Planning your trip

Here are our Top Tips to help you get the most from your South West 660 adventure. We also welcome tips from the SW660 community through our Facebook page. Don’t forget to post your favourite moments on Instagram using #southwest660!

What time of the year?

The South West 660 is best explored from September through the winter until June. During the peak summer months the west country can be very busy, and the narrow lanes in particular can present some challenges! From Autumn to Spring the views are just as good (if not better) and you will be able to savour a slower pace of life.

Accommodation

Local hotels, guest houses and pubs will be delighted to give you a very warm welcome outside of the high season and you will find it easier to secure accommodation in the best locations. 

It is worthwhile planning and booking your accommodation in advance.

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The South West 660

The Route

We have carefully curated the route to include some of the very best the South West can offer. But please do research the route before you arrive – there are some wonderful places to visit that are not far inland from the main drive. See the Inspire section for some ideas.

Be aware that the route includes several optional detours, many of which are along narrow lanes. These offer spectacular views or hidden gems but will require careful driving and navigation.

There are several river crossings on the route, some of which use small tugboat-style ferries! These are a unique and worthwhile experience but may not be suitable for low-suspension cars; however we have indicated alternatives in each case.

Don’t forget to check the Route Map.

How long will it take?

The South West 660 should not be rushed! We suggest that you drive no more than 50 miles per day, and take at least two weeks to complete the journey. This will give you time to enjoy the experience, and to relax and immerse yourself in the culture and ambience of the west country’s charming villages and towns. You will also be able to rest and savour the incredible views and stunning countryside at your leisure.

If you can’t commit to the entire route in one trip, why not split it into two and drive Sections 1 to 6 in the Spring and Sections 7 to 12 in the Autumn? Or you could spread the experience out even further and drive one or two sections at a time.

Bring with you...

Both extreme cold and snow are unusual in the South West but we recommend you bring good quality waterproof clothing to make the most of the outdoors in weather which can sometimes be wet and windy!

Two or four wheels?

What vehicle should you drive?

The SW660 is suitable for almost any vehicle but we recommend you drive the route in a car or on a motorbike. Some of the most rewarding sections of the route are along B-class and unclassified roads that can be hilly, narrow and winding. It is beneficial if you are confident reversing along narrow lanes as it is courteous to oncoming drivers to be able to move back safely when needed.

If you are happiest on two wheels you’ll be pleased to hear that we plan to offer a cycle-friendly route soon; sign up to be kept updated on progress!

Lastly we would caution against larger motorhomes and caravans. To enjoy the SW660 in these vehicles, we suggest you take time to plan the route using the official SW660 map as a guide, and plotting your own course along roads on which you are comfortable.

Driving an EV

You are absolutely able to drive the SW660 in an Electric Vehicle and we would encourage it as a smooth, clean, eco-conscious choice. We recommend using Zap-Map to identify charger locations and planning ahead. Some councils in the region (e.g. Exeter) provide free-to-use 7kW Pod-Point chargers and there are a growing number of rapid 50kW chargers too. Furthermore, many hotels now offer a charge point but these are not often listed publicly so it is worth asking when booking your accommodation.

Respect, Protect, Enjoy

Natural England have written the Countryside Code to help us all enjoy the countryside in a safe and respectful way. There is some good advice in their document and it is worthwhile becoming familiar with it before starting your SW660 adventure.

Visiting from Overseas

The south west of England is easy to reach from overseas. Poole at the start of the SW660 has a direct ferry connection from northern France. Southampton airport, just one hour’s drive away from the start point, has direct flights from Amsterdam, Berlin and several cities in France. There are multiple car hire companies operating from Southampton airport, but for a unique and memorable experience, why not book a classic car or VW camper for your trip?

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