Are we there yet? This blog is for the drivers in the family (and comes with a *boring* practical info warning ⚠️).
Do you share the driving or is there one person who always has to be the driver? I do quite a lot of driving in and out of Devon, so I’ll try and give you some advice on the best routes in.
Avoid Friday Afternoons and Saturdays
First and foremost, try to avoid Saturdays during the school holidays if you can. Traditionally the ‘check-in’ day for the hotels and holiday resorts in the region, it is without a doubt the busiest day of the week to travel during the school holidays. As we no longer have set arrival days or breaks, meaning you can check in any day of the week, if you can arrive on a different day, I would.
If you are going to arrive on a Saturday, your best solution to avoid traffic is an early start. If you can make it past Bristol or Salisbury before 11 then you should be ok! The other key time to avoid is Friday as work traffic tends to clog up the roads; anytime time between 3-7 tends to be busy in the key city or commuter areas like Bristol and Taunton.
Skip Junctions or Take the Scenic Route
Getting backed up on the M5 is never fun, but if you do there is the possibility of jumping on to the A38 for a few junctions if there has been an accident, then getting back on to the M5 or if you fancy the scenic route follow the A38 on to the A358 over Exmoor National Park to Ilfracombe and then to Croyde. This route on a regular day takes a little longer, but the coastal and countryside views are stunning. A lot of the scenic route roads are windy and some are narrow.
Coming off the M5 at junction 27 as part of the regular route, you will join the North Devon Link road (A361) for around 45 minutes to get to Barnstaple. There are overtaking lanes every few miles. Once you’ve made it to Barnstaple, there are two main options; taking the new bridge (which I’d advise) or going through the town. For the new bridge carry on the A361 as you approach Barnstaple; to head through town follow Eastern avenue.
After Barnstaple you are almost here and will come towards Braunton, where the traffic will sometimes back up at peak. If it does, it shouldn’t take you too long to get through it but you can avoid it by taking the left hand turn at the murco garage and heading over the burrows. Or, at risk of me being barred from the local pubs for telling you this, take this left then turn right at the next roundabout and take the first right down south street which will pop you out by The George pub or through Caen car park and just take a left towards Croyde.
Leave the M5 at Junction 27
Take the 3rd exit at the roundabout towards A361 Barnstaple
Follow this for around 35 miles over the roundabouts
Continue on A361 as you pass Landkey into Barnstaple
Follow A361 (straight on slightly left turn), straight over next roundabout
Turn right at next roundabout towards A361, follow this over new bridge
Left at the main lights (second set) and follow this all the way to Braunton
Head left at Braunton Lights towards Croyde
We’ll be just past the beach on your left!