Dreaming of sandy feet, salty air and scones piled high with strawberry jam and clotted cream? Pack your bags and hit the Atlantic Highway UK. This 70-mile stretch of the A39 winds along the Atlantic coast from Barnstaple to Fraddon. Along the way, it takes you past rolling hills, chocolate-box villages and, of course, some of the most beautiful parts of the British coastline.
The Atlantic Highway UK is regularly featured on countdowns of the best road trips in the world. It’s so impressive that Lonely Planet even has a dedicated writeup to the scenic drive.
Dreaming of a road trip on the Atlantic Highway UK? Get inspired with our complete guide to this wild and remote stretch of coastline. We have you covered with all the best towns and villages to visit, plus unmissable walks, attractions and food-focussed experiences.
Park Head and Poldark
Our first stop takes you to Park Head, a spectacular promontory featured in the hit BBC TV series, Poldark. Perched high on the cliffs, you’ll get sweeping views of the soaring sea stacks and iconic Bedruthan Steps. Work up an appetite on the Park Head Circular Walk, then take a moment to close your eyes and picture Ross galloping across the clifftops on Seamus, his beloved horse.
Michelin star dining in Padstow
Hungry? You’re in luck. Park Head is a stone’s throw from Padstow, a hidden gem for foodies. The charismatic fishing village is a bastion for chef-driven restaurants, including Michelin star venues.
Paul Ainsworth at No. 6 will blow you away with modern British cuisine made with fresh, locally sourced ingredients. It’s pricey, but for gastronomes, the experience is unforgettable.
Farm-fresh produce in St Kew
Looking for something a little more casual? Continue on to the tiny hamlet of St Kew, where you’ll find one of the best farm shops in Cornwall. Enjoy delicious soups, salads, coffee and pastries.
Cornish charm in Port Isaac
Next stop is Port Isaac, a charming coastal town made famous by the Doc Martin series. If you’re not familiar with the show, it’s a great one to stream on your Atlantic Highway UK road trip. Take your time strolling along the narrow lanes lined with whitewashed cottages.
Walk in the footsteps of King Arthur in Tintagel
The neighbouring town of Tintagel is another Cornish jewel. Like Port Isaac, it oozes historic charm. Most road trippers arrive to visit magnificent Tintagel Castle. Set high on rugged granite cliffs, the centuries-old castle is the birthplace of King Arthur. At least that’s how local legend goes. Explore the main castle before following the clifftop trail to the medieval chapel. There’s also a steep trail down to the beach, where you can peer into Merlin’s Cave.
Spot Cornish pixies in St Nectan’s Glen
While you’re in the area, be sure to stop by St Nectan’s Glen. Tucked away in a hidden valley, the glen feels like you’re stepping into a storybook. A crystalline waterfall cascades into a natural pool surrounded by moss-covered rocks and climbing ivy. If you’re hoping to spot a Cornish pixie, this is the place! Pack your swimming costume – though be warned, the water is chilly, even in the height of summer.
Get witchy in Boscastle
From Cornish pixies to King Arthur and Merlin, the Atlantic Highway UK is no stranger to myths and legends. If you can’t get enough of the region’s fascinating past, don’t miss the excellent Museum of Witchcraft and Magic in Boscastle. As well as magic, this tiny town is home to a colourful community of artists.
Get your feet wet in Bude
A population of around 10,000 residents makes Bude one of the biggest towns on the Atlantic Highway UK. There are a handful of reasons to pencil Bude into your road trip. For starters, the 19th-century castle has been reimagined as a fantastic heritage centre. And yes, there’s a café where you can indulge in cream tea with a view! Don’t forget to spread your jam on first!
Take a dip in the oceanfront sea pool, and if you’re feeling energetic, sign up for surf lessons. If anything, it’s a great excuse to treat yourself to pastries from the local bakery. It’s housed in a former electric depot and sells some of the best croissants this side of the English Channel.
Family-friendly fun in Fraddon
Wind up your Atlantic Highway UK road trip in Fraddon. The town is packed with family-friendly attractions, including the adorable Lappa Valley Steam Railway.
Hit the Atlantic Highway with My Car Credit
Now you’re all set with ideas for your Atlantic Highway UK road trip, it’s time to get behind the wheel of a reliable car. The Atlantic Highway is remote, which means you’ll want a vehicle you can trust. Like all road trips, safety and comfort should also be a priority. If it sounds like it’s time to upgrade, we can help with unbeatable deals on car finance.
Wondering how much you can borrow? Use our handy calculator to generate an instant car loan quote online. Whether you’re dreaming of a brand-new SUV with space for the whole family plus pets, or a compact supermini for romantic weekends away, we can help get you into the driver’s seat sooner.
Representative APR 10.9%
Evolution Funding Ltd T/A My Car Credit
Require more help?
Got a question you can’t find the answer to, or need some advice and guidance around taking out car finance? Our Car Credit Specialists are friendly, experienced, and here to help so get in touch today!