gloucestershire and Oxfordshire, extending into parts of Wiltshire, Somerset, Worcestershire and Warwickshire. Officially designated an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty in 1966, in recognition of their unique appeal and the beauty of its predominantly rural landscapes, the Cotswolds are known worldwide for their stone-built villages, historical towns, and stately homes and gardens. Many consider the Cotswolds as representative of the archetypal English landscape, within easy striking distance of London and several other English urban centers. During the Middle Ages, the Cotswolds became prosperous from the wool trade with the Continent. Much of this wealth was directed towards the building of churches, the area still preserving a large number of large, handsome Cotswold Stone “wool churches”.

Devon is home to part of England’s only natural UNESCO World Heritage Site, the Dorset and East Devon Coast, known as the Jurassic Coast for its geology and geographical features. Along with its neighbor, Cornwall, Devon is known as the “Cornubian massif”. This geology gives rise to the landscapes of Dartmoor and Exmoor, which are both National Parks.

The Durdle Coors in Dorset – photo courtesy of Great Britain Tourist BoardThe area now known as Cornwall was first inhabited by Neolithic and then Bronze Age peoples, and later (in the Iron Age) by Celts. It is recognized as one of the “Celtic nations” by many residents and organizations, including the Celtic League and continues to retain its distinct identity, with its own history, language and culture. Surrounded on three sides by the English Channel and Celtic Sea, Cornwall has many miles of incredibly beautiful beaches and cliffs.

Programs can depart ANY DAY and ANY TIME OF THE YEAR

SELF DRIVE PROGRAMS - Probably, the best way to independently travel in Europe is by self-drive car as it allows you to be mobile at all times, to stop whenever you want, to visit to your heart’s content! A limitless number of itineraries are possible, as you can combine any of the different regions and cities to create “your own” program. All our self drive example itineraries will be customized with your choice of car and with accommodation at selected hotels, villas, boutique properties, manor houses or castles as per your preference. Take them as they are, lengthen, shorten, combine them as you desires or just use them for ideas in creating “your itinerary” to discover Europe “as you want”! If you like the tour and decide to further customize it, just let us know of your needs and desires, we will prepare the exact itinerary you are looking for.

The Men-an-Tol in Cornwall – photo courtesy of Great Britain Tourist BoardSKETCH ITINERARY

  • Day 1 — LONDON, COTSWOLDS - Once on the open road enjoy the old world charms of the Costswold villages. At Oxford view the skyline from the hills surrounding the city; the turrets, pinnacles and towers rising from the colleges all have the appearance of a medieval fairytale place.. Continue past hedgerows to the elegant Buckland Manor. Set in glorious grounds on a hillside overlooking magnificent landscapes, the Manor dates back to the 13th century.
  • Day 2 — COTSWOLDS - Full day to explore the green rolling countryside marked by gentle streams and storybook villages like Stow-on-the-Wold, Bourton-on-the-Water and Moreton-in-the-Marsh. Chart your course to Shakespeare’s Stratford-on-Avon and return to the peace and tranquility of the manor via the ancient Roman Road known as the Fosse Way.
  • Day 3 — DEVON -Rise early to begin a memorable day. First stop is Bath to see the remarkable remains of Roman Britain including the “Pump Room” and the Roman Baths.. Continue on to the ecclesiastical town of Wells still dominated by its medieval cathedral, and Glastonbury where, legend has it, that King Arthur and Queen Guinevere are interred. On to Devon where, nestled in the Brendon Hills, Langley House has been a part of history since the 16th century.
  • The ruins of Tintagel – photo courtesy of Great Britain Tourist Board

  • Day 4 — CORNWALL -From Devon you drive deep into Cornwall along the rugged coast. Hurry on to Tintagel where ruins of King Arthur’s Camelot still overlooks the sea. Continue towards Land’s End and the Nansloe Manor, a Georgian house built in 1735. Woods and farmland provide the perfect backdrop creating rural tranquillity in a beautiful setting that Nansloe enjoys in the magnificent Loe Valley.
  • Day 5 — CORNWALL -Full day to explore the “Land’s End”. From here the widest oceans of the earth lie beyond; no land intervenes due west to America, nor southwest to Brazil, no south to Spain, excepting those dots on the horizon, the Scilly Isles. Discover Penzance, a town built as a defense against guess what… pirates. St. Ives with its narrow streets and alleys where fishing has been a way of life for centuries.
  • Day 6 — DARTMOOR -Today your journey continues along the south coast of Cornwall into Dartmoor and a country house of rare distinction, Gidleigh Park. This turn of the century mansion in a secluded valley overlooking the Teign River enjoys the privacy made for magnificent walks. Paul and Kay Henderson ensure the epitome of comfort and great care combined with a promise of gourmet excellence in their dining room.
  • Day 7 — DORSET -After breakfast continue through Devonshire into Dorset, an area made famous through the novels of Thomas Hardy. Travel the picturesque villages of Milton Abbas, Dowlish and Piddle Valley. Your destination, Plumber Manor was built in the early 17th century and has remained in the Prideaux-Brunes family ever since. Plumber is very much a family home far from the madding crowd where guests can enjoy the genuine hospitality from a bygone era.
  • Day 8 — LONDON -Your return to London will be via Salisbury and Stonehenge where you will see the double circle of enormous stones precisely positioned by ancient Druids 4000 years ago. Your remembrance of this historic sweep will be replayed many times over on your memory tape.

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