Great West Way Travel Magazine | Issue 07

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Expect history, adventure, natural beauty and excitement on an eco-friendly trip between London and Bristol along the Great West Way

Follow the paths through England’s idyllic countryside, quaint villages and elegant towns where our best kept secrets from the past meet twenty-first-century hospitality

20 - 24 JUNE 2023 THE DRAMA RETURNS FOR 2023 BE PART OF THE DRAMA Royal Ascot best price ends on 21st October 2022. Tickets from £29 | Book at today Group rates available when you book for 15 or more.

England’s Great West Way is one of the world’s premier touring routes, bringing together many of England’s most famous destinations and attractions along a corridor between London and Bristol


As the earlier nights draw in, be sure to have an outdoorsy Great West Way escape to look forward to – some time spent rambling through fallen golden leaves in one of our Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty, swooning over pretty villages and losing yourself in the festivities at an attraction or Christmas markets. Unwind with mellow evenings playing board games in a pub by a roaring log fire, or treat yourself to a pampering spa treatment in one of our luxury hotels.

Take care of your carbon footprint discovering greener travel (page 14) when planning your trip, and don’t forget days out spent at one of your favourite Houses and Gardens (page 36). Wildlife enthusiasts will love our article on the best places to hide out with your binoculars (page 24) and we hope you will feel inspired by our best days out for shopping (page 58) ideas for celebrating special occasions (page 64) and places to visit along the canals (page 68).

We hope you enjoy our seasonal selection of articles, latest news (page 8) and events (page 74) best read with a cup of hot chocolate topped with cinnamon sprinkles, or if you fancy something stronger, our rise of alco-tourism article (p30) should have the answer! Wishing you a lovely season.

Download our Great West Way map to discover the hundreds of places to visit, things to do,

Cover Image: Mother and sons enjoying the outdoors in Wiltshire © VisitBritain/Jess Barfield. Pictured Above: The illuminated trail at Blenheim Palace; Snow at Avebury
Jessica x


Interview with Great West Way local, Kirstine

works at the Wiltshire Wildlife Trust and shares her highlights of living on the Great


From 18th century underground Vault rooms and palatial Roman villas to brand new Lodge Retreats on the Blenheim Palace estate we take a look at what’s new on the


With award-winning green practices including zero-food waste, recycled glass and solar power being applied by so many hotels, restaurants and attractions along the Great West Way, plus with so many options to travel the route in an environmentally friendly way, planning your trip sustainably has never been easier


The Great West Way is lined with open countryside, picturesque woodlands, rolling hills, nature reserves and glorious gardens – if you enjoy spotting wildlife you will be spoilt for choice along the route


There’s a thriving trend of alco-tourism – with plenty of places along the Great West Way to learn the crafts behind some delicious homegrown tipples


On the Great West Way you travel past some of England’s most spectacular palaces and historic houses – a chance to stop and admire some of the country’s most outstanding examples of architecture, art and landscape design

4 CONTENTS AUTUMN/WINTER 2022 | Edition 07 07
West Way 08
route 14



With the return of ice-skating rinks, spa treatments and horse drawn carriage tours, not to mention fine seasonal fare, theatre productions and markets, there are so many reasons to plan your trip this winter


With McArthurGlen Designer Outlet Swindon, the UNESCO World Heritage city of Bath, Reading (the largest town in England) and everywhere in-between even shopaholics will not be disappointed here!


There are many ways to celebrate your most special occasions on the Great West Way from hot air balloon rides to luxury spa hotels, skydiving and more


Enjoy life cruising along the historic Kennet & Avon Canal from Devizes to Kintbury stopping off in the glorious Vale of Pewsey in the heart of the North Wessex Downs


As well as its natural scenery, cultural scene and lovely locals, the Great West Way is known for its many festivals and events – don't miss our cultural calendar highlights


The route has been designed to be travelled in a variety of different ways: by road, by rail, on water via the Kennet and Avon Canal and River Thames, by bike or on foot



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Kirstine Bowen, Marketing and Communications Manager at Wiltshire

What do you love most about your job and Wiltshire Wildlife Trust?

Sending out a press release about an important project the Trust is undertaking, which then gets picked up by local or national media is an incredible feeling.

How did you get started in your career?

I started my marketing career in the English language teaching sector and then the book publishing sector. However, my passion has always been for wildlife conservation and environmental causes, and so I made the decision last year to make a change.

What’s a typical day like for you?

I keep up-to-date on any projects my colleagues are working on and look for opportunities to get media coverage wherever possible. Most weeks, I’ll be writing press releases, arranging radio interviews, but no two days are ever the same.

Are you a city, town or country person?

I am definitely a country person, as I love to be out enjoying nature, going for walks and spotting wildlife. It can do wonders for my mental health.

What does sustainable travel mean to you?

Travelling in a way that limits the negative impact on the local environment and the planet. I always prefer to walk or cycle if I’m travelling shorter distances and for long journeys, whenever possible, I enjoy taking the train.

Describe your perfect adventure on the Great West Way?

Combining some walking and wildlife spotting with some water sports. A weekend spent near the lakes in the north of Wiltshire sounds perfect to me. I would visit somewhere like Cotswold Water Park to do some kayaking, followed by a visit to Wiltshire Wildlife Trust’s Lower Moor nature reserve to get out in nature.

If you could choose one must-visit attraction along the Great West Way, what would it be and why?

I would spend an afternoon exploring Wiltshire Wildlife Trust’s Lower Moor nature reserve. The reserve complex has three lakes, two brooks, ponds and wetland scrapes, all linked together by boardwalks, ancient hedges, woodland and meadows.

What do you think will surprise first-time visitors about the Great West Way?

There are so many interesting and beautiful places to discover! There are also lots of different activities to choose from too, to suit different tastes and budgets. I love the ‘Top 10’ lists on the Great West Way website, from the top 10 spectacular views to the top 10 short walks
Wildlife Trust, talks to us about her role and life on the way. From helping with fundraising projects protecting wildlife and habitats in Wiltshire (and beyond) to connecting people with nature and more sustainable living


A look at the highlights and what’s new on the Great West Way

Underground 18th century Vault rooms are unveiled at Hotel Indigo Bath Hotel Indigo Bath, set in a beautiful honey coloured Georgian Terrace, has recently opened its 18th century underground Vault rooms completing the final stage of its multi-million-pound major restoration project. The 18th century, Grade 1 listed building is the first global boutique hotel in Bath. The 12 Vault rooms are an amazing example of historical architecture and are both spacious and stunning in design. They feature exposed brickwork with soft lighting, timber finishing, vaulted bath stone ceilings, underfloor heating, and

high-end crafted furniture. The rooms are equipped with a King-size Hypnos bed with luxury Egyptian cotton linen, a spa-inspired bathroom with roll-top bath and separate walk-in rainfall shower, a Nespresso coffee machine, high speed Wi-Fi and a variety of channels on a 43” flat screen TV. As well as ‘The Vaults’, there are 154 additional guest rooms designed around four beautiful themes reflecting the history and locality of Bath. These include ‘Romance & Mischief’ rooms, ‘Literary Hideaway’ rooms, ‘Architectural Beauty’ rooms and ‘Garden’ rooms. The Vault rooms start from £299 per night for bed and breakfast.


We the Curious reopening

We the Curious science museum had to close in April 2022 after a devastating fire on its roof. Repairs to resulting water damage are under way and the plans are to reopen in 2023. Brimming with exhibits to inspire your curiosity and home to the UK’s only 3D planetarium, We the Curious is the place to ask questions and get creative.

Aerospace Bristol celebrate 20th anniversary of the last Concorde to ever fly in 2023 Housed at Aerospace Bristol in a purpose-built hangar, Concorde Alpha Foxtrot was the last Concorde to be built and the last to fly – and next year the museum will be celebrating 20 years since her final flight in 2003. The incredible story of Bristol’s amazing aviation achievements are told at Aerospace Bristol – and there's loads to discover – starting from the earliest days of powered flight, through to today’s cutting-edge aerospace technology. There's aeroplanes, helicopters, missiles, satellites, engines and more to see and lots of interactive exhibits for all ages. The highlight is the iconic Concorde. You’ll have the chance to step aboard the world's fastest passenger jet, glimpse into the cockpit, and walk through the passenger cabin to discover how Concorde passengers would travel in style. Plus, enjoy an amazing show projected on to the outside of the aeroplane. Great West Way visitors will find Aerospace Bristol just off the M5, near Cribbs Causeway, and with plenty of free parking.

Roman Villa at The Newt, Somerset

A short detour off the main route The Newt, a luxury hotel in Somerset, has opened a palatial Roman villa on its estate, reimagined to the original villa ruins found there. Visit the superb interactive museum before wandering through Villa Ventorum, with working Roman baths and formal dining room with frescoes of The Three Graces and intricate mosaics on the floor.

Best Boutique Spa in the UK

The buzzing city of Bristol is home to the Aztec Hotel Spa, recent Good Spa awards 2022 winner of the Best Boutique Spa in the UK. Visit for a spa day or an overnight break at the Aztec Hotel and take some time to enjoy the recently refurbished spa and brand new Relax Lounge. Other spa facilities include the beautiful sauna, hot tub, steam room and both a spa pool and swimming pool.

Blenheim Palace Lodge Retreat

A short detour from the main Great West Way route and construction of the eagerly anticipated Blenheim Palace Lodge Retreats have begun and are set to be completed and open for Easter 2023.

The collection of one, two and three-bedroom luxury staycation lodges will offer a new way to experience Blenheim Palace, one of the UK’s most historic country estates.

Situated in Woodstock, Oxfordshire, Blenheim Palace is one of England’s most popular and recognisable attractions. Home to the 12th Duke of Marlborough and his family, the 18th-century venue was the birthplace of legendary British prime minister Sir Winston Churchill and was designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1987.

Set beside the estate’s vast 2000-acre grounds and ideal for couples, friends and families, the lodges will come equipped with fully equipped kitchens, dining and living areas and will offer the perfect homeaway-from-home to enjoy a break in the Oxfordshire countryside.

experience the magical & mysterious with our onboard commentary as we guide you through the glorious landscape. Available in 10 languages Tour buses depart regularly from Salisbury City Centre & Salisbury Railway Station Tickets can be bought from the driver with cash or contactless or download the Salisbury Reds app seasonal prices apply as set by English Heritage photo - English Heritage

Riverside Hotel, Salisbury

Built in the 1800s by the Wort family, to whom the current owner’s father was an apprentice carpenter, the riverside property with cathedral views (previously Grasmere House Hotel) has been completely restored by new owners as a luxury 38-bedroom hotel.

The official residences of His Majesty The King Windsor Castle and The Queen’s Gallery at Buckingham Palace have now reopened. The special displays at Buckingham Palace, Windsor Castle and the Palace of Holyroodhouse marking the Platinum Jubilee of Queen Elizabeth II remain closed.

Leighton House reopens Leighton House, the remarkable studio-house of Victorian artist and former President of the Royal Academy, Frederic, Lord Leighton has reopened to the public following a major redevelopment. Situated in Holland Park, Kensington on the east side of the Great West Way.

The ultimate party house, Wiltshire

Situated on the edge of the pretty village of Kington Langley, Kin House is a super-luxe 12-bedroom Grade II listed house is set within walled gardens and private woodland and has been sensitively restored to its former glory. There are three lounges and a bar (named the Fitz Bar after Kington Langley’s original Medieval alias, Langley Fitzurse), and a talented in-house team of chefs. Prices from £12,500 per night.

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If sustainable tourism is important to you then you will be pleased to know the Great West Way is the perfect option for a more environmentally responsible holiday. Plan your Great West Way adventure with a carbon friendly footprint in mind, from the way you travel to the places you visit on the way

Helpachieve a cleaner, safer and healthier world for us, our families and future generations by staying in eco-friendly locations and visiting eco-conscious venues with award-winning green practices along the route. Offset your environmental footprint by leaving the car at home, hiring an electric bike or perhaps taking a cruise on a horse drawn trip along the Kennet and Avon Canal instead.

Dine in a restaurant with Michelin Green Star status and enjoy a night under the stars wild glamping in an eco-friendly shepherds hut or stay in a cosy carbon neutral farm cottage with countryside views.

Hotels are now striving to reduce emissions and become more sustainable, from achieving zero food waste and removing single-use plastics from guest rooms to winning sustainability awards. Plus, there are a wealth of eco-friendly

destinations, attractions and restaurants along the route to discover, not to mention greener ways to get there. It is now easier than ever to plan your journey more eco-consciously. So, for a travel experience that not only leaves you feeling fulfilled but has a positive impact on the planet, we hope you enjoy our selection of outstanding sustainable businesses along the Great West Way.

Ways to travel sustainably Perhaps one of the biggest impacts on our plant is the way we choose to get from A to B. Many hotels and accommodation providers have electric-car charging points if you are travelling by electric car. Alternatively, you might decide to plan your entire journey using public transport.

Getting about by bike, foot, boat and train is made easy on the Great West Way thanks to the Great Western Railway, the River Thames, the →


Did you know?

If every person in Great Britain switched just over one car trip to bus or coach per month each year (13 per year) by 2030 it would create a cumulative reduction of 2 million tons of C02e.

Kennet and Avon Canal, and a magnitude of foot and cycle paths. Arrive at any of the Great West Way’s cities by train, and wander on foot to explore at your own speed, or hire a bike for the day to whizz around town seeing all the sights.

In Bristol, you can even hop on a bicycle-for-two with Bristol Tandem Hire. If you fancy taking a cycle ride between some of the cities on the Great West Way, the 13-mile Railway Path between Bristol and Bath offers a flat, easy ride away from the roads.

The Great Western Railway runs throughout the touring route, stopping at cities like Bristol, Bath and London, as well as some of the area’s major towns including Reading, Windsor and Swindon. There are also convenient rail links to nearby cities Salisbury and Gloucester, which are just off the

Great West Way. You can use our Great West Way Discoverer pass for unlimited off-peak train and bus travel to make life even easier, with options from £139 for a seven-day pass.

Bristol Airport has also been recently recognised for its sustainability efforts, winning the Eco-Innovation Award for the easyJet low emissions initiative – a step towards becoming one of the UK's most sustainable airports.

And you can’t get much greener than travelling by horsedrawn boat! The Kennet Horse Boat Company operate from Easter to the end of September, and you can just hop on when they have spare seats – or book a barge by charter.

At the east side of the route you can enjoy a delightful electric boat cruise along the River Thames with Pure Boating. Surrounded by abundant beautiful unspoilt scenery


and natural beauty, their fully electric fleet is perfect for spotting the occasional kingfisher or heron, without a noisy, smelly petrol or diesel engine.

Buses are another way to help ease congestion and improve air quality. Just one double decker bus has the potential to take 75 cars off the road. Go South Coast have three fully electric zero emission vehicles collecting visitors from Salisbury Park and Ride sites. Plus, there are multiple coach services between London and Bristol by companies including National Express, Megabus, Stagecoach and Eurolines.

You could take in the route on a private coach tour, from the royal sights of Windsor to the charming villages of the Cotswolds – many of these depart from

central London. You’ll also find coach connections to other cities and towns along the touring route from London Victoria, including Marlow, Reading, Swindon, Chippenham, Bath and more.

Towns, villages and cities Destinations along the route are improving their shopping high streets and popular visitor districts in innovative environmentally conscious ways.

Henley have just hosted their Big Green Week event for local businesses to promote their sustainable products – and in an effort towards becoming 100% Net Zero the towns park vehicles are moving across to a greener fuel source of →
“Surrounded by abundant beautiful unspoilt scenery and natural beauty, their fully electric fleet is perfect for spotting the occasional kingfisher or heron, without a noisy, smelly petrol or diesel engine.
Pictured left to right: The Kennet Horse Boat Company horse drawn boat along the Kennet & Avon Canal; Pure Boating's fully electric fleet

hydrotreated vegetable oil. They are offering sustainability advice for market stallholders and recently hosted a seminar on green tactics at the local Town Hall.

In the Royal Borough of Windsor & Maidenhead they are reducing the need for carbon intensive travel by encouraging walking and cycling, investing in digital infrastructure, protecting and enhancing their natural environment and aiming to achieve net zero carbon emissions by 2050.

Marlborough have encouraged businesses in the town, including Bunces, The Parade Cinema and Slate Hill Charcoal, to sign a ‘Business Green Pledge’ to switch to cleaner products, to collect rainwater for using on plants, promote the use of biochar as a carbon negative soil improver, and offer discounts for customers bringing bottles and growlers (big refillable flasks) in for refills.

Local producers are stocked on the high street, hotels and restaurants in Malmesbury, and green adventures at the internationally famous Westonbirt Arboretum are close by. With its beautiful ancient hilltop town surrounded by picturesque rivers and countryside visitors are reminded of the benefits and importance of a greener more sustainable way of living.

In Calne you will see many perennials planted to bring more biodiversity to the town. The National Cycle Network passes through Calne and the centre will soon have bike chargers accessible to visitors.

As you travel through the cities of the Great West Way, you will discover all kinds of exciting eco initiatives too. Bristol is often regarded as the 'greenest' city in the UK, having been the first city in the UK to win the 'European Green Capital' award in 2015, as well as being named the


UK's first official Cycling City. Here you will find a thriving sustainability movement, from zero-refill shops to electric scooters for hire, and local awardwinning pie company Pieminister's ‘eat pies, plant trees’ scheme.

Just down the road in Bath, a clean-air zone has recently been introduced to reduce fumes and emissions in the city. Bath was built on England’s only natural thermal springs, and if you visit Thermae Bath Spa or Gainsborough Bath Spa you can enjoy these naturally heated waters for yourself – lovely and warm without the need for any non-renewables to heat them.

Attractions and museums

If you’re a lover of nature, you’ll be keen to discover some of the conservation charities and nature reserves along the Great West Way which are working hard to protect biodiversity and wildlife.

While many of the Great West Way’s nature reserves are found in the quiet of the countryside, our cities have some surprising offers. WWT London Wetland Centre on the west of London is a huge awardwinning nature reserve.

Providing safe haven from wildlife of all kins –birds, bats, amphibians and more – London’s first large-scale, man-made, inner city wetland reserve is well worth a visit.

At the other end of the touring route, visit the University Of Bristol Botanic Garden to see their huge variety of cultivated plants; the five-acre site is home to around 4,500 plant species.

The Great West Way has its fair share of ecofriendly farms too, which you could argue have had a head start on most when it comes to adapting to be more socially and environmentally aware.

The Farm at Avebury produce more energy than they consume, including their holiday lets, from their solar panels and they don’t use any fossil fuels for heating thanks to air source heat pumps. On the farm, they work with The Small Robot Company who are at the forefront of agricultural sustainability, increasing productivity whilst protecting soil health, water quality and biodiversity – and over the last 10 years they have planted thousands of trees. They sell their produce locally and to guests, with all their food being grown within one mile of the farm.

Visit Roves Farm in Swindon and you will see their sheep and hens grazing the grass beneath solar farm panels – accounting for almost 40% of their electricity required to run their 400-acre estate. Plus, they use wood chip biomass boilers heating the visitor centre during the colder months.

They produce all of their own beef, lamb and pork on the farm, including supplying their café with handmade sausages, beef burgers and mince. →
Pictured left to right: Clifton Suspension Bridge, Bristol; Rams at The Farm at Avebury, Beckhampton

Within their Farm Shop, meat is prepared and sold in their own Butchery, and they also offer ‘Roves Refills’, a zerowaste pantry with pasta, beans, pulses, nuts, oil, fruit, grains, seeds, chocolate and sweets all without unnecessary packaging – you simply bring your own containers from home (or buy reusable ones from the shop).

Fresh whole and semi-skimmed milk can be dispensed from the ‘Moo Station’ straight into glass bottles or cartons brought from home, reducing single use plastic whilst also supporting local dairy farmers.

Major attractions along the route are doing their bit as well. Blenheim is leading the way with a ‘Gold’ Green Tourism award rating the palace within the top 5% greenest attractions in the UK. Stonehenge has launched a new fleet of green shuttle buses to take visitors to see the stones, and the visitor centre is not connected to a mains water supply; instead, water is drawn from a borehole. The land around the visitor centre and stone circle is maintained as chalk grassland meaning it is not improved with products such as fertilisers but instead cut and cleared once a year. They are maximising recycling with zero waste going to landfill.

In the Stonehenge gift shop they stock products made and sourced locally including honey from Salisbury Plain, wine from Lyme Bay and a Christmas card range using cornstarch biodegradable bags and sustainably sourced board and envelopes.

The Roman Baths and Pump Room are working on an innovative scheme to harvest heat from the naturally hot spa water to use it to heat their buildings. Sixteen three-metrelong energy exchange blades have been inserted into the King’s Bath, and a new plant room is being created beneath the street. The idea is that heat from the King’s Spring will be used to heat the Roman Baths and Pump Room, as well as

the new Bath World Heritage Centre and Roman Baths Clore Learning Centre.

The historic landscapes of Hampton Court Palace and Kensington Palace support a wide range of wildlife communities and projects to conserve biodiversity at the royal palaces, and where possible they have created new habitats or enhance existing ones to encourage local wildlife to flourish.

The Bombay Sapphire Distillery in Hampshire was awarded the prestigious BREEAM Award for Industrial Design in 2014 – they have a biomass boiler providing heat and hot water using local, sustainably sourced wood chips as a fuel source and a hydroelectric turbine in the River Test, giving carbon savings of 38% and providing renewable and low carbon energy.

SS Great Britain, Bristol have reduced their energy consumption of the pioneering conservation system which protects the ship’s fragile iron hull by 25% – part of their commitment to become carbon neutral in our operations by 2030. Also in Bristol, The Wave inland surf destination use solar thermal panels to pre-heat their water and have plans to plant 16,000 trees and 13 acres of wildflower meadowland, while Avon Valley Adventure & Wildlife Park have 265 solar panels placed on their roof generating 90% of their power, and they are working with Great Western Recycling Ltd which means they have zero waste to landfill.

The Museum of English Rural Life and Reading Museum are launching a new campaign called 'Our Green Stories' which draws on the collections of both museums highlighting and engaging visitors and local people with environmental issues.

Chippenham Museum has been engaging people around issues of climate change through an exhibition display exploring the local landscape through imagery and a series of interviews with the local community about their climate concerns.

At the Jane Austen Museum, Bath they have switched to LED lights throughout the building, use a fully renewable electricity provider and have plans for solar panels on their roof and at Maidenhead Heritage Museum they have just started to stock a range of eco-friendly, sustainable products from Wild & Stone in their shop.

“The Wave inland surf destination use solar thermal panels to pre-heat their water and have plans to plant 16,000 trees...”

The REME Museum are creating a wildflower and sensory garden in their grounds, designed to keep environmental impacts to a minimum. The wildflowers are species commonly found in Wiltshire, while the vegetables grown in the allotment will be used by the museum’s café.

And although you can’t visit the factory, the Great West Way is proud to be home to the Birchall Tea Factory – the only wholly solar-powered tea factory in the UK and the first tea company in the world to be entirely Carbon Neutral. Located in Amesbury, the factory generates more electricity than they use with 460 rooftop solar panels. Discover their award-winning Great Rift Breakfast Tea stocked in a number of restaurants and cafes along the Great West Way route. →

Insider Tip

Enjoy greener travel by cycling, walking or riding along the new Pewsey Vale Circular Way – a 77 mile marked route (72 mile cycling), with the Vale of Pewsey at its heart. Dramatic downland, secluded woodland, sweeping valleys and the Kennet & Avon Canal provide a rich variety of landscapes for the walker, rider or cyclist to enjoy.

▶ Click here to download the the Circular Way leaflet.
Pictured above to right: The Wave; Bristol; Roman Baths, The Sacred Spring

Eco-friendly hotels and restaurants

Many hotels along the Great West Way route are now ecocertified, achieved by performing zero food waste, using biodegradable packaging, and focusing on local produce.

There are too many to mention them all, but in Bath they include the DoubleTree by Hilton, Apex City of Bath Hotel, and The Royal Crescent Hotel and Spa. There are at least five in Bristol to include The Bristol Hotel, Radisson Blu Hotel, Hilton Garden Inn, DoubleTree by Hilton, and Hampton by Hilton in Bristol. There's also the DoubleTree by Hilton in Swindon, Homestay Reading and many more.

Pioneering in the sustainability is Whatley Manor in Malmesbury. They have recently been awarded a Silver accreditation by EarthCheck and were amongst the first 23 UK properties to be awarded a Green Michelin Star recognising sustainable gastronomy.

These awards have not been without hard work from the dedicated team, whose best practices include sourcing organic beef from their farmer next door; coffee ground logs for their indoor fires; building a Bird Hide from upcycled materials sited by the river; employing a zero-use policy of single-use plastics in guest rooms; having a paperless account office, and reducing their fresh flower points replacing them with rooted plants.

Danesfield House Hotel & Spa have employed a ‘green team’ to help the business move towards sustainability,

climate change measures and efforts to save the planet. Measures include LED lighting and only running their garden water features at the weekends.

And small changes are making a significant difference at Wiltshire Inn’s, The Swan Hotel, Bradford on Avon and The Old Bell, Warminster. As well as recycling with no waste going to landfill they have invested in their own water bottling system for still and sparkling water in reusable glass bottles in the bedrooms. They recycle coffee beans into coffee logs to be used on log fires, have ‘one cup kettles’ to produce instant hot water on demand and encourage their guests to explore the local attractions by bicycle or on foot by providing information on walks, cycle routes and cycle hire at reception.

We all know that in catering there can be a huge amount of waste, but many of the restaurants on the Great West Way are achieving zero food waste going into landfill.

Vaughan’s Kitchen in Devises is one example. They even use ‘vegware’ packaging made from plants – a system saves around a tonne of waste which would otherwise be going to landfill each month.

The Great West Way is proud to have three restaurants with Michelin Green Star status – an award designed to recognise restaurants offering dining experiences combining culinary excellence with outstanding eco-friendly commitments: Oak Restaurant, Bath; The Dining Room at

The Great West Way is proud to have three restaurants with Michelin Green Star status – an award designed to recognise restaurants offering dining experiences combining culinary excellence with outstanding eco-friendly commitments.”

Whatley Manor, Malmesbury; and Wilsons, Bristol.

There are just 31 restaurants across England, Scotland, Wales and Ireland awarded a new Green Star award in total. Just a short detour from the route: Heckfield Place, Hampshire; Belmond Le Manoir aux Quat Saisons, Great Milton; and Petersham Nurseries Café, Richmond, have also made it onto the Green Star list.

There are many other eco-certified restaurants along the route, perhaps on their way to the prestigious Green Star award, some of our favourites include: Wilding, Salisbury; Pythouse Kitchen Garden, Tisbury; Honest Burgers in Windsor, Reading and Bristol; and The Elder Restaurant, Bath.

Click here to find out more about sustainable tourism and eco-friendly holidays on the Great West Way
Pictured left to right: The Dining Room at Whatley Manor; Festive treats; Kitchen Garden at Whatley Manor Hotel


Get away from the crowds and wander through England’s beautiful landscapes full of interesting wildlife. There are many open spaces and beautiful countryside to enjoy along the Great West Way route, ideal for walking, cycling, or even horse-riding amidst the wildlife

Asyou travel between Bristol and London you will be spoilt for choice spotting wildlife; the route is lined with open countryside, picturesque woodlands, rolling hills, nature reserves and glorious gardens.

WWT London Wetland Centre

A unique, man-made inner city nature reserve, the WWT London Wetland Centre is a haven of wide, open spaces full of wetland nature. Birds, bats, water voles, otters and amphibians make their home in the reserve's wetland habitats. Stretch your legs and see which creatures you can spot as you walk between the meadows, lakes and pools. The London Wetland Centre is the ideal spot to find some peace and quiet during the London stretch of your Great West Way adventure.

Blakehill Farm Nature Reserve

Blakehill Farm Nature Reserve in North Wiltshire is a haven of wildlife, nature and calmness. Once a former military airfield, the site is now run by Wiltshire Wildlife Trust who are restoring it to wildlife-rich hay meadow. Expect to see summer wildflowers surrounded by butterflies and dragonflies. The grassland of the nature reserve is also home to brown hare, roe deer, kestrel, skylarks and if you’re lucky enough to see them, tawny owls.

Arnos Vale Cemetery

Arnos Vale is a unique green, open space to enjoy in the heart of Bristol; a 45-acre Victorian Garden Cemetery. Discover fascinating nature walks, peaceful green spaces and nearly 200 years of history and heritage at Arnos Vale. Follow one of the self-guided walks around the site and look out for wild flowers and wildlife. →

The North Wessex Downs

Officially designated as an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, the North Wessex Downs covers nearly 700 square miles and encompasses parts of Berkshire, Hampshire, Oxfordshire and Wiltshire. If you're looking for wide horizons and quiet walks where you can stretch your legs, enjoy classic English countryside views, and feel your troubles float away – the North Wessex Downs is a good choice. Situated in the centre of the Great West Way route, the countryside of the North Wessex Downs ranges from heaths to river valleys and ancient woodland to arable farmland.

Cotswold Water Park

Slightly north of the main Great West Way route, where Wiltshire, Gloucestershire and Oxfordshire meet, you will find the Cotswold Water Park. Here there are 150 tranquil lakes interspersed with peaceful countryside. There are miles of off-road paths to explore on foot or by bike, and lots of wildlife to spot, including a huge variety of migrating birds. While some of the lakes are devoted to leisure pursuits, like boating and wakeboarding, others are designated nature reserves. Cleveland Lakes for example, home to otters, water voles, lapwings, teals and tufted ducks.

Windsor Great Park

At nearly 30 square kilometres, Windsor Great Park is the largest public park in the whole of the UK. Which means that while this is a popular location with visitors and locals, there’s plenty of space to stretch your legs and get away from the crowds. From ancient forest to sweeping parkland to formal gardens, there's lots to discover in Windsor Great Park. Walk along the shore of Virginia Water for impressive views of the lake and waterfall, spot the red deer that roam through the deer park enclosure, or admire hilltop views of Windsor Castle.

Trooper’s Hill

Cities need sanctuaries for nature and wildlife too. In Bristol, a local favourite is Trooper’s Hill. Tucked away amid a housing estate behind the River Avon, its acidic soils –unusual in Bristol – support a blaze of bright yellow gorse in early summer and hot pink heather in late summer. It also attracts a dazzling array of bird species including whitethroat, willow warblers, goldcrests, long-tailed tits and even green woodpeckers. There are excellent views of the city from this hilltop hideaway, too, best appreciated in the warm glow of sunrise or sunset.

West Woods

Come spring time these beautiful beech woods just outside Marlborough put on a spectacular display of bluebells, a quintessential British scene. Take along your camera for some souvenir shots or just take it all in via your senses – the delicate perfume, the flutter of the tree canopy overhead, the carpet of colour before you. The bluebells are at their best

“If you're looking for wide horizons... classic English countryside views...the North Wessex Downs is a
choice. ”

Did you know?

The Great West Way is home to many zoos and wildlife parks – so whether your favourite animal is a monkey, lion or a giraffe, you’re guaranteed a great day out. Don't miss Longleat, the home to England’s only Koalas, and spotting rare breads at Avon Valley Wildlife Park and children can get behind-thescenes access to a fascinating range of animals at Noah’s Ark Zoo Farm.

Pictured previous page: Roe deer; Comma Butterfly Clockwise from above: Horses in the North Wessex Downs; Noah's Ark Zoo Farm; Lamb; Bird watching through binoculars Next page left to right: Otter; Roe Deer Swimming Lower Moor Farm; London Wetland Centrehere at the end of April, beginning of May, but there’s always other pretty plants and wildflowers to see, like primroses with their mellow yellow petals and sweet scent. Good to know: If you’re looking for more nature-based things to do in Marlborough, Stonebridge Wild River Reserve is a nice water meadow nearby.

Lydiard Park

Snowdrops, which often poke their dainty heads above ground amid the freeze of January, are one of the highlights of a British winter. There are many places to see them along the Great West Way, including the 260-acre parkland of this striking Palladian house near Swindon. There’s also a walled garden where you can see some more curated spring plantings including a 17th-century variety of jewel-like tulips. In summer, the beds are full of traditional English flowers such as roses and sweet peas. Top tip: Keep an eye on the Lydiard Park events pages as they sometimes run botanicalthemed rambles and tours. →
Take your time on the Kennet & Avon Canal

Jones’s Mill

Boardwalks traverse this enchanting fen in Pewsey, flooded through by the Salisbury Avon. Once farmed for watercress, it’s now a haven for animals who like getting wet such as water voles and occasionally water shrews. It’s also a prime place to spot blue-green kingfishers swooping low over the water to find fish to feed on. You’re also likely to see heron, with their long legs and beaks. For the most colourful displays of flora and fauna, visit in spring and summer – see if you can identify water avens, sometimes referred to as chocolate root. Their purply-orange, nodding flowers attract a flurry of dragonflies, bumble bees and butterflies.

Hartslock Reserve

As well as terrific River Thames views, the chalk grasslands of this reserve near Reading are fertile ground for a diverse collection of wild orchids. Among more than 400 plants you’ll find bee orchids, pyramidal orchids and even monkey orchids, which are extremely rare in the UK. Seen on a summer’s day, with chalkhill blue and green hairstreak butterflies fluttering among them, it’s hard to imagine a prettier site. Other highlights: watch magnificent red kites overhead and visit in July to see meadows full of marjoram.

Richmond Park

If you’re visiting Kew Gardens, don’t miss nearby Richmond Park. It’s the largest of the eight Royal Parks, a National Nature Reserve and one of London’s most scenic spots. It’s most famous for its hundreds of red and fallow deer that roam the parkland, but it has plenty more to recommend it. Ancient oak trees, for one – some thought to date back to the time of the Magna Carta. Precious species of bats, birds and beetles are also found here, including the endangered stag

beetle. Stop at the park’s highest point, Pembroke Lodge, for Thames Valley views and a delicious cream tea.

Winterbourne Downs

A little south of the Great West Way, near Salisbury, you’ll find Winterbourne Downs, an RSPB site that seasoned birders as well as beginners will love. Linnets, corn buntings, yellowhammers and stone curlews are frequently spotted here. If you visit early on a spring morning you might hear the mesmerising dawn chorus of the skylarks. In summer, take a picnic and feast on views of wildflower meadows and gently rolling Wiltshire hills. Winter meanwhile is a fine time for some serious bird watching, as fluffed-up feathers are more visible on bare branches, plus buzzards, red kites and possibly peregrine falcons often fly into view.

Folly Farm

Just south of the Great West Way, in between Bristol and Bath, lies Avon Valley Wildlife Trust’s 250-acre reserve. It’s an ideal spot for a nature walk, with timeless Somerset views of the Mendips, Chew Valley Lake and traditionally-managed meadows. Its wooded paths also make it a great place to watch the leaves turn auburn and gold in the autumn (and there might be some plump blackberries ready for picking on the brambles too). There’s also an access-for-all trail, complete with badger-viewing platform.
“Among more than 400 plants you’ll find bee orchids, pyramidal orchids and even monkey orchids, which are extremely rare in the UK. ”


Slow down, fill your boots and quench your thirst while enjoying the thriving trend of alco-tourism – with plenty of places along the Great West Way to learn the crafts behind some delicious homegrown tipples.

Withso many impressive drink establishments along the Great West Way route, from beer and real ales to wine and spirits, you could base your entire journey – east to west or west to east – learning the crafts behind some of the finest beverages in southern England, while also sampling a few along the way too. Here are some of the best distilleries, breweries and vineyards you can visit along the way.


Beer has been brewed in this area of England for thousands of years. Many delicious craft beers, IPAs and real ales are still produced right here on the Great West Way. From tiny microbreweries with their own taprooms to Great West Way institutions like Wadworth Brewery and West Berkshire Brewery, there are lots of opportunities to try our local beers.

Before you leave London learn what goes into making Fuller's ales taste so good at the Griffin Brewery, or for live music and cocktails pop into The Tap on the Line, Kew on the second Thursday of the month. For a night of jazz Fuller's host a different trio or quartet at The Old Fish Market, Bristol on Sunday evenings.

One of the oldest steam breweries still in existence and one of the finest examples of a Victorian steam brewery anywhere in the world, Arkell's Brewery is a fully-functioning brewery today and Swindon's oldest established company.

The ten-acre site is located in Kingsdown on the outskirts of the town behind the original Kingsdown Inn. Actual tours of the site are very limited and usually by invitation only, however you can enjoy a virtual tour from the link here. You can also visit many Arkell's along the route including The Cross Keys in Newbury, The Downgate in Hungerford and The Lansdowne in Calne.

At Wadworth Brewery Visitor Centre you can sample the delights and learn about the traditional brewing methods used at the site since 1875. Take yourself on a self-guided tour →

through their exhibition before reaching the sample bar where there are traditional pub games and five cask ales on draught.

West Berkshire Brewery is an independent brewery nestled in the heart of Berkshire with over 23 years of brewing experience. With a new state of the art brewery and packaging line they are the proud producers of many traditional cask ales and innovative craft beers.

The Flying Monk Brewery is a forward-thinking brewery based at Hullavington, near Malmesbury, is focused on producing great beer for the local area - as well as offering a unique Cafe & Tap in a 200 year-old Cotswold stone barn, with a breakfast and lunch menu.

Bristol is also one of the UK’s leading craft beer destinations and is brimming with brilliant breweries. Head to a local brewery to sample the delights of real, local English beers and learn about the history of this ubiquitous English drink.


Bombay Sapphire Distillery is based at Laverstoke Mill in rural Hampshire, just 15 miles from Winchester and 60 miles from London, the Bombay Sapphire Distillery is in a conservation area with over 1000 years of history.

For over 225 years, the Victorian and Georgian buildings set astride the crystal-clear River Test produced bank note paper for the Bank of England and the British Empire. Now, Laverstoke Mill is a state-of-the-art sustainable distillery,

which produces every drop of Bombay Sapphire gin enjoyed from around the globe.

The distillery showcases the care, skill and artistry behind Bombay Sapphire, and allows you to discover the flavours of the botanicals which make Bombay Sapphire gin so unique. Start your experience with a trip to the Turbine Bar to choose a Bombay gin to make a gin and tonic before heading to the cinema room to be immersed in all things Bombay Sapphire in preparation for a tour of Laverstoke Mill.

Learn about the ten botanicals which make Bombay Sapphire so exquisite in the iconic glasshouses designed by Thomas Heatherwick, chart hundreds of years of Laverstoke Mill’s illustrious history, married with the fascinating heritage of gin and Bombay Sapphire and uncover the secrets of Bombay Sapphire’s unique vapour-infusion distillation process.

Enjoy classic rum cocktails and learn of their colourful histories at the Bristol Rum Distillery. Learn about new ways to understand rum, and approach the spirit through fresh informed eyes while also being entertained with rum’s rags to riches story. Before you go, choose your own rum from over 40 types made at the school, then spice and re-distil your own 70cl bottle, including naming your rum with a personalised label and waxing the top.

Learn more about Bath gin at The Bath Distillery located on Queen Street in the heart of Bath’s city centre (just moments from Bath Abbey, Bath Thermae Spa and the →

Previous page left to right: West Berkshire Brewery; Wadworth Brewery Left to right: Lavestoke Mill Bombay Sapphire; Abbey Hotel, Bath Art Bar Cocktails
Left to right: Enjoying the tour at a'Beckett's Vineyard; a'Beckett's Vineyard

Roman Baths). Bath gin is distilled using eleven of the finest botanicals from across the world, including bitter orange, kaffir lime leaf and English coriander. Floral, exotic citrus and deep spice notes are followed by a mild sweetness, creating a light, aromatic and balanced gin.

There's also the delightful (and tiny!) distillery Scout & Sage to visit in the village of Semington, Wiltshire. Join a master class and sip a delicious Scout & Sage G&T crafted using a tradional hand made copper pot still named Maud. Hear all about the history of gin, how it’s made and the process they use. There’s a tasting session of three Scout & Sage Gins and a Scout & Sage Gin cocktail – before making a shot of your very own gin from pre-distilled botanicals.


The chalk soils and temperate climate of the south of England are perfect for creating crisp, white, bubbly wines. Take a vineyard tour or attend a wine sampling session and you'll see for yourself why English wines are winning prestigious international awards.

Discover the local wines of the Great West Way with a tour and tasting at Alder Ridge Vineyard, nestled into the chalky slopes of the North Wessex Downs between Hungerford and Marlborough. A'Beckett's Vineyard near Devzies also offer wine tastings and walks around their impressive 20-acre site.

Bluestone Vineyards based just outside of Salisbury run morning and evening walking and wine tasting tours with one of their resident experts, Nat or Jack. Following an in-depth stroll around the vineyards learning about growing grapes in the UK, the challenges, and what it takes to produce high quality English sparkling wines, you’ll then be wowed with an expertly tutored wine tasting of four wines; two of Bluestone’s sparkling and two local still wines.

Aldwick is a 300-acre family-run farm nestled serenely beneath the northern slopes of the famous Mendip Hills - the largest vineyard in Somerset. The team on the estate are devoted to producing quality wine and offer tours of their 11 acres of grape vines. Witness the development of grapes from which their wine will be made before sampling a selection of their available vintages.
Take a vineyard tour or attend a wine sampling session and you'll see for yourself why English wines are winning prestigious international awards..
. ”
A journey along the route takes the traveller past some of England’s most spectacular palaces and historic houses – a chance to admire outstanding examples of architecture, art and landscape design, and discover how different people have lived throughout history THE GREAT WEST WAY'S HOUSES & GARDENS

There are over 30 National Trust properties alone along the Great West Way route, such as Cliveden, Mompesson House, Montacute House and Runnymede, the site of the sealing of the Magna Carta, to name but a few. Almost before you leave London, you pass the royal palaces at Kew, Hampton Court and Windsor Castle, the oldest occupied castle in the World.

Then further west as the countryside opens up, and the landscape is scattered with an array of stately homes, two further castles, Highclere and Berkeley, and with many of these properties still owned by the aristocratic families who first built them. Wander Great Halls hung with tapestries, feel the heat of a Tudor kitchen, admire the craftsmanship of an elaborately carved 4-poster bed... or plan your visit during the festive season and join a Christmas wreath making masterclass or magical light trail. Whether you’re about to set off, or you’re looking ahead to your next holiday we hope you feel inspired by our selection of houses and gardens you must visit.

American Museum & Gardens, Bath Housed in a fine Georgian manor house with outstanding views over the Limpley Stoke Valley on the edge of Bath, the American Museum takes you on a journey through American history, with its remarkable collection of folk, decorative arts and cultural objects. The only museum of Americana outside

of the United States, it was founded to bring American history and cultures to the people of Britain and Europe. There are winding paths and woodlands to enjoy in The New American Garden, Mount Vernon Garden, and The Children’s Garden play area. Visit during the festive season (1 to 31 December) for a sparkling trail of illuminations in a magical after-dark adventure which will emblazon the entire house, gardens and woodland in glorious colour.

Apsley House

Standing in the heart of London, Apsley House is the former home of Arthur Wellesley, 1st Duke of Wellington, victor of Waterloo. Designed and built by Robert Adam in the 1770s, the house was bought by the duke in 1817. He transformed it into a palatial residence to befit his status and filled it with works of art and gifts from grateful rulers across Europe. Wellington died in 1852. The following year his son Arthur, the 2nd Duke, decided to open Apsley House to the public. A ‘Museum Room’ was created where Wellington’s magnificent silver trophies, military memorabilia and gifts of porcelain were exhibited. During the 20th century, the family suffered many losses. The 5th Duke died in 1941 and two years later his son and heir, Henry, died from battle wounds received during the Second World War. Gerald, the 7th Duke, decided to offer Apsley House to the nation, together with a significant


portion of the 1st Duke’s art collection. Today visitors can be awed by the palatial wonder of the gilded, glittering interiors and stunning artwork of Apsley House as they admire the gifts from emperors, tsars, and kings to the Iron Duke. There are nearly 3,000 fine paintings, sculptures and works of art in silver and porcelain, given to Britain's greatest military hero. Visit on the 25 November for a special evening made of dancing, etiquette and gossip – the Regency Evening experience includes a dance caller (to explain the steps and dances), Regency costumes, gowns, wine and fine dining.

Blenheim Palace, Oxfordshire

Just a short detour off the main route Blenheim Palace is a vast confection of pinnacles, pilasters and porticos built in golden stone, owned by the 12th Duke of Marlborough. Sarah, the notoriously difficult wife of John Churchill, the 1st Duke of Marlborough, took charge of the building project, and managed to fall out with the architect John Vanbrugh and with the queen herself. However, in spite of the rows, Sarah oversaw the creation of one of England’s finest Baroque

palaces which includes the magnificent state rooms with their painted ceilings glorifying John Churchill. Formal gardens include Water Terraces, an Italian Garden, and the Rose Garden. Don’t miss the magical Ice Kingdom Themed Afternoon Tea (18 November 2022–2 January 2023) at the Orangery.

Bowood House & Gardens, Wiltshire Bowood House, famed for its gardens, is owned by the Marquis of Lansdowne. Be enchanted by the herbaceous borders and the Italianate terrace gardens with their formal beds and fountains, and don’t miss the 30-acre Woodland Walk, with massed beds of rhododendrons. The 100 acres of parkland here were designed by ‘Capability’ Brown, widely hailed as his best-preserved masterpiece, scattered with lawns and picturesque clumps of trees sweeping down to a gently curving artificial lake, it is a quintessentially English landscape. Other highlights include an arboretum, woodland gardens and Lord and Lady Lansdowne’s secret walled garden. Inside the house, which is open to the →
Previous page: Syon Park Left to right: Christmas Fair at Waddesdon; Christmas at Blenheim

public from March to November, there is an unusual stately home laboratory. This is because it was here that Joseph Priestley, while working as the family tutor, discovered oxygen in 1774. You can visit the state rooms, library and chapel as well as the Orangery designed by Robert Adam in the 1760s, and the room he originally created as a small zoo which is now a sculpture gallery. Don’t miss their fantastic Halloween Outdoor Cinema Experiences this October with screenings of the Disney classic Hocus Pocus, Stanley Kubrick classic, The Shining and the vampire classic, The Lost Boys.

Berkeley Castle, Gloucestershire

Just half an hour north of Bristol, Berkeley Castle makes an excellent day out for stays based west of the Great West Way route. Another impressive history, having been lived in by the same family for nearly 900 years, it is the longest lived-in family fortress in England.

Surrounded by eight acres of landscaped gardens, including Queen Elizabeth I’s bowling green and the 8th Earl’s swimming pool, now an ornamental lily pond with plume fountain. Explore the Norman Keep complete with the cell in which King Edward II was held captive and reputedly murdered, walk through medieval kitchens and the imposing Great Hall and marvel at the elegant State Apartments. See magnificent furniture, rare paintings by English and Dutch Masters,

Elizabethan tapestries and the world famous Berkeley silver. There are free guided tours, a Tropical Butterfly House, a host of seasonal events and you could even stay overnight in their characterful 9 bedroom town house located on the estate. Henry II gave the Castle to the Berkeley family in 1153. Below the gatehouse is a bowling green, where Queen Elizabeth I is believed to have played. During Christmas Craft Week (5–7 December) there are many festive workshops including luxury wreath making and creating your very own Christmas Glitter House.

Cliveden House, Maidenhead

Few hotels are as famous as 300-year-old Cliveden House – setting of the Profumo affair – or as romantic. Known for exuberant high-society parties, political scandals and, most recently, its connection to a certain royal wedding. Take a room in the Garden Wing and you’ll get views over the spa garden and – in some – a hot tub tucked privately into your terrace. There’s also a wonderful restaurant from chef André Garrett, where English ingredients star on the eightcourse tasting menu. The trump card here though is the 376acre National Trust estate that surrounds the hotel, its formal gardens the sort of place you could happily lose yourself in for days. There’s direct access to the River Thames for a jaunt and a spot of lunch on a vintage boat, and plenty of pleasant


walks to work off the essential afternoon tea, served in the imposing Great Hall. Meander through the six-acre parterre, with its distinctive triangular beds, be uplifted by the fragrant intermingling of flowers and classical statues in the Long Garden and come over all romantic amid 900 roses in the heavenly scented Rose Garden.

Make your visit even more special with a New Year House Party (31 December 2022–2 January 2023). Glamorous gatherings, indulgent feasts and, of course, plenty of Champagne to kick-start 2023 in the most stylish way.

Great Chalfield Manor, Wiltshire

As well as these aristocratic super stars, there are many smaller historic houses dotted across the Great West Way.

Great Chalfield Manor is a late medieval manor house, built by the self-made Thomas Tropenell to proclaim his arrival into the landed gentry. He gave his new house all the necessary mod cons of the day including a gate house, moat, great hall and fashionable oriel windows, features which can still be seen, as the house has hardly been touched since his time. This relative neglect accounts for the house’s gentle charm and explains why it’s a popular film location: the BBC series Poldark and Wolf Hall were both filmed here. Visit on the 17 December to join in the fun and festivities during their annual Christmas fair.

Iford Manor Gardens, near Bath

For garden-lovers, a perfect day out on your Great West Way journey could be the wonderful Iford Manor, close to Bath and the idyllic Frome River valley. Here you can dreamily wander around 2.5 acres of historic gardens that sit at the heart of the Grade-1 listed gardens designed by Harold Peto during his tenure at Iford from 1899-1933. Explore freely getting lost amongst the colonnades, pools and steps, as you enjoy the magnificent rural views over the valley. The garden contains many steep, narrow and uneven paths, as well as long flights of steps without handrails – very much part of the garden’s charm and design. There are a host of lovely Christmas events happening across the Iford Manor Estate this December including wine tasting and Christmas wreath making workshops, followed by a delicious lunch.

Kelmscott Manor, Oxfordshire

Kelmscott Manor, a short detour off the route, was the iconic country home of William Morris; poet, designer, craftsman, socialist and founding father of the Arts and Crafts movement. This Grade I listed house was loved by Morris as a survival of traditional craftsmanship in harmony with the nearby village and surrounding landscape, which lies towards the very upper reaches of the Thames, inspiring many of his most important →
Left to right: Cliveden House bar; The summer home of William Morris, Kelmscott Manor

designs and writings, including the world-famous Willow pattern. Today, visitors will find an outstanding collection, from early 17th Century furniture to a unique collection of furnishings chosen by Pre-Raphaelite painter-poet Dante Gabriel Rossetti and pieces from each of Morris’ London homes, including several designed especially for the iconic Red House. Kelmscott Manor also boasts enchanting riverside gardens and the River Thames is located just a few hundred yards away. Beyond the walls of the formal garden stand the impressive farm barns – two of them house the Tearoom and beautiful Shop. The Tearoom is a must, with its friendly staff and delicious home-made meals and cakes, whilst the Shop is packed with decorative and unusual items ideal for gifts or mementoes.

Longleat, Wiltshire

Home of the Marquess of Bath, Longleat is one of the finest examples of Elizabethan architecture in England, and since 1580, up until today, has been owned by 16 generations of the Thynn family. The House is open to the public throughout most of the year. Inside this 450-year-old treasure trove, you will find the original Elizabethan Great Hall, the spectacular Grand Staircase, the impressive Saloon stretching 90 feet long with exquisite Flemish tapestries, beautiful antique furniture and a staggering collection of more than 40,000 books.

In total there are 15 breathtaking rooms, together with stunning ‘Capability’ Brown landscaped grounds. Famously known for being the first drive-through safari park outside of Africa in 1966, home to, amongst other animals, majestic lions, a troop of mischievous macaque monkeys, a pack of grey wolves plus, the only animal collection in Europe to exhibit Southern koalas. In November, the UK's original, biggest and most exciting lantern festival is the showstopper at Longleat –The Festival of Light, and the theme for this year? You will be stepping into The Wondrous Worlds of Roald Dahl.

Then, in December, Longleat becomes even more magical with a Santa Train, Winter Safari Drive-through and Britain's biggest singing Christmas tree – at 20 metres tall, it will sing your favourite carols and flurries with snow!

The Merchant's House, Marlborough

A glorious restoration of a 17th Century silk merchant's house

The House of Thomas Bayly was built following the Great Fire of Marlborough in 1653. Over the years 1653-1700 a fine timber and brick building was constructed, its interior panelled, brilliant with wall paintings and with a commanding oak staircase. A substantial amount of this fabric survives and hidden painted decoration is still being revealed. Many of us are familiar with homes of the aristocracy; here is a rare opportunity to view a 17th century house of the type


many of us might have lived in. Thomas was a prosperous silk mercer whose lifestyle is reflected in the spacious and elegant rooms on show. The house is a living place. Throughout the season there are demonstrations of costume making, needlework and historic paint conservation. Musicians often play music appropriate to the period.

Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, Surrey

For an unforgettable horticultural experience, make a beeline for Kew Gardens. By day you can see the vast UNESCO World Heritage Site by walking or hop aboard the Kew Explorer Land Train, which will wizz you round the main sites in around 40 minutes. Current highlights of any tour include the Palm House, built with a rainforest climate to nurture the plant life brought back by Victorian botanists; The Hive, an immersive experience that echoes the life going on inside a real beehive; and The Princess of Wales Conservatory, which is packed with all sorts of prickly curiosities from cacti to carnivorous plants. Visit in the evening on selected dates between 16 November 2022 and 8 January 2023 for Christmas at Kew when the

stunning gardens are decorated in a show-stopping annual trail of festive light installations. More than a million tiny bulbs and flickering flames light up the night, as rainbow reflections shimmer on the water and trees are drenched in dazzling hues. Along the route there's festive hot food and treats such as spiced winter warmers and hot chocolate.

The Savill Garden, Windsor

The Savill Garden in Windsor Great Park has been a tranquil place to discover rare plants from around the world since its creation in the 1930s. This natural haven of beautifully designed gardens and woodland can be enjoyed by everyone, from dedicated horticulturists to those who just want to spend a relaxing day out with family or friends. There are 35 acres of interconnected gardens including the Hidden Gardens, Spring Wood, the Summer Gardens, the New Zealand Garden, Summer Wood, The Glades, Autumn Wood and the Winter Beds. Don’t leave before visiting The Christmas Tree Shop to pick up some natural decorations for your home including wreaths and fresh boughs of holly and mistletoe. →
Left to right: Longleat and Britain's biggest singing Christmas tree; Kew Gardens Palm House in the snow

The Christmas Tree Shop also stocks a selection of food and drink, including our very own Windsor Great Park Sparkling Wine, grown in a vineyard on the Estate.

Stourhead, Wiltshire

A little way off the Great West Way in south Wiltshire, but a must-visit if you’re in the area, Stourhead is one of the Great West Way’s most famous gardens. Described as ‘a living work of art’ when it opened in the 1740s, its classical architecture includes a grotto, a gothic cottage and its own Temple of Apollo. For Alan Power, head gardener, his favourite time of year here is autumn: ‘the garden, the architecture, the plants and the trees all perform perfectly together. It’s like an encore before the rest for winter.’

The after-dark illuminated trail through the garden at Stourhead returns for its fourth year on selected dates between 25 November 2022 – 1 January 2023 with over a million twinkling lights and seasonal sounds fill the air with festive fun.

Strawberry Hill House, Twickenham

Strawberry Hill House has been open to visitors for over 250 years, it is the former summer residence of Horace Walpole, author of ‘The Castle of Ontranto’ and is famous for being Britain’s finest example of Georgian Gothic Revival

architecture. Inspired by William Kent and the ideas behind the English Landscape Movement, Horace Walpole created a romantic garden to complement his Gothic castle. Formal borders mixed with groves of trees and shrubs crossed by winding paths, and flowers and fragrance, a fine lawn, an open terrace and meadows that led straight to the River Thames. The five-acre garden has been, as far as possible, restored to its original appearance using Eighteenth-Century maps and paintings as well as Walpole’s own writing. It is Grade II listed and of national importance as a reminder of a fascinating period in garden history. It is a charming, compact garden full of a variety of beds, borders, walks, groves, lawns and woodland.

Visit on the 21 November to join the discussions around Charles Dicken’s most famous novel, A Christmas Carol a festive tale of redemption and compassion.

Turner’s House, Twickenham

Looking at the blue plaque on the front of Sandycombe Lodge you can imagine Turner living there – it was his retreat from the London art world. The architecture of this little building is quirky, reflecting Turner’s own designs but also the influence of his good friend, John Soane. Turner made many sketches before finally arriving at his final design, and these are now brought together in single facsimile sketchbook.

Left to right: Stourhead in autumn; Bristol Botanic Garden Evolutionary Dell

Some of the beautiful etchings from his Liber Studiorum are on display, several of them responding to troubled years when England was under threat of invasion, along with beautifully crafted models of ships, variations on those which Turner had. In Turner’s time, Sandycombe stood on a large plot of land, bordered by two huge estates. His grounds have now been built over, as have the estates – so the open views he would have had are shown by digital technology. The small remains of the once-large gardens has been beautifully planted. On the 27 October St Margaret’s Wine are hosting a Whiskey Tasting at Turner’s House event. Tickets include a selection of three whiskeys, food, admission to the house, and a tour of the exhibition, Between the Sheets: Turner’s Nudes.

University of Bristol Botanic Garden, Bristol

Fascinating displays tell the story of plants in several zones. The evolution collection boasts species dating back 200 million years. Two medicinal herb gardens – Chinese and Western –display useful plants. On chilly days, take shelter in the tropical zone glasshouse, marvel at giant waterlilies, and admire edible crops such as cocoa, vanilla, sugar cane, banana, pineapple and ginger. Visit on the 24 November for a special autumn-themed lecture by Poppy Okotcha; Growing a better world.

Stonor Park, South Oxfordshire

Described by Lord Gibson, former National Trust Chairman, as: ‘Possibly the most beautiful setting for any house in England’, there’s a lush mix of ponds, fountains and pleasure gardens. Stroll amid neat box hedges, and seek out the hidden Japanese retreat. Stonor Park is one of the longest lived-in family homes in England, owned by the Stonor family for over 850 years. Located near Henley, Stonor is a beautiful place to visit, especially if you are staying east of the Great West Way route. The historic building and sweeping grounds are breathtaking and inside there is a fascinating family collection of art and artefacts. Open to visitors between April-September and at Christmas, (gardens are open April-October), you can view the work of St. Edmund Campion, created when he was given refuge there in 1581, and outside sits their oldest resident, a perfectly preserved prehistoric stone circle.

Visit Stonor House when it has been beautifully decorated for Christmas and experience a Candle Lit Christmas where, walking from room to room, you will be able to imagine the many family members and friends who would have celebrated this festive season here through the centuries. Delicious seasonal fare will be served in the Stonor Pantry and the Gift Shop will be overflowing with goodies for all the family. →

Syon Park, London

The London home of the Dukes of Northumberland, the Percy family, for over 400 years – Syon is one of the last great houses of London. Profoundly historic, the House holds a wealth of art within its grand classical interiors, while the Park and Gardens feel like deep countryside, although barely nine miles from Charing Cross. As the nights draw in, Syon Park once again hosts the Enchanted Woodland during November, which sees the 600-year-old gardens transformed by a display of lights and music. Now in its 16th year the trail winds through the arboretum, passing the sixteenth century Syon House, and ends at the spectacular Great Conservatory. An array of lighting effects – from high-tech lasers to low tech candles – illuminate the visitor’s way through the trees.

Waddesdon Manor, Buckinghamshire

A former Rothschild, French Renaissance chateau brimming with priceless treasures and a contemporary exhibition space. There are also restaurants and cafes, a boutique hotel, a gift and Rothschild wine shop and wine cellars with access to wine tastings, not to mention acres of landscaped gardens. During the winter the grounds are transformed by dazzling colour and light displays, bathing trees and manor alike in beautiful hues. Wrap up warm and follow the trail, wending its way past imaginative illuminated installations.

Westonbirt Arboretum

With 15,000 trees from around the world, including five national collections, autumn is spectacular here. Dendrologist Michal Dvorak says: ‘With our world-renowned maples taking center stage, it’s easy to miss lesser-known gems. The smoke bush is a feast of colour, including fiery yellows, reds, peaches and purples. The Persian ironwood is another one not to miss in autumn as its leaves turn crimson and gold.’ Don’t miss the step-free STIHL Treetop Walkway, and download a fun kids’ activity booklet, including creating leaf crowns and hunting acorns. Father Christmas’ elves have made their way to the arboretum to decorate the trees in twinkly lights for Christmas. Visit between the 25 November and 21 December 2022 and be one of the first to experience their brand-new illuminated trail.

Click here to find out more about exploring Houses and Gardens on the Great West Way
Pictured: Chritmas illuminations light up the woodlands at Syon Park


A full-size Victorian replica Bayeux Tapestry and three hundred biscuit tins? The ruins of a breathtaking 12th-century royal abbey that attracted pilgrims from across Europe? A nationally significant collection of English farm wagons and the most famous ram on the Internet? And all of it’s free.


There are plenty of reasons to plan a trip to the Great West Way this season, from indulgent spa weekends, picturesque countryside walks to Christmas markets and classics at the theatre.


Lined with grand stately homes, gentle green countryside, cute stone cottages and pretty thatched pubs, the Great West Way is the perfect place to discover the real England. And what could be more traditionally English than a roast dinner on a Sunday lunchtime?

A classic English roast dinner has succulent meat, crispy roast potatoes, fluffy Yorkshire puddings, lashings of gravy, lots of fresh seasonal veg, and a side of cauliflower cheese if you’re lucky. You’ll find this traditional Sunday lunchtime meal at many of the pubs and restaurants along the Great West Way route – often accompanied by more modern takes on the classic roast dinner, such as Coq au vin with mash & bourguignon garnish.

Enjoy a tasty Sunday lunch while admiring the spectacular views of Windsor Castle at the Royal Windsor Pub, head to The Red Lion Freehouse in the Vale of Pewsey – a picture-perfect English pub, complete with thatched roof and pretty beer garden. It is also a Michelin-starred restaurant – so you can expect your Sunday lunch to be utterly delicious.



Kick off your festive season with the Christmas Fair at Ascot from the 24 November (until the 27 November) with top quality gift companies you won’t usually find on the high street. Knowing you are going to delight your

family and friends with the best Christmas presents wrapped and ready, you might want to celebrate by in an evening that’s exclusively yours to enjoy – or in a shared Christmas party with others. Either way you will be made to feel like royalty at a party hosted in the iconic surroundings of the world’s most famous racecourse. →

Did you know?

The Great West Way route passes through three Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty. In London, the southern section of The Chilterns’ 324-miles makes a great start to the route, The Wiltshire White Horses and the White Horse at Uffington will be a joy to spot ambling in the North Wessex Downs, or start your tour from Bath and follow The Cotswold Way north, for 102 more, glorious miles.


Just because the weather is often wet and wild this time of the year it doesn't mean you have to hide away inside.

On a winters day on the Great West Way, why not grab your wellies and head off to splash through the puddles and enjoy our beautiful countryside. Along the touring route there are 3 Areas Of Natural Beauty (North Wessex Downs, The Cotswolds and The Chilterns) – each remarkable in its own way, from the landscapes to the people who live and work there.


Windsor Carriages have been running tours of Windsor for over 170 years, offering a unique way to experience magnificent Windsor Great Park. Take in views of stunning Windsor Castle as you are whisked down the Long Walk in a picture-perfect horse drawn carriage as a tour guide shares invaluable knowledge, stories and events passed down through the generations of coachmen of Windsor Carriages since 1849. →

The ancient market town that packs a postcard-perfect punch Magical Marlborough visitmarlborough


For some well needed Winter pampering, why not book yourself a sumptuous couple’s spa session as you travel along the Great West Way route? There are many options to choose from, including the spa at award-winning Whatley Manor near Malmesbury, or Bath's famous Thermae Bath Spa with its rooftop pool, or one of the incredible reclaimed lidos along the route; Thames Lido in Reading or the Lido in Bristol. If you’ve got kids, head to Woolley Grange near Bradford on Avon and take advantage of the 90 minutes free childcare each day of your stay while you relax in the spa.


A Christmas Show or pantomime is an essential part of any traditional English Christmas, and there are plenty of options to choose from along the Great West Way route. RAPUNZEL will be showing from 18 November at the gorgeous Watermill Theatre. The Christmas programme at Pound Arts Centre in Corsham includes Christmas Gothic by Dyad Productions. Head to Wyvern Theatre in Swindon for side-splitting comedy, fun songs and festive magic with A Christmas Carol and The Ho Ho Ho Mrs Christmas Show. And the Great West Way's newest theatre, the Barn Theatre in Cirencester, will be showing yet more Christmas classics.




The Ice Rink is back and, with 1000 square metres of smooth ice, it’s bigger than ever! Glowing in an array of atmospheric lights, it’s the ideal spot to practice those skating skills and

simultaneously the perfect stage for avid skaters to show off their moves. With music to set the wintery scene, a cozy bar area and seasonal drinks you will be transported to a dreamy winter wonderland. →


#VisitWindsor A unique royal connection, rich cultural heritage, stunning architecture and beautiful natural scenery along a 20 mile stretch of the River Thames. Add to this an abundance of places to stay from 5 star resorts to riverside camping, quaint villages, one-of-a-kind shops and a culinary scene headed by the likes
Heston Blumenthal and you’ll have a reasonable idea of the treats in store for you in and around Windsor. those who venture off the beaten path Wonders await


Buy beautiful gifts for your friends and family as you explore the Great West Way in the run-up to the holidays. Christmas at McArthurGlen Designer Outlet Swindon means a winter wonderland springing up amongst their many designer and high street shops. Read our article on best days out for shopping on the Great West Way by clicking here.

There will also be many Christmas Markets appearing along the route, with the Bath Christmas Market and Bristol Christmas Market both making lovely festive locations for an afternoon of Christmas shopping. Think sweet little chalets selling handmade gifts and serving hot drinks.


At the far east of the Great West Way, in bustling central London, is Wellington Arch. Originally built as an entrance to Buckingham Palace, the structure later became a victory arch proclaiming Wellington's defeat of Napoleon. Climb up to the arch's balconies for glorious wintery panoramas over London.

Also, in the capital don’t miss The British Museum, the first national public museum in the world. The children will love meeting Santa and his elf at the London Transport Museum (from 25 November) – at their Christmas at the Museum season there’s also card-making workshops and an interactive Routemaster-inspired sleigh!

Tucked away in the Hampshire countryside alongside the peaceful River Test is Whitchurch Silk Mill, the oldest silk mill that is still weaving silk in its original building. In Wiltshire visit Stourhead, Lacock and the Fox-Talbot museum, the birthplace of photography – and motoring enthusiasts will love the Atwell-Wilson Motor Museum, located near the historic town of Calne, an interesting and unusual stopping-off point along the route. Perfect for a Christmas party, in Salisbury revellers can lose themselves in a game of Spectre in the award-winning Live Escape Room on Castle Street.

Explore the unique collection of vehicles, uniforms, and weapons and learn more about the proud history of the Royal Electrical and Mechanical Engineers at the REME Museum in Lyneham – a short drive from Chippenham. Reading Museum displays an array of historical artefacts waiting to be explored while Reading's Museum of English Rural Life is England’s most extensive museum dedicated to farming, food, craft, rural life and countryside issues.

Maidenhead Heritage Centre explores the history of the Berkshire town of Maidenhead by telling the stories of its river, roads and railway. The centre's spitfire simulator is one of the most unusual historic experiences on the Great West Way. Experience for yourself what it must have been like for a 1940s spitfire pilot in an authentic simulator with replica flight controls and wide screen pilot view.

Plus, you can even step on board Concorde Alpha Foxtrot, the last supersonic jets to ever fly, or discover the earliest days of powered flight at Aerospace Bristol. →


There are many Royal connections along the Great West Way; especially the historic Berkshire town of Windsor, which has seen many royal nuptials throughout the years. Prince Harry and Meghan Markle were married at St George's Chapel in 2018, and the royal town has also hosted the marriages of the likes of Princess Beatrice and Prince Edward to their respective spouses. While you’re here, visit Windsor Castle – our beloved former Queen’s favourite weekend residence.



a Journey Through Time

Way for
TheGreatWestWayweavesthrough thetimelesscountyofWiltshire. The Ancient Briton, Romans, Normans and Saxons have all left their mark. Nowit’stimeforyoutofollowin theirfootsteps. It’s Time for Wiltshire


In the towns, villages and cities along the Great West Way route you’ll find an abundance of antique stores and independent shops as well as super-handy shopping centres and malls. There are also some marvellous markets selling everything from local crafts to artisan delicacies. Here are some ideas for a great shopping day out…


McArthurGlen’s Swindon Designer Outlet is housed in the beautifully renovated Grade II listed buildings of the Great Western Railway Works and is one of the largest covered designer outlets in Europe. There is a mixture of high-street and designer brands with reduced prices of up to 60 per cent. Stores include Guess, Reiss, Joules, Kurt Geiger, Ted Baker, Calvin Klein and bringing out the inner child in all of us, new for 2022, a HARIBO Store is due to open before Christmas – the ninth store of its kind to open in the UK.

Swindon Designer Outlet has a variety of restaurants around the centre, open until late most weeknights, including Five Guys, Wagamama, Pizza Express, Giraffe, Patisserie Valerie, Krispy Kreme, KFC and Subway. As well as many dining options, Swindon Designer Outlet also houses a great selection of cafes including Starbucks, Soho Coffee and Costa.

The on-site STEAM Museum of The Great Western Railway offers families the chance to learn about the men and women

who built, operated and travelled on the Great Western Railway and National Trust has its own café and shop.

Other shopping centres you might enjoy…

The recently rebranded Town Centre inSwindon is home to many top retail names as well as local and independent stores – it has been re-modernised with many new remarkable makers, designer, artisans and pioneers.

The Guild in Wiltshire is set in a rural and historic setting of regenerated carpet factory buildings. Here you’ll discover a distinctive mix of independent and national brands and don't miss their creative workshops, including Christmas Wreath making and Tumbleweed Gig and Christmas BBQ.

Fisherton Mill is a shopping destination, gallery, cafe and artist studios based in Salisbury, within easy reach of the Great West Way – originally built in 1880 as a grain mill.

At the west end of the route Kilver Court Designer Village, a short distance south of Bath, is home to an array of luxurious lifestyle brands including Liberty London, known for its iconic floral prints. →


The golden city of Bath has been welcoming visitors for over 2,000 years and is a shopper’s haven, with a reputation for fashion that goes back to Georgian times. Set within a compact city centre Bath has a large range of independent and well-known stores as well as some off-the-beaten-track finds too.

Whether it’s 40s glamour or Edwardian furniture you’re in to, you’ll find some lovely, preloved treasures in the city of Bath. Bath Vintage & Antiques Market, on the last Sunday of every month at Green Park Station, has a good mix of everything – mid-century furnishings, jazzy retro frocks and one-of-a-kind antiques.

Elsewhere, Vintage to Vogue can style you in top quality fashion, from the 1900s onwards, then have it tailored specifically to your shape. Shopping in Bath is a real treat, high street fashion gurus, book worms and art collectors alike will enjoy the buzzing city and its eclectic selection of unique gifts.

Designated by UNESCO as a World Heritage Site, Bath

is home to some of the most impressive architectural sights in the world such as the Royal Crescent, the Circus and Pulteney Bridge.

At the heart of Bath city centre, next to Bath’s imposing Abbey is the Roman Baths Museum, which gives a fascinating insight into the original bathing complex and the great Roman temple of Sulis Minerva. Above the Museum in the 18th century Pump Room you can taste the waters, enjoy a meal and listen to music from the Pump Room Trio.

Bath has a wide variety of museums and galleries including the Holburne Museum, No 1. Royal Crescent, the Jane Austen Centre and the Musuem of Bath Architecture. There are stunning gardens and landscapes a-plenty – don’t miss the stunning Palladian bridge at the National Trust’s Prior Park, just outside the city.

Don’t forget to stop off at the Roman Baths and pick up a souvenir to share with friends and family. When you are feeling hungry or thirsty there is a mouth-watering selection of restaurants, pubs, cafes and delis to choose from or a number of places to stay in Bath to settle down for the evening.

Pictured previous page: Friends enjoy shopping in Bristol Shopping Quarter Pictured clockwise from left: Bartlett Street, a picturesque pedestrian side street in Georgian Bath’s favourite shopping district; Parkway Shopping Centre; Great West Way signage at Parkway Shopping Centre; The Oracle, Reading


Reading is located near the centre of the Great West Way, making it a great base from which to explore the many delights of the route. Located in the heart of Reading, The Oracle boasts more than 80 stores to cater for all your fashion and lifestyle needs – including Next, House of Fraser and Zara. There’s plenty of choice on Riverside with flavours from around the world in more than 20 restaurants.


Alongside the Kennet & Avon Canal, Newbury has a bustling high street with many interesting shops, which include unique stores such as family-run department store Camp Hopson. Located in the heart of the town centre, Parkway Shopping is anchored by M&S and NEXT and includes a number of essential shopping needs from fashion such as H&M, Superdry, Fat Face, New Look, The Entertainer and more, with many cafes and restaurants to choose from. →
Discover Gloucestershire’s best attractions, tours, shops, restaurants, accommodation and venues discovergloucestershire visitglosuk DiscoverGlos home of The Cotswolds & ancient Forest of Dean

Other Great West Way towns you might enjoy…

For a spot of souvenir hunting or Christmas gift shopping head to our smaller Great West Way towns including Marlborough, Malmesbury, Chippenham, Bradford on Avon, Pewsey, Marlow and Tetbury. Plus, don’t miss pop-up boutiques such as We Make Bristol in Westbury-on-Trym, which only stocks products by local artists and designers, or head to the gift shops at top tourist attractions or tourist information offices, Stonehenge gift shop, for instance, sells striking lino prints of the stones by local artist Caroline Day.


Cabot Circus is the ultimate shopping destination in the heart of Bristol, with over 120 high-street and designer brands, including Harvey Nichols, House of Fraser, Zara, &Other Stories, H&M and Apple. Covered by a unique shell-shaped glass roof, Cabot Circus is also home to a Showcase Cinema de Lux, Escape Hunt and crazy golf venue, Jungle Rumble.

Bristol is known for its alternative outlook, making it a go-to place for vintage and offbeat fashion finds. For quirky places in Bristol head straight to Stokes Croft and adjoining Gloucester Road – the longest street of independent shops in the UK. There you’ll discover artfully curated charity shops alongside intriguing second-hand stores (with lots of hip cafes in between for when you need a coffee break). For award-winning fish and chips with a view head to Salt &

Malt at Bristol’s historic harbourside. If you’re a guy or gal who likes Americana, Uncle Sam’s on Park Street is the best place to find a pair of cowboy boots or classic Levis you can cherish forever. The Christmas Steps Arts Quarter is a hiddenaway haven for one-offs including musical instruments, herbal remedies and fine spirits (the medieval steps themselves make the perfect Insta-snap too). Plus, be sure to visit St Nick’s Market in Bristol (every day except Sunday).

Looking ahead… Set to open in Autumn 2023, Bristol Beacon, Bristol’s largest concert hall (formerly known as Colston Hall) has undergone a complete refurbishment and redevelopment. The £48.8m transformation will turn the venue into one the best performance and music learning spaces in Europe – a modern, accessible, state-of-the-art facility. Shop around for something extra special Click here to find out more and to read our Itinerary Planner
Pictured: Bristol's historic harbourside, Salt & Malt at Cargo is part of a bustling new food hub in the newly regenerated Wapping Wharf
CELEBRATING SPECIAL OCCASIONS Tours, wine-tastings, hot air balloon rides, watersports, spas, luxury hotels, skydiving and more... There are many ways to celebrate your most special occasions on the Great West Way

Thereare many ways to celebrate and mark a special occasion between London to Bristol, adding some memorable magic to your Great West Way experience. Getting friends and family together for a party to commemorate a special milestone such as a special birthday or silver wedding anniversary perhaps? You are spoiled for choice along the route.

Since the covid pandemic we have seen a rise in beautiful exclusive use accommodation and options for multi-generation group stays. Take the new private country cottages located on the Lucknam Park Estate, near Bath for example – your very own private haven of luxury set in the 500-acre estate.

Lucknam Park is the sort of hotel you mean to use as a base for exploring but end up not leaving for several days. There’s so much to do at this five-star, from classes at the cookery school and horse riding to hydrotherapy in the spa, as well as one of the Great West Way’s best restaurants –Restaurant Hywel Jones.

Time slows right down here, as you make your way up the mile-long drive between the beech trees and settle into the drawing room for cocktails. The signature tasting menu has Loch Duart salmon, braised halibut and pork from nearby Roundway Hill and there’s a vegetarian tasting menu and wine matching to boot. It has held a Michelin star since 2006. Rooms in this Palladian mansion are supremely comfortable and the whole experience feels like staying with (very wealthy) friends.

If your style is more relaxed country chic, the Pear Tree Inn Farmhouse Kitchen with Bar & Rooms is tucked away in rural Whitley near Melksham. Book the new Potting Sheds located into the fabulous grounds with fully equipped kitchenette for a romantic glamping setting and evening under the stars.

For something super-stylish the modern Berkeley Suite apartments with cinema projectors located in the desirable Clifton area of Bristol are perfect for impressive get-togethers too. Self-contained with open plan living area with a bespoke kitchen and all the benefits of a fully serviced hotel, including a chic restaurant and cocktail bar.

From Michelin star dining rooms in elegant country house hotels to soothing spas with crystal-lit swimming pools and natural thermal waters, you could celebrate your special occasion with some five-star pampering.

The stunning Gainsborough Bath Spa in the centre of Bath for example offers a very special guest experience – set beneath a glass atrium here you can "take the waters" in luxury. There are three thermal baths, traditional and infrared Saunas, a steam room and eleven treatment rooms.

Once the headquarters of Lloyds Bank, and with a gorgeously ornate exterior inspired by a 16th century Venetian library Bristol Harbour Hotel is another seriously opulent city address. The 42 bedrooms have views out over the historic city centre, luxurious drapes and bedding and complimentary decanters of gin and sherry. Some also have rolltop baths and all guests have use of the HarSpa down in the vaults, with its hydrotherapy pool. The Jetty restaurant serves an afternoon tea of just-baked homemade scones, clotted cream and jam, then in the evenings brings out an a la carte menu of fresh seafood dishes such as moules marinere and South Coast crab on toast.

Coworth Park is five-star from its crystal-lit swimming pool right down to its impeccable service. This is a 21stcentury country house hotel and rooms are beautifully chic, with a cream colour palette and contemporary furniture. The grounds are extensive and there’s a Polo Academy and Equestrian Centre offering riding lessons and off-road hacks. The spa is one of England’s best, set into the countryside and offering dreamy treatments, and the Drawing Room serves a fabulous afternoon tea of scones and freshly made cakes from the pastry team. For dinner, elegant Restaurant Coworth Park has a Michelin star and a showcase of a tasting menu, which features dishes such as Cornish turbot with salted grapes and Highland wagyu short rib.

Sample the delights on offer at the Langley Hotel in Buckinghamshire, one of the newest hotel on the Great West Way. This hotel and spa sits in a former royal hunting ground surrounded by formal gardens and landscaped parklands, offering guests a truly luxurious stay. At the opulent spa you can enjoy the plunge pools, steam room and a whole host of sumptuous treatments. →

With a fascinating history dating back to the Edwardian era, the Thames Lido is a unique urban retreat in the heart of Reading, situated in a Grade II listed building which was painstakingly renovated before the lido reopened – it’s another great place to base yourself for a celebration. You can swim year-round in the open-air swimming pool and book with spa packages such as a holistic massage included, as well as a delicious meal at the restaurant, overlooking the open-air pool.

Take the glamour with you into the day time with private day tours from Bath throughout the South West with your own guide in a luxury Mercedes V-Class vehicle with Galahad Tours. To see the Great West Way from a bird's eye view you might even enjoy a hot-air balloon ride with Bailey Balloons, offering exclusive balloon flights for up to 6 people across the South West.

From the road to the sky, did you know you can also travel in style along our Great West Way rivers and canals? Private harbour tours and river trips can be booked with Bristol Packet Boat Trips, or take a Thames Rivercruise (based at the heart of the Upper Thames) and cruise through some of the most stunning reaches of the Thames from Henley and Sonning up to Goring and Streatley.

For something more thrilling on the water enjoy

an unforgettable outdoors activity such as stand up paddleboarding, canoeing and kayaking with Original Wild. Or step outside your comfort zone thrill-chasing with an adrenaline-fuelled driving experience at Castle Combe Circuit, watersports at Cotswold Water Park, or by jumping out of a plane with Skydive Neteravon. Or, from the social whirl of Royal Ascot to Ascot Racedays there is something to suit every occasion and ensure a day to remember at Ascot Racecourse throughout the year.

Perhaps learning a new skill is a more appealing way of marking an occasion? You might like to rustle up a special treat in the kitchen with a hands-on course at Vaughan’s Cookery School in Devizes. Or, have a go at glassblowing at Bristol Blue Glass.

While in Bristol you might also enjoy a stop in urban oasis at The Lido. Tucked away amongst a courtyard of Georgian Terraces in the heart of historic Clifton, the Lido features a spa, restaurant, outdoor heated pool, sauna, hot tub and steam room within a characterful Victorian building. Here you can enjoy a tailor-made massage using bespoke own-brand Lido oils or take a refreshing dip in the open-air pool before enjoying lunch in the building's historic viewing gallery.


Just 10 minutes by train from Bristol in Bath you can enjoy a private tour of the beautiful UNESCO World Heritage city with Insider Tours. Or, discover Bath’s food scene using your taste buds on a Savouring Bath tour, while strolling through its elegant 18th century streets and alleyways.

For a special occasion in addition to the open-air rooftop pool with spectacular views over the city of Bath at Thermae Bath Spa next door is its more exclusive sister – The Cross Baths. Housed in a separate building with its own open-air thermal bath The Cross Baths provides an alternative to the

more extensive spa facilities in the New Royal Bath. Fed by its own natural spring, this beautiful building with its own changing facilities can be enjoyed as a unique venue for an exclusive spa break for a group up to 10 people.

Christmas is always a golden time to visit, with twinkly festive markets sprinkled throughout the route – none more well-known than Bath Christmas Market, with its magical Regency backdrop providing the perfect setting for a mulled wine and a mince pie. Elsewhere along the touring route you can celebrate the season with ice skating, festivals of light, slapstick pantomime shows, and glitzy New Year’s parties. Now is the perfect time for a memorable adventure through the real England.
Pictured previous page left to right: Hot Air Balloon over Wiltshire; Champagne celebrations at the Gainsborough Bath Spa Pictured clockwise from left: Bedroom at The Langley; Cross Bath by candlelight; Swimming at Bristol Lido
Evening entertainment along the Great West Way Click here for our Itinerary Planner for night owls


Enjoy life cruising in the slow lane on a canal boat break along the historic Kennet & Avon Canal from Devizes via Hungerford to Kintbury in West Berkshire with the option of stopping off in the glorious Vale of Pewsey in the heart of the North Wessex Downs Words | Poppy Ryan

TheKennet & Avon Canal runs all the way from the River Thames to the River Avon, connecting the town of Reading with the World Heritage Site of Bath and Bristol. It is 87-miles (140km) long and is made up of two lengths of navigable river linked by a 57-mile (92km) canal section. It passes through some of the loveliest scenery you could hope to see.

When you travel down the Kennet & Avon Canal you are hitting the rewind button on life. Wonderful views, tranquil waters, charming villages, quaint canal side pubs, impressive locks – all of them looking much the same as they always did. Not forgetting Bath's Georgian architecture of golden stone and the rich maritime history of Bristol.

Started in 1794, the canal was completed in 1810 to the designs of engineer John Rennie. It became an important trade route bustling with boats carrying a variety of goods. As it snaked its way across country the canal brought prosperity and employment to rural towns and villages. Wharves and all the infrastructure necessary for handling goods were built, and today you can still see this fascinating industrial heritage scattered along the canal banks. The canal needed many locks and engineering solutions to climb up and down the Wiltshire and Somerset hills. Engineers were innovators and designed remarkable canal architecture such as the Crofton Pumping

Station, Claverton Water Mill and the Dundas and Avoncliffe Aqueducts.

The canal's locks are wide enough to take two narrowboats side by side or a large beamed boat. Most spectacular of all is the famous Caen Hill Lock Flight in Devizes, considered one of the wonders of the waterways. In order that boats could climb or descend the steep hill, 29 locks were built between Town Bridge and the bottom lock at Lower Foxhangers. In the middle of this is the 'staircase' of 16 locks

Pictured previous page: Kennet & Avon Canal Pictured clockwise from below: The Canal Tavern; Bradford on Avon Canal; autumn berries on the Bradford on Avon Canal

with enormous side pounds that hold water to fill the locks. If you're taking a boat through them, it's best to give yourself ample time.

The canal was a busy thoroughfare until the Great Western Railway Act of 1835 led to the building of the railway from London to Bristol. Faster and more efficient, the railway began to steal trade away from the canal which gradually declined.

By the mid-1950s the canal was derelict and on the point of abandonment when a group of waterways enthusiasts decided to act. In 1962, they formed the Kennet and Avon Canal Trust, determined to rescue the canal and make it navigable once more. Working with the then British Waterways (now the Canal & River Trust) and local authorities they plugged the leaks, fitted new lock gates, restored the towpaths and bridges and after a grant of £25 million from the Lottery Fund it finally reopened in 1990.

Today this ribbon of water provides pleasure for thousands of tourist boaters, walkers and cyclists, as well as a home for 'liveaboards' – those who choose to live permanently on their boats. Every Easter the Devizes to Westminster Canoe Race

challenges paddlers to race the 125 miles to London via the canal and the Thames. A broad array of businesses make their money from the canal, ranging from hire boats, marinas and chandleries to floating cafes and hairdressers.

It is also hugely important for all sorts of animals and plants. You will see swans, ducks and heron, and if you're lucky catch the flash of kingfishers. Water voles and otters are more secretive, but they are here too. Curious cows come down to the banks to drink and watch you chug on by. The water teems with fish such as roach, pike, perch, bream, tench and small minnows. The aggressive pike is the largest of all canal fish and often lurks among weed beds bursting out to catch smaller fish.

There are lots of plants to spot as you visit – the wide, leathery leaves of water lilies float on the surface, and you can see their attractive flowers from mid-May until the first frosts. In summer, brightly-coloured purple loosestrife provides food for long-tongued insects such as brimstone butterflies and elephant hawk moths and the towpath vegetation attracts many more species of insects. The rustle of common reed will provide a soundscape to your walk and a summer home for →

reed and sedge warblers. The fact that by boat you cannot travel faster than 4mph, forces you to embrace that wonderful antidote to modern life-slow time. If you are on the towpath, take time to observe the changing seasons and give a friendly greeting to all who pass by. So please, when you visit, slow down and linger a while, there is so much to enjoy about the spectacular Kennet & Avon Canal.

The Canal & River Trust cares for 2,000 miles of canals and rivers across England and Wales. Every year, around 15 million people visit these waterways, a 200-year old national network.


Caen Hill is one of the greatest examples of canal engineering in England and is a great place to start your journey along this historic canal. Hire a boat at Devizes from the Kennet & Avon Canal Trust or from one of the many operators that are listed with the Canal and River Trust. Alternatively, you could start a little further east along the canal and hire a boat with

Honeystreet Boats and on your return from Kintbury you could do an extra leg to Devizes and then back to Honeystreet. This round trip is about 55 miles and includes 56 locks and you could easily do it all in a week.

Have lunch at Honeystreet Café or at the Waterfront Bar and Bistro by Pewsey Wharf then follow the towpath to Crofton Beam Engine – the oldest working beam engine in the world. Further along the trail you come to Wilton Windmill, built in 1821, it is the only working windmill in Wessex. Just a few miles further along the canal is the Three Tuns Freehouse pub in Great Bedwyn.


Spend the day exploring the lush green water meadows of the market town of Hungerford with its quirky canal bridges and famous antique shops. A great place for lunch is the Tutti Pole, a quaint restaurant on the high street selling everything from lights snacks to a full English Breakfast served all day, three-course meals and afternoon teas. The name Tutti Pole

Pictured left to right: Bradford on Avon Canal; locks on the Bradford on Avon Canal

derives from the ancient traditions of Hocktide, an English ceremonial rite dating back to 1365 and is still celebrated in Hungerford each year, when, on the second Tuesday after Easter, two tithing men visit the homes of commoners carrying Tutti poles dressed with spring flowers.

There are replica Tutti poles outside the restaurant, while inside there are many photographs of the Hocktide celebrations through the years. Alternatively, you could take a day off your own boat and go on a popular half-day round trip on the Rose of Hungerford boat, travelling east from Hungerford Wharf through Dun Mill Lock Wire Locks.


Highworth is an ancient hill top market town situated on the edge of the Cotswolds close to Lechlade-on-Thames which is the last navigable section of the River Thames and the Thames Path. The town centre is a remarkable conservation area containing 84 listed buildings and a Grade l listed church. There's also the Highworth Museum in the unusual setting of a Bank’s strong room, featuring a permanent display on the history of the town as well as temporary exhibitions. The Visitor’ Centre is also an Arts and Craft centre showcasing handmade pieces by local artists and makers, and the town is perfectly placed to explore Wiltshire, Oxfordshire and Gloucestershire.

Did you know?

Caen Hill (produced ‘cane’) is one of the longest continuous flight of locks in England with a total of 29 locks rising 237 feet over 2 miles, with a 1 in 44 gradient

Insider Tip

Looking to plan a trip by canal but unsure of the route and timings? Check out Canalplan –a handy route planner for canal journeys that you follow virtually before the trip. It helps you plan your journey or holiday, calculates the length (distance, number of locks, time taken and so on) of your trip and shows gazetteer information on places along the way (pubs, shops etc). ▶

Click here to download the Great West Way guide to the Kennet & Avon Canal

Arts and Events Cultural Calendar

As well as its natural scenery, cultural scene and lovely locals, the Great West Way is known for its many festivals and events


Pumpkin picking patches

Bristol has a wide range of pumpkin patches where you can pick your own pumpkin this Halloween. Try the Pumpkin Fest at Noah’s Ark Zoo Farm where you can pick your own, there are talks about creepy crawlies, and the Owl of the World Trail. Head east of the city to Avon Valley Wildlife and Adventure Park for the Pumpkin Patch Nights where there are fair rides, or south of the city is Pumpkins at Farrington’s


Wake The Tiger: Danse Macabre

Visit Bristol’s newest attraction this Halloween for a special event with live bands, DJs, and performances


Terrifying Turnip Trail at Brunel’s SS Great Britain Reveal truths about ‘All Hallows Eve’ customs and traditions from Victorian times as Gothic characters and horror monsters roam the ship with extra gruesome sights, sounds and smells


Mary Shelley’s House of Frankenstein –After Dark: Purgatory An intense multi-sensory horror event for those aged 15 and above

74 28

FEAR, Avon Valley Scream Park Award-winning event FEAR is gearing up for its biggest scare experience this year called #ABloodyGoodNight along with thrilling fair rides, street entertainment, and the famous fire display

Visit Dyrham Park this October half term to find scarecrows through the parkland and collect All Hallows' Eve clues


Prior Park


a Halloween

trail. Find the clue hidden in the pumpkin patch! 30 Photography Fortnight Learn about Henry Fox Talbot's photographic discoveries through a trail 22-23 Halloween Spooktacular at Wookey Hole Get into the spirit of Halloween at the Home of the Witch 07
October half term
will be offering
FROM UNTIL OCT LACOCK ABBEY OCT OCT ©National Trust Images/Arnhel de Serra



Christmas at Blenheim Palace

Three unmissable experiences in one iconic Oxfordshire setting; The story of The Snow Queen, Christmas Market and Illuminated trail are back with stunning trails in the Palace and the worldrenowned

05 Nov – 31 Dec

Don't miss the Christmas exhibition at Fisherton Mill featuring 18 artists and makers and other festivities and fun

01 Nov – 31 Jan 2023

Jump aboard a festive tea

with French Brothers for a 2½ hour christmas

complete with a luxurious afternoon tea
and Events Cultural Calendar 10
Adventures Ghost Hunters Silent Disco Tour join Bath Adventures through the streets of Bath and dance! 8-12 Sarum Lights – Renaissance Jaw-dropping light displays, evocative music and breathtaking Renaissance art 18
gardens NOVEMBER

Arts and Events Cultural Calendar



Christmas at Stourhead illuminated tour Stourhead is a Palladian house and garden described as a ‘living work of art’. The curated trail features the stunning Christmas Cathedral, in which more than a thousand pea lights will be woven into the forest landscape. Marvel at the ‘Sea of Light’, neon stars wrapping trees and a brilliant super nova, providing plenty of selfie moments along the way


Christmas at Kew

A botanical world filled with seasonal cheer. The magical trail will light up Kew Gardens as you’ve never seen before, making the perfect festive winter evening – as one of the UK’s leading Christmas experiences. Discover sparkling tunnels of light, dancing waterside reflections, glitter balls and trees drenched in jewel-like colour on your way to the panoramic Palm House light display




RHS Glow 2022 at Wisley Wander the new trail around the garden and see some of Wisley’s iconic sights in breathtaking beauty as amazing illuminations light your way. This year there will be more light, fire and fountain displays than ever before.

4-10 December

Sail with Hobbs of Henley on a Thames Christmas Party Cruise enjoying a 3 course meal and dancing away to their resident DJ


The Festival of Light, Longleat Meet characters from the Roald Dahl stories and watch the enchanted Christmas Tree show

Christmas at Waddesdon

A festive extravaganza returns to Buckinghamshire with magical lights and the gardens aglow

Find out more Click here to stay up-to-date with our festivals and events 12

Ways to travel the Great West Way

It’s fun to travel under your own steam. Welcome to a journey through time – an adventure across England by car, rail, boat, foot, bike or a combination of all. Start planning your journey of discovery here...



Hiring a bike and cycling along the canal, countryside paths and trails, taking a walk through picturesque villages and visiting our three Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty and three UNESCO World Heritage sites by foot is a beautifully scenic experience.

Whether you’re up for a lengthy hike in the Cotswolds, a cycle ride racing down the 13.7km (8.5 miles) steeply twisting Swinley Red trail with its berms, drops and white-knuckle descents, or just fancy a potter around some village antique shops, walking and cycling is a wonderful way to explore.

You can cycle the entire length of the Great West Way via National Cycle Route 4, which links up regional cycle routes such as the Thames Valley Cycle Route and the Kennet & Avon Cycle Route. The National Trails website gives details of longdistance walking trails along the route: The Cotswold Way, The Ridgeway and the Thames Path.

Go to Sustrans for more (shorter) cycle routes on the National Cycle Network, in and around the touring route. There are also some excellent routes along the Wiltshire Cycleway, including a picturesque 15.3k between Corsham and Bradford on Avon.

Be sure to read the Information Points page to find out where to pick up local maps and walking trails. Plus, download our Great West Way map before you set off.

Did you know? Bristol was officially Britain’s first cycling city. Join the locals with a ride on a pay-as-you-go YoBike, hire a tandem or go on a Cycle the City tour of Bristol's best landmarks.


The Kennet & Avon Canal is a wonderful way to travel along part of the Great West Way. This ribbon of beauty and history stretches between Reading and Bristol and is looked after by the Canal & River Trust. Slow down and enjoy all 87 miles of the Kennet & Avon Canal as part of your Great West Way adventure, using our Kennet & Avon Canal map

Hire a boat or hop on a barge tour for the ultimate experience in slow travel. Multiple companies operate along the River Thames and the Kennet & Avon Canal. Visit Thames and The Kennet & Avon Canal Trust are useful places to start.

You can canoe, kayak or book one of the numerous boat trips. Passing through countryside, market towns and picturesque villages, the canal offers an abundance of natural beauty, fascinating wildlife, outstanding canal structures, fabulous vistas and heritage galore. The lazy pop pop pop of the engine while you travel slowly through attractive towns like Hungerford, quaint villages such as Wootton Rivers and architectural masterpieces like Bath.

Of course, the famous Caen Hill Lock Flight in Devizes is a real wow – look up from the bottom of the 16 locks that form the main ‘staircase’ – now that’s one way to get boats to travel uphill.

Take a look at our Marina page for hire boats and boat tours and find details of river transport options in the capital on the Transport for London website.

Did you know? Queen Elizabeth II reopened the Kennet & Avon Canal in 1990 after a passionate band of volunteers gave it an impressive revamp.

Ways to travel the Great West Way

A road trip adventure along the Great West Way allows you to linger as long as you want in each destination, and even venture off on a complete tangent if the mood takes you – take a look at our suggested itineraries to help you make a start.

The main road between London and Bristol is the A4 Great West Road, based on an ancient horse track and later, one of King Charles I’s Great Roads, which facilitated the establishment of the British postal service – The Royal Mail.

The A4 cuts a fairly direct path between the two cities, allowing you to travel the distance in less than 2 hours 30 minutes if you wanted to. Of course, if you’re travelling by car, half the pleasure is being able to pull off and explore whenever you like.

Wherever you decide to base yourself along the touring route, there’ll also be charming country lanes and winding rural roads to enjoy. Jump in the car and see where you end up.

You may find the AA’s Route Planner tool useful for planning your road trip. Also, our pages on car hire and travel tips could be of interest – especially if this is your first time driving in the UK.

If you want to hire a car for your Great West Way adventure, you’ll find plenty of car hire companies in just the places you’d expect – airports, larger train stations, cities and towns, for example Auto Europe and Practical Car & Van Rental.

Did you know? The first mail coach was introduced between Bristol and London in 1784.

Making tracks on the Great West Way can point you at endless amounts of history and fun facts to be discovered along its length from London to Bristol. In one go the journey is just 1hr 40min, but by stopping off you can explore the route in your own time turning it into a holiday adventure of a lifetime.

Relax and journey along the Great West Way using the Great West Way Discoverer pass. It includes unlimited Off-Peak train travel from London Paddington with Great Western Railway along the route to Bristol Temple Meads via Reading and Swindon, or Newbury and Pewsey, with options to branch off towards Salisbury via Westbury (or London Waterloo to Salisbury with South Western Railway). It also includes unlimited travel on listed bus services along the routes. The rail route is marked on the map with a green line. Choose from an East, West or Global one-day or seven-day ticket to enjoy your Great West Way adventure.

You can purchase the Great West Way Discoverer pass online at or from your local station. They come in the form of a standard orange ticket, clearly showing the route you have purchased and whether it is valid for one day or seven. If you are travelling from overseas, international passes (similar to a BritRail pass) can be purchased online at or via your travel agent, where discounted international rates apply and with no offpeak travel time restrictions.

Did you know? The Great Western Railway runs along the full distance of the Great West Way – from London’s Paddington station to Bristol Temple Meads.



North Wessex Downs

Marvel at the prehistoric stones of Stonehenge and Avebury, the Wiltshire White Horses and the White Horse at Uffington. Take time to visit Highclere Castle, where Downton Abbey was filmed, and get lost in the mysterious hillforts, neolithic burial mounds and genteel country houses.

The Chilterns

Characterised by neat farmland, ancient woodland and chalk downland. The Chilterns is a haven for wildlife including red kites. Explore the fabulous trails of The Ridgeway and the Chiltern Way Circular passing sparkling-clear chalk streams.

The Cotswolds

The Cotswolds Way starts in Bath and follows north for 102 miles, to the well-to-do market town of Chipping Campden. Explore Corsham, Castle Combe and Dyrham Park, or just take in the views: gentle hills, sweeping valleys and summer wildflower meadows dotted with warm limestone homes. This is England at its prettiest.

Gourmet Guide to Food and Drink

From the wild creativity of Bristol’s street food scene, to the glamour of London’s high profile restaurants, there’s a tantalising buffet of food and drink experiences along the Great West Way.


Michelin Starred and Fine Dining

Sit down to a meal of gastronomical delights at one of the award-winning fine-dining establishments along the Great West Way. Sample sumptuous tasting menus created by Michelin-starred chefs, innovative dishes featuring local produce, and traditional English delicacies cooked to perfection.

The Vineyard, Stockcross, Berkshire

Not only is The Vineyard a luxury five-star hotel and spa, it also has a fine dining restaurant and 30,000-bottle wine cellar. Head chef Robby Jenks is at the helm of this 3AA Rosette restaurant. Diners can choose from an à la carte or tasting menu where they can enjoy dishes such as veal sweetbread ravioli with pumpkin seeds in a pumpkin and brown butter sauce or roast brill, brassicas, caper berries and almond.

 Stockcross, Newbury

Bulrush, Bristol

One of the recent additions to the Michelin Guide, Bristol-based restaurant Bulrush is certainly on many a foodie’s ‘must visit’ list. Chef Proprietor George Livesey’s imaginative and well-balanced menu is chock-full of seasonal ingredients which are either organic or have been foraged.

 21 Cotham Rd S, Bristol

THE PIG-near Bath

You don't have to be staying at THE-PIG-near Bath to book a table at their impressive Kitchen Garden restaurant. Home to quite a few four-legged and feathered friends, it is the farm to fork experience that has made the PIGs so successful. THE-PIG-near Bath rear their our own chickens and pigs for eggs and pork meaning they can be sure of their quality and provenance, ensuring they lead happy lives.

 Hunstrete, Pensford, Bath

Olive Tree Restaurant, Bath

Located in the renowned Queensberry Hotel, Olive Tree is a 3 AA Rosette restaurant in the heart of the beautiful city of Bath. It is a contemporary British restaurant offering informal fine dining under the direction of award-winning head chef, Chris Cleghorn. This is the only restaurant in the city to be awarded a Michelin Star. Chris’ menu is quintessentially British with Mediterranean influences.

 4-7 Russell St, Bath

The Fat Duck, Bray, Berkshire

If you love theatre, Heston Blumenthal’s renowned eatery in Bray offers the perfect destination, serving innovative modern British cuisine in the most spectacular of settings. Heston has previously been described as the ‘WillyWonka of British gastronomy’ and diners who would like to eat at his three-Michelinstarred wonderland pay £325 up front for a ‘ticket’ –providing them with access to the 17-courses on offer that showcase his multisensory cuisine.

 High St, Bray

The Dining Room, Malmesbury, Wiltshire

Michelin’s EuropeanYoung Chef of theYear Niall Keating showcases his skills as Executive Chef at this one Michelin star dining room restaurant at Whatley Manor Hotel. Serving seasonal British produce influenced by his world wide travels.

 Whatley Manor Hotel and Spa, Easton Grey, Malmesbury, Wiltshire

Belmond Le Manoir aux Quat’Saisons, South Oxfordshire Described as ‘Oxfordshire heritage meets French flair’, Raymond Blanc’s two Michelin-starred chic restaurant has earned itself a global reputation

Gourmet Guide to Food and Drink

for fine gastronomy and creative cooking. Diners continue to be charmed by both the setting (country-house luxe) and the delicious treats on offer which includes the likes of spiced monkfish, ravioli of pumpkin and smoked trout amongst others.

 Church Road, Great Milton, South Oxfordshire

The Miller of Mansfield, Berkshire

Despite its intriguing name, the Miller of Mansfield is situated in the sweet village of Goring-on-Thames. This 18th-century country pub has been given a contemporary twist and can be defined as ‘Modern European’ which has earned two AA Rosettes and offers refined modern British dishes from the freshest seasonal, locally-sourced ingredients.

 High Street, Goring on Thames, Reading

The Harrow at Little Bedwyn, Nr. Marlborough

Owned and run by Sue and Roger Jones, this Michelin Star gem has received worldwide accolades for its food and has also been critically acclaimed for its 900 bin Wine List. Offering three menus, to include an eight course evening gourmet which changes daily to reflect the best seasonal ingredients.

 Little Bedwyn, Nr. Marlborough, Wiltshire

The Hand and Flowers, Marlow

The Hand and Flowers is the only pub in the UK with two Michelin stars and with celebrated chef Tom Kerridge at the helm it is easy to see why. The restaurant has a rustic feel which is complemented by the refined British cuisine on offer.

 126 West St, Marlow

Cliveden House, Taplow, Berkshire

Chef André Garrett’s innovative dishes, meticulous preparation and elaborate finishes showcase his exquisitely crafted creation. Produce is locally

sourced and is highly seasonal – guests can choose between an à la carte menu or an eight-course tasting menu.

 Cliveden Rd, Taplow, Berkshire

Paco Tapas, Bristol

An ever changing menu combining traditional tapas with personal interpretations from Michelin starred Chef Peter Sanchez-Iglesias. Staying true to the vibrant and comforting flavours of his heritage, with jamón ready to carve, padrón peppers roasting over the wood fire and sherry straight from the barrel.

 3a Lower Guinea Street, Bristol BS1 6FU

Queens Arms, East Garston, Berkshire Perfectly placed as a stop-over destination within an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. This award winning, pub, restaurant and hotel (with its own private lodge) serves seasonal British cuisine.

 East Garston, Berkshire

The Waterside Inn, Bray, Berkshire Bray is the place for foodies to be! The Waterside Inn which is under the leadership of chef patron Alain Roux has held three Michelin stars for over thirty years. Expect the most exquisite Classic French cooking coupled with the most impeccable service.  Ferry Rd, Bray, Berkshire

Red Lion Freehouse, East Chisenbury

Husband and wife team, Guy and Brittany Manning modestly describe themselves as “just a couple of chefs working to create a place with real soul”. Sourcing from the best possible producers, talent and hard work has earned the duo, and their team, one Michelin star status and a restaurant “where the food has personality, the surroundings are relaxed and the hospitality is warm and sincere”.



Great West Way is the only place

you can experience all five of the

Michelin Starred restaurants.

Gordon Ramsay

Hospital Road, London restaurant-gordon-ramsay

Ducasse at the Dorchester Park Lane, London

Sketch – the Lecture Room & Library

Conduit Street, London

Waterside Inn Ferry Rd, Bray

Blumenthal's Fat Duck High Street, Bray




Lion Freehouse


UK's Three
The Dining
Malmesbury  Red
Pewsey 

Gourmet Guide to Food and Drink

Dining Restaurants

You’ll find many of the restaurants along the Great West Way are dining rooms within our Ambassador hotels. You’ll also find several celebrity chefs including Rick Stein, Pierre Koffmann and Marco Pierre White.

Abbey Hotel Kitchen, The Abbey Hotel Bath

Under the helm of Head Chef Marcus Bradley, Abbey Hotel Kitchen is in the perfect central Bath location. This relaxing and vibrant space offers high energy, attentive service and delicious fresh food and drinks


The Orange Artichoke, Apex Hotel, Bath

Perfectly placed in the heart of Bath, you’ll never be far from the action when you eat at The Orange Artichoke. Allow them to curb your cravings with locally sourced food, drink and delicious delicacies in contemporary, chic surroundings.


Beau’s Bar and Restaurant at Donnington Grove Hotel & Country Club

Set amidst beautiful parkland with the River Lambourn winding through the grounds, this Newbury restaurant has large picture windows to make the most of the picturesque river views. 

The Brasserie at Sir Christopher Wren Hotel

With glorious river views and a stunning bar and terrace, The Brasserie offers upscale dining in the heart of Windsor. Large windows let you watch boats and swans glide down the Thames as you enjoy the delicious all day menu and fine wines.


Cedar at the Langley Dining experiences here are inspired by the bountiful English countryside. Savour delicious cuisine in our elevated restaurant overlooking the grounds, featuring sumptuous meals crafted with natural ingredients.


Clayton’s Kitchen

Uncomplicated dishes that explore and showcase the freshest and very best ingredients. Chef Patron, Robert Clayton ensures that every dish is prepared, cooked and presented to perfection.


Cloisters Restaurant, Bailbrook House Hotel

Tucked away in the historic mansion is Cloisters restaurant where the heritage of this country house hotel in Bath really comes into its own, with original archways made from traditional Bath stone.


Cricklade House & Spa

The chefs at Crickdale are passionate about using great local produce and change their menu monthly. Enjoy a three course meal, a traditional Sunday Roast or Afternoon Tea of finger sandwiches, homemade scones with jam and cream and a selection of cakes.


The Gainsborough Brasserie

The Restaurant with its Georgian architecture, original artwork and impressive wine wall is open to hotel guests and non-residents. Enjoy contemporary British cuisine inspired by fresh, seasonal ingredients in a stylish and relaxed environment.


88 UNIQUE DINING EXPERIENCES There are many ways to sample the best local cuisine on the Great West Way, from city tours and hands-on cookery classes to nostalgic river cruising. FOOD & DRINK TOURS A Taste of England  Around and about Bath  Savouring Bath  COOKERY SCHOOLS Vaughan’s Kitchen White Horse Business Centre, Devizes  RIVER CRUISE DINING Hobbs of Henley  Bristol Packet Boat Trips  Thames Rivercruise  French Brothers 

Gourmet Guide to Food and Drink

The Restaurant, No 15 Great Pulteney

Open for a show-stopping supper or lovely lunch while you’re exploring the city of Bath. Seasonal local meat, fresh fruit and veg are sourced from Buxton Butchers and family-run grocers, Lovejoys, and as for bread and baked goodies, there’s nowhere better than beloved Bath institution, Bertinet Bakery.


The Dower House Restaurant, The Royal Crescent Hotel & Spa

Award winning dishes are created with passion and served with pride by award-winning Head Chef Martin Blake and his team.


Guyers House Hotel & Restaurant, Chippenham

Set in a lovely old house with its own kitchen garden and orchard the pretty dining room restaurant offers a menu of finely cooked modern British cuisine.


Heyworth Restaurant, Henley Greenland’s Hotel

Here you can enjoy an evening meal prepared by passionate chefs with menus designed using seasonal produce and locally sourced ingredients.


Windsor & Eton Brewery, Leaf at The Castle Hotel

From comforting classics to light bites and delectable vegan options, British artisan cheeses and local beers visit Leaf, serves dishes made from the finest locally sourced produce with a wide-ranging, modern menu.


The Moonraker Hotel Brasserie

Like the seasons, menus change as Xavier and his team use fresh local produce to create and showcase some old-fashioned classics, putting the hotel Brasserie firmly on the culinary map. They have a walled garden used as the setting for their smokery which they use to smoke their meat and fish.


The Old Bell Hotel, Saints & Sinners

Home to some of the most delicious food in the Cotswolds serveing a menu of dishes made from deliciously fresh, locally sourced ingredients. The Old Bell Hotel is a Grade I listed hotel, rumoured to be England’s oldest hotel, located next door to Malmesbury Abbey.


Plum + Spilt Milk, Great Northern Hotel

An award-winning restaurant in the heart of King's Cross, offering a beautiful seasonal modern-British menu, with locally sourced ingredients. In an elegant yet cosy atmosphere, surrounded by the views of King’s Cross and St Pancras.


Rick Stein, Marlborough

Rick Stein’s Marlborough restaurant brings a taste of Cornwall to the Great West Way. Located on Marlborough High Street, serving a combination of classic seafood dishes, excellent wines and with plenty of coastal charm.


The Roseate Hotels, London, Reading and Bath

All three of The Roseate Hotels, Roseate House in London, near Hyde Park, The Roseate in Reading and



Alder Ridge Vineyard

and Marlborough

Aldwick Estate Vineyard

the famous Mendip Hills

Vineyards at Cholderton Rare Breeds Farm


on the

family farm in Wiltshire



Bath Brew

Street West,


Brewery, Devizes, Wiltshire


Dairy, Yattendon
Discover crisp, white, award-winning bubbly varieties
Between Hungerford
Nestled beneath
 Bluestone
10 acre on-site
TOURS Enjoy wine tastings, taprooms and tours Bristol Brewery Tours Mardyke Wharf, Bristol  Bristol Hoppers Walking Tours of
Craft Beer Scene  The
House 14 James
Bath  Wadworth
 West
Brewery The Old

Gourmet Guide to Food and Drink

The Roseate Villa in Bath, located in a quiet corner of the city, offer exceptional dining in their restaurants. 

Shelburne Restaurant, Bowood Hotel, Spa & Golf Resort

Laid-back, countryside dining with picture perfect views. The Two AA Rosette Shelburne Restaurant serves delicious food from seasonal menus every day. From long, lazy lunches to romantic moments over cocktails, you will enjoy a range of mouth-watering dishes prepared with passion and served with flair. 

The Swan Bradford On Avon

Locally sourced produce, beautifully prepared and cooked to perfection.Open for breakfast, lunch, dinner, Sunday carvery, coffee, or a light snack and a glass of wine or pint of local ale. 

Woolley Grange Hotel

With so many ingredients plucked from their own kitchen garden, it’s more about wheelbarrow yards than food miles at Woolley Grange. Visit for fine dining or family dining. 

Mark’s Bar, Riverside Hotel, Salisbury Mark’s Bar is truly a fabulous place to enjoy a relaxing drink, lunch or dinner with friends. Opening out on to a terrace overlooking the river and Salisbury Cathedral, on a summers day, it certainly will be the place to be - with a great choice of wines, Champagnes, premium spirits and cocktails. 

Pubs and Inns From traditional thatched village inns to modern gastropubs with spacious beer gardens perfect for families to enjoy the summer sunshine

Red Lion Freehouse East Chisenbury, Pewsey 

The Bear Hotel, Devizes 2-3 The Market Pl, Devizes 

The Black Swan in Devizes The Market Place, Devizes 

The Bird in Hand, Knowl Hill Bath Road, Knowl Hill, Reading 

Crown & Anchor Inn Ham, Wiltshire 

The Crown, Tolldown Toll Down Way, Dyrham, Chippenham 

The George Inn, Norton St Philip High Street, Norton St Philip, Bath 

West Berkshire Brewery Taproom and Kitchen The Old Dairy Frilsham Farm, Yattendon 



Browning’s Royal Oak



Prince Street Social

House, 37-41

St, Bristol

Arms, East Garston

Rd, East Garston,

Royal Oak Yattendon



Royal Windsor Pub

Rd, Windsor

Swan Bradford On Avon


Tuns Freehouse

St, Great Bedwyn, Marlborough
Cues Ln, Bishopstone, Swindon  The
137 Bartholomew
Newbury  The
 Queens
Hungerford  The
The Square,
 The
 The
1 Church
Bradford-on-Avon  Three
1 High

Gourmet Guide to Food and Drink

Tea Rooms & Cafés

Whether it’s a quick cuppa with breakfast or a full-blown afternoon tea with dainty sandwiches, indulgent cakes and tasty scones, you'll find plenty of lovely cafes and tea rooms to enjoy along the Great West Way.

Aldermaston Tea Rooms

Traditional Tea Rooms in a lovely setting by the Kennet & Avon Canal. Leaf tea, cream teas, apple pie, canalman's lunch, whippy ice cream and more.


Canal Trust Café

A beautiful tea rooms and licensed cafe situated in Bradford on Avon along the Kennet & Avon Canal. with lovely gardens and delicious food and cakes.

Teashop by the Canal

Set in a unique grade II listed building by the Kennet & Avon Canal, blending the warmth of Italian culture, with fine and splendid rituals of English Cream Teas.


The Bridge Tea Rooms

Housed in a former blacksmith's cottage dating from 1502, this quintessentially English tea room offers the very best in traditionally British afternoon tea. With delicate bone china, the finest leaf teas, and friendly staff in Victorian costumes serving homemade cakes, pastries and sandwiches.


Honeystreet Mill Cafe

Situated in Pewsey Vale, Honeystreet Mill Cafe offers a range of delicious fresh and local food open for breakfast, lunch or afternoon tea. Treat yourself to

a chilled glass of prosecco on the terrace, and watch the world go by Wiltshire-style. 

Spring's Café and Restaurant

Located at Thermae Bath Spa, Springs Café and Restaurant combines beautiful Georgian architecture with classic, contemporary style. Throughout the day and evening, spa users can enjoy delicious dishes and interesting drinks from an extensive menu.


The Tutti Pole

A family run restaurant close to the Kennet & Avon Canal in a grade ll listed building, serving quality homemade food and luxury afternoon teas.


Westonbirt, The National Arboretum

During your visit to Westonbirt The National Arboretum stop off at the restaurant for freshly prepared hot and cold refreshments including soups, sandwiches, savoury snacks, cakes and pastries.


Windsor Castle Undercroft Café

The first café for visitors to Windsor Castle has opened in Edward III’s medieval Undercroft, which for centuries served as the Castle’s main wine cellar and is one of the oldest surviving spaces in the 1,000-year-old royal residence.


Lido Spa & Restaurant, Bristol Lido Spanish and Mediterranean menus, open kitchen with hot blazing Italian clay oven and bespoke charcoal grill by the grade 2 listed outdoor pool.




Hotel, Bath



Hill, Cricklade, Swindon

Bridge Tea Rooms

Street, Bradford on Avon

Great Pulteney, Bath

Pulteney Street,

Pump Room Restaurant


Room, Stall Street,

Roseate Hotel, Reading

Royal Crescent Hotel & Spa


Manor Hotel &

Grey, Malmesbury
Bath  Cricklade
 The
 No15
15 Great
Bath  The
Searcys at
Bath  The
26 The Forbury, Reading  The
16 Royal
Bath  Whatley
Spa Easton

Where to Stay on the Great West Way

BATH Abbey Hotel, Bath

Abbey Hotel is located perfectly central in the city of Bath, making it an ideal place to stay to when exploring the city. Independantly owned, this unique hotel offers an intriguing blend of stylish comfort, vibrant and eccentric contemporary art, and historic character. 

Dukes Hotel

One of Bath’s most prestigious streets, this beautiful, boutique, guest house stands on Great Pulteney Street. Whether it is the high ceilings, sash windows or hand crafted Sanitan bathroom suites, each room uniquely reflects an era of Georgian elegance and charm. 

The Apartment Bath

From Nespresso to Nintendo, The Apartment, Bath is a two-bedroom apartment in central Bath on Widcombe Parade, and the perfect home from home for guests exploring the Great West Way. 

The Roseate Villa Bath

The Roseate Villa Bath occupies a quiet corner of the city, overlooking the tranquil Henrietta Park. Encompassing two characterful converted Victorian houses, the Villa offers 21 rooms with exclusive features. The Villa also has a private garden where you can relax and enjoy an indulgent afternoon tea. 

Tucking Mill, Bath Apartments and Cottages

Family owned range of award-winning luxurious properties including three cottages at Tucking Mill with outstanding views, and two apartments just 10 minutes’ walk from Bath city centre.


YMCA Bath Hostel

YMCA Bath Hostel is a city centre hostel with all the attractions located within walking distance; The Roman Baths, Royal Crescent, Bath Rugby Ground, The Circus and Bath Abbey to name a few. Affordable, clean accommodation ideal for families, couples, and backpackers on a budget. 

Bath Apartment Breaks

Two luxurious self-catering apartments in Bath, each perfect for four guests. One apartment is on the ground floor and has its own sun-trap patio area with outside seating, whilst the other is on the first floor and has two small balconies off the living area. 

Bath Area Self Catering

High quality, luxury self-catering holiday cottages and apartments in Bath and the surrounding areas of Somerset, Wiltshire and Gloucestershire. These properties are ideal for exploring the Western part of the Great West Way including Wiltshire, the Cotswolds, Bath and Bristol 

Staying overnight on the Great West Way makes for a wonderful trip, whether on a romantic weekend away or a week-long adventure

No.15 Great Pulteney

be found at the heart of Bath’s

society, No.15 Great Pulteney is an elegant and vivacious townhouse hotel on the very grandest street in Bath. Comprising 40 bedrooms, a cocktail bar, restaurant and boutique

No.15 exudes

Brooks Guesthouse B&B Brooks Guesthouse Bath is an award winning four star boutique guesthouse in Bath city centre with 22 uniquely furnished bedrooms with an eclectic mix of antiques, modern pieces and designer wallpapers.

Bishopstrow Hotel & Spa

dapper country house hotel meets hospitality with imagination, charm and spirit, surrounded by private gardens and set in glorious, rural Wiltshire.

might also enjoy a visit to sister hotels , The Bird & Homewood
understated sophistication and luxury. 
No.15 Great Pulteney

The Gainsborough Bath Spa

The Gainsborough Bath Spa occupies two historic buildings with Georgian and Victorian facades in the heart of Bath. Named after the artist Thomas Gainsborough, the luxury hotel is welcoming and elegant. there are 99 berooms and suites with views across the city to surrounding countryside. 


Royal Berkshire – Exclusive Collection

Royal Berkshire is a country house located in the heart of Ascot, perfect for overnight stays, with 66 luxury bedrooms. The grounds are charming, perfect for a wedding location or event, with a private walled garden and a beautiful fountain plaza. 


Brooks Guesthouse B&B and Rooftop Retro Rocket Caravans, Bristol

A boutique contemporary guesthouse situated smack bang in the heart of Bristol's old town next

to St Nicholas Market and just a short stroll to the vibrant Harbourside.

The caravans are British built and capturing the glamour of the timeless vintage aluminium design with all the lux of a modern hotel room and beautiful rooftop views of Bristol City Centre. 

Hampton by Hilton Bristol Airport

This is the ultimate hotel in terms of design, comfort and convenience, being on the doorstep of Bristol Airport – the only hotel within walking distance of the terminal. Spend a day exploring Noah's Ark Zoo Farm, Cheddar Caves and Gorge or Cabot Tower. 

The Bristol Wing part of YMCA

The Bristol Wing is a boutique hostel in Bristol city centre in the Grade II listed old Police Headquarters. Since the first lockdown it has been repurposed and provided a safe place for people at risk of homelessness – it is now being fully refurbished with plans to re-open Spring 2023. Located only a short walk from some of the best bits of Bristol including

98 Abbey Hotel, Bath

Bristol’s harbourside, Bristol Shopping Quarter and the Old City.



The Manor House – Exclusive Collection

This 14th century luxury hotel and golf club is perfect for romantic nights away, with Michelin starred dining and a dedicated gin bar. Head into the picturesque village of Castle Combe or play a round at the championship 18-hole golf course. Situated in 365 acres of rich parkland and widely regarded as a real hidden golfing gem in the Cotswolds.


Cheddar Camping and Caravanning Club Site

From its lofty position near Priddy, the highest village in the Mendip Hills, Cheddar Club Site is surrounded by spectacular landscapes, great for walking, cycling, caving and rock climbing. Less than five miles from the campsite is Cheddar Gorge, one of Britain's most spectacular natural landmarks. Explore its extraordinary subterranean stalactite show caves and spectacular panoramic views.


Chertsey Camping and Caravanning Club Site

Perched on the banks of the River Thames, this lovely campsite has a rural feel despite being just 50 minutes from Central London by train. Walkers will enjoy the Thames Path Nature Trail – a longdistance towpath trail that starts in the Cotswolds and meanders through Chertsey towards the heart of London. It’s a peaceful and scenic trail that’s ideal for people of all ages and abilities.


Mill Farm Glamping

Enjoy the best of the beautiful British countryside from the comfort of a luxurious canvas lodge on this family-run, organic farm. Meet the ducks, dairy cattle and donkeys. Have fun on Farmer Joe's organic farm tour. Walk, ride, paddle, fish – or just soak up the sun and the tranquil scenery. It all adds up to a unique break that you – and your family or friends – will treasure for a lifetime.

SOUTH WILTSHIRE Pythouse Kitchen Garden

You’ve heard of restaurants with rooms – now we bring you the restaurant with a glamping village. Six bell tents and a cosy shepherds’ hut sit in an orchard near this lunchtime-only restaurant. They share showers, a cocktail area, kitchen and dining area.


The Greenlands Hotel Set within the 30-acre Henley Business School estate in the Oxfordshire countryside, this magnificent Grade II Listed Building is steeped in history dating as far back as 1480. There are 100 bedrooms including eight luxury balcony rooms with views across the Chiltern Valley and the grounds leading to the River Thames. There's a fitness centre, tennis courts, giant lawn chess and footpaths leading into the Chiltern Hills. Located less than three miles from the centre of Henley-on-Thames home to the famous annual Henley Royal Regatta, five miles from the riverside Georgian market town of Marlow and a short car journey to Windsor and Oxford.


Herongate Apartments

Welcome to Herongate Apartments, a collection of four purpose built self serviced/serviced apartments



Whatley Manor Hotel & Spa

Whatley Manor is a grown-up getaway in the heart of the Cotswolds set in 12 acres of gardens. Try Grey’s Brasserie for a leisurely lunch, dinner or chilled glass of wine. Or the innovative tasting menu with specially selected wines in The Dining Room. There's also The Green Room where chefs prepare small plates of expertly crafted food in front of you, Aquarias Spa and even a cinema.


conveniently located just minutes walk from Hungerford High Street and the beautiful Kennet & Avon Canal. The apartments are situated next door to Herongate Club and all guests over the age of 16 years can enjoy complimentary access to the gym and pool as well as discounts off classes and the fabulous Honesty Cafe.


LONDON Roseate House London

Located near Hyde Park with stunning views over leafy Westbourne Terrace. John Constable, son of the famous landscape artist, once lived there, and Oscar Wilde married at St James’ Church opposite. The hotel comprises of three restored, mid-19th century, Grade II listed townhouses originally built in 1842 which still retain the grace and charm of the original Victorian architecture. Located on a street steeped in history in a haven of tranquillity.



Donnington Grove Hotel & Country Club

Donnington Grove, a three star country-house hotel in Newbury, is situated in 500 acres of beautiful grounds that include an 18 hole championship golf course, beauty and treatment rooms at Avalon Retreat, Clay Shooting and the New Beau's Bar and Restaurant. It is a fascinating destination with more than a whiff of English decadence. Built in 'Strawberry Hill Gothic' style, this 250 year old, charming building has a unique heritage. 

The Chequers Hotel

This former 18th Century Coaching Inn comprises 56 bedrooms, a business and meeting centre and an intimate restaurant serving modern British and European cuisine. 


The Chilterns View

The Chilterns View offers luxury lodge accommodation overlooking the beautiful Chiltern Hills. Guests love the privacy and seclusion of these lodges with wonderful south-facing views and hot tubs. Sit around the fire pit with a glass of fizz to watch the sun set over the hills, and in the daytime you can relax by the pond or take a walk to one of the many fine pubs and eateries in the area. 


Hilton Reading

Ideally located off junction 11 of the M4, the Hilton Hotel in Reading offers a warm and inviting atmosphere. Bedrooms feature air conditioning, wired and wireless Internet access, laptop safes, mini bar, on-demand movies, a spacious workdesk and famous Hilton Serenity bed system. Access to the 24-hour LivingWell Health Club is included. 

Novotel Reading Centre

Perfectly suited in the heart of the town. Many of Reading's best restaurants, bars and shops are just a stone's throw from the hotel, and you are close


to Windsor and Oxford, and family attractions like Legoland, Reading Museum, Reading Abbey Ruins and Forbury Gardens Public Park. Reading train station is a two-minute walk away and Thames Valley Park is just a shuttle bus away. 

The Roseate Reading Described as 'The UK's Sexiest Townhouse Hotel' by The Evening Standard, The Roseate Reading is also recognised for its artful conception and luxury. 


Pennyhill Park – Exclusive Collection

There are only a few places able to offer such a diverse range of experiences as Pennyhill Park. Set in 123 acres of Surrey countryside with a host of individual experiences, they offer exceptional overnight breaks, Michelin starred dining, bespoke weddings, distinctive meetings and events, family

celebrations and an award-winning spa. There are two award-winning restaurants, The Ascot Bar, and The Spa including a state-of-the-art fitness suite, treatment rooms, nail bar, hot tubs and indoor and outdoor pools. 

Walton on Thames Camping and Caravanning Club Site

Tucked away in rural Surrey, you’d hardly know Walton on Thames Club Site is just half an hour from Central London. For a hearty dose of adrenaline, head to the much-loved theme parks of Thorpe Park, Chessington World of Adventures, and Legoland, where kids (and big kids too) can go wild on wacky rides and looping rollercoasters. For something a little more sedate, head to Hampton Court Palace, once the palatial home of King Henry VIII and his six wives, to experience Royal life by exploring the splendid interiors and wandering around the magnificent estate with its rich variety of gardens
Whately Manor Hotel & Spa, Malmesbury

and plants. 


Rose & Crown Inn, Ashbury

Located in a charming ‘off the beaten track’ village at the foot of the rolling countryside of the Lambourn Downs and historic sites of the Vale of the White Horse. This village inn boasts an exceptional menu and very comfortable rooms. It has a unique atmosphere and very much reflects the gentle pace of a friendly and welcoming ‘unspoiled’ village inn. 


The Queens Arms Hotel

The Queens Arms is an award-winning hotel, pub and restaurant with its own private lodge. Situated in the beautiful village of East Garston, between London and the West Country yet in the heart of an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. The

Queens Arms features 12 bespoke bedrooms, a large friendly bar with log fire that leads into the dining room, a south facing patio and a large enclosed garden. Children and dogs welcome. 


Salisbury Camping and Caravanning Club Site

Within easy reach of some of the most famous sites in England. The historic centre of Salisbury, known as ‘the city in the countryside’, is an easy two mile walk from the campsite and offers many must-see attractions including the famous cathedral. 

The Merchant’s House Hotel, Salisbury 37 newly and beautifully refurbished en suite rooms located in the city centre. A must visit is The Merchant’s Bar with open fire and wonderful choice of wines, beers and spirits. 

The Kingsbury
@ No7 & No8, Marlborough

Riverside Hotel, Salisbury

Set in beautiful grounds leading down to the River Nadder and just a short stroll from the historic Salisbury city centre, this charming and newly renovated hotel consists of 38 beautifully restored bedrooms, some that enjoy stunning views over the river to Salisbury Cathedral. In 2022 the hotel and grounds underwent a major yet sympathetic refurbishment to restore and bring back to life this charming contemporary manor house hotel –previously it was the Grasmere House Hotel. Built in the 1800s by the Wort family the Riverside Hotel was one of the first houses built in Harnham. 


Church Farm Country Cottages

Enjoy a rural location on a working sheep farm staying in award-winning single storey cottages and barn conversions with exposed beams and vaulted ceilings. Situated in an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty you can enjoy walking and cycling from your doorstep or it is a short journey to Bradford on Avon, Longleat and the World Heritage City of Bath. 

Cumberwell Country Cottages

Set in a peaceful, rural location, these seven unique, luxurious and spacious self-catering cottages are set in the beautiful Wiltshire countryside on the edge of an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty just five miles from the World Heritage city of Bath and one mile from the Saxon town of Bradford on Avon. 

Timbrells Yard

Timbrells Yard is a stylishly revamped riverside inn at the heart of beautiful Bradford-on-Avon. It has award-winning food and 17 super stylish bedrooms. Grade II listed, it is family and dog-friendly, and has a wonderful terrace on the banks of the River Avon.

Woolley Grange Hotel

Surrounded by 14 acres of stunning grounds, Woolley


The Kingsbury @ No7 & No8 Boutique hotel come Airbnb with modern, keyless entry system allowing you to come and go as you please. All rooms have been lovingly and individually designed to offer quality, comfort and style, for you to relax and enjoy your stay. Fun dining concept including fabulous afternoon teas and cocktail making in the restaurant (book in advance).


Grange is a Jacobean manor house offering a warm welcome to families, with award-winning children's facilities, a beautiful spa, and great food using fresh produce from the walled kitchen garden. For a stargazing evening stay in one of the new Luxury Glamping Suites, you also have access to the historic hotel and its facilities, including heated indoor and outdoor swimming pools, spa, OFSTED-registered childcare and The Hideout Pizza Cafe.



Best Western Plus Angel Hotel, Chippenham Superbly located five miles from the M4 between Bath and Swindon. This 400-year-old coaching inn has been sympathetically extended to include a gym, indoor pool, courtyard garden and bedroom wing. The addition of a stylish new brasserie, bar and lounge create the ideal surroundings to relax. A perfect base for enjoying motor racing at Castle



Rowley Cottage at Iford Manor

Surrounded by nature in the beautiful Iford Valley and set within the Grade 1 listed Iford Manor Gardens, this luxury, self-catering period cottage is in an idyllic setting. Recently renovated, with three en-suite bedrooms, sleeping six it is the perfect base to explore from. Just 15 minutes from Bath. 

Museum with its award-winning galleries and ancient gold collection, pop into the Kennet & Avon Canal Trust Museum to learn more about the local waterways. Head to Wadworth’s Brewery to take a tour and sample ales at the visitor centre, and see the famous shire horses making deliveries. If you fancy stretching your legs, take the five-mile circular walk from Devizes to Roundway Hill, taking in stretches of the Kennet & Avon Canal, with opportunities to take longer walks by joining the Mid Wilts Way, Wessex Ridgeway or the White Horse Trail. 


The Old Bell Hotel

A comfortable, country hotel full of character and charm, reputed to be the oldest purpose built hotel in England (c.1220) and Grade I Listed. The hotel nestles in the beautiful medieval Cotswold town of Malmesbury and is 75 yards from the famous Abbey House Gardens with over 2000 roses. With crackling log fires, cosy corners, squashy sofas, plump duvets, fine linen and fabulous food and wine – this is pure indulgence. 

Combe, the Badminton Horse Trials, Longleat Safari Park and Swindon designer shopping village. 


Cliffe Farm Dairy

Self-catering accommodation in the heart of Wiltshire; ideal for families looking for that quiet escape. A secluded and unique cottage on a working farm. This special place offers uninterrupted views and wonderful walking opportunities. 

Devizes Camping and Caravanning Club Site

This peaceful campsite beside the Kennet & Avon Canal is perfect for walking, cycling, and exploring the region’s many historic attractions. Head out on a scenic walk to the historic market town of Devizes along the towpath, passing the Caen Hill flight of 29 locks – one of the longest continuous flight of locks in the country, rising 237 feet over two miles. In the bustling market town of Devizes, visit the Wiltshire

Pettifers Hotel

Pettifers Hotel is the perfect spot to relax, unwind and explore. You've got the fabulous Cotswold Water Park, Highgrove, Westonbirt Arboretum, Tetbury, Malmesbury and Cirencester all on the door step –perfect for family stays and mini breaks, plus they are super dog friendly too so no need to leave your four legged friends behind! 

WILTSHIRE, SALISBURY Holiday Inn, Salisbury – Stonehenge This modern friendly hotel has over 100 air conditioned bedrooms and is the nearest hotel to Stonehenge, offering a stylish, contemporary gateway to the Great West Way and to the picturesque county of Wiltshire and beyond. Enjoy easy access to the colourful landscape of sights and attractions dotting the English countryside. 



Cricklade House Hotel

Standing in over 30 acres of peaceful, secluded grounds on the edge of the Cotswolds, Cricklade House Hotel offers a traditional, warm and friendly welcome for those in search of tranquility, comfort, good food and wine, with extensive recreational facilities. This beautiful and dignified country house, built at the turn of the last century, has been tastefully restored and carefully extended. Perhaps the most impressive addition is the magnificent Victorian-style glass conservatory which runs the full length of the original building, making the most of the hotel's elevated position, with wonderful panoramic views over the Wiltshire countryside. The ideal location for exploring the wonders Wiltshire and the surrounding area have to offer – with brilliant links to both the M4 and M5 and through to Oxford. 

DoubleTree by Hilton, Swindon West of Swindon, this relaxing hotel is an excellent base for touring the beautiful Great West Way countryside including the Wiltshire Downs and the Cotswolds, visiting pretty villages such as Chippenham and Marlborough, and, for a truly memorable experience, you'll find the World Heritage Site of Avebury nearby too. The accommodation comprises 171 bedrooms with 61 Deluxe rooms and eight Suites and for food and drink head to The Larder Restaurant and Bar. 


Totteridge Farm Camping Pods

Totteridge Farm Camping Pods offer a wonderful English countryside experience, for those who want to be close to nature without giving up home comforts. Step out of your timber lodge into the fresh calm of a rural Wiltshire morning, explore the
Rowley Cottage at Iford Manor, Bradford-on-Avon
GET OFF THE BEATEN TRACK VISIT THE VALE OF PEWSEY IN WILTSHIRE TRANQUIL SPIRITUAL ANCIENT WWW.VISITPEWSEYVALE.CO.UK IMAGE © PETER ORR ARPS WWW.INSTAGRAM.COM/ORRPIX/ | +44 (0)7947 488665 Avebury and Stonehenge Private Guided Tours Wiltshire’s wonderful countryside, full of internationally important monuments, is a very special place to visit Find out more online or call Laurence

The Great West Way caters to the desires of all travellers, with its mix of quirky glamping and camping sites, pretty countryside B&Bs, cool city hotels, traditional village pubs and even fancy castles and stately homes

towns, villages and trails of the Vale of Pewsey, or sit out under the stars around a wood fire with a glass of farm-grown English wine. There are five luxury log pods in total, and they are exclusively for adults (for ages 18 and above), with fantastic views over the Pewsey Vale, and with the home comforts of a hot shower and a King Size bed in a double-glazed, underfloor-heated. There is plenty of choice for walking, cycling or even kayaking, with many dog friendly pubs nearby. Come home to your own firepit, spectacular sunsets and dark skies. There is also an all-weather shelter and BBQ area.


Troutbeck Guest House

The Red Lion Freehouse and Troutbeck Guest House at East Chisenbury have gained quite a reputation for providing the best of Wiltshire's food, drink and accommodation in a truly beautiful setting. The thatched pub now holds a Michelin star for its outstanding food, but has never changed its relaxed, distinctively 'pubby' atmosphere. If there were any improvements to be made to the Red Lion experience, it could only be the addition of a cozy, classy guest house to go back to after a lovely meal. In December 2012 the Red Lion opened a newly converted bungalow to its loyal following – a gorgeously polished accommodation sat right on the bank of the River Avon.



Lainston House – Exclusive Collection

Lainston House is a 17th century luxury hotel, offering luxurious stays, award-winning dining, bespoke meetings and memorable weddings. It is also home to the Season cookery school with awardwinning chefs and renowned external experts. Tucked away in 63 acres of rural Hampshire countryside, you can enjoy both a remote and

Manor Farm Courtyard Cottages

relaxing escape in the country or a more activity filled getaway with lots to do on site, as well as so many attractions on your doorstep. Individually designed rooms and suites with beautiful walks and bike rides in the grounds, inspiring cookery classes in Season and delicious dining in The Avenue or their brand new restaurant, The Wellhouse. Not to mention outstanding afternoon teas in the drawing room and casual dining in The Cedar Bar. Head out to explore local attractions, with the historic city of Winchester, Bombay Sapphire distillery, Marwell Zoo and Paultons Park all within 15 miles.

Plan your complete trip

One of the most exciting ways to travel the Great West Way is to stop somewhere new each night.
Luxuriously-appointed self-catering cottages situated in glorious Berkshire countryside. These 17th century former barns and stables, renovated by the Betts family farm, provide everything you need for a luxurious stay on the Great West Way and with a village community shop and café next door for fresh food. 

Prepare before you go

There’s nothing like a good map to make you feel like a true adventurer

This Way for a Journey of Discovery

Download our 'This Way for a Journey of Discovery' map of the Great West Way, and get a sense for the exciting possibilities that lie ahead. Will you venture out to explore the mysteries of the North Wessex Downs? Make a summer solstice pilgrimage to Stonehenge? Or set off to photograph the pretty villages of the Cotswolds?

Food and Drink Map

Food lovers can download our food and drink map for an overview of the incredible culinary delights available along the route, featuring local breweries, Michelin starred dining, farmers' markets, afternoon tea, food and drink festivals, quaint country pubs and more.

Kennet & Avon Canal map

Take a look at our Kennet & Avon Canal map to find out about travelling along the beautiful and historic canal that stretches between Reading and Bristol. Looked after by the Canal & River Trust, you can explore the towpath by foot or bike – or float gently along on a narrowboat, canoe or kayak.

Of course, while these maps will steer you towards incredible attractions, beautiful landscapes and top places to stay, eat and drink – you are ultimately your own tour guide. Please do wander off course and find things to see and do that are not marked on our maps. This dreamy part of England is set up for surprising discoveries.

Great West Way Discoverer Pass

Tickets for the Great Western Railway can be bought from ticket offices at stations along the route but for cheaper tickets and no queues we recommend buying in advance. There are three Great West Way Discoverer routes available, (East, West or global) giving you the opportunity to explore your chosen area in one-day instalments or over the duration of a week.

Click here to download the Great West Way Discoverer Pass

 Click here to download This Way for a Journey of Discovery  Click here to download the Food and Drink Map  Click here to download the Kennet & Avon Canal map  Click here to book online with prices from just £24.

Aerospace Bristol Alder Ridge Vineyard

Aldermaston Tea Rooms, Visitor Centre, & Shop Aldwick Estate

All Saints Church American Museum & Garden Apex Hotel Apsley House Ascot Racecourse Atwell-Wilson Motor Museum

Auto Europe Avebury Bailey Balloons Barrington Court Bath Apartment Breaks Bath Area Self Catering Bath Bus Company Bath Insider Tours Berkeley Castle Best Western Plus Angel Hotel Bishopstrow Hotel & Spa Blakehill Farm Nature Reserve Blenheim Palace

Bluestone Vineyard Bombay Sapphire Boscombe Down Aviation Collection Bowood House & Garden Bozedown Alpacas Bradford on Avon Town Bristol Airport Bristol Cathedral Bristol Community Ferry Boats Bristol Packet Boats Bristol Tandem Hire Britains Best Heritage Tours British Museum Brooks Guest House Bath Brooks Guest House Bristol Bruce Branch Boats Brunel’s SS Great Britain

Calne Town Canal & River Trust Canal Trust Café Castle Combe Circuit Cheddar Camping and Caravanning Club Site

Cheddar Caves Cheddar Gorge Chippenham Museum and Heritage Centre

Chippenham Town Cholderton Rare Breeds Farm Church Farm Country Cottages Clayton’s Kitchen Cliffe Farm Dairy Clifton Suspension Bridge Cobbs Farm Shop & Kitchen Corsham Town Cotswold Water Park

Cricklade House Hotel Crofton Beam Engines Crop Circle Visitors Centre & Exhibition Crown & Anchor Cumberwell Country Cottages Devizes Camping and Caravanning Club Site Devizes Town Devizes Wharf Tea Room Donnington Grove Hotel & Country Club

DoubleTree by Hilton, Swindon Dukes Hotel

Dyrham Park Exclusive Collection Fashion Museum Bath

First Travel Solutions Fisherton Mill French Brothers Galahad Tours

Great Western Railway Great West Way Official Tour Operators

Hampton by Hilton Bristol Airport Henley Greenlands Hotel Henley Rowing Association Henley on Thames Herongate Apartments

Hilton Reading Hobbs of Henley Holiday Inn, Salisbury - Stonehenge Honey Street Boats Hungerford Town Iford Manor Gardens

Jones’s Mill at The Vera Jeans Reserve Kennet & Avon Trade Association Kennet Horse Boat Company Lacock Abbey, Fox Talbot Museum & Village

Lainston House

Live Escape Salisbury WWT London Wetland Centre Longleat

Lower Moor Farm Nature Reserve Lytes Cary Manor Mad Max Tours

Maidenhead Heritage Centre Malmesbury Town Manor Farm Courtyard Cottages

Marlborough College Summer School

Marlborough Town Mary Shelley’s House of Frankenstein McArthurGlen Designer Outlet

Swindon Merchants House Mill Farm Glamping Mompesson House

Monkey Island Estate Montacute House

Museum of East Asian Art

MV Barbara McLellan

MV Jubilee National Garden Scheme National Trust Newark Park, Ozleworth Newbury Racecourse No. 1 Royal Crescent No.15 Great Pulteney North Wessex Downs AONB Novotel Reading Centre Old Sarum Oldbury Tours Original Wild Parkway Shopping Centre Pennyhill Park Pettifers Freehouse Hotel Pewsey Vale of Tourism Partnership Prior Park Landscape Garden Reading Museum Reading UK Red Lion Freehouse REME Museum River & Rowing Museum Rose & Crown Inn Roseate House London Royal Berkshire, Sunninghill Royal Borough of Windsor & Maidenhead Salisbury Cathedral Salisbury, Stonehenge and Sarum Tours

Sally Narrowboats Savouring Bath Shaw House Skydive Netheravon South Western Railway St Peter’s Church Stay in Bath Stasher Steeple Ashton Stonehenge Stourhead Strawberry Hill House & Garden Studley Grange Sulis Guides

Teashop by the Canal Thames Lido Thames Rivercruise The Abbey Quarter

The Bridge Tea Rooms

The Bristol Wing/YMCA

The Castle Inn & Bakers Cottage

The Chequers Hotel

The Courts Garden

The Crown & Anchor

The Gainsborough Bath Spa

The Guild Wiltshire The Holburne Museum The Jane Austen Centre The Kennet & Avon Canal Trust

The Kingsbury @ No.8

The Manor House

The Merchant’s House

The Merchants House Hotel The Museum of English Rural Life The Old Bell Hotel

The Pound Arts Centre

The Queens Arms Hotel

The Riverside The Roman Baths The Rose of Hungerford The Roseate Reading

The Roseate Villa Bath

The Royal Crescent Hotel & Spa, Bath The Royal Windsor Pub

The Swan Hotel The Tutti Pole

The Watermill Theatre

The Wave Thermae Bath Spa Timbrells Yard

Tintinhull Garden

Totteridge Farm Camping Pods Tour and Explore Tourism South East Tours 2 Order TransWilts Community Rail Troutbeck Guest House Trowbridge Town

Tucking Mill View Turner’s House Tyntesfield, Wraxall University Of Bristol Botanic Gardens Vaughan’s Kitchen

Vintage Classics VisitBritain/VisitEngland Visit Gloucestershire Visit Highworth Visit Newbury Visit Thames Visit West - Bath Visit West - Bristol VisitWiltshire We The Curious Wellington Arch West Berkshire Museum Westonbirt, The National Arboretum Whatley Manor Hotel & Spa Whitchurch Silk Mill Wilton Shopping Village - The Guild White Horse Inn Wilton Windmill Wiltshire Museum

Wiltshire Stonehenge landscape Windsor Carriages Windsor Castle, Royal Collection Trust Windsor Duck Tours Woolley Grange Hotel Wyvern Theatre

YMCA Bath Group

THANK YOU TO THOSE WHO’VE HELPED US ALONG THE WAY... Discover more about our Ambassadors at:
DISCOVER YOUR WAY Begin your next adventure at #EscapetheEveryday
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