Embark on the Scenic Atlantic Highway Drive

Embark on the Scenic Atlantic Highway Drive
Photo by Bastian Pudill / Unsplash

Start a journey like never before on the scenic Atlantic Highway. It runs along the northern coast of Devon and Cornwall. This 170-mile adventure takes you through some of England's most beautiful spots.

You'll see amazing sea views and rugged coastlines. Also, you'll pass by cultural and historic points. This road ensures you experience true British charm. If you love road trips, get ready for an unforgettable journey.

Key Takeaways

  • The Atlantic Highway stretches for approximately 170 miles, showcasing the rugged coastline of North Devon and Cornwall.
  • Numerous coastal destinations like Bude, Padstow, and Newquay offer beaches and seafood restaurants.
  • The route includes a mix of narrow country lanes and wider coastal roads, providing varied driving experiences.
  • Outdoor activities along the route include surfing, hiking, and exploring hidden coves.
  • Accommodation options range from campsites with amenities for motorhomes to luxurious hotels and guesthouses.

Introduction to the Atlantic Highway

Step into a fascinating journey along the Atlantic Highway. It's a 170-mile path from Barnstaple in North Devon to Fraddon in Cornwall. This drive shows you the stunning views of the North Devon and Cornwall coasts.

Brief Overview

The Atlantic Highway is famous for its amazing views and historic spots. It lets you explore the area's natural beauty and history. You'll see everything from the lively surf spots at Widemouth Bay to the old Tintagel Castle ruins.

Starting Point: Barnstaple

Your adventure starts in Barnstaple, a place full of history and culture. It's at the door to North Devon. Here, you'll find a mix of city charm and access to the rugged outdoors nearby.

As you head out from Barnstaple, the A39 of the Atlantic Highway shines. It offers wide views of the Atlantic Ocean, setting your journey's mood.

Ending Point: Fraddon

The route ends in Fraddon, a pretty Cornish village where the A30 meets the Atlantic Highway. This marks the end with lasting memories of the amazing coastal views. You'll see the impressive Cheddar Gorge cliffs and beautiful moors along the way.

Driving from Barnstaple to Fraddon shows the stunning variety of England's coast. It's a testimony to its captivating beauty.

The Atlantic Highway driving roads

Driving along the Atlantic Highway in England takes you through Devon and Cornwall's coast. This route, part of the A39, spans about 70 miles. It shows off beautiful countryside and coast. These roads connect North Cornwall and Devon, offering a unique British journey.

Scenic Views Along the Route

The Atlantic Highway is full of mesmerising sights. It stretches 115 miles from Barnstaple to Newquay. You see dramatic cliffs, calm beaches, and lovely countryside. The famous Tintagel Castle area is one highlight. There are many places to stop and take photos of the amazing scenery.

Charming Seaside Towns

The Atlantic Highway's coastal towns add charm. Bude, Padstow, and Newquay are on the way. They offer unique cultures and tasty seafood. Bude is great for outdoor fun, Padstow for food, and Newquay for nightlife.

Road Conditions

The road types vary on the Atlantic Highway. You will drive on wide coastal roads and narrow lanes. Wide paths give comfort, narrow ones test your skill. The best times for this trip are June, September, and early October. These months have better road conditions and fewer tourists. Be ready for changing weather, especially in late September when there may be storms.

In summary, the Atlantic Highway is an amazing route to discover England's coastal and countryside beauty. This trip is full of stunning sights, unique cultures, and delicious food. It will be a journey to remember.

Top Destinations on the Atlantic Highway

Travelling the Atlantic Highway leads to captivating places with unique experiences. Each stop is unforgettable in its own way.

Bude: The Surfer's Paradise

In Bude, surfers find heaven with its wave-riding options. The town's seapool and beaches are famous and beloved. Bude offers both excitement and relaxation to surf lovers.

Padstow: Culinary Delights

Padstow is a top spot for food, known for its seafood. The town's bright harbours and houses charm visitors. It's a place where food enthusiasts meet a haven.

Newquay: Beach and Nightlife

Newquay combines beauty and fun perfectly. Its beaches are great by day and its nightlife is alive at night. It's an ideal place to end the Atlantic Highway journey, offering something for everyone.

Here's a quick summary of these top destinations:

Destination Highlight
Bude Surfer's Paradise, award-winning beaches
Padstow Culinary delights, vibrant harbour
Newquay Beach and nightlife, coastal walks

Historical Sites to Explore

The Atlantic Highway opens doors to fascinating historical sites in England. Each site is filled with stories of the past.

Tintagel Castle

Heading to Tintagel Castle lets you dive into medieval myths. This castle sits on the wild North Cornwall coast and is said to be King Arthur's birthplace. With amazing views and a deep history, it's perfect for history buffs.

Clovelly Village

Clovelly Village feels like a step back in time with its old streets and harbour. It's loved for its timeless character. This spot is a great choice if you want to experience Cornwall's maritime past first hand.

Hartland Quay

Hartland Quay stands out with its imposing cliffs and stories of shipwrecks. It's a place where history and nature join beautifully. By visiting, you get to experience a unique part of England's coast.

These sites on the Atlantic Highway connect us not just to places but also to different times. They are full of stories waiting to be discovered.

Best Beaches Along the Route

The A39, known as the Atlantic Highway, runs 70 miles from Barnstaple to Newquay. It brings travellers great beach options. You can find the top spot for sunbathing, a famous place for surfing, or a beach perfect for the family.

Sunbathing Spots

Widemouth Bay near Bude is perfect for those who love the sun. It's calm and spacious, ideal for sunbathing. The beautiful sandy beach offers great views and is perfect for relaxing.

Surfing Locations

Newquay marks the end of the Atlantic Highway and is famous for surfing. Fistral Beach there is a mecca for surfers, known for its great waves. Bude, just a mile from A39, also offers strong waves and attracts surfers nationwide.

Family-Friendly Beaches

There are many great beaches for families along the Atlantic Highway. Crackington Haven, close to A39, is scenic and safe for all. Mawgan Porth, a short drive away, is perfect for picnics and fun for the whole family.

Beach Activities Location
Widemouth Bay Sunbathing, Beach Walks Adjacent to Bude
Fistral Beach Surfing Newquay
Crackington Haven Family-Friendly, Beach Exploration Three miles off A39
Mawgan Porth Family Picnics, Swimming Five miles from A39

On the best beaches route, you'll find sun, surf, and family fun. Take in the beauty of the Atlantic Highway. Cherish the moments with those you love on the beach.

Outdoor Activities

Driving along the Atlantic Highway offers more than beautiful views. It's a hub of outdoor activities waiting to be explored. For hikers, water sports lovers, and those who enjoy wildlife watching, this route has something special for everyone.

Hiking Trails

There's plenty for hiking fans on the Atlantic Highway. You'll find hiking trails with stunning sea views and close-up nature meetings. Stop at Crackington Haven for tough but enjoyable walks. Or, try the pretty trails around Bude and Tintagel. They've got both challenging and peaceful paths, perfect for any hiker.

Water Sports

Love the sea? Then, the Atlantic Highway is perfect for you. Cornwall's best water sports spots are here. Go surfing at Bude's award-winning beaches. Or, try kayaking in Padstow’s calm waters. If you like other activities like kite surfing or paddleboarding, you won't be disappointed.

Wildlife Watching

This road is a dream for wildlife watching thanks to its varied nature spots. Drive along the Atlantic Highway and you'll see many plants and animals. Visit nature reserves and coasts to see seals, seabirds, and maybe even dolphins. Mawgan Porth and Clovelly are excellent places for these experiences.

Camping and Accommodation

Travelling the Atlantic Highway means you’ll find many beautiful places to stay. You can choose from the lovely North Devon scenery to Cornwall’s stunning coasts. There's a lot to see and do, from camping places to hiring a campervan. You might look for a quiet spot in nature or a site with lots of facilities. Either way, you’ll find something perfect.

Along the way, you’ll come across some great campsites. Places like Stoke Barton Campsite in Bideford and Trewethett Farm Caravan Club Site near Tintagel Forest are ideal for those in motorhomes or campervans. They offer a place to relax and are close to beautiful coastal towns and sights, such as Dartmoor and Exmoor National Parks.

If you're after a more traditional stay, don’t worry. The Atlantic Highway is filled with friendly hotels and guesthouses. You can enjoy a cosy night's sleep and warm welcome everywhere you go. There are options for every budget in towns like Clovelly, Bude, Padstow, and Newquay. They all offer a special look at the local life and stunning coasts.

Here's a quick look at some of the top accommodation options on the Atlantic Highway:

Accommodation Type Location Highlights
Campsites Stoke Barton Campsite, Bideford Perfect for campervans; stunning coastal views
Campsites Trewethett Farm, Tintagel Close to Tintagel Castle; amenities available
Hotels Bude Elegant stays; near beautiful beaches
Guesthouses Padstow Warm local hospitality; excellent seafood dining

Whatever your choice, staying along the Atlantic Highway makes your trip much better. Whether you love camping, want to hire a campervan, or prefer a comfy guesthouse, you'll find just the right place.

Food and Drink Stops

When you begin the Atlantic Highway journey, you find a road filled with tasty stops. The route from Barnstaple to Newquay is packed with food and drink places. You can visit seafood spots, cute cafes, and lively markets. Each place is ready to please your taste buds.

Seafood Restaurants

The journey shines with its many seafood places. Places like Padstow and Port Isaac are well-known for fresh seafood. Try fish and chips by the sea or dine at a fancy Michelin-star restaurant, like The Seafood Restaurant. These places offer more than food. They give you a real feel of coastal Cornwall.

Cafes and Tea Rooms

Looking out at beautiful coastal views, stop at a cosy cafe or tea room. Whether in Boscastle for a cream tea or Crackington Haven for a pasty, you'll enjoy a break. The charm of these spots will revitalize you for more exploring.

Local Markets

Another great part of the journey is the local markets. Places like Bude and Tintagel have lively markets. Here, you can taste local products from fresh veg to homemade cakes. These markets let you experience the region's food scene. Plus, you might find a unique souvenir to take home.

Location Food and Drink Highlights Recommended Stops
Padstow Seafood, Michelin-star restaurants The Seafood Restaurant by Rick Stein
Boscastle Cream teas, assorted pastries Boscastle Farm Shop & Cafe
Tintagel Artisan cheeses, homemade preserves Tintagel Market
Bude Local produce, homemade cakes Bude Farmers' Market
Port Isaac Fresh catches, traditional pub fare The Mote

Planning Your Road Trip

Heading out on the Atlantic Highway in Devon and Cornwall lets you dive into coast England's beauty. Good planning helps you enjoy the lovely landscapes and historic spots on your way.

Best Time to Visit

The best time for a trip along the Atlantic Highway is worth thinking about. Summer, especially July and August, brings warm, dry weather perfect for driving along the coast. But, these months are busy because of school holidays. For a quieter visit, September and early October are great. The weather is still warm, and there are fewer people.

Weather Considerations

Thinking about the weather is key for a happy and comfy trip. Early spring on the south-west coast might be damp and cold. But, things get better from late April. Watching forecasts and carrying things for rain is smart, even in summer. Always have layers, waterproofs, and sun protection ready. This way, you're set for all kinds of weather on the Atlantic Highway.

Travel Essentials

Getting your travel basics sorted out is important. Have GPS or maps to keep you on track. Renting a motorhome makes the journey more comfortable. Remember your emergency kit, suitable clothing, and essential supplies. This prep helps you fully enjoy the stunning drive along the Atlantic Highway without worry.

For full road trip planning tips on picking the best visit time and coping with weather, see our detailed advice. Being well-prepared is the key to relishing the Atlantic Highway's charm and thrill.

Tips for Navigating the Highway

Driving the Atlantic Highway is fantastic but needs planning. The route offers breathtaking views but varying road conditions. It's crucial to prepare well for a safe and fun trip.

Using the right tools makes getting around easy. A good GPS or a detailed map is a must. They keep you on the right track, even in complex areas. For those loving tech, smartphone apps bring real-time traffic news and new paths to try.

Driving Safety Tips

Staying safe on the Atlantic Highway is key. The roads might be narrow, asking for careful driving and slower speeds. Watch out for wildlife, especially in the countryside and near the coast. Knowing the local driving laws is important. Also, get enough sleep before a long drive and take breaks to remain alert and energised.

Parking Advice

Finding a spot to park isn't hard with some thinking ahead. Look for official car parks near towns and attractions. Pay attention to parking signs for time limits and fees. To get a good parking space at busy spots, like beaches or historical places, aim to arrive early. Always park legally to avoid trouble and keep your car safe while exploring.

With the correct navigation tools, driving safety in mind, and a grasp of the parking rules, your Atlantic Highway journey will be delightful. These tips will allow you to enjoy the route's beauty and make memories on this iconic British road trip.