5 Days in Cornwall and Devon: The Ultimate Family Campervan Trip

With the rising costs of summer travel and many people converting campervans (what else was there to do during the lockdowns!)… Van-cations are now more popular than ever. More and more people are going off the grid; using the “Home is Where You Park It” approach, Cornwall is becoming increasingly more popular. Here’sHere’s how to spend 5 days in Cornwall on a van-cation to inspire you to visit yourself!

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5 days in cornwall, cornwall campervan trip

Our van is a simple 2005 plate Vauxhall Vivaro that used to be a builder’s van. We converted it last year (a bit later than everyone else, but we both worked through the lockdowns!) to include a pull-out bed, storage and front swivel seat. It is simple but perfect for our small family. Our daughter has named it Guinevere (after the van in Disney’sDisney’s film, Onward), and to this point, we had only done weekends away.

Cornwall Road Trip

As soon as the summer holidays hit, we packed the van and decided to try a longer trip. A Cornwall road trip! We live just outside Plymouth, so 5 days in Cornwall was perfect for testing Guinevere on a longer ad-van-ture.

Touring Cornwall in a campervan is enjoyed by many people. With so many beautiful towns in Cornwall to explore, it makes sense to do a road trip!

This Cornwall campervan trip was intended as a sneak peek and exploration trip. Giving us places to consider for longer trips later on. But we loved every second of it and Guinevere served us well!

You May Also Like: 6 Cornwall Road Trip Itineraries

Driving in Cornwall

The coastal roads were simply gorgeous to drive along! Picturesque rocky coastline as far as the eye can see. Dotted with rolling miles of golden sands and charming little villages. The roads can be thin and windy in places, but our little van did us proud without receiving any “Cornwall kisses” from the roadside hedges!

Cornwall 5 Day Itinerary

Our Cornwall 5 day itinerary started on the north coast of Devon near Ilfracombe. We met some family members down on holiday. Our campervan route Cornwall then took us to West Cornwall – The Lizard Peninsula, via St. Ives and then back via the Eden Project.

Ilfracombe (DEVON)

We stayed at Little Shelfin campsite which was low priced but had everything we needed. The pitches were grass, but level, and we had an electric hook-up and water point close by. The showers/toilets were very simple but warm and clean. It was the perfect excuse to test out our new awning, and our ability to repark once back from a day out!

Guinevere and her new awning
Guinevere and her new awning

From Little Shelfin we were able to explore the beaches at Ilfracombe. We thoroughly enjoyed the ““Tunnels Beaches“” with the family! Originally developed in Victorian times to have separate bathing areas for men and women. There are two shale/shingle beaches here backed by towering cliffs. The beaches are sheltered, with concrete pools and plenty of natural rock pools to explore in safety.

An early start on day 2 saw a leisurely drive along the North coast of Cornwall. Past Widemouth Bay, one of  Cornwall’s best family beaches, Padstow, and Newquay, which are all on our list to revisit, before we stopped at St. Ives for lunch.

St Ives

St. Ives is a quaint little fishing town. Stretching along golden sandy beaches and a headland where there is a lookout station. Dolphins, porpoises, seals and whales are often spotted from the lookout. In the town itself, there is a myriad of curious little shops and many places to eat.

aerial photo of ruin buildings beside large blue body of water under blue sky at daytime

Our daughter thoroughly enjoyed finding the 11 interesting facts about St. Ives that we had read about on the journey. She loved asking the local ice cream selling how to say St. Ives in Cornish and digging deep holes on each beach surrounding the town.

We did not go into the newly opened Tate gallery, but we did take a walk along the coastal path past the lookout. We were able to spot seals frolicking in the surf below the cliff path

seals in st ives, cornwall

My personal biggest takeaway from St. Ives was simply how friendly it was. The atmosphere was welcoming, and we heard that Tregenna castlewhich sits above the town, is a wonderful place to stay at if visiting without a campervan.

Our Cornwall itinerary 5 days meant we left St. Ives shortly after dinner to drive the last little bit down to Teneriffe campsite on the Lizard Peninsula. The most south-westerly point of the UK.

The Lizard

Teneriffe Campsite is a National Trust owned site with lovely facilities. Flat grassy pitches with and without electric and a children’s play area. It has great access to all the activities on the Lizard Peninsula. We stayed one night, so we did not bother with the awning as we arrived quite late.

After another comfortable night’s sleep as it was so quiet! We decamped the next morning and headed down to Kynance Cove, listed as one of the best beaches in Cornwall.

It is a little awkward to access, but if you arrive early enough in the morning, you will find parking. Then it is a short walk down to the clear waters and sandy beach. Rock pools abound, and the water is warm and welcoming. We can definitely see why it is one of the best beaches in Cornwall!

In the afternoon, we visited Lizard Lighthouse. We did the tour and learnt an awful lot about how lighthouses work! The staff there are all very friendly, and the views are breathtaking. A quick bite to eat at Britain’sBritain’s most Southerly café, and it was then time to head East to Eden Valley campsite near St. Austell.

the lizard lighthouse

Lizard Lighthouse

Eden Valley

Eden Valley campsite is an idyllic camp and caravan site set about 10 ‘minutes’ drive from the Eden Project. The facilities are welcoming, with an enclosed shower, toilet and sink in each cubicle. The owners are very friendly and welcoming. Gravel and grass pitches are available, and there are lots of spaces for children to play.

guinivere, eden valley campsite, st austell
Guinevere at Eden Valley Campsite

We stayed two nights here, so we had another chance to try out the awning! The day in-between we spent at the Eden Project, which I have written about HERE.


From Eden Valley, it was time to head home. But we couldn’t resist a little detour into the fishing town of Looe. Similar to St. Ives, but without the long beaches, Looe is very welcoming. With quaint little streets interwoven between the old fisherman’s cottages. There is a lovely museum and gaol to visit and even a Monkey Sanctuary! Again, we only popped in for a lunch break, but we will definitely be exploring this beautiful town again!

Looe from the road bridge over the river

So Should You Consider A Cornwall Road Trip In A Campervan?

Most definitely, yes! Our Cornwall 5-day itinerary was definitely a whistle-stop tour. But we gleaned lots of ideas for places to go back to. There is so much to see and do in Cornwall and lots of great places to park on a Cornwall campervan trip that I would definitely recommend anyone to have a go!

And do you need a campervan to explore as we did? No! You could easily take a tent or stay in the numerous hotels and bed and breakfasts as you drive around this historic and welcoming country.

Plan Your Cornwall Trip

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– Find hotels and B&Bs suitable for families on Booking.com. View prices and availability for your dates here >>>

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