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Discover: Must-visit South West summer road trips off the beaten track

Discover: Must-visit South West summer road trips off the beaten track

The staycation...if there was ever any doubt of this being a British institution, the past 18 months has proven our appreciation of home sweet home - and when it comes to the South West, there's an abundance of destinations to explore.

Blessed with sloping hills, historic abbeys, rugged coastline and postcard-pretty landscapes that rival European tourist hot spots, the scenic South West is brimming with places to discover this summer.

As we mark the start of the long-awaited school holidays, we can all enjoy further freedoms and set off on staycations adventures. To help make your staycation one to remember, we explore must-visit South West summer road trip ideas to inspire you and the whole family.

Bridgwater to Cheddar Gorge


No visit to this corner of the country would be complete without a visit to the awe-inspiring dramatic cliffs of Cheddar Gorge, England's largest gorge.

The scenic drive from Bridgwater to Cheddar Gorge will be enjoyed by the whole family, as you take in the natural landscape and meander through the bends of the gorge. If you are feeling like an explorer, get up close and personal to the gorge's weathered crags, wild plants and wildlife by taking a circular walk of Cheddar - you won't be disappointed.

While you're visiting this quaint village, why not treat the family to a slice of cake from the many independent, traditional tea shops, sample the local Cheddar Gorge Cheese, or pick up some fudge and sweet treats for the journey home?


There are several routes from Bridgwater to Cheddar Gorge, all of which offer a picturesque journey. However, the quickest route is just under 19 miles and should take around 25 minutes by car.


  • The A38 from Bridgwater.
  • Follow this road before following the A39 at Dunball Roundabout.
  • At the Dunball Interchange, follow the M5 until junction 22, follow A38.
  • Pass through Tarnock, Lower Weare before turning right onto Cross Lane.
  • Follow the A371 to Cheddar Gorge.


Valley of the Rocks


If you are looking for a dramatic coastline with a view to rival any screensaver, the Valley of the Rocks is the ideal destination. Located on the northern edge of Exmoor, this photogenic destination will have the whole family eager to explore.

The journey to the cliff tops is well worth the effort - as you walk up from the deep valley floor, you won't miss the cliffs on either side that are just waiting to be discovered.

Enjoy the panoramic views of the cliffs and seascape, breathe in salty-fresh air, and take family photographs to remember this ultimate beauty spot.

Getting to this idyllic destination is just as enjoyable, as the route takes in jaw-dropping views of the North Devon coast, looking over the Bristol channel to the North, or over rolling hills and farmland to the South.

This drive does include some tight bends and steep gradients en-route, so be careful. However, the journey there together with the delights of the Valley of the Rocks once you arrive, is well worth the trip.

For this route follow:

  • Signs heading north off of the A361 North Devon link road on the A399.
  • Turn right onto the A39 heading north.
  • After approximately 3 miles, take a left turn signposted to Hunters Inn and Heddons Mouth.

For challenging journeys, a reliable and efficient family car is a must. Check out our guide on the Top Ten Cars for Families for inspiration.


Moretonhampstead to Tavistock


Picturesque summer road trips don't get much better than this!

The panoramic views across Dartmoor National Park will have the whole family watching in excitement. With plenty of parking along the way, there are plenty of chances to spot ponies, enjoy a picnic, take lots of photos and soak up the views of the vast open space Dartmoor is renowned for.

This route takes in plenty of charming market towns on the way, so you're never too far from quaint places to explore, or the opportunity to sample a famous Devon cream tea.

Start this stunning road trip at the pretty and bustling market town of Moretonhampstead (15 miles west of Exeter), and follow the signs of the B2312 across the moor. Follow the B3357 past Cox Tor and into the Tavistock valley.

Need a reliable used car to get you to Tavistock? Look no further - browse our wide range of options for used family cars here.


Explore the South West today


Have you been inspired by our must-visit summer road trips in the South West and are looking to explore with the family this summer?

A new used family car is all you need to enjoy these many sites for this summer and years to come. If you are looking to upgrade to a new used family car and need more help and advice, contact Carbase today. Our expert team of friendly staff are more than happy to help you select your next used vehicle today.

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