Cornwall Travel & Transport
Travelling to and from Cornwall and Getting Around
Despite its location at the south-western tip of England, Cornwall is well served by local and national public transport which makes getting to and from Cornwall fairly straightforward.
Cornwall by car
If you’re travelling to Cornwall by car from the north of England the most direct route is to join the M6 motorway and follow it south until Junction 8 takes you onto the M5 heading southwest. From London and the southeast head west along the M4 motorway, exiting for the southwest-bound M5 at Junction 20. Once on the M5 you have the choice of routes. Choosing the A30, a major trunk road and mostly dual carriageway, will take you all the way to Penzance, Cornwall’s westernmost large town. Alternatively you may take the A38, considered Cornwall’s main ‘holiday route’ which terminates on the eastern side of the town of Bodmin.
If your route to Cornwall takes you through north Devon (e.g. you’re travelling down from Bristol) you have the option of joining the stunning A39 ‘Atlantic Highway’ which follows Cornwall’s dramatic Atlantic coastline as far as the village of Fraddon.
In summer and on bank holiday weekends Cornwall’s popularity with visitors can lead to major road congestion on these routes, thus out-of-hours travel is highly recommended to avoid delays.
Cornwall by train
Cornwall is served by three train operating companies: First Great Western, Cross Country and Virgin. Between these three companies most of the UK’s major railway stations are covered, making Cornwall relatively easily accessed by train. The major rail stations in Cornwall which these operators serve are Plymouth and Penzance. Local services then call at smaller towns.
Cornwall by bus
The nationwide coach operator National Express offers services to Cornwall from more than 1,200 cities in the UK, with the popular Cornish resort of Newquay being its principle destination although National Express coaches serve around forty further destinations throughout Cornwall.
Cornwall by air
Newquay airport is the Cornish hub for regular flights from London Gatwick airport, Cardiff and, from April 2012, direct flights from Glasgow airport.
Getting around Cornwall
Providing you plan your journey in advance, train services around south Cornwall make for an enjoyable and relaxing journey. However, in the north trains are virtually non-existent. Cornwall’s comprehensive bus services more than make up for this discrepancy, though, and cover every possible destination in the region.
Dedicated cycle tracks and relatively quiet country lanes make cycling a realistic and attractive alternative to motor transport for discovering Cornwall’s many attractions.