Plymouth’s Best Countryside Drives - 5 Routes to Discover

Britain’s harbour city, Plymouth, lies on Devon’s south coast between the Tamar and Plym rivers. This unique location has made Plymouth a vital naval base since the 1960s, and it remains the largest in Europe today.

Besides its captivating naval history, Plymouth offers a variety of attractions, including the scenic Hoe Park, the historic Smeaton’s Tower, and the iconic Mayflower Step memorial. Venture beyond, and you’ll discover scenic drives that wind through the serene countryside, providing a perfect escape from the hustle and bustle of everyday life.

The best way to experience these picturesque routes is by car hire at Plymouth from Hertz Car Rental. With our wide range of vehicles , you can explore Plymouth’s countryside in comfort and style while at your own pace.

Here are the top five countryside drives to take from Plymouth.

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1. Jurassic Coast

Stretching 95 miles along the southern coast of England, the Jurassic Coast is a captivating UNESCO World Heritage site. This stunning coastline attracts over a million visitors each year, drawn by its unique geological significance. It's the only place on earth where you can find rocks from the Cretaceous, Triassic, and Jurassic periods all at one location, offering a rare window into the Mesozoic era.

Fossil hunting here can reveal ancient treasures that tell stories millions of years old. But the Jurassic Coast offers more than just a trip through time. Thrill-seekers can enjoy waterfront sports like kayaking, coasteering, and stand-up paddleboarding.

For those seeking a more relaxed experience, there are boat rides and the option of a refreshing dip in the ocean. Whether you're exploring ancient fossils or enjoying modern adventures, the Jurassic Coast promises an unforgettable trip.

2. St Ives

If you tire of stuff to do in Plymouth, the charming northern coast fishing town of St Ives should definitely be on your radar. Just a two-hour drive from Plymouth, St Ives is often hailed as the ‘dazzling crown of Cornwall’, thanks to its stunning harbour and four golden beaches.

On your way to St Ives, make a stop at Okehampton Castle, a medieval fortress offering guided walks, scenic routes, and charming picnic spots. Satisfy your taste buds at the Barbican Kitchen, famous for its delicious fish and chips, hearty pies, and traditional pasties. Before you reach St Ives, take a detour to East Looe Beach, perfect for sandcastle building and swimming.

Once you reach St Ives, you'll quickly see why Coast Magazine voted it the best family holiday destination. Dive into a variety of activities such as tennis, golf, surfing, and paddleboarding. Don't miss out on cultural gems like the Barbara Hepworth Museum, the St Ives Arts Club, and the Sculpture Garden.

St Ives offers a perfect blend of relaxation, adventure, and culture, making it an unforgettable destination for your next getaway.

3. Polperro

Just an hour’s drive from Plymouth, Polperro is a timeless fishing village nestled on the south coast of Cornwall. With its quaint cottages clinging to the steep hillsides around the harbour and breathtaking views of the horizon, it's no wonder artists flock to this charming destination. So, if you run out of stuff to do in Plymouth, why not grab your paint supplies and escape to this idyllic haven?

On your way, make a stop at Bodmin Moor, famed for its medieval bridges, grazing ponies, and Bronze Age cairns. Summerleaze Beach features beach huts, saltwater rock pools, and plenty of parking, making it a perfect spot to unwind and soak up the natural beauty.

4. Dartmoor

Dartmoor, nestled in the heart of southern Devon, is a rugged upland region known for its breathtaking landscapes and rich history. At its core lies Dartmoor National Park, a haven of vast open moorlands, deep river valleys, and rare wildlife like the dipper, whinchat, and redstart.

History buffs will find Dartmoor Prison Museum a must-visit, offering a fascinating glimpse into life within one of the world’s most infamous jails.

Apart from these attractions, the road from Plymouth to Dartmoor also offers some fascinating stops. Explore the Royal William Yard, home to the largest collection of listed former Royal Navy buildings in Europe, or catch a show at the Theatre Royal Plymouth, where you can enjoy everything from dazzling musicals to acclaimed productions straight from London’s West End.

5. Totnes

Just a short 40-minute drive from Plymouth, Totnes is a delightful market town that perfectly blends countryside charm with unique shopping experiences. Besides its picturesque timber-framed houses, Totnes is renowned for its extensive selection of fair-trade goods, ethical products, and handmade crafts.

When you need a break from browsing rare and unique souvenirs, consider a visit to Sharpham Vineyard or enjoy a bite of local cuisine at one of the charming cafes and pubs. Totnes is a great place to visit if you run out of stuff to do in Plymouth and want to infuse your visit with some authentic English charm.

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Final Thoughts

Discover the enchanting beauty of Plymouth’s countryside, where lush meadows and tranquil coastlines offer the perfect escape from the city's hustle and bustle. Breathe in the fresh sea breeze and explore everything from the chalk cliffs and fossil forests of the Jurassic Coast to the charming, postcard-perfect town of Totnes. Our list of the top five countryside destinations around Plymouth promises a getaway you won’t forget.

To make your journey a true delight, choose a car hire in the UK from Hertz Car Rental. Having your own vehicle allows you to fully immerse yourself in the scenic splendour of your countryside road trip, free from the limitations of public transportation schedules.

What's more, we offer a diverse fleet of cars, ranging from SUVs, zero-emissions EVs, and vans to sports cars, and more, to ensure you find a car that suits your preferences.

Make a reservation with Hertz today!