With sprawling moors, staggering cliffs, and beautiful beaches, the south of England is really the ultimate South England road trip from London. With nearly two weeks to explore, this road trip itinerary spans over 1,000 kilometres from Land’s End in the west to the White Cliffs of Dover in the east.
Along the way, you’ll unearth fossils on the Jurassic Coast, wander the mysterious landscape of Dartmoor National Park, and discover hidden stories behind Southampton port’s most famous maritime disaster. Crisscrossing England’s stunning southern coastline in a campervan rental is an epic London road trip you won’t soon forget.
With 150 km (~90 miles) of stunning beaches and rugged cliffs, England’s Jurassic Coast is deserving of its own itinerary on this South England road trip.
For a little taste, use the seaside town of Weymouth as your base in order to explore some of the top sights in just three days. Arriving in Weymouth around midday, spend the afternoon sunning on Chesil Beach then take in a local Punch & Judy show at Weymouth Harbour. Some of the Jurassic Coast’s most famous sites can be seen in one full day.
Head first to Lulworth Cove, an unusually round, sheltered bay with multiple walking trails leading to scenic viewpoints like the iconic Durdle Door. Explore the coastline by foot, then drive inland to see more of the peninsula, including Corfe Castle, a war-ravaged site dating back to the 11th century.
Day three of your South England road trip is best spent on a leisurely drive west along the A35, with a planned detour for fossil hunting at the Lyme Regis beachfront.
Distinctive, round bay with path to Durdle Door
Centuries-old castle ruins with spectacular views.
Top beach for Jurassic Coast fossil hunters.
Fish 'n' Fritz
The best fish ‘n’ chips shop in Weymouth
Crab House Café
Upscale seafood resto with fresh crab
Local favourite, views over Chesil Beach
Monmouth Beach Car Park
For your pit stop at Lyme Regis
Scenic sea view camping near Weymouth
What do King Arthur, the television series Poldark, and singing pirates have in common? Each has left an enduring mark on the southwestern county of Cornwall, your next stop on this England road trip itinerary.
Wild moorland stretches toward towering cliffs and sandy beaches which culminate at Land’s End, mainland Britain’s most south-westerly point. Visit nearby Penzance, home of the so-named operatic pirates, and make your way to the tidal island of St. Michael’s Mount.
Along Cornwall’s rugged northern coastline, venture to Fistral Beach for excellent surfing and sunbathing, followed by a bite to eat in Newquay. While in the surf village, make sure to check out the range of water activities available at Newquay Activity Centre , where you can dive into anything from a surfers beginners course to guided Coasteering or SUP. Check out Poldark filming locations like the charming port village of Charlestown and imagine a dashing rogue sweeping you away on horseback over Bodmin Moor. (Sigh.)
If knights and kings are more your thing, get a dose of Arthurian legend in North Cornwall, where Tintagel Castle is believed to be at the centre of it all and if you are looking for something a bit more magical visit the quirky Museum of Witchcraft & Magic, which reputedly has the world’s largest collection of items relating to witchcraft, and certainly one of the more unusual things to do in Cornwall.
St. Michael’s Mount
Reach the island’s castle by foot in low tide
Sandy beach with great surfing
Be swept away into a scene from Poldark
Walk in the footsteps of King Arthur
Newquay Activity Center
Water activities for adrenaline seekers or outdoor explorers in the heart of Cornwall.
Ben's Cornish Kitchen
Casual spot near St. Michael’s Mount
Popular Mexican resto in Newquay
Ye Olde Malthouse Inn
Cosy pub with locally-brewed beer
Bellamins Tor Car Park
Pull over for a stroll in Bodmin Moor
Blue Hills Touring Park
Beautiful, scenic campsite with showers
The Headland Caravan & Camping Park
Stay overnight near Tintagel Castle
Driving west into the English county of Devon, the next stop on your South England road trip is Dartmoor National Park. This vast, craggy moorland is one of the last remaining wildernesses in the country.
Wild ponies roam freely and hundreds of trails twist their way through valleys, villages and even the odd Neolithic tomb. This haunting landscape even served as the setting of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s iconic Sherlock Holmes adventure, The Hound of the Baskervilles.
Plan for a day or two of leisurely wandering, exploring the unusual tors (granite rock formations) and enjoying lazy pub lunches in any of Dartmoor’s many charming inns.
Before heading off, give yourself a few hours to tour Castle Drogo. Completed in 1930, it is the last castle to be built in England, now owned and operated by the National Trust.
Dartmoor National Park
Scenic trails, waterfalls, ponies, ruins, and more
Explore the last castle to be built in England
Award-winning hotel resto on the moors
The Who'd Have Thought It Inn
Charming pub with fresh, seasonal food
National Park Visitor Centre Princetown
Good base to start exploring
Stover Caravan and Motorhome Club Site
Simple site that’s easy on the wallet
No road trip along the southern coast of England is complete without a stop in Southampton, one of the country’s busiest port cities. It might also ring a bell as the departure port of RMS Titanic; the ill-fated passenger ship sailed from here on 10 April 1912, with four in five crew members on board hailing from Southampton.
Learn more about the ship as well as Southampton’s long maritime history at the local SeaCity Museum and visit the moving Titanic Engineer Officers Memorial to pay respects. Without your sea legs, Southampton still entertains with live shows at the Mayflower Theatre and Premier League matches at St.
Mary’s Stadium. In the city centre you’ll find the Bargate, a Grade I listed medieval gatehouse that once served as the main entrance to Southampton. The surrounding cobblestoned blocks contain many more medieval ruins, like the old town walls and historic guard towers.
Local maritime history with interactive exhibits
Area of medieval ruins, old city walls, and towers
Halladays Tea Rooms
Cosy spot popular for breakfast & brunch
Sulas Greek Taverna
Hidden local gem of delicious Greek food
Civic Centre Forecourt Car Park
Simple lot close to city centre
Sunnydale Farm Campsite
Secure, modern site just minutes to town
Plan to depart Southampton early in order to enjoy a full day trip to Canterbury. Founded in 597 A.D., Canterbury Cathedral still serves as the Church of England’s HQ to this day.
Stick around for a bit to explore this pretty medieval city’s gardens, ghost tours, or art galleries, before travelling onwards through Kent to Dover, your final South England road trip destination.
This strategically important coastline is perhaps best known for its staggering, chalk-white cliffs. The White Cliffs of Dover create a symbolic defence against would-be invaders from across the Channel. This makes Dover a fitting location for graffiti artist Banksy’s bold statement on Brexit, a mural depicting a star’s removal from the EU flag.
Nowadays, the cliffs are easily explored on foot along a well-worn coastal trail with absolutely stunning views. Save some energy for your final day, best spent taking in the secret wartime tunnels at Dover Castle before starting the short drive back to London.
Pretty medieval city with a famous cathedral
White Cliffs of Dover
Chalk-white stretch of world-famous coastline
Banksy’s EU Mural
The iconic artist's bold statement on Brexit
Significant castle stronghold turned museum
The Goods Shed
Food hall & farmers market in Canterbury
Fresh seafood in restored Dover shipyard
Creative dishes in a relaxed setting
Queningate Car Park
Park right in the centre of Canterbury
The Chequers Caravan Park
Simple, comfortable site in Dover