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No car to worry about, no traffic, no parking woes, just a superb 12-night trip, fully integrated with relaxing train travel and authentic activities.
Time is on your side on this brand-new addition to our ‘Slowly’ collection, as you start in the enchanting city of Bath – with a side visit to Stonehenge – meander to North Devon and wild Exmoor, crossing country to Mevagissey, Cornwall’s prettiest fishing village, with a final few days in perfect Penzance.
Having spent plenty of time on the rails of the west country and southwest, we’ve sought out the simplest, most scenic routes to go alongside engaging excursions and the friendliest accommodation, so all you need to do is go on holiday!
Take a look at our other “Slowly…” holidays for inspiration, if you prefer a leisurely travel pace.
We’ve imagined you’ll depart from London Paddington Station, but wherever you’re travelling from a tailormade solution is easily reached. From London, your train spears west through Berkshire and Wiltshire on its way to Somerset. Once at the city of Bath, your hotel is just a short hop from the station by taxi.
Your Accommodation in Bath
With rooms overlooking the bright greenery of Bath Rugby ground, your accommodation in Bath is an art- and curio-filled independent hotel formed from a grand Victorian mansion. Cheerful staff make guests feel immediately welcome in the impressive reception, while rooms feature traditional elements blended with more modern touches to make your stay as comfortable as possible. There’s great dining here too, the intimate and stylish restaurant serving an ever-changing menu both indoors and on the terrace.
After breakfast, you’ll be met by a local driver-guide and whisked away from the city on a day-tour as part of a small group. First stop is magical and mysterious Stonehenge, the most architecturally sophisticated prehistoric stone circle in the world. You’ll have time to soak in the special atmosphere here, the story of the stones brought to life by your guide. Later, continue southwest to uncover some of the lesser-known delights of Somerset, perhaps traversing Cranborne Chase, heading towards Glastonbury and the sleep villages that encircle the Tor. You’ll be dropped back at Bath in late-afternoon, perhaps taking off to a local hostelry for a revivifying refreshment.
A leisurely day today as you have a chance to take in some of the highlights of the city of Bath at your own pace. The elegant Georgian terraces, fabulous Roman baths and awe-inspiring Abbey, as well as several fine museums and galleries, and any number of terrific dining spots make this a great city in which to spend some time.
A fine day on the rails today as your train departs Bath Spa station and wends its way through Bristol and along the north Somerset coast. The line cuts between the Quantocks and Blackdowns on its way to the Devon ‘capital’ of Exeter. Here, there’s a quick change before heading northwest to the town of Barnstaple. Here, you’ll be met by a taxi and transferred across Exmoor to your next base in the clifftop town of Lynton.
Your Accommodation in Lynton
In the handiest of locations, your accommodation in Lynton sits close to all the town has to offer. The engaging hosts are always on hand and the accommodation in this 19th-century former ‘gentleman’s residence’ is so cosy and wonderfully calm.
Time to don the walking boots this morning, firstly for a short walk to the nearby Valley of Rocks. Here, you’ll be met by the most engaging of local guides and taken on a half-day private walk in the expansive landscape of Exmoor. This fabulous National Park features bleak moorland, superb coastline and rushing rivers, as well as its own breed of native wild ponies. Along the way you’ll enjoy a hand-made picnic created from local produce, some of which is sourced at your guide’s own smallholding.
In the afternoon, return to Lynton and get to know this beguiling Devon village.
A day to explore the tiny, winding streets of Lynton and its clifftop walkways. Descend to Lynmouth for its harbour and beach, ascending back to Lynton by the world’s only water-powered cliff railway. We’ll provide all the information you need to make the most of your time.
Another fine day on the train today. First, return by taxi to Barnstaple and catch the short train journey to Exeter. Another quick change here onto the southbound service takes you along some of the most dramatic lines in the UK, hugging the coast through Dawlish and Teignmouth, skirting Dartmoor and, once through Plymouth, touching the southern tip of Bodmin Moor on the way to St Austell. Here, you’ll be met by a taxi and transferred the short distance to your next base in one of Cornwall’s prettiest fishing villages, Mevagissey.
Your Accommodation in Mevagissey
Perfectly positioned a few minutes’ walk from the harbour, your accommodation is a bright, family-owned hotel enjoying fabulous views of sweeping Mevagissey Bay and Black Head. You’ll find an easy informality here and the very warmest of welcomes, each of the rooms decorated in gleaming whites and sky-blues, and the terrace inviting you to enjoy a cold glass while taking in the fabulous view.
It’s just a short walk after breakfast to the harbourside this morning, where you board the vessel of a local skipper for a one-hour cruise on the (usually) calm waters of Mevagissey. This rustic, repurposed fishing boat gives a true flavour of Cornish fishing and your skipper is full of stories of the history of the village and life here stretching back many centuries. If you’re lucky, you’ll even spot playful dolphins alongside the craft.
Another day of intense relaxation if you so wish. Perhaps take time to get lost in a book with coffee on the terrace at your hotel, then descend to the village for a just-caught seafood lunch or a takeaway crab sandwich. While out, take a glass of scrumpy at an authentic Cornish pub, before picking up a souvenir or two. If you fancy something a little further afield, maybe take a 25-minute taxi-ride to the incredible Eden Project, a fascinating place to spend the day.
You can’t go further south by rail than today’s destination, Penzance, and there’s no hurry as the rail journey takes a little under an hour. You’ll first travel by taxi back to St Austell before boarding the train and making your way towards the UK’s ‘rail terminus’. From the station by the water it’s just a few minutes by taxi to your final base. Should you arrive early, you’re welcome to stop by and drop your bags before heading straight out to take in this historic town.
Your Accommodation in Penzance
Overlooking Penzance’s ancient, working harbour, your hillside accommodation is a really quite impressive place. Created from a classic Georgian townhouse, this small hotel delivers a highly appealing blend of original architectural features, expertly chosen art and antiques, a gorgeous collection of mid-century modern pieces and beautifully integrated high-tech elements. Your host is as welcoming as they come, and delights in a ‘kitchen supper’ on some evenings, serving hearty, homemade dishes of the freshest local produce.
Take your time over a fine breakfast this morning, before meeting your friendly local guide. You’ll enjoy a private guided walking tour around Penzance, uncovering hidden history and fascinating details often known only to those who live in a particular location. Later, perhaps continue around the promenade to visit St Michael’s Mount, the staggering and magical offshore jewel that presents a snapshot of mediaeval Cornwall.
There’s a number of locations easily reached from your base in Penzance. Walk along the seafront to trendy Newlyn, filled with interesting shopping and galleries, and possibly Cornwall’s best pasties. Or take the short train-ride to St Ives for its own Tate Gallery and fabulous beaches, before making your way back to Penzance in time for dinner.
Time to make your way home today; again, we’ve programmed a return train journey to Paddington, but wherever you’re headed, we can provide a tailor-made solution to get you there with the minimum of fuss.
This public-transport holiday includes three nights in each of Bath, Lynton, Mevagissey and Penzance.
£2315 per person for April & October, £2390 per person for May to September.
Prices are based on two sharing ensuite twin or double rooms for 12 nights on a bed and breakfast basis.
Before your departure, you will receive personalised holiday information including full directions and recommended routes from your specified starting point, suggestions on places to visit depending on your interests, and our local knowledge to help you get the most from your holiday.
All England itineraries and room types are presented subject to availability at specific hotels.
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This holiday can be arranged from April to October.
Availability is individually checked for a hand-picked selection of smaller hotels, guest houses and other independent businesses, so please bear with us and we will respond in 1-2 working days.
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We guarantee to refund this service charge if you believe that arranging your holiday through McKinlay Kidd has not met your expectations for value. All we ask is that you write to us within 7 days of your return and explain your reason for claiming the refund. This will ensure that we can improve the experience for all our future guests.