Great West Way® Travel Magazine | 2020

ContistaMedia

Welcome to the Great West Way 2020 issue. Discover the Great West Way 125-mile touring route between London and Bristol based on ancient routes, roaming through idyllic countryside, quaint villages and elegant towns.

2020 Annual Edition

TRAVEL MAGAZINE | ISSUE 02

GreatWestWay.co.uk

£4.75

where sold

Follow the paths taken by generations of travellers through England’s idyllic countryside, quaint

villages and elegant towns on the Great West Way touring route between London and Bristol


DISCOVER BRISTOL

THE GREAT WEST WAY

DISCOVER BRISTOL

BRISTOL

THE THE GREAT GREAT WEST WEST WAY WAY ®

®

®

®

Clifton Clifton Suspension Bridge, Bridge, Bristol Bristol

Advertising based on a £24 Great West Way Discoverer one-day pass for the West zone. Correct as of 1 November 2019. Selected routes only. Visit GWR.com/GreatWestWay for ful

Clifton Clifton Suspension Suspension Bridge, Bridge, Bristol Bristol

Advertising based on a £24 Great West Way Discoverer one-day pass for the West zone. Correct as of 1 November 2019. Selected routes only. Visit GWR.com/GreatWestWay Clifton Clifton Suspension for full Bridge, terms and Bristol conditions. Bristol

Advertising based on a £24 Great West Way Discoverer one-day pass for the West zone. Correct as of 1 November 2019. Selected routes only. Visit GWR.com/GreatWestWay for full terms and conditions.

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Advertising Advertising based based on a £24 on a Great £24 Great West West Way Discoverer Way Discoverer one-day one-day pass pass for the for West the West zone. zone. Correct Correct as of as 1 November of 1 November 2019. 2019. Selected Selected routes routes only. only. Visit Visit GWR.com/GreatWestWay for full for full terms terms and and conditions.

Visit Bristol and other picturesque destinations along

the Great West Way, a new touring route between

London and Bristol, with our combined rail and bus ticket.

Buy a Great West Way Discoverer pass from just £24.

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Clifton Suspensi


Pictured Below: Changing of the Guard at Windsor

Castle and outdoor pool at Beechfield House Hotel

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.

WELCOME TO ENGLAND’S

GREAT WEST WAY ®

DISCOVER ANCIENT routes through idyllic

countryside on this 125 mile touring route. The

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.

There’s no customary direction or time-frame

for exploring the Great West Way. It’s simply the perfect route for

seeing England at its finest, and is a beautiful journey that can be

easily navigated by car, coach and rail, by boat, bicycle or on foot.

You might choose to fly into Bristol Airport and then travel

on a 'Great West Way Discoverer’ pass, GWR's single ticket now

available specifically for travel on the Great West Way.

Take your time to explore the chocolate-box villages, to walk in

the countryside, to find new experiences, discover city culture, and

to enjoy our picturesque riverside locations.

Visit the world-famous sites and the well-kept secrets - and

most importantly of all, find your own story on this essential strand

of England.

This issue is brimming with inspiring features, edited by our

dedicated team of talented journalists, to help you plan your journey

- we look forward to welcoming you to the Great West Way.

Jessica x

Jessica Way

Editor-in-Chief, Great West Way Travel Magazine

Download your Great West Way map:

: GreatWestWay.co.uk/explore/maps

The Chilterns

North Wessex Downs

Brunel’s SS Great Britain

Bradford

on Avon

Trowbridge

Iford Manor

Gardens

Westbury

GreatWestWay.co.uk

3


We’re proud to be the

Official Airport Ambassador

for the Great West Way ® .

Bristol Airport is the perfect place for you to

start your Great West Way journey. We’re just

8 miles from Bristol city centre and 19 miles

from the city of Bath.

We’ve invested £225m in developments that

have transformed the airport experience and

now offer more than 120 destinations to our

8.6 million loyal passengers.

www.bristolairport.co.uk


CONTENTS

2020 Annual | Edition 02

Pictured

left then

clockwise:

Wilton

Windmill;

Bowood

House statue,

and the

Thames Lido

DISCOVER OUR WAY

EXPLORE BY RAIL, BOAT, BIKE AND FOOT

09 27

THE WAY FORWARD

Highlights for 2020 and a look at what’s

new on the Great West Way

14 33

CELEBRATE IN SEASON

From Easter egg hunts, to the fun of the

summer shows, to being immersed by illuminations at

Christmas - whatever it is you choose, there’s always a

perfect season for discovering the Great West Way

21

MY GREAT WEST WAY

Three locals tell us what is special to them,

and what they love best about the Great West Way

THE WATERWAYS

From canoeing, paddleboarding and cycling

along the towpath to a enjoying a traditional cream tea

TRAVEL BY TRAIN

With the GWR Great West Way Discoverer

pass you can hop off at any station along the way

36

EXPLORE THE COUNTRYSIDE

The Great West Way perfectly lends itself to

the outdoors lifestyle, with open spaces of stunning

countryside, Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty,

National Trails, Landscapes and Wildlife Trusts →

GreatWestWay.co.uk

5


Visit the heart of

beautiful Georgian

Bath and step into

history with a visit to

the Roman Baths, one

of the finest spas of

the ancient world.

Book online in advance and save 10%

romanbaths.co.uk

@RomanBathsBath

TheRomanBaths

theromanbaths


PUBLISHED BY

Contista Media Ltd

Mitchell House, Brook Avenue,

Warsash, Southampton,

Hampshire, SO31 9HP

contistamedia.co.uk

In association with the Great West Way.

COVER IMAGE

Bradford on Avon

Curious visitor enjoys Bradford on Avon, home of

The Bridge Tea Rooms where loose-leaf tea is served

in china cups, homemade cakes and light bites served

by staff in Victorian costumes

With a special thanks to:

Bristol Airport, Canal & River Trust,

GWR, and National Trust

Image copyright credits: Throughout ©GreatWestWay.co.uk /

p3 ©VisitEngland/Doug Harding / p9 ©National Trust Images/

Andrew Butler, © Douglas Harding / p11 ©Royal Collection

Trust/©Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II / p11/p21/p28/p67

©nicksmithphotography.com / p12 ©Isabelle Plasschaert /Alamy

Stock Photo / p33/p34/p35/p39 ©Jon Attenborough Photography

Ltd / p42 ©Paul Box, Westonbirt, The National Arboretum / p43-44

© Photographers listed on page 44 / p45 ©Steve Russell Studios Ltd

/ p47 ©2015 WWT. All rights reserved / P51 ©Colin Hawkins / P65/

P69 ©Casper Farrell / p70 ©VisitEngland/Iain Lewis

Follow us on

Twitter @theGreatWestWay

Facebook @GreatWestWay

Instagram.com/GreatWestWay

THE GREAT OUTDOORS

42

CAPTURING THE MOMENT

Photographers are never short of inspiration

for the perfect shot along the Great West Way. Vote

for your favourite capture for your chance to win!

46

HIDDEN GARDENS

From the world famous to the well-kept secrets,

here are some gardens along the Great West Way where

you won’t be able to help but stop and smell the roses

53

FIT FOR ROYALTY

The ancient route that inspired the Great West

Way was one of King Charles I’s Great Roads, with

many castles, hotels and places to visit bringing you

closer to England’s royal family heritage

57

EXPERIENCES AFTER DARK

From stargazing to swimming, spooky city

tours to light shows, there are plenty of experiences to

try even when the sun goes down

YOUR NEXT ADVENTURE

60

TIME FOR YOU

From keeping fit to taking it easy at a luxury

spa, there are some excellent ways to add a wellness

element to your Great West Way journey

65

DYNAMIC CITY CULTURE

Take a journey to discover the bright lights

beyond London

68

SHOPPING GEMS

From antique stores and independent

shops to stylish shopping centres and malls

Pictured above:

Visitors on their

bikes stop off at

Three Daggers,

Wiltshire

PLUS DON’T

MISS WHEN

PLANNING

YOUR

JOURNEY

CULINARY

DELIGHTS

WHERE TO

STAY

72

78

86

JOIN THE FUN!

WHAT’S ON

Digital editions

available at:

GreatWestWay.co.uk/

digitaltravelmagazine

Contista Media Ltd cannot accept responsibility for unsolicited

submissions, manuscripts and photographs. While every care is taken

prices and details are subject to change and Contista Media Ltd take no

responsibility for omissions or errors. We reserve the right to publish and

edit any letters. All rights reserved.

GreatWestWay.co.uk

7


GET ON BOARD

TAKE OFF ON A SUPERSONIC

FAMILY DAY OUT

aerospacebristol.org

Bristol Aero Collection Trust: charity no. 1010632

TripAdvisor

CERTIFICATE of

EXCELLENCE


THE WAY FORWARD

Take a look at some of the highlights and what’s

new in 2020 on the Great West Way

125 YEARS FOR THE NATIONAL

TRUST

2020 is the 125th anniversary of the

National Trust and to celebrate this special

birthday year, you might like to visit some

of the properties and gardens along the

Great West Way throughout the Thames

Valley, Berkshire, Wiltshire, Bath and Bristol

including Tyntesfield, Dyrham Park, Prior Park

Landscape Garden, and Lacock.

GreatWestWay.co.uk/national-trust

Pictured from

top-left clockwise

to far-left:

National Trust's

Runnymede and

Ankerwycke,

near Old Windsor;

Lacock, Wiltshire

Dyrham Park,

near the village of

Dyrham in South

Gloucestershire

and Basildon Park,

Berkshire.

GreatWestWay.co.uk

9


Moments to to

remember

made with the

National Trust

Visit Visit the the National Trust Trust places along the the the

Great West West Way® for for for spaces to to to relax, relax, gardens

and and countryside to to to explore and and and stories stories to to discover. discover.

These are the places that make us.

These These are are the the places places that that make make us. us.

nationaltrust.org.uk/south-west

nationaltrust.org.uk/south-west

© National

© National

Trust

Trust

2019

2019

. Registered

. Registered

charity,

charity,

No.

No.

205846.

205846. ©

National

National

Trust

Trust

Images

Images

\Alana

\Alana

Wright.

Wright.

© National Trust 2019 . Registered charity, No. 205846. © National Trust Images \Alana Wright.


PIONEERING

SIMPLY SUSTAINABLE AT

WHATLEY MANOR

Whatley Manor, Malmesbury a five

star hotel with three AA red rosettes

restaurant is pioneering new ideas

in sustainability within the industry.

In partnership with 'It Must Be

Now' (itmustbenow.com) a portal

for sustainable travel and tourism,

Whatley is the first UK 5* property

to be accredited with a 4-globe

rating by Earthcheck. To discover

more about their Simply Sustainable

package please visit their website.

› whatleymanor.com

Did you know? The new £20 note launched in February features J.M.W. Turner - one of Britain’s

most important artists. Turner designed his house in Twickenham, today a museum, and you can

visit Wednesday-Sunday to enjoy the events planned in support of the new note! turnershouse.org

BE ONE OF THE FIRST TO EXPERIENCE THESE ATTRACTIONS

THE INNER HALL,

WINDSOR CASTLE

Created in the 1820s by King

George IV, Windsor Castle's

Inner Hall, which has been

closed for more than 150

years, is now open again for

visitors to use as an entrance

hall, just as official visitors to

the Castle once did. See the

State Apartments, the world's

most famous dolls' house, or

pause and enjoy refreshments

in the new café.

› rct.uk

THE WAVE BRISTOL

The Wave is now open! An

impressive £25 million project

which took nine years in the

making is welcoming visitors

to explore its 75 acre site and

180m surfing lake. As well as the

surfing lake, there’s a Clubhouse

serving food and drinks and a

surf shop, As the site develops it

will also offer beautiful gardens,

meadowland, woodland and

family-friendly camping,

opening in spring 2020.

› thewave.com

TROWBRIDGE

MUSEUM

Having being closed since July

2019, this brilliant heritage

attraction re-opens in 2020

following a multi-million-pound

‘Onwards and Upwards’ project.

Visit as part of your Great West

Way journey and discover 1000

years of Trowbridge’s history

including the history of its West

of England woollen cloth and

how it became the county town

of Wiltshire.

› trowbridgemuseum

Travel the eco-way

Bradford on Avon is

helping visitors and the

environment. Three new

water fountains have been

installed throughout the

town (Sladesbrook Play

Area, St Margaret’s Car Park

and Culver Close Recreation

Ground) for people to re-fill

and re-use bottles for free,

rather than use unnecessary

resources on single-use

drinks bottles.

› bradfordonavon.co.uk

GreatWestWay.co.uk 11


HOT HOTELS

MONKEY ISLAND

IS NOW OPEN FOR

VISITORS

Monkey Island Estate lies on a

picturesque island in the River

Thames in the historic village of

Bray, Berkshire. The island has a

rich history, centuries old, and

has been the haunt of monarchs,

aristocrats and artists, along with

writers, famous performers and

Berkshire locals and now is home

to one of the finest hotels in Bray

- and the Great West Way.

› monkeyislandestate.co.uk

You might also enjoy: Hotel Indigo Bath: a luxury 166-bedroom boutique hotel located in the centre of Bath opening in August 2020.

The designs of the stylish guest rooms and lounges has been inspired by the area’s rich architectural beauty, ready to delight guests with

a true feeling of this historic neighbourhood. For more information on Bath news and events see visitbath.co.uk

ANNIVERSARIES AND EVENTS TO CELEBRATE ON THE GREAT WEST WAY

HOBBS OF HENLEY

CELEBRATES 150 YEARS!

Enjoy an adventure on the

Thames in 2020 with this family

boating business and celebrate

their 150th anniversary. To mark

the occassion Hobbs of Henley

have also launched their very

own Gin 'Mr Hobbs'- a nod to

their founding father Harry

Hobbs who established their

family business in 1870. So

don't miss a sip or two of their

cherished family tipple too!

› hobbsofhenley.com

SALISBURY CATHEDRAL

CELEBRATES 800 YEARS!

Within easy reach of the

Great West Way celebrations

mark the 800th Anniversary

of the founding of Salisbury

Cathedral, starting with Sarum

Lights (18-22 February).

Granted by the Pope in 1219,

the Cathedral moved from

Old Sarum to its current site,

with the first stone of this

remarkable building being laid

on 28 April 1220.

› salisburycathedral.org.uk

CALNE BIKE MEET

2020 will see the 20th year of

the Calne Bike Meet, bringing

together motorcyclists and the

local community from far and

wide. The small, Wiltshire town

of Calne (where it is free to

park) is taken over for the day by

every variation of two wheeled

machinery imaginable. A free

event, held on the last Saturday

in July, this year falling on the

25th July with a live band taking

to the stage at around 11am.

› calnebikemeet.com

Don't miss! We hope you

will notice our new welcome

town signs on your Great

West Way journey installed

in the historic market town

of Hungerford, famous for

its antique shops. Make

time to visit and take a boat

trip onboard MV Rose of

Hungerford from the Wharf,

stop for coffee and cake at

the Tutti Pole, or join one of

the expert-led walks.

› hungerford.co.uk

12 GreatWestWay.co.uk


O N L I N E | M O B I L E | I N - S T O R E

Celebrating a special occasion

on your jourey? Mark the moment with a

Wylde Flower Diamond

# W Y L D E M O M E N T S

Q E D A

n i c h o l a s w y l d e . c o m


CELEBRATE IN SEASON

From Easter egg hunts, to the fun of the summer shows, to being

immersed by illuminations at Christmas - whatever it is you choose,

there’s always a perfect season for discovering the Great West Way

Words: Samantha Rutherford

YOU CAN CELEBRATE throughout the year while

touring the Great West Way - with special events

for every season. National Trust properties are a

great way to enjoy Easter with the family, while in

the summertime you won’t struggle to find entertainment

with a beautiful view. Autumn is a wonderful time

to enjoy the countryside with golden tree walks and

Halloween train rides, while the festive season is full of

Christmassy days, and evenings, full of magic, fireworks

and joyful laughter.

14 GreatWestWay.co.uk


Pictured

left-right:

Visitor explores

Shaw House;

Lacock Abbey,

Fox Talbot

Museum; Fawn

on the Great

West Way; a

family enjoying

a day out at

Westonbirt,

The National

Arboretum

HAVE AN EGG-CELLENT EASTER

You can’t beat a spring nature walk on Good Friday or

Easter Monday and they don’t get much better at this time

of year than following the Bath Skyline Family Discovery

Trail. A fun-packed two-mile stretch of the Bath Skyline

loaded with activities. Discover magical doors in the Long

Wood elf and fairy foray, hunt for geocaches, complete a

series of '50 things' challenges or just let off some steam

playing in the woodland play area.

Celebrate the arrival of spring as the Lindt Gold Bunny

Hunt returns to Hampton Court Palace in April. Explore

the palace and its stunning gardens through an adventurefilled

treasure hunt. Lindt Gold Bunny is hidden all around

the palace - where monarchs through the ages have

indulged their sweet tooth!

Bounce into spring by decorating a ceramic bunny in

cheerful spring-like colours, or join in the fun of an Easter

wreath workshop and create your own arrangement

using seasonal flowers at Shaw House, on the outskirts

Newbury - one of the best-preserved Elizabethan mansions

in England. Or for a Quirky Easter Quiz Trail and a great day

out, or even an overnight stay (landmarktrust.org.uk) don’t

miss Beckford's Tower and Museum, Bath. Built between

1826 and 1827, Beckford’s Tower is an extraordinary

building that was once home to one of the greatest

collections of books, furniture and art in Georgian England

and now stands as the only surviving example of William

Beckford’s great architectural achievements.

Easter just wouldn’t be Easter without going on an

Easter egg hunt, and the Great West Way’s National Trust

properties are a great place to find them. Explore Prior

Park Landscape Garden in Bath and enjoy your chocolate

in the intimate 18th-century landscape, where one of only

four Palladian bridges of this design in the world can be

crossed. In Berkshire, visit Basildon Park, an 18th-century

house which survived the threat of being demolished after

the Second World War, and today sits proudly in 400 acres

of historic gardens and parkland - or discover the story of

West Berkshire in the museum of the same name.

While in Wiltshire, Harry Potter fans will love the Easter

trail at Lacock Abbey, Fox Talbot Museum and Village,

once home to William Henry Fox Talbot, inventor of the

photographic negative. Just make sure you have spotted the

cloisters which doubled as part of Hogwarts in Harry Potter

and the Philosopher’s Stone before you leave! Nearby, pop

into the award-winning Wiltshire Museum or Roves Farm is

bound to be a great family day out come rain or shine!

SUMMER SOCIAL

Whether you’re a royal fan or just want to experience a

traditional English day out, Royal Ascot horse races in

June and Henley Royal Regatta in July should be on your

summer agenda. Going to a music festival in a muddy field

is a rite of passage in the UK - a pair of jazzy (preferably

glittery) wellies are essential! There's Reading Festival in

August, one of the biggest, WOMAD at Charlton Park,

Wiltshire in July, Love Saves the Day at Eastville Park,

Bristol in May, and NASS in Bath - a music festival with

skating, BMX and street art.

If opera and classical music is more to your taste, visit

Iford Arts at Belcombe Court and enjoy listening in 45

acres of Cotswold parkland and gardens. Bookworms will

love the Swindon Festival of Literature in May, and for film,

dance, theatre and more the Devizes Arts Festival in June is

a must. A country show is a great way to learn more about

country life in England. Given the rural nature of much of

the touring route, there’ll be plenty to choose from, but one

of the biggest is the Royal Bath & West Show in May/June. →

GreatWestWay.co.uk 15


Pictured

top left then

clockwise:

Longleat Safari

Park; Bowood

House; Beckford's

Tower and

Museum

Due to the abundance of fresh homegrown produce along

the route, you’ll also find lots of food and drink festivals

to attend too. The Great British Food Festival at Bowood

House in August, Bristol Food Connections in June, and The

Big Feastival in the Cotswolds in August are some of the

biggest but you’ll find lots of smaller ones in villages and

towns too.

Want something really different? Dare to bare all for the

Bristol World Naked Bike Ride in June! Not everyone’s cup

of tea perhaps, but it’s for a good cause: raising awareness

about road safety for cyclists.

If you’re visiting in May, try to get tickets for Pint of

Science. These informal yet informative science events take

place in pubs around London, Reading, Bath, Bristol and

beyond. While you enjoy a pint, scientists will fill you in on

their latest research findings on topics ranging from human

biology to robotics.

Meanwhile the fields are ablaze with colour, wildlife is

abundant and blooms fill the air with wildflower perfume at

Stoke Common Meadows, in Cricklade. Nearby, at Lower

Moor Farm, Oaksey Moor Farm Meadow ruddy darter and

four-spotted chaser dragonflies can be seen hovering above

the pond. And if in Devizes, take a walk in Peppercombe

Wood's picturesque ancient woodland and listen out for

birdsong from chiffchaffs, wrens, black caps, and tits.

AUTUMN HARVEST

From classic pumpkin carving and ghost stories to afterhours

ghost tours, National Trust properties make a fantastic

day out for some Halloween magic. Try the Halloween Trail at

Tyntesfield, near Wraxall, and make the most of the autumn

colour with walks across the estate.

In Wiltshire, Stourhead’s vistas are sure to be highlighted

with burnished leaves, or try Bowood House & Gardens,

halfway between Calne and Chippenham, 100 acres of

beautifully landscaped ‘Capability’ Brown Parkland and enjoy

pumpkin hunts to freaky face painting.

Visit Dyrham Park, near Bristol and Bath, where you might

also witness one of nature's most majestic happenings as

the bucks battle it out for the top spot of master buck in

their annual deer rut. Or you could creep down into the

cellars and meet a coven of witches, and a few wizards, at

Berkeley Castle, Gloucestershire's Spooktacular Halloween.

If you’re visiting in October, celebrate Halloween

at Legoland, Windsor and enjoy their annual fireworks

spectacular, or book a ghost train and visit the bat caves

at Longleat Safari Park. You could scare yourself silly

during Fright Night at Bristol Zoo or visit a Halloween

Twilight Tour of Lansdown Cemetery, Beckford’s Tower

and Museum, Bath. Or join in the fun of Windsor’s annual

Halloween Pumpkin Party at Windsor Royal Station

including the Mr Marvel Magic Show - frightful free fun for

all the family!

CHRISTMAS CRACKERS

At the most magical time of the year, nothing feels more

festive than a market, and there are arguably none more

well-known in the UK than Bath Christmas Market, with

its magical Regency backdrop providing the perfect setting

for a mulled wine and a mince pie. This year will be the

20th Bath Christmas Market, and in addition to the usual

festivities, there will be lots of celebratory activities taking

place to mark the occasion. Try also Bristol Christmas

Market, Windsor and Berkshire Christmas Fairs, and the

beautiful Christmas Market in the grounds at Blenheim

Palace, just a short detour off the route. Sip a mulled wine,

pick up unique hand-made gifts, or sample local produce.

Beautifully decorated for the season you might like to

celebrate Christmas in style through the ages at Stonor

Park, Henley-on-Thames, which will be sparkling →

16 GreatWestWay.co.uk


Make memories

with your loved

ones as you discover

England’s only koalas

Book online and save

up to 15% plus group

discounts are also

available

A day out with all the family exploring seven

attractions above and below ground

Book online and save 15% on Day Tickets

plus group discounts are also available

Follow the paths taken by generations of travellers…

Discover Longleat and Cheddar Gorge & Caves,

both within easy reach of the Great West Way.

GreatWestWay.co.uk


Scale the rigging, clamber

through the cabins and

dive under the glass sea

to marvel at the ship

from below.

For the best ticket

prices, book online:

ssgreatbritain.org


PLUS DON'T MISS!

Travelling the Great West Way is all about

discovering the real England, and alongside

the picturesque sights and seasonal events

there are all sorts of quirky customs and

traditional events that you can discover in

this vibrant swathe of England too!

Pictured:

Enchanted

Christmas at

Westonbirt,

The National

Arboretum

with gorgeous candlelit displays, roaring open fires and a

magnificent 20ft Victorian-decorated Christmas Tree in the

Gothic Hall. Discover an Enchanted Christmas at Westonbirt,

The National Arboretum, or at Longleat's Festival of Light,

the UK’s original, biggest lantern festival. Watch hundreds

of breathtaking, illuminated lanterns, set in over 30 acres of

splendid ‘Capability’ Brown landscaped grounds transform the

Estate as darkness falls.

Step back in time into a classic Christmas from England's

past as you explore Victorian Christmas Weekend at SS Great

Britain in Bristol. The iconic ship SS Great Britain is transformed

into a Dickensian winter scene where you can meet Victorian

characters, shop for seasonal gifts and indulge in festive food

and drink.

And Christmas just wouldn’t be the same without a festive

trip to the theatre - Bristol Hippodrome or Theatre Royal Bath

perhaps? A Christmas show or pantomime is an essential part

of any traditional English Christmas, so be sure to pick up a

Christmas programme from the Watermill Theatre, Newbury,

the Barn Theatre in Cirencester, Pound Arts Centre in Corsham or

head to the Wyvern Theatre in Swindon.

For a heartwarming traditional Christmas, why not sing in a

carol service in front of Windsor Castle, or enjoy the seasonal

atmosphere at the Hampton Court Palace ice rink, a wonderful

way to get into the festive spirit, with spectacular views of the

Thames-side Tudor palace.

Discover an enchanted wonderland of light and magic during

Christmas At Westonbirt Arboretum, Tetbury or discover the

glittering spiral trees, and dynamic laser projections which

illuminate the iconic Temperate House at Christmas at Kew,

Richmond.

Or why not put the sparkle in your family Christmas by

enjoying the annual Christmas Extravaganza and Carol Concert

in Hungerford, or the season of lights and lanterns in Devizes

with their annual Lantern Parade & Christmas Festival.

Wassailing

An ancient pagan celebration performed in

January to encourage fruit trees to give a healthy

harvest. This ancient tradition still takes place

in certain village orchards, particularly in cider

producing country - and there is plenty of cider

country along the Great West Way!

Morris Men

Morris Men are one of the most well known of

England's ancient traditions. Troupes of Morris

Men dress in white with bells and ribbons and

dance traditional dances together, with much

slapping of knees and hitting of sticks! You'll likely

see Morris Men at local fairs and festivals taking

place along the Great West Way - a reminder that

you're undoubtedly in England.

Hocktide

The charming Berkshire market town of

Hungerford is reputed to be the only place in

England where locals still dress up to celebrate

the medieval festival of Hocktide. The residents

of Hungerford throw themselves into the many

customs surrounding Hocktide, which takes

place annually after Easter, including dressing up,

decorating their houses, welcoming the 'Tutti Men'

and exchanging oranges and kisses.

Swan Upping

In Windsor, the ancient custom of 'Swan Upping'

takes place in July each year, with uniformed

'Royal Swan Uppers' travelling in traditional rowing

skiffs on the Thames to assess the health of the

local mute swans, which are by tradition the

property of the British monarch.

Oxford Traditions

Within easy reach of the Great West Way is the

university city of Oxford, which has a whole

host of quirky customs and traditions of its own,

including penny throwing, May day singing, and

boat burning.

Don't forget to tag #GreatWestWay so we

can see your pictures along the route!

GreatWestWay.co.uk

19


MADE OF

ENGLAND

AT THE HEART OF

THE GREAT WEST WAY

Wiltshire is rolling green downs, ancient

woodlands and bustling market towns.

It’s parish churches, grand historic

houses and country inns.

Timeless monuments and contemporary luxury.

Local ales and picnics in the park.

The England you love in one County

Visit Wiltshire, at the heart of the Great West Way.

It’s Time for Wiltshire

www.visitwiltshire.co.uk


MY GREAT WEST WAY

Whether you want to indulge in a splash of Edwardian

opulence, down a chilled glass of Britain’s finest fizz or take a

ride in a Rolls Royce phantom, these three locals hold the keys

Words: Belinda Richardson

TOM NEWEY IS STILL reeling at the success he

has had with his Alder Ridge vineyard, eleven

years on from its launch. “Times are changing,”

he says. “Who would have ever thought they’d

find an internationally recognised vineyard along the

Great West Way?” Critics said it was too hairbrained and

wouldn’t work so Tom set out to prove them wrong and

was rewarded with the cat’s whiskers when he went and

won silver for his Blanc de Noirs at the International Wine

Challenge in 2016 - not bad for his very first vintage. “Of

course we have had our ups and downs and will no doubt

continue to. I certainly watch the weather a lot more than

I used to but for the time being – and I hate to say this –

global warming is working in our favour. The chalky ridge

and the flinty topsoil have many of the key characteristics

of the Champagne region, which not only means strong

grapes but a beautiful place to live.

Tom's best thing about the Great West Way:

It promotes slow travel, which means we get our heads

out of our sat navs and take time to appreciate our

surroundings on our journey”.

Pictured

left then

clockwise:

Tom Newey,

Chief

Executive of

Alder Ridge

Vineyard

and Cobbs

Farm Shops;

the vineyard;

Marlborough

and The

Three Tuns,

Tom's

favourite

place for

lunch

Tom's favourite day out: “A gentle browse – and a spend

- in my favourite town Marlborough while I am waiting for

my electric car to charge, followed by a wander in Great

Bedwyn and lunch at The Three Tuns.” →

GreatWestWay.co.uk 21


Richard Aldhous has been a car enthusiast all his life. Now

a director of Calne’s Atwell-Wilson Motor Museum, he

started working here as a car parking attendant. “Back

then, we were three staff, now we are a grand nine,” he

says. “We will never be as big as Beaulieu or Haynes but

we don’t want to be, we are quite happy being small but

spectacular. We have everything here from the expected

to the unexpected, including all those makes you can

remember from being a kid, like the Trojan, Morris Minor,

Model T Ford, Austin 7s, gleaming Daimlers, a prototype

Mini – you name it.” Refreshingly free from the glitz and

the trailer queens, Atwell-Wilson is packed to the rafters

with a whacky collection of about 100 everyday classic cars

(some available to hire), lorries, motorcycles, mopeds and

push bikes from days gone by, set against the backdrop of

a 1930s garage. Pretty much all the vehicles are in useable

condition rather than being pampered showpieces and

poking round them is like taking a casual, rather fun stroll

through motoring history. “I feel as happy as a sandboy

living and working here in Calne,” says Richard. “There is

so much here to discover. Calne has always been a place

of discovery – first you had Priestley discovering oxygen

in Bowood, which in turn led to discovering the process of

photosynthesis. Not forgetting the good old pigs and the

Wiltshire cure, invented here by the Harris family in the

eighteenth century. When we lost the pigs, it is fair to say

that Calne had a good 15 years of depression but now we

have fallen back in love with ourselves and our community

is as strong as any. →

Richard's best thing about the Great West Way:

“I love that it focuses travellers on a route but then guides

them north and south of it too, which means they do

actually find little gems like us”.

Richard's favourite day out: “Cycling the track from

Avebury to Calne and out to Chippenham with a stop off

at The Lansdowne Arms on the way and dinner back in

Calne at the Italian restaurant (Antica Roma) that’s always

booked up”.

Pictured

top-left then

clockwise:

Richard

Aldhous,

Director

of Calne’s

Atwell-

Wilson Motor

Museum; the

museum;

The Red Lion

Avebury;

Cycling on the

Great West

Way; Calne

High Street

22 GreatWestWay.co.uk


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Great Pulteney Street, Bath BA2 4DB

www.holburne.org

- SHOP - EAT - DRINK -

A warm welcome awaits you in Calne! Look no further and

discover Calne’s Heritage Quarter with two hours free parking

in the Church Street Car Park, and explore what Calne has to

offer with a host of options to eat, drink and stay.

- WALK - DISCOVER - UNWIND -

Calne Town Crier

Mark Wylie

Discover Calne’s

Heritage Quarter

Calne

Town

Council

Discover more at

VisitCalne.co.uk


Mark Thwaites, Director at Thames Lido, has come up

trumps with his restoration of both Bristol and Reading

lidos, leading the charge in the renaissance of some of our

finest Edwardian outdoor pools. “Thankfully our lee-dos

are not what most people remember as lie-dos from

childhood – all floating plasters, empty crisp packets and

wagon wheel wrappers, “he says. “These are much more

grown up – escapist places to be pampered and well-fed.”

With his background in the fitness industry and his half

Finnish heritage, Mark and Swedish developer Arne Ringner,

have created glamorous outdoor oases, delightfully free of

lane ropes, flags and pace clocks, secluded in glass-walled

courtyards, with steam gently rising from the ambient 25

degrees C water. Scandi-style saunas and massage rooms

and a chi-chi restaurant complete the picture.

Pictured

top then

clockwise:

Thames

Lido; Mark

Thwaites,

Director at

Thames Lido;

Bristol Balloon

Fiesta

Mark's best thing about the Great West Way:

“All the beauty and variety and tranquility you find along the

way. Thames Lido has a natural place in this market since

unwinding and being calm is at the heart of what we do.”

Mark's favourite day out: “Much as I like Reading, it would

have to be in Bristol. For a long time Bristol battled against

Bath for tourism but at last Bristol has broken through as

a mecca for great music, culture, arts and restaurants –

namely our very own at the Bristol lido”

GreatWestWay.co.uk

25


Take your

time on the

Kennet &

Avon Canal

The beautiful Kennet & Avon Canal (or K&A as it’s known)

flows along 87 miles of the Great West Way®. From Bath to

Reading, it winds through quintessential rolling Wiltshire hills,

bustling towns and even a World Heritage Site.

Since 1810, narrowboats have drifted along at four miles an hour, plying their trade from Bristol to London.

Today, you’ll find a mixture of holiday and live-aboard boaters, all seeking the calm and tranquillity that

comes from life on or by the water.

In fact, research by the Canal & River Trust, the charity that looks after the K&A, suggests spending time

next to water is good for your wellbeing. So take a wander along the towpath, paddle away on a canoe,

jump aboard a boat trip, or simply stop, stare and take it all in. The K&A is free and open for everyone to

use and enjoy every day.

Great West Way® Waterways Ambassador

Registered Charity Number 1146792

canalrivertrust.org.uk/GreatWestWay


THE WATERWAYS

Relax with a gentle stroll and traditional cream tea, or for the

more active there’s an amazing variety of activities, from canoeing

and kayaking to paddleboarding or cycling along the towpaths

Words: Charlotte White

Pictured: Kennet and Avon

Canal, Bradford on Avon

THE RIVER THAMES, the River Kennet and Kennet

& Avon Canal meander their way through the

heart of the Great West Way route starting from

London all the way to Bath and Bristol, meeting

with each other at Reading. Though they are very different

waterways. Passing through towns and cities, the

waterways offer tranquil spaces in urban areas, as well

as stopping-off points to discover England’s heritage.

The more rural sections offer a wealth of wildlife and

natural beauty and along their lengths is living history.

The waterways have also inspired festivals and regattas

through the ages. →

GreatWestWay.co.uk

27


Pictured

left-right:

Kennet and

Avon Canal,

Bradford

on Avon;

The River

Thames

KENNET & AVON CANAL

The 87 mile long Kennet & Avon Canal is in fact two

rivers, linked by a central canal section built in the

Georgian period. Created originally as a trading link

between London and the west coast, it is a masterpiece

of engineering with 104 wide beam locks, including the

second longest continuous series of locks in the country

at Caen Hill, Devizes. Despite this, the canal fell into

obscurity and disrepair, and was almost lost to the nation

with competition from the newly built railways. It took

a passionate band of dedicated volunteers to restore the

waterway which is now open for everyone to enjoy.

The Kennet & Avon Canal is a great way to travel the

route, with time to take in some magnificent sites (and

sights) from the Crofton Pumping Station to a World

Heritage Site and historic battlefield - not to mention 21

conservation sites, 14 Sites of Special Scientific Interest,

and many spectacular landscapes including Wiltshire and

(just a short detour off the route) the Northern Cotswolds.

The canal has awesome examples of canal engineering

too. The 16 locks of the steepest part of the flight at

Caen Hill are not only a scheduled ancient monument,

they are an Olympic-sized challenge for every boater

– so remember to take a snack with you, as it will take

5-6 hours to pass through the locks. One of the most

impressive structures on Britain's waterways, the Avoncliff

Aqueduct at over 100 metres long and 18 metres wide,

carries the Kennet & Avon Canal over the River Avon.

Cycle just over 2.5 miles (4k) up the towpath and visit

the equally magnificent Dundas Aqueduct, opened in 1805

- both were built by the architect and engineer, John Rennie.

Or you could walk the other way along the towpath,

passing the Barton Farm Country Park and you easily reach

the bigger market town of Bradford on Avon.

THE RIVER THAMES

The Thames is the longest river in England with 45 locks.

It boasts three Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty and

is the only river in Europe with a national trail, The Thames

Path, along its entire length. Starting as a small trickle in the

Cotswolds, the River Thames travels over 210 miles through

the heart of some of England’s loveliest towns. The Thames

offers an excellent array of riverside locations to stay and

play. It curves past some of the most significant sites in

history including Runnymede where Magna Carta was

sealed, the Royal Palaces at Windsor and Hampton Court,

and the Parliament buildings at Westminster. It carried the

bodies of Henry VIII and his daughter Elizabeth I to their

final resting places. While a flotilla, led by the Havengore

vessel, carried Winston Churchill’s coffin up the Thames to

Temple Pier, on the first stage of his journey to Bladon near

Blenheim Palace, his final resting place. →

28 GreatWestWay.co.uk


Explore Bristol by Boat!

Hop aboard our daily waterbus service or hire

out any of our boats for educational tours,

boat parties and much more!

bristolferry.com • 0117 927 3416 • @BristolFerry

Majestic Marlborough

visitmarlborough

The ancient market town that

packs a postcard-perfect punch

www.marlborough-tc.gov.uk/visitors


Hungerford

The Heart of the North Wessex Downs

History, culture, scenic walks, antiques,

shopping, pubs and restaurants.

For a wonderful day out, Hungerford has

something for everyone.

www.visithungerford.com


MEET THE LOCALS

Pictured:

Richmond

TOWNS ALONG THE ROUTE

îBradford on Avon

A rare combination of river, canal and architecture from

the Romans, Saxons, Normans, Georgians and Victorians,

who have all left their mark. Don’t miss The Bridge Tea

Rooms, a double winner of the UK Tea Guild's 'Top Tea

Place', stop in to the newly refurbished canal-side pub,

the Canal Tavern, or board the MV Barbara McLellan for a

sightseeing boat trip.

îHenley on Thames

Discover the history of Henley, rowing and the Thames at

the River & Rowing Museum, then join a sightseeing cruise

along the Thames with Hobbs of Henley.

Head out of Henley (5.4miles/8.7kms) to Stonor Park,

dating back to the 12th century and take a tour inside and

walk through the gardens.

îVale of Pewsey

On the banks of the Kennet & Avon canal, this is a tranquil,

mystical sort of place with two Wiltshire White Horses,

Pewsey and Alton Barnes. Stop for a cup of tea and you’re

bound to have some illuminating conversations.

The Little Lunchbox Café is a warm, welcoming place on

the High Street, while The Charlton Cat has a seriously

tasty selection of cakes (try the rhubarb and custard) and

an outdoor courtyard with fabulous countryside views.

Make your way to Honeystreet Mill Café for gateaux style

cakes, with unique flavours that change every week, or pop

into Marshalls Bakery for a slice of their Wiltshire Lardy

Cake, delicious!

îReading

From boat trips along the Thames to its historic Reading

Abbey Quarter which covers the former precinct of one of

Europe's largest royal monasteries. Visit one of the town's

free museums, the Reading Museum or The Museum of

English Rural Life, also known as the MERL, before enjoying

its great shopping area and evening entertainment.

îCAROLINE ROBSON, THE CANAL & RIVER TRUST

The charity that cares for the waterway

Caroline's best thing about the Great West Way:

As a Great West Way traveller, the Kennet & Avon Canal

offers you an abundance of natural beauty, outstanding

canal structures, fabulous vistas and heritage galore.

With so many places to stop off on route, you don’t have

to travel far from the tranquil water to discover little

known corners of quintessential England as well as urban

centres including the architectural masterpiece of Bath.

Caen Hill in Devizes is the second longest flight of locks

in the country and an absolute must to visit!

PlayHungerford

CycleHungerford

YOU MIGHT ALSO ENJOY

îBristol Packet Boats

Hear about the origins of the Floating Harbour and Brunel's

famous Bridge as you cruise underneath on an Avon Gorge

Cruise in Bristol, along the River Avon.

îFrench Brothers

Celebrate a special occasion with a luxury cream tea cruise

on board a beautiful genuine steamboat.

îHenley Rowing Association

For a unique experience on the Thames in Henley book a

Champagne Rowing Taster Session designed for ladies who

lunch!

îBoat Trips on the Kennet and Avon Canal

Take a trip on the Kenavon Venture, a wide beam boat,

from The Wharf in Devizes, or The Jubilee, a traditional

narrowboat, from the Wharf in Newbury.

îSalter's Steamers

For an unforgettable experience while in Oxford try an

afternoon of punting on the River Thames.

îThames Rivercruise

Sit and relax as beautiful scenery glides by on a cruise along

England’s greatest river.

GreatWestWay.co.uk

31


Roseate Hotels & Resorts, the uber luxury hospitality brand offers a new spectrum

of hospitality with well-appointed luxury rooms & suites, world-class Aheli Spa

and unique dining experiences at the European-cuisine inspired fine dining restaurant

‘The Hyde’ (Roseate House London), the award-winning restaurant ‘Cerise’ & in house

patisserie and boulangerie ‘Roasted by Roseate’(The Roseate Reading), opulent dining

space ‘Henrietta Bar’ (The Roseate Villa Bath).

Image: The Roseate Villa, Bath,

R O S E A T E H O T E L S . C O M | +44 20 7479 6600 | #ROSEAT E H O T E L S | info.rhl@roseatehotels.com


TRAVEL BY TRAIN

With the GWR Great West Way Discoverer Pass you can hop on and

off at any station around the route - Reading, Swindon, Chippenham

and Bath Spa, or London Paddington to Windsor & Eton Central

Words: Jane Freeman

AH, THE ROMANCE OF THE RAILWAY. The

sound of the whistle that announces the train’s

departure, the clack-clack rhythm of the rails

as they pass beneath the wheels, and the everchanging

view that passes by the window. Settling in to a

railway carriage is a treat – one that heralds adventure and

can be accompanied by a steaming cup of tea or a cooling

bottle of beer, no driving required.

Seeing the Great West Way by train means becoming a

part of its history. Trains have chugged and steamed along

this route for over 175 years, bringing produce to market

and business to towns, holidaymakers to the countryside

and rural folk to the capital. Join the story of England’s

railways on a journey along the Great West Way with the

GWR Great West Way Discoverer Pass.

The Discoverer pass makes travelling the route easy and hassle

free. It includes unlimited off-peak train travel from London

Paddington/Waterloo along the route to Bristol Temple

Meads via Reading and/or Basingstoke circular routes with

options to branch off towards Oxford and Kemble. It also

includes unlimited travel on the bus services along the route. →

GreatWestWay.co.uk

33


Did you know?

There are 200 bus

routes along the Great

West Way to help you

complete your journey

- Visit your nearest bus

station and/or tourist

information

THE GREAT WESTERN RAILWAY

One of England’s great long-distance railway lines, the

Great Western Railway runs along the full distance of the

Great West Way – from London’s Paddington station to

Bristol Temple Meads. It’s chief engineer was Isambard

Kingdom Brunel and you’ll travel the course he plotted

back in the 1830s, including his Box Tunnel, infamously

said to be impossible to build. Before he built it.

In one go, the journey takes just 1 hour 40 minutes,

but stopping en route to explore the Great West Way is

far more fun. First stop is Reading, for a cruise on the River

Thames, a stroll through Caversham Court Gardens and the

chance to watch a professional football match at Reading

FC’s Majedski Stadium. Next stop is Swindon, home

to STEAM, the Museum of the Great Western Railway.

Here you’ll see famous locomotives from throughout

the railway’s history, drive a train simulator and work the

signals in the interactive GWR signal box. Right next door

is the McArthurGlen outlet shopping village, where more

than 100 brands are on sale at up to 60% off.

Armed with your new skills – and perhaps a souvenir or

three to take home – head next to Chippenham, a historic

market town in the rural county of Wiltshire. On the banks

of the River Avon, Chippenham is a flourishing small town,

with an enticing market to explore on Fridays and Saturdays

on the High Street and plenty of proper English pubs.

It’s just 15 minutes by bus from here to Lacock, seen on

screen more often than Judi Dench. This picturesque village

has been the backdrop to film and TV titles such as Harry

Potter, Pride and Prejudice and Downton Abbey – see if

you recognise Lacock Abbey and the High Street from your

favourite scenes.

Your final calling point en route to Bristol is the

beautiful city of Bath. You’ll want plenty of time here, for a

stroll past honey-hued Georgian buildings and a dip in the

natural hot springs that bubble up from the ground.

Don’t miss the original Roman Baths, too, not to

mention the Jane Austen Centre, where afternoon tea is

served Regency style.

The Great Western Railway ends in Bristol, a vibrant

city where you can climb aboard the last Concorde ever

made (built right here in Bristol) at Aerospace Bristol, and

clamber up the rigging of one of Brunel’s other famous

creations, the SS Great Britain, the world’s first great ocean

liner. SS Great Britain celebrates two big anniversaries in

2020; 50 years since her epic salvage and homecoming;

and 175 years since arriving in New York City.

Brunel’s Clifton Suspension Bridge is here too, beckoning

you on along the River Avon and out to Avon Gorge.

Set foot atop this world-famous bridge and quietly thank

Brunel for the journey he made possible – along the Great

West Way by rail.

34 GreatWestWay.co.uk


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 all) giving

you the opportunity to explore your chosen area in

one-day instalments or over the duration of a week.

Book online at gwr.com, prices from just £24.

Visiting from overseas? Three-day or seven-day

international passes can be purchased (costing £98

/£129 respectively for adults) online at ACPRail.com

EXPLORE TOWNS AND VILLAGES AT YOUR LEISURE

The Great Western Railway is far from just one main

line. Take an alternative rail journey and you can get off

the beaten track and out into more rural areas. Consider

returning to London via a different route, taking the train

from Bath to Bradford on Avon for example.

This glorious small town sits on the edge of The

Cotswolds and straddles the River Avon. Cross the waters

in ancient footsteps, on the 13th-century town bridge, and

stand dwarfed in the 14th-century Tithe Barn, its lattice of

timbers soaring for over 50 metres far above your head.

Change at Westbury and head east for Bedwyn, where

you can disembark for a stroll along the water’s edge on

the towpath of the Kennet & Avon Canal, which runs from

Bristol all the way to Reading. After just over two miles you’ll

encounter a surprise – the world’s oldest working steam

engines. The Crofton Beam Engines are fed by a hand-stoked

coal-fired boiler and are still plugging away at the same

job they were designed to do more than 200 years ago –

pumping water up to the highest point of the canal.

Back on the railway there are two other stops worth

making en route to Reading – at Hungerford and Newbury.

You’re travelling through the North Wessex Downs Area

of Outstanding Natural Beauty here so press that nose up

against the window and pick out the perfect place for a

stroll. There are several short loop walks from Hungerford

(an ancient town also known for its antique shops) or you

could walk the nine miles to Newbury along the canal.

Once you’re in Newbury you could stop for a flutter

– there’s a world-class racecourse here. While closer to

London, trains between Reading and London Paddington

call at Twyford, where you can change onto the line to

Henley-on-Thames, home to the famous regatta and

plenty of messing about in boats.

Trains also call at Slough, where you can catch a train

to Windsor to poke your head into the State Rooms of the

Queen’s favourite castle.

RIDE THE RAILS OF THE HERITAGE STEAM RAILWAYS

Savour the unmistakable sights, sounds and smells of steam

at the Didcot Railway Centre, as you relive the golden age

of the famous Great Western Railway. Find the entrance

through the ticket hall and original steam age subway of

Didcot Parkway railway station. Just outside Bristol is the

Avon Valley Railway, where you can ride three miles of

preserved track from the Victorian Bitton station through

the valley, listening to the puff and whistle of the steam

train. Reach Bitton by taking the Great Western Railway

from Bristol to Keynsham and following the brown signs on

foot for 1.5 miles. Near Swindon you’ll see the steam of the

Swindon & Cricklade Railway rising above the Taw Valley.

Ride the rails for more than two miles from Taw Valley Halt

to Blunsdon on a heritage steam train. You’ll need to take a

bus to get here, the number 15 from the centre of Swindon

stops at the Tawny Owl pub, close to Taw Valley Halt.

JOURNEY TIMES BY RAIL

Based on average journey times:

London Paddington to Bristol î1hr 40 mins

London Paddington to Bath Spa î1 hour 11 minutes

London Paddington to Heathrow î35 mins

Reading to London Paddington (via Slough) î30 mins

Bristol to Bath î11mins

Bath to Salisbury î55mins

Salisbury to Stonehenge î33mins (bus)

Salisbury to Swindon (via Melksham) î90mins

Swindon to Reading î30mins

Reading to Windsor (via Slough) î35mins

GreatWestWay.co.uk

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36 GreatWestWay.co.uk


EXPLORE THE

COUNTRYSIDE

The Great West Way

perfectly lends itself to

the outdoors lifestyle,

with open spaces of

stunning countryside,

Areas of Outstanding

Natural Beauty and

links to National Trails

Pictured leftright:

Couple

walking

their dogs in

Avebury;

Cycling in the

North Wessex

Downs

Words: Samantha Colbourne

If walking or cycling in nature,

exploring the roads and paths

less travelled, finding hidden

gems and a host of native

wildlife is your idea of the

perfect short break, then why

not plan a walking road trip

down the Great West Way over

the course of several days?

There are a host of fantastic

accommodation options

along the route, from bed and

breakfasts in quintessential

villages and rental options

in quaint cottages, to luxury

hotels in grand houses. Find

inspiration from our Where to

Stay article p78, or you can

find everything you need at

GreatWestWay.co.uk/stay

THE GREAT WEST WAY OFFERS a curated touring

route comprised of road, rail and water links

between London and Bristol. Direct it runs 125

miles - but if you include all the off-the-beaten

track walking and bike trails and other tempting detours

then there’s over 500 miles to explore. So where to begin?

Pick a starting point - any starting point - and that in

itself may uncover new realms of possibility. This route is all

about finding your own way. Embracing the unknown and

being open to whatever crosses your path.

Enjoy some of England's best national trails, three areas

of outstanding natural beauty, winding waterways, and

beautiful views. Feel inspired to enjoy some of England's

finest landscapes, breathe fresh air, relax and enjoy the

sights along the way.

And exploring the Great West Way by foot or bike, you

will never be far from a pub or café along the route for

lunch, afternoon tea or a refreshing drink at the end of your

day. Find time to explore and unwind without the need of

your car or public transport.

NATIONAL TRAILS

Your adventure might take you through one of the three

National Trails that cross the Great West Way, perfect for

day trips or for longer holidays. You might enjoy a river walk

along some of the 184 miles of Thames Path National Trail

passing Windsor Castle. This trail is mostly flat and

relatively gentle with water meadows, sleepy riverside

villages and nature reserves interspersed with historic

market towns. The Ridgeway National Trail is an 87-mile

National Trail follows Britain’s oldest road, a route that’s

been walked by travellers since prehistoric times. It passes

through the North Wessex Downs and the Chilterns. Along

the way you’ll glimpse remnants of the Iron, Bronze and

Stone Ages, passing stone circles, white horses and ancient

woodlands. If it's picturesque villages you are searching

for then you can't beat The Cotswold Way National

Trail offering just over 100 miles of magical walking, with

long distance views from the Cotswold escarpment, and

journeys past famous ancient sites. →

GreatWestWay.co.uk

37


photo - Ash Mills

connect to The Stonehenge Tour from

Salisbury railway station regularly from London

thestonehengetour.info

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

oldburytours.co.uk | +44 (0)7947 488665


NATIONAL TRUST LANDSCAPES

From ancient trees to butterflies and otters, National Trust look

after some wonderful landscapes, that are full of life. Try Bath

Skyline for example - only a short stroll from the city centre.

Explore the skyline hills above Bath and beyond, through six

miles of meadows and ancient woodlands to secluded valleys.

The limestone grassland slopes support a great variety of

plants and attract a number of butterflies, great for some

spring and summer wildlife spotting. This is a circular walk and

will take around three to four hours of moderate walking. For

a more exhilarating walking trail you might prefer Cheddar

Gorge & Caves dramatic 3-mile walk – 450ft above sea level

– with views over the Mendips. And it’s not just the landscape

out to impress. The gorge is a dedicated conservation area,

home to an abundance of rare plants and wildlife – see if

you can spot the Cheddar Pink (dianthus), which isn’t found

anywhere else in the world.

There are a variety of fascinating sites across Wiltshire

too, including parts of the Stonehenge and Avebury World

Heritage Site. At Avebury you’ll find the largest stone circle

in the world, a prehistoric artificial chalk mound, Silbury Hill,

as well as many other Neolithic and Bronze Age monuments,

including Windmill Hill, The Sanctuary and West Kennet

Long Barrow. A bit further afield, discover the Stonehenge

Landscape where there are remarkable prehistoric

monuments such as The Avenue, several Bronze Age barrow

cemeteries and the huge henge monument of Durrington

Walls, which contains the remains of a Neolithic village.

Just outside Marlborough, Lockeridge Dene and Piggledene’s

PEDAL POWER

Discover the Great West Way on two

wheels, whether you choose to take

your own, or hire your bike.

Join a cycle tour with Wild Swim Bike

Run, or find adventure in beautiful

countryside on trails with Active

England and Compass Holidays.

Or why not try cycling on a tandem

around Bristol, the UK’s first Cycling

City, with Bristol Tandem Hire?

Adventure seeker? Then head to the

Swinley Forest stopping in at the

Swinley Bike Hub.

unusual sarsen boulder stream, creates a striking

landscape, from which the standing stones of

Avebury were probably sourced. At Cherhill

there’s the white horse on Calstone and Cherhill

Downs. North of Chippenham discover Sutton

Lane Meadows, an unspoilt natural wildflower

meadow which blooms in May and June. →

GreatWestWay.co.uk

39


40 GreatWestWay.co.uk

Pictured

above:

North

Wessex

Downs, the

third largest

Area of

Outstanding

Natural

Beauty in

Britain

WALKING TOURS

Alison Howell's Foot

Trails

Explore well over 900 miles

of spectacular countryside,

villages and historic sites on

custom-made and crafted

Foot Trails walking holidays

from three days to three

weeks.

Bristol Nordic Walking

The biggest Nordic Walking

club in the UK - offering 35

regular walks each week

ranging in distances in

various locations on the

Great West Way.

A Taste of England

Carefully prepared,

personalised tours for

travellers seeking a local and

authentic experience of the

region’s heritage and culture.

Compass Holidays

Self-led walking and cycling

holidays. You are even

provided with a detailed tour

pack and mobile app full of

local knowledge that helps

you stay on the right path!

Oldbury Tours

Discover ancient castles,

magnificent cathedrals,

pretty villages, hidden

corners and prehistoric sites.

Personalised tours of

Stonehenge and Avebury

include inner circle access.

Tour & Explore with

Anne Bartlett

Anne is an experienced

Cotswold based Blue Badge

Tour Guide who provides a

friendly, professional guiding

service for exploring the

Great West Way.

Sulis Guides

Informative and

entertaining walking tours

of historic towns and cities

to help you discover hidden

corners which you won’t

find in guidebooks!

Tours2order

Blue Badge Tourist Guide,

Graham Horn, listens

to your ideas and then

prepares a tour or visit that

is unique to your needs.

AREAS OF OUTSTANDING NATURAL BEAUTY

The Chilterns, the North Wessex Downs and the Cotswolds offer

exceptional landscapes, and thanks to their legal protection they

are perfect countryside playgrounds for cyclists and ramblers.

If you are starting your journey from London, you will be

close to the southern section of The Chilterns - a section of

the 324 square miles which fall within the Great West Way

corridor. It’s a haven for wildlife. Keep an eye out for red

kites - the bird of prey now thrives in the region, having been

reintroduced in 1989.

It is likely you may have heard of the North Wessex Downs

- it is the third largest Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty in

Britain (there are 46 AONBs in total). The area lies at the heart

of the chalk band that stretches across southern England and

was once under a warm sea. Its landscape is very diverse; as

well as the chalk habitats, there is a rich mosaic of woodland,

pasture, heath and common land.

It is an ancient landscape etched by the impact of humans

for over 5,000 years, including fascinating features such as

the World Heritage Site at Avebury, eight Chalk White Horses,

Savernake Forest, Highclere Castle, historic market towns and

the Kennet & Avon Canal.

Or you might find yourself walking some of the Cotswold

Way which really is England at its prettiest. Here you could

cover more ground with a leisurely Sunday road cycle through

the sleepy Cotswolds villages before stopping for a well-earned

roast dinner in one of the many pretty pubs or award-winning

restaurants.

Whichever direction you take, be it by bike, foot, water, or a

mix of all three remember to slow down to enjoy the journey as

much as you do the destination!

50. Step inside a fourteenth cen

with a staggering timber roof of

stretch for more than 50 metres

Bradford on Avon’s tithe barn is so

that it’s protected by English Herit

51. Travel through the historic c

stand-up paddleboarding safari w

take a lesson in Bristol (A4) with S

52. Play disc golf in the park, at A

Bristol – you’ l be trying to get a f

into each hole. GRID REF: A3

53. See paintings by English maste

Gainsborough and John Constable,

at Bath’s Holburne Museum. GRID R

54. Climb to the top of Roundway H

into the “bloody ditch” – scene of the

victory of the English Civil War, in 164

55. Tune into alien energies on the hu

Wiltshire’s infamous crop circles with

Crop Circle Exhibition & Information C

people think these large and often orn

that appear overnight in the county’s w

are the work of extra-terrestrials… GRID

56. Walk along the River Thames on the Th

stro ling from Kew Gardens to the upscale

of Richmond, home to some great pubs. GR

57. Take a stro l through 45 acres of seren

at Bristol’s Arnos Vale Cemetery, a Victoria

cemetery surrounded by unspoiled woodla

home to numerous fascinating monument

58. Try a hot chocolate seventeenth-centur

Dyrham Park – you might be surprised to le

it has cayenne pepper in it! GRID REF: B3

59. Scan the skies fo red kites in the Chilte

the bes time to see these glorious birds of

is between October and April and the best c

of seeing them is in the far south of the Area

Outstanding Natural Beauty. GRID REF: K1

60. Get a new insight into Shakespeare, at a

contemporary performance of the Bard’s best w

at Bristol Shakespeare Festival (July). GRID REF: A3

61. Find dazzling carpets of bluebe ls in the woo

West Woods just outside Marlborough. April and

are bluebe l season here. GRID REF: E4

1. Sit in the Devil’s Chair – a natural seat sculpted

in stone at Europe’s largest stone circle, Avebury.

GRID REF: E4

2. Soak in the UK’s only natural hot springs at Thermae

Bath Spa – home to a rooftop al fresco pool with views

over the city’s ancient rooftops. GRID REF: B4

3. Fly down mountain biking trails that weave through

ancient woodland in Swinley Forest. The 13km Red

route is not for the faint-hearted – expect jumps,

drops and twists a l the way. GRID REF: J4

4. Count the deer in Richmond Park

(hint: there are hundreds!). GRID REF: L3

5. Wave to the Queen as she rides in the daily

Royal Procession at world-famous horseracing

event Royal Ascot (four days every June). GRID REF: J4

6. Feast in one of the world’s best restaurants, the

three Michelin star Fat Duck in Bray, where chef

Heston Blumenthal takes guests on a sensory

journey – a l the way to the seaside. GRID REF: J3

7. See where the earliest surviving photographic

negative was taken, by Henry Fox Talbot in 1835

at Lacock Abbey. GRID REF: C4

8. Climb the rigging of a Victorian ship, the SS Great

Britain and reach heights of more than 25 metres above

Bristol Harbour! If you’re feeling really brave you can

even walk out along the main yard. GRID REF: A4

9. Check out the world’s oldest pot plant, a prickly

cycad that lives at Kew Gardens and was planted

in 1775. GRID REF: L3

10. Run a bath with natura ly hot thermal waters at

The Gainsborough Bath Spa hotel, where selected

rooms are plumbed directly into Bath’s thermal waters.

GRID REF: B4

11. Poke your nose into the world’s oldest and largest

inhabited castle at Windsor Castle, the home of the

Queen – and said to be her favourite castle.

GRID REF: K3

12. Learn the ropes on a rock-climbing lesson at

the high limestone cli fs of Avon Gorge. There are

750 climbing routes here, some of them so physica ly

and menta ly cha lenging tha they’ve only been

climbed once. GRID REF: A4

13. Test your muscle power on a narrow boating

journey up one of the longest continuous flights of

locks in England. You’ l rise 72 metres (237ft) in just

two miles at Caen Hi lock flight en route to the

marke town of Devizes. GRID REF: D4

14. Soar like a bird above the Wiltshire Downs on a

paragliding lesson. GRID REF: E4

15. Stand on the site of the sealing of the Magna Carta,

on the banks of the Thames at Runnymede. GRID REF: K4

16. Waterski on a private lake at Cotswold Water Park.

GRID REF: D2

17. Escape to an English country garden at The Bath Priory

hotel, where dinner is taken overlooking the kitchen garden

and your bedroom is named after a flower. GRID REF: B4

18. Swim in the pool that plunged the UK into chaos

at Cliveden – backdrop to the infamous Profumo A fair.

GRID REF: J3

19. Mount your steed and thwack a polo ball across the

lawn on a half-day polo masterclass at Coworth Park.

GRID REF: K4

20. Have a “meet and greet” with a red panda, one of

several behind the scenes experiences at Bristol Zoo.

GRID REF: A4

21. Dress like Jane Austen, bonnet and a l, and dance

the night away a the Regency Costumed Masked

Ba l in Bath, part of the annual Jane Austen Festival

(September). GRID REF: B4

22. Ride the rails of Isambard Kingdom Brunel’s

(arguably) greatest achievement, the Great Western

Railway from London to Bristol. GRID REF: A4

23. Settle in for a traditional afternoon tea, served on a

tiered stand in the restaurant of one of England’s finest

country hotels. The Royal Crescent Hotel & Spa (B4),

Whatley Manor Hotel and Spa (C3) and Cricklade House

Hotel (E2) are a l much-loved for their afternoon teas –

which can be served with Champagne.

24. Sail up into the sky in a hot air ba loon at

Europe’s largest annual meeting of hot air balloons,

the Bristol International Balloon Fiesta every August.

You needn’t wait for the fiesta though, Bailey

Ba loons offer flights a l year round above both

Bristol and Bath. GRID REF: A4

Discover an essential strand of England on the

Great West Way. Based on one of the first Great

Roads commissioned by the Kings of England,

the Great West Way winds for 125 miles through

the very soul of England, from the capital city of

London to the vibrant western gateway of Bristol.

The Great West Way brings you to world-famous sites such as Stonehenge,

Roman Bath and Windsor Castle, but the real joy is in discovering somewhere

different, a real slice of England that you can take back home with you – as

memories, as photographs, or even as a bottle of craft ale or piece of local art.

You can explore by road, by rail or by water. Slow right down to the pace of

two feet or two bike wheels, base yourself in one place for a while and find

your own story on the Great West Way.

25. Gawp a the super-elite school that educated

Princes William and Harry – as well as 19 British

Prime Ministers. The tour of Eton Co lege includes

the School Yard and College Chapel. GRID REF: K3

26. Take the wheel of a Formula Ford 1600 or Lotus Elise

on a lap of Castle Combe Motor Racing Circuit. GRID REF: C3

27. Find out just what you can build with 42 million

LEGO bricks at LEGOLAND. GRID REF: K3

28. Get confetti in your hair at the utterly unique Devizes

Confetti Battle (August). GRID REF: D4

29. Visi the Wiltshire white horses, carved by local

people into chalky hi lsides around the county. There

are eigh that can be seen today including two in the

unspoiled countryside of beautiful Pewsey Vale, and

some are as old as 300 years! GRID REF: E4

30. Go organic with food from the farm at Helen

Browning’s Royal Oak (E3), where portions are

generous and as much as possible is home-grown.

You can visi the farm too, and buy delicious bacon

and sausages to take away. Also in Wiltshire you’ l

find Buttle Farm (D4), where you can buy pork

and charcuterie, and Roves Farm (E3), home to an

extensive farm shop.

31. Ride a steam train kept alive and running by

volunteers, at Avon Valley Railway. GRID REF: B4

32. Lose yourself in the UK’s oldest surviving hedge

maze at Hampton Court Palace. GRID REF: L4

33. Taste local brew Good Old Boy in the Taproom

of the brewery that crafted it, West Berkshire Brewery.

GRID REF: G3

34. Sniff ou the best cheeses at Winston Churchi l’s

favourite cheesemonger Paxton & Whitfield in Bath.

GRID REF: B4

35. Watch the Changing of the Guard at Windsor Castle.

GRID REF: K3

36. Join the party at one of England’s biggest and

best-loved music festivals, Reading Festival (August).

GRID REF: H3

37. Shop while walking on water at Pulteney Bridge

in Bath. This gorgeous Georgian bridge is one of only

four worldwide to have shops lining both sides and

is a classical masterpiece. GRID REF: B4

38. Step aboard the last Concorde ever built at

Aerospace Bristol, on the site that built every

British Concorde ever made. GRID REF: B3

39. Climb a 120-foot Neoclassical tower built for

Europe’s wealthiest man at Beckford’s Tower just

outside Bath. GRID REF: B4

40. Shop for a bargain at McArthurGlen Designer

Outlet Swindon, where more than 100 designer

stores offer discounts of up to 60%. GRID REF: E3

41. Discover Nordic walking on an introductory

session with Bristol Nordic Walking. GRID REF: A3

42. Mess about in boats on the Thames surrounded

by hundreds of others doing the same, at Henley

Royal Regatta (July). GRID REF: J3

43. Watch stately Shire horses deliver local beer to

the pubs of Devizes, fresh from Wadworth Brewery,

based in the town. GRID REF: D4

44. Stand in Harry Potter’s footsteps in the very room

he first saw his parents, reflected in the Mirror of

Erised (the Chapter House in Lacock Abbey).

GRID REF: C4

45. Come face to face – safely – with 33 different

native shark species a the Bristol Aquarium.

GRID REF: A4

46. Peer down from steep cliffs into England’s

largest gorge before descending beneath this

dramatic landscape on a caving adventure at

Cheddar Gorge & Caves. GRID REF: A5

47. Discover Bath’s food scene on a tasty tour

with Savouring Bath – the “naughty but nice”

tour is especia ly indulgent, focusing on treats

and temptations. GRID REF: B4

48. Fo low in Poldark’s footsteps on a stroll along

Corsham’s gorgeous honey-stoned High Street

– it appeared on screen as eighteenth century

Truro in the BBC drama. GRID REF: C4

49. Discover the gardens of legendary landscape

gardener ‘Capability’ Brown at Elizabethan mansion

house Corsham Court. There’s a glorious one-mile

Great Walk planted with cedars and planes,

a Gothic bath house and a ha ha to keep

the deer out without spoiling the view.

GRID REF: C4

START HERE.

Great things to do along the

Great West Way.

125

31

13

29

66

2. Sme l the rhododendrons at Bowood’s Woodland

ardens, open every spring during flowering season.

Two miles of paths wind their way between the vibrantly

coloured plants, many of which have been putting on

this display every year since 1854. GRID REF: D4

73. Spot a Banksy – an artwork by the anonymous

street artist – in the city he hails from, Bristol. You can

also watch other street artists at work, painting the wa ls

as part of Europe’s largest street art and gra fiti festival,

every July. GRID REF: A3

74. Get eyeba l to eyeba l with some very cheeky

monkeys at Longleat Safari Park – as you drive through

their habitat expect them to clamber onto your car, and

possibly to take some of it with them! GRID REF: C5

75. Attend the weekly mass at Stonor Chapel, built in the

late thirteenth century on the site of a prehistoric stone

circle and resolutely Catholic ever since. GRID REF: H3

76. Seek out ghosts on a creepy walk around the market

town of Devizes with local historian John Girvan. The

Devizes Ghost Walk has been terrifying children and adults

alike for more than 20 years and includes a trip to the site

of the town’s old ga lows. GRID REF: D4

77. Step into the 1930s a the Atwe l-Wilson Motor

Museum in Calne, where a 1930s garage has been

reconstructed and fi led with classic cars. GRID REF: D4

78. Drink English wine direct from the vineyard at the

award winning Alder Ridge Vineyard (F4) or Aldwick Estate

in Bristol (A4). English sparkling wine is getting especia ly

popular so be sure to give it a try.

79. Stro l through a “living work of art” at Stourhead, one

of England’s greatest landscape gardens. The best time

to visit is the autumn, when the trees turn golden, but

at any time of the year you can seek out the classical

temple above the lake – a great shot for your Instagram.

GRID REF: B6

80. Discover the history of the shoe at the Fashion

Museum in Bath, where you’ l find a co lection that

runs from Georgian silk shoes to Nike trainers.

GRID REF: B4

81. Eat international street food in the heart of Bristol.

The street food market runs year-round on Tuesdays

and Fridays on Wine Street and has everything from

Indonesian street food and vegan Thai snacks to freshly

cooked doughnuts and Tibetan dumplings. GRID REF: A4

82. Bet on the horses at Newbury Racecourse, which has

race days year-round. GRID REF: G4

83. Check ou the largest co lection of Americana

outside the US, including some fascinating ancient maps

and more than 200 quilts, a the American Museum and

Gardens in Bath. GRID REF: C4

84. Get geeky about local ales with the helpful bar sta f at

the Beer Emporium, in the heart of Old Bristol and se ling

beers from local craft breweries. The bottle shop upstairs

has loads to take away too. GRID REF: A4

85. Shop for local goodies at the twice-weekly market

in Marlborough, set along the second widest high street

in the UK. GRID REF: E4

86. Wait for Corsham’s free-roaming peacocks to fan out

their bright coloured tails – then take the perfect picture.

You might even spot them admiring themselves in the

shop windows of the High Street. GRID REF: C4

87. Join the debate over Silbury Hi l, part of the prehistoric

complex at Avebury. Just why did ancient man build a

mound as large as a contemporary Egyptian pyramid?

GRID REF: E4

88. Take your seats for a performance of local

talent a the Barn Theatre in Cirencester (D2), one

of England’s best regional theatres and home to

state-of-the-art facilities. Or settle in for a jazz

concert a the Wiltshire Music Centre (C4) in

Bradford on Avon.

89. Haggle for a bargain at Hungerford Arcade Antiques,

home to more than 100 antique dealers – and plenty of

weird and wonderful finds. GRID REF: F4

90. Settle in for some pub grub with a difference at The

Hand and Flowers in Marlow, Buckinghamshire, the first

UK pub to be awarded two Michelin stars. GRID REF: J3

91. Saddle up for a trek along the Ridgeway, riding through

the North Wessex Downs to reach the River Thames in the

Chilterns Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. GRID REF: H2

92. Spot bri liant blue poison dart frogs, one of the

world’s most brightly coloured animals, in the Lowlands

glasshouse at the Living Rainforest in Berkshire.

GRID REF: G3

93. Work the signals in the interactive GWR signal box

and drive a train simulator at STEAM, the Museum of

the Great Western Railway, in Swindon. GRID REF: E3

94. Take a guided tour of the picture-postcard

fifteenth-century Great Chalfield Manor and check

out its beautiful Arts and Craft style garden, complete

with some very we l-manicured topiary. GRID REF: C4

95. Settle in for an authentic English pub experience. There are

hundreds of traditional pubs along the Great West Way, where

you can play pub games in the beer garden in summer, or cosy

up by the open fire in winter. We love the Three Tuns Freehouse

in Great Bedwyn (F4), The Old Be l in Malmesbury (C3), the

Royal Oak in Yattendon (C3), The Red Lion Freehouse in East

Chisenbury (E4) and The Newbury Pub in Newbury (G4).

96. Pootle along the Kennet & Avon Canal on your

very own narrowboat, mooring up at pub gardens

and in marke towns along the route and feeling the

pace of life slow. Boats can be hired just for the day

from Devizes Marina (D4) or for a longer holiday from

Honeystreet Boats (E4). Don’t fancy driving yourself?

Take a narrowboa tour instead, on the Jubilee from

Newbury Wharf (G4), The Rose of Hungerford from

Hungerford (F4), the Kenavon Venture from Devizes

Wharf (D4) or the Barbara McLe lan from Bradford on

Avon (C4).

97. Check in to England’s oldest hotel, The Old Be l

Hotel in Malmesbury. It’s Grade I listed and stands

right nex to the twelfth century Abbey. Fu ly restored,

it offers elegant modern accommodation and relaxed

dinners.GRID REF: C3

98. Take a horse-riding lesson with Rein and Shine in

Swindon. There are horse riding experience packages

of two and three hours, including the chance to learn

about stable management. GRID REF: E3

99. Marvel a the world’s oldest working steam

engines, the Crofton Beam Engines. Fed by a

hand-stoked coal-fired boiler, they’re sti l plugging

away a the job they were designed to do more than

200 years ago – pumping water up to the highest

point of the Kennet & Avon Canal. GRID REF: E4

100. Bring the binoculars for some winter

birdwatching at Cotswold Water Park. Look out

for great crested grebes, tufted ducks, coots and

pochards. GRID REF: D2

101. Check ou the work of English twentieth century

painter Sir Stanley Spencer in the eponymous ga lery on

the high street in Cookham, the Thameside vi lage he

lived and worked in for many years. GRID REF: J3

102. Go orchid spotting in Hartslock Nature Reserve,

home to the rare monkey orchid which flowers here in

May or early June. There is also a hybrid of the monkey

and lady orchids here, the only place in Britain tha this

has been recorded. GRID REF: H3

103. Pose for the perfect postcard-worthy shot on

the arched stone bridge in the heart of Castle Combe.

This protected vi lage is like a time capsule, with not a

modern building in sight. No surprise then that it has

appeared on screen numerous times – in Spielberg’s

War Horse and the original Dr Doolittle film to name

jus two. GRID REF: C3

104. Canoe the Kennet & Avon Canal, pushing off in

a Canadian canoe at Bradford on Avon and paddling

eastwards to Seend Cleeve and the canalside Barge

Inn, where you can moor up for a pub lunch before

the return journey. GRID REF: D4

105. Bring a blanket and settle in for an al fresco

performance of a Shakespearean play at Dyrham

Park (August). GRID REF: B3

106. Take a turn around the organic gardens at

Highgrove, home to the Prince of Wales. Book a

champagne tea tour and you’ l finish with afternoon

tea and a glass of Highgrove Champagne. GRID REF: C3

107. Lace up your skates for a spin around the rink at

one of the Great West Way’s winter ice rinks. There are

rinks at Millennium Square in Bristol (A4), Royal Victoria

Park in Bath (B4), Alexandra Gardens in Windsor (K3) and

Hampton Court Palace (L4) (November-January).

108. Get the stones (almost) to yourself by booking

the Inner Circle tour at Stonehenge and rising early to

be inside the stone circle before it opens to the public.

You sti l can’ touch the stones, but you wi l get some

great pictures of them. GRID REF: E6

109. Stoop to enter West Kennet Long Barrow, a

Neolithic tomb built around 5,650 years ago. You can

walk along inside for about 13 metres before reaching

the final chamber. Bring a torch! GRID REF: E4

110. Set out on foot through the Cotswolds on the

102-mile Cotswold Way, one of England’s national trails.

You’ l start at Bath Abbey (B4) and head north along the

Cotswold escarpment, stro ling through idy lic vi lages

and passing ancient churches, abbeys and mansions set

in some of the country’s most celebrated – and best

protected – countryside.

111. Eat a traditional ploughman’s lunch – a platter of

local cheese, pickle and onions accompanied by bread and

(usua ly) a salad. Try it at the twelfth century Castle Inn

in Castle Combe (C3) or at Beese’s in Bristol (A4).

112. Have a proper English cup of tea – served strong

with milk of course – in a traditional tearoom. There

are hundreds of tearooms along the Great West Way

but some of our favourites are St Peter’s Co fee Shop in

Marlborough (E4), The To lgate in Dyrham (B3), the Teapot

in Cookham (J3) and The Tutti Pole in Hungerford (F4).

113. See a 2,000-year-old lime tree, sti l going strong

in Silk Wood at Westonbirt Arboretum. GRID REF: C3

114. Test your navigational ski ls on the orienteering

trails at Ashton Court in Bristol. There are three to try

– pick up a map from the golf kiosk. GRID REF: A4

115. Cycle along an old railway track, fo lowing the

13-mile Bristol & Bath Railway Path between the

two cities. This was once the route of the Midland

Railway and some evidence of its life as a railway

i sti l visible. The route is tarmac, traffic-free and

almost entirely level – making it a breeze for

a l levels of ability. You could even try it on a

tandem, hiring a two-seater bike from Bristol

Tandem Hire. GRID REF: B4

116. See the cave where two giants, Goram and

Ghyston, are said to have once made their home.

You can walk to this sma l cave overlooking Avon

Gorge in Bristol from the Observatory above it,

through a tunnel carved in the nineteenth century

by artist Wi liam West. GRID REF: A4

117. Go butterfly spotting in the rare chalk grasslands

of the Chilterns, the perfect habitat for a wide variety

of wildflowers – and the butterflies that love them.

GRID REF: H3

118. Play a round of golf on one of England’s best

parkland courses. Try Richmond Park Golf Course in

West London, North Wilts Golf Club in Wiltshire or

Bristol & Clifton Golf Club.

GRID REF: L3

119. See what’s biting in the Kennet & Avon Canal

– home to some of England’s most bankable angling

spots. Fishing is permitted along much of the towpath

here, bu two of the best places for a bumper catch

are Bathampton near Bath (C4) and Hungerford in

Berkshire (F4). Contac the local angling association

for a permit.

120. Discover the area’s military might with a visit

to REME, the museum of the Royal Electrical and

Mechanical Engineers, at MoD Lyneham. See large

armoured vehicles, listen to soldiers’ stories and get

hands-on with the recovery task simulator. GRID REF: D3

121. Indulge yourself by booking a mind-melting

in-water massage – or watsu. Bath’s Thermae Spa

offers these dreamy treatments in the natural thermal

waters of the Hot Bath. Just don’t plan anything too

strenuous for afterwards! GRID REF: B4

122. Wild swim in the Thames at Cock Marsh near

Cookham, where you’ l find sandy beaches to paddle

out from and clear, clean waters. GRID REF: J3

123. Go behind the scenes at Downton Abbey with a

visi to Highclere Castle, the building Julian Fe lowes

i said to have had in mind when he wrote the TV

drama. The Victorian castle remains the family home

of the Earl and Countess of Carnarvon, and visitors

can see the Great Ha l, backdrop to much of Mary and

Matthew’s romance, and the Dining Room, scene of

many a family drama and plenty of acerbic comments

from the Dowager Countess. GRID REF: G5

124. Have a crack at clay pigeon shooting in the

grounds of Donnington Grove in Berkshire. GRID REF: G4

125. Learn how stop animation works in Bristol, home

to Aardman Animations, the Academy Award winning

studio who brough the world Wa lace and Gromit.

We the Curiou science centre hosts model making

workshops with experts from the studio – you’ l even

ge to take home a plasticine Gromit. GRID REF: A4

GreatWestWay.co.uk

START HERE.

England

for the Curious

2

In partnership with:

Great West Way and England’s Great West Way are registered

trade marks. A l rights reserved.

Recommended accommodation

Abbey Hotel, Bath

abbeyhotelbath.co.uk GRID REF: B4

Apex City of Bath Hotel, Bath

apexhotels.co.uk GRID REF: B4

Avalon Lodge Bed & Breakfast, Devizes

bed-breakfast-devizes.co.uk GRID REF: D4

Bath Apartment Breaks

bathapartmentbreaks.co.uk GRID REF: B4

Bath Self Catering

bathselfcatering.com GRID REF: B4

Beanhi l Farm B&B, Chippenham

beanhi lfarm.net GRID REF: D3

Best Western Plus Angel Hotel, Wiltshire

bestwestern.co.uk GRID REF: C4

Brooks Guest House, Bath

brooksguesthouse.com GRID REF: B4

Buttle Farm, Wiltshire

buttlefarm.co.uk GRID REF: D4

Church Farm Country Cottages, Wiltshire

churchfarmcottages.com GRID REF: C4

Cricklade Hotel, Wiltshire

crickladehotel.co.uk GRID REF: E2

Cumberwe l Country Cottages, Wiltshire

cumberwe lcountrycottages.com GRID REF: E2

Devizes Marina Vi lage, Wiltshire

devizesmarina.com GRID REF: D4

Donnington Grove, Newbury

donnington-grove.com GRID REF: G4

DoubleTree by Hilton, Swindon, Wiltshire

doubletree3.hilton.com GRID REF: E3

The Farm Camp, Wiltshire

thefarmcamp.co.uk GRID REF: C4

Great Northern Hotel, London

gnhlondon.com GRID REF: M3

Hampton by Hilton Bristol Airport, Bristol

hamptoninn3.hilton.com GRID REF: A4

Helen Browning’s Royal Oak, Wiltshire

helenbrowningsorganic.co.uk GRID REF: E3

Heritage Bed & Breakfast, Wiltshire

heritagebandb.co.uk GRID REF: D4

Holiday Inn Salisbury–Stonehenge, Wiltshire

hisalisbury-stonehenge.co.uk GRID REF: E6

The Langley, Buckinghamshire

marriott.com GRID REF: K3

MacDonald Bath Spa Hotel

macdonaldhotels.co.uk GRID REF: B4

Manor Farm B&B, Wiltshire

manorfm.co.uk GRID REF: E5

Meadowbank House Bed & Breakfast, Wiltshire

meadowbankhouse.com GRID REF: E3

The Old Be l Hotel, Malmesbury, Wiltshire

oldbe lhotel.co.uk GRID REF: C3

The Old Chapel, Wiltshire

airbnb.co.uk/rooms/29073443 GRID REF: E4

Queens Arms, East Garston, Berkshire

queensarmseastgarston.co.uk GRID REF: F4

The Red Lion and Troutbeck, East Chisenbury

redlionfreehouse.com GRID REF: E5

The Roseate Vi la, Bath

roseatehotels.com/bath/theroseatevi la GRID REF: B4

Roseate House, London

roseatehotels.com/london/roseatehouse GRID REF: L3

The Roseate, Reading

roseatehotels.com/reading/theroseate GRID REF: H4

The Royal Oak, Yattendon, Berkshire

royaloakyattendon.co.uk GRID REF: C3

The Royal Crescent Hotel & Spa, Bath

royalcrescent.co.uk GRID REF: B4

The Swan, Bradford on Avon, Wiltshire

theswanbradford.co.uk GRID REF: C4

Totteridge Farm, Pewsey, Wiltshire

totteridge-farm.website GRID REF: E4

Tucking Mi l, Bath Apartments & Cottages

bathselfcatering.net GRID REF: B4

Whatley Manor, Wiltshire

whatleymanor.com GRID REF: C3

Woo ley Grange Hotel, Wiltshire

woo leygrangehotel.co.uk GRID REF: C4

GreatWestWay.co.uk

There's 125 miles of twists and turns and new

discoveries along the Great West Way route.

To help you plan your journey be sure to pick up a map -

which will not only help you to navigate your jouney,

it also includes 125 great things to do!

GreatWestWay.co.uk/explore/maps

For a range of walking and cycling holidays these

experts are on hand to offer you a helping hand!


CAPTURING

THE MOMENT

Photographers are never short of inspiration for the perfect shot along

the Great West Way. Vote for your favourite capture from our ten

finalists for your chance to win a luxury short break for two to Bristol!

THANK YOU to all the wonderful For the opportunity to

photographers out there who have make the finalists of our

been helping build our Great West Capturing the Moment 2021

Way Instagram page. With so Competition follow our

many wonderful shots it has been difficult

Instagram page

to narrow down the photos to a top 10

instagram.com/GreatWestWay

of finalists. Readers - I hope these images

and tag @GreatWestWay

inspire you and thank you for helping us to

choose our Capturing the Moment

or use the hashtag

Photography Competition 2020 winner!

#GreatWestWay

42 GreatWestWay.co.uk


1

2

3

4

5

6

43


7

8

9

10

WINNERS PRIZE

Our Capturing the

Moment Photography

Competition 2020 winner

will not only be featured

in our next issue, on our

website, and across our

social media platforms but

will win a hamper of tickets

to visit five of the best Great

West Way attractions!

PICTURE CREDITS

îKew Gardens

1 @angelacoomey 6

îClifton Suspension Bridge

2 @tobypickardphotography 7

îBradford on Avon

3 @wordyelaine 8

îWilton Windmill

4 @declan.spreadbury 9

îPulteney Bridge, Bath

5 @ellisreed 10

îRoyal Crescent

@balazsromsics

îRichmond, Surrey

@veevs

îAlton Barnes White Horse

@declan.spreadbury

îWindsor Castle

@alfs_ig

îCaen Hill Locks

@esined636

44 GreatWestWay.co.uk


WIN!

The talented winner of our

Capturing the Moment

Photography Competition

2020 will be spoilt for choice of

places to visit on the Great West Way -

hopefully still with their camera in hand!

We will be providing them with free

family tickets to visit Westonbirt, The

National Arboretum in Gloucestershire,

English stately home Longleat in

Wiltshire, Cheddar Gorge & Caves,

Britain’s highest, inland limestone

cliffs rising up 450ft, in Somerset, and

Berkeley Castle, with origins dating back

to the 11th century, in Gloucestershire.

Plus, they will also be treated to a

Bombay Sapphire Cocktail Masterclass

experience, for themselves and up to

three guests!

And that's not all. As a thank you for

voting we are offering you the chance to

win an overnight stay for two, staying

in the stylishly boutique, Brooks Guest

House, situated in the heart of Bristol's

old town (next to St Nicholas Market)

within easy walking distance of Bristol's

city centre.

The lucky winners will also receive

tickets to visit Brunel's SS Great Britain,

the world’s first great ocean liner, as

well as enjoying a private guided tour,

discovering Bristol's famous street art,

with Graft! To find out more about

Bristol please visit visitbristol.co.uk

HOW TO ENTER

îVote for your favourite finalist

for your chance to win

Help us to choose our Capturing the

Moment Photography Competition 2020

winner and you will be automatically

entered into our competition! Simply

visit our website to submit your entry:

îGreatWestWay.co.uk/competition

Closing date for all entries is 31 December

2020. The winner will be announced in

January 2021. Terms and conditions apply,

please see website page for details.

GreatWestWay.co.uk

45


HIDDEN GARDENS

From the world famous to the well-kept secrets, here

are some gardens along the Great West Way where you

won’t be able to help but stop and smell the roses

Words: Samantha Rutherford

46 GreatWestWay.co.uk


Pictured

left then

clockwise:

Stourhead;

Strawberry

Hill House;

Cliveden

House;

London

Wetland

Centre.

ENGLAND IS RENOWNED for its stately homes

and gardens and many of the finest lie along the

Great West Way. Here's our pick of some of the

best from East to West!

CLIVEDEN HOUSE

The gardens of 300-year-old Cliveden House hold

just as much interest as the house - itself known for

exuberant high society parties, political scandals

and, most recently, its connection to a certain royal

wedding. Meander through the six acre Parterre,

with its distinctive triangular beds, be uplifted by the

fragrant intermingling of fresh spring flowers and

classical statues in the Long Garden and come over

all romantic amid 900 roses in the heavenly-scented

Rose Garden.

LONDON WETLAND CENTRE

London Wetland Centre, an award winning nature reserve,

brings the countryside to London. Although close to the

heart of the capital it is a haven of tranquility for both

wildlife and people.

The lakes, pools and gardens are home to kingfishers

nesting in a bank, sand martins zipping over the ponds,

wading birds searching for food at the lake edges and

ducklings waddling after their mother in the spring. For

keen bird watchers there are bitterns in the winter and

yellow wagtails on the grazing marsh in summer. It’s a

wonderful place for a relaxing walk through the scenic

paths that meander among the lakes and gardens.

ROYAL BOTANIC GARDENS, KEW

For an unforgettable horticultural experience, make a

beeline for Kew Gardens - a UNESCO World Heritage

Site. 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.

HAMPTON COURT PALACE

As host of the prestigious RHS Hampton Court Palace

Flower Show, with 500 years of royal gardening

experience, Hampton Court Palace is certainly no

amateur. The gardens you see now are all a product

of its rich history - the Baroque-style Great Fountain

Garden for instance was executed by King William III and

Queen Mary II’s gardener, in the shape of a goose foot

as was fashionable then. Elsewhere you can navigate The

Maze, which featured in Jerome K. Jerome’s novel, Three

Men in a Boat, and tour the immaculate Royal Kitchen

Garden with its heritage vegetables.

STRAWBERRY HILL HOUSE

Strawberry Hill House, the former summer residence

of Horace Walpole, author of ‘The Castle of Ontranto’,

is famous for being Britain’s finest example of Georgian

Gothic Revival architecture.. →

GreatWestWay.co.uk 47


Pictured

left then

clockwise:

The Savill

Garden;

Bowood

House &

Gardens;

Stonor

Park

You can visit the house and gardens in Twickenham - it

has been open to visitors for over 250 years! 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.

Learn more about its history by joining one of the

experienced guides on a garden tour at 1pm every

Wednesday, Sunday and Bank Holiday Monday from March

until October.

THE SAVILL GARDEN

Starting life in the 1930s, these 35-acres of gardens are

home to a whole spectrum of flora and fauna, from glades,

woodlands and winter beds to spring bulb meadows and a

Mediterranean garden. See flaming stars shine bright orange

along the herbaceous border, spot purple globes of alliums in

the dry garden and watch as the Summer Gardens become

a circus of life and colour in season. But that’s not all - other

gardens, also part of Windsor Great Park, include The Valley

Gardens, Virginia Water and The Long Walk and Deer Park.

48 GreatWestWay.co.uk

STONOR PARK

Set in a valley in the Chiltern Hills, Stonor Park offers a lush

mix of ponds, fountains and pleasure gardens. Stroll amid the

neat box hedges, and see if you can find the hidden Japanese

retreat. Or head to the Old Kitchen Garden, laden with

bounty in summer, and be inspired to grow-your-own back

home. The estate even has its own arboretum, which is a

treat to visit during spring when the cherry blossoms fall - the

ideal scene for budding photographers.

BOWOOD HOUSE & GARDENS

Fashionable 18th-century gardener ‘Capability’ Brown has

become synonymous with manicured English landscapes.

He worked his magic on 100 acres of parkland at Bowood

House, and it is now widely held to be the best preserved of

his masterpieces. Sit for a while by the mile-long lake, behold

the sweeping lawns from the terrace and learn more about

the highly skilled designer, and his work, on a themed tour.

Other highlights include an arboretum, woodland gardens

and Lord and Lady Lansdowne’s secret walled garden - best

in early summer when it blossoms with fragrant swathes of

lavender, honeysuckle and peonies.

WESTONBIRT, THE NATIONAL ARBORETUM

Home to 2,500 different species from the far corners of the

globe and five national tree collections and the STIHL Tree

Top Walkway. Enrich your visit to Westonbirt, The National

Arboretum by pre-booking a seasonal guided walk with

an experienced guide for only £50 (plus admission fees).

A guided walk of the Arboretum (up to an hour and a half)

unpicks all the myths and stories behind the trees and

the Arboretum’s history, as well as capturing the garden's

magical seasonal highlights along the way. →


Westonbirt The

National Arboretum

Explore the world’s finest

woodland garden, and

discover trees and plants

from all over the globe at

the National Arboretum.

forestryengland.uk/westonbirt

Make memories in Marlow

Situated along the new 125 mile

touring route Great West Way, the

charming and characterful town

of Marlow awaits you. Welcomed

by the iconic suspension bridge

spanning the River Thames,

soak up the idyllic riverside by

boat or on foot, mooch about

the boutique high street shops,

enjoy impressive, award-winning

food and drink or explore the

quintessential English villages that

lie on the doorstep…

www.GreatWestWay.co.uk

www.VisitThames.co.uk

Explore the Marlow

Midsomer Murders Locations Trail

Follow the local discovery trail based on

locations used in the popular TV detective

series Midsomer Murders in and around Marlow

and the picturesque Hambleden Valley.

The 17-mile trail starts in the historic market town

of Marlow and you will very quickly find yourself

immersed in scenes from Midsomer Murders.

Following the trail you can sample local beer and

wine, taste fine food, spend the night in a filming

location and walk the Chiltern Hills of Midsomer.

Download a copy from:

www.visitbuckinghamshire.org/midsomer

Group enquiries: info@visitbuckinghamshire.org


Bradford on Avon

is perfectly set in the

dramatic Avon valley

in Wiltshire and only

a few miles from the

World Heritage City of Bath; it is

a combination of river, canal and

architecture of true character.

From small weavers’ cottage to

grand clothiers’ houses; handsome

public buildings, medieval barns,

ancient places of worship and

meandering alleyways making it

the perfect place to explore!

Explore BoA visitor centre: 01225 865797

www.bradfordonavon.co.uk

eboa ad 091219.indd 1 09/12/2019 12:45

www.corsham.gov.uk/visit

Come

and

discover

Wiltshire’s

hidden treasure

History, heritage, arts and crafts, great places to

eat and drink and lots of independent shops –

plus Poldark was filmed here too.

Just 8 miles from Bath on the A4, 4 miles from the

M4 (J17), or 3 miles from Chippenham Station.

IMAGE CREDIT: MAMMOTH MEDIA


PLUS DON'T MISS!

Pictured

above then

clockwise:

Visitor to

The Courts

Garden;

Hidden

Gardens of

Bath

The National Garden Scheme

There are hundreds of private gardens

to explore on the Great West Way not

usually open to the public, hosting

special open days, thanks to The National

Garden Scheme. Visit unique gardens

during special open days and as a paying

visitor, along with the generosity of

garden owners and volunteers, you

will also be contributing to charity - an

impressive £3 million contribution was

donated by the scheme last year! Simply

go to their website (ngs.org.uk) and

search for your perfect garden to visit in

the town or village of your choice.

The Hidden Gardens of Bath

Behind the honey-coloured stone facades

of Bath’s houses and hotels lie beautiful

private gardens, rarely seen. With The

Hidden Gardens of Bath guided tours,

you can explore these hidden gems

meeting their creative, passionate and

hard-working owners before then sitting

down to enjoy a quintessentially English

afternoon tea!

THE COURTS GARDEN

This garden, near Bradford on Avon, offers an

enchanting glimpse of the quintessential English

country garden. Less well known than some of the

others on this list, it’s a lovely place to spend a summer

afternoon. The formal garden, with its topiary and jolly,

tulip-lined borders juxtaposes beautifully with the

wilder arboretum and quiet lily pond. Keep your eyes

peeled for benches, placed in perfectly peaceful spots

around the garden. Alternatively, treat yourself to a

sugary something in The Rose Garden Tea Room.

AMERICAN MUSEUM & GARDENS

This is the only museum of American decorative and folk

art outside the US. Take a journey through the history of

America, from its early settlers to the twentieth century,

and delve into the museum’s remarkable collections.

Located in an area of outstanding natural beauty, the

hilltop site of the Museum’s home, Claverton Manor,

takes full advantage of the spectacular views over the

Limpley Stoke Valley and River Avon. Remnants of the old

Italianate style manorial pleasure gardens and parkland,

dating from the 1820s, can be seen within the grounds,

including period features such as the balustrade and

curtain walling, as well as ornamental stone work.

THE PETO GARDEN

At Iford Manor Estate’s remarkable gardens you will find

Cypress trees, sweet-smelling lilies and draping branches

of wisteria. Set on a steep hillside, the garden offers

inspiring views of the Wiltshire countryside. For a unique

way to enjoy this special place, join one of their guided

tours, or attend a health and well-being workshop.

PRIOR PARK

At this elegant 18th-century garden in Regency Bath,

it’s easy to imagine parasolled ladies walking over the

Palladian bridge in their flowing gowns. But there’s much

more to see in real life, silky white snowdrops and bright

yellow daffodils, swans floating around together in the

lakes, and tiny wild raspberries emerging in the woods.

STOURHEAD

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

most famous gardens on the list. Its classical architecture

includes a grotto, used to escape the summer heat, a

gothic cottage and its own Temple of Apollo - built in 1765

to rival the Temple of the Sun at Kew Gardens, which was

then destroyed by a storm in 1916. It’s also known for its

colourful rhododendrons.

GreatWestWay.co.uk 51


LOOK WHO’s

PLaying

tHe fieLd

again

Add drama to your itineraries in a year of Tudor entertainment and

diplomacy. Visitors will be transported back to 1520 as they explore

a spectacular meeting of two monarchs. Henry VIII vs. François I.

10 April-31 August 2020: The Exhibition

23-31 May 2020: The Festival

August 2020: Tudor Sports and Entertainment

To discover more contact

+44 (0)20 3166 6311

groupsandtraveltrade@hrp.org.uk

www.hrp.org.uk/travel-trade


FIT FOR ROYALTY

The ancient route that inspired the Great West Way was one of

King Charles I’s Great Roads, with many castles, hotels and places

to visit bringing you closer to England’s royal family heritage

Words: Dominic Parkes

Pictured: Her Majesty the

Queen at Windsor Castle

ALONG THE GREAT WEST WAY you can trace the

history of the nation, from neolithic times to the

present day, riding The Great Western Railway,

a marvel of Victorian ingenuity, to walking the

ancient Ridgeway National Trail - or why not head out on

an ancient road trip of your own along the A4 Great West

Road, with a plethora of royal attractions to visit along

the way? We hope you enjoy our pick of the best...

CASTLES, COUNTRY HOUSES AND GARDENS

îSet in the heart of royal London, Wellington Arch was

built as an original entrance to Buckingham Palace, later

becoming a victory arch proclaiming Wellington's defeat of

Napoleon. Visit this spectacular landmark and feast on the

glorious panoramas over London from its balconies.

Next, visit Hampton Court Palace, a short journey

upstream from central London. It’s a towering testament

to King Henry VIII’s power complete with a complex of

Tudor kitchens, a Great Hall and jousting tournaments in

the gardens. Or head to Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew and

Kew Palace - King George III’s summerhouse.

In Bath, a city famed for its Georgian-era architecture and

Royal Crescent, you can visit the Victoria Art Gallery →

GreatWestWay.co.uk

53


Pictured

left-right:

The Great

Park by

horse

drawn

carriages

with

Windsor

Carriages;

The Royal

Crescent,

Bath

opened in 1900 for Queen Victoria’s diamond jubilee. While

in Bristol you can head back further in time to the reign of

Queen Elizabeth I, who found St Mary Redcliffe ‘the fairest,

goodliest, and most famous parish church in England.’ Inside

the church there is a colourfully-painted wooden sculpture

of her, believed to be painted by a contemporary.

Head 30 minutes north of Bristol and visit Berkeley

Castle. Considered by many as a hidden gem, it was built in

1153 by the Berkeley family, who still live there today! Over

the centuries it has changed from a forebidding fortress to

a welcoming family home. Henry II gave the Castle to the

family in 1153 and it has received royal guests ever since:

Edward II, Henry VIII, Elizabeth I, the Countess of Wessex

and the late Queen Mother have all visited Berkeley Castle.

Travel throughout time and history, from the Keep with its

dungeon, the room where Edward II is said to have been

murdered, to the Drawing Rooms with their fine upholstery,

chandeliers and silver lamps. Finally, if you have time to

explore more of the Cotswolds, the Prince of Wales and

The Duchess of Cornwall live at Highgrove, near Tetbury,

Gloucestershire. You can visit their impressive gardens on

selected dates, and also pop into the Highgrove Shop in

Tetbury which sells luxurious souvenirs and organic treats

inspired by the gardens.

EDUCATIONAL ESTABLISHMENTS

îWhile kings and queens of England were traditionally

educated by a personal tutor at home, times have changed.

Both Prince Harry and Prince William went to Eton College,

which you can visit on a guided tour between May and

September. While the Duchess of Cambridge went to

Marlborough College - stop for afternoon tea at the café

she used to visit with friends, The Polly Tea Rooms. A

little off the Great West Way, there’s the esteemed Oxford

Colleges. King Edward VII and King Edward VIII are both

alumni. As one of the best universities in the world, it also

attracts royals from other countries. Both HM King Abdullah

II of Jordan and Harald V, King of Norway studied there.

SOVEREIGN PLACES

îMalmesbury is England’s oldest borough with its stunning

12th Century Abbey still very much in use today. There’s so

much to discover in this charming market town. Visit the

original Market Cross, the Norman Abbey with its tomb of

King Athelstan and the free Athelstan Museum.

And have you noticed that some place names in England

have ‘royal’ in the title? Although the prime minister and

organisations can request the addition, for either their royal

heritage or current royal connections, it is ultimately a gift

bestowed by the queen. Along the Great West Way you

can visit the Royal Borough of Windsor and the Royal

County of Berkshire - thanks to the location of Windsor

Castle, one of the Queen’s three official residencies. Take

some time out here to experience Great Park by horse

drawn carriages with Windsor Carriages - The only

carriages licensed to operate tours throughout the Great Park

There’s also the Royal Borough of Kingston Upon

Thames, as well as Royal Wootton Bassett, near RAF

Lyneham - the most recent place to receive the Queen’s

blessing. Be sure to visit Jubilee Lake when you’re there.

A BED FIT FOR A KING OR QUEEN

îSometimes nothing but a 4-poster bed and some

medieval tapestries on the wall will do. See what it’s like to

live like a royal by staying at a hotel with royal connections.

There’s the effortlessly elegant Cliveden House Hotel,

where Meghan Markle - now the Duchess of Sussex -

got ready for her wedding to Prince Harry. There’s The

Georgian House, which although built as humble kitchens

for George, Prince of Wales in 1719, occupies a privileged

position in the grounds of Hampton Court Palace.

In Bath, The Royal Crescent Hotel & Spa has often

found its opulent interiors and prime setting in the World

Heritage City attractive to visiting royals. And a short

journey from Bristol you’ll find Gloucestershire’s Thornbury

Castle - where Henry VIII and Anne Boleyn stayed when

they visited in 1535 (ask for the Duke’s Bed Chamber).

54 GreatWestWay.co.uk


The stunning film location of...

The stunning film location of...

Poldark Wolf Hall The White Princess Johnny English Strikes Again

Poldark · Wolf Hall · The White Princess · Johnny English Strikes Again

Berkeley Castle

A Family home for almost 900 years!

Berkeley Castle

The stunning film location of...

Poldark · Wolf Hall · The White Princess · Johnny English Strikes Again

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A Family home for almost 900 years!

The oldest Castle in England still lived in by the family that built

The oldest Castle in England still lived in by the family that built it!

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Fabulous Guided paintings Tours • 16th Century Acres of Tapestries landscaped • Historical Gardens artefacts

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Wire Sculpture Trail • Family friendly Events throughout the Year

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Tropical Butterfly House • Yurt Tearoom • Gift Shop • Plant Sale

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EXPERIENCES AFTER DARK

From stargazing to swimming, spooky city tours to light shows,

there's plenty of experiences to try even when the sun goes down

Words: Samantha Rutherford

PLANETARIUM NIGHTS

WE THE CURIOUS

1

Wander into the giant silver ball at We The Curious, Bristol

for your very own evening tour of the known universe. Enjoy

stories of ancient stargazers as you fly to far away galaxies and

admire the views from distant and newly discovered planets.

Whether you are an amateur astronomer or completely new

to stargazing, you'll be able to escape the everyday and leave

inspired to discover the night sky for yourself. Please check the

website for shows and times. →

GreatWestWay.co.uk

57


FESTIVAL OF LIGHT

TORCHLIGHT VISIT

THE ROMAN BATHS

Visit Bath's iconic Roman bathing place in the evening and walk on the

22000 year-old pavements. Take in the magical atmosphere of the

graceful columns and intricate stonework lit by torchlight. 10-13 April 9am-

8pm (last entry 7pm) or 20 June – 31 August 9am-10pm (last entry 9pm).

LONGLEAT SAFARI PARK

As part of this festive event, you can

4 enjoy all of the astonishing animal and

adventure attractions, including the Safari

Park, Koala Creek, Jungle Kingdom, Jungle

Cruise and the iconic Longleat Hedge Maze

- and the light trail. On New Year’s Eve and

New Year’s Day a spectacular fireworks

display lights up the evening sky too.

STARGAZING

WILTSHIRE COUNTRYSIDE

On a clear evening, there’s nothing better than a spot of stargazing.

3 Wiltshire being a predominantly rural county lends itself to stargazing

with the advantage of less light pollution than more urban areas.

Try Stonehenge, described by the National Trust one of their top

stargazing spots in the south west of England, or with minimal street

lighting and being surrounded by countryside, the village of Lacock.

Cranborne Chase is an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty with plans

to achieve ‘Dark Sky Status’, and there are plenty of other places that are

perfect for enjoying the night skies including Tollard Royal (and the area

near to the Larmer Tree Gardens), Broad Chalke and Dinton.

ARTISAN FOOD TOUR

SAVOURING BATH

Take an artisanal food and drink tour of

5 the UNESCO City of Bath with Savouring

Bath. Uncover local flavours, foods that have

been of historical significance for centuries

past, guilty pleasures for all things naughty

but nice and food heroes, for those who have

made their mark on the city for the culinary

delights they have produced. It’s a great way

to explore the city whilst getting a chance to

see the sites.

58 GreatWestWay.co.uk


MUSIC VENUES

NIGHT SWIMMING

THAMES LIDO

Book a Late Swim & Dine package at the Thames Lido and use the pool

6 and spa facilities (outdoor hot tub and saunas) followed by a 2 course a la

carte dinner in the poolside restaurant. Swim from 7.30pm, and dine at 9pm.

READING

Visit one (or both!) of Reading’s two

9 legendary late night music venues. The

After Dark Club is Reading's longest running

night club, with parts of the building dating

back to 1850 when it was a Tinning Factory,

and The Purple Turtle Bar, one of the craziest

bars in folklore, are both open late-late,

playing host to famous DJs and bands.

TWILIGHT SPA

THERMAE BATH SPA

As late afternoon turns

8 into evening, Thermae Bath

Spa's Twilight Package provides

the opportunity to make use of

the spa facilities and experience

the gradual change in the light

and atmosphere. The package

includes a relaxing spa session

and delicious meal and drink in

their Springs Restaurant.

FEEL SPOOKED

TAKE A GHOST TOUR

As featured in TV's 'Most

7 Haunted' Bristol's Haunted and

Hidden Friday night walk combines

haunted buildings, TV and film

locations, celebrity tales, and

Bristol trivia. Or you could discover

the many grim haunts of Bristol's

nearby neighbour Bath with Bath

Ghost Tours bringing chills and

thrills to horror hungry visitors of

old Bath town.

EVENING TOUR

WINDSOR CASTLE

Exclusive Evening Tours at this

10 special royal residence in Windsor

offers a 'behind-the-ropes' experience in

the State Apartments. Discover the history

of the Castle, including how William the

Conqueror’s wooden Castle was rebuilt

by Edward III as a stone fortress with

magnificent apartments, how Charles II

set out to rival the Versailles of his cousin

Louis XIV, while George IV filled the rooms

with outstanding works of art and gave the

Castle its famous skyline. The tour includes

a glass of champagne, a copy of the official

guidebook and 20% discount in the shop.

GreatWestWay.co.uk

59


TIME FOR YOU

Whether you’re keen on keeping fit or prefer taking it easy in

a luxury spa, there are some excellent ways to add a wellness

element to your Great West Way journey. So remember to

take some time out for yourself along the route.

Words: Sarah Caswell

THE ULTIMATE BATH SPA DAY

At the atmospheric Roman Baths you’ll get to see the

steamy Great Bath, the cold plunge pool and even have

a nosy in the crumbling old changing rooms! You might

also bump into a few Romans. The costumed characters

who roam the complex, including a soldier and a travelling

merchant, are based on real characters who frequented the

Roman Baths around 2,000 years ago. Enjoy an elegant

lunch (or afternoon tea) at The Pump Room, followed by a

shot of mineral-rich water from the spa fountain. It may well

be good for you, but as you’ll soon discover - it definitely

has a distinct taste! There are lots more lovely cafés and

60 GreatWestWay.co.uk


Did you know? Although we’ve discovered a lot about

what is in Bath’s famous spring water 42 different

minerals including sodium and magnesium to this day

no one is quite sure where exactly it originates from.

restaurants around the city too, with some excellent vegan

and vegetarian-friendly places such as The Green Rocket

and Acorn. Take a daytime or twilight dip at Thermae Bath

Spa, followed by one of their indulgent treatments. Watsu,

perhaps, where a therapist stretches and guides your body

through flowing movements in the warm water. Or the

Roman Trilogy, which includes a salty body scrub, a soothing

body massage and an invigorating facial.

Continue your pampering with an overnight stay at a

luxury spa hotel. You might enjoy The Gainsborough Bath

Spa, just a short stroll from Thermae Bath Spa, where

you can experience the original thermal springs in natural

thermal pools at their award-winning Spa Village, or try

No.15 Great Pulteney Street and relax in their luxurious

cedar wood hot tub and sauna.

FINDING WELLNESS IN BRISTOL

Bristol is a city that normally makes waves for its edgy art

scene, but that doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy a wellnessthemed

break in the city. You might even find yourself

embracing a totally new approach to exercise.

Try for example a stand-up paddleboard lesson with SUP

Bristol on Bristol’s Floating Harbour or a swim at Clifton’s

Victorian Lido. Later on, once you’ve refuelled at one of the

many health-conscious, flexitarian-focused restaurants - No

1 Harbourside, Watershed Café & Bar, Thali Café to name a

few - try something totally different.

There’s a class for just about everything, from circus skills

workshops to Beyoncé-inspired jazz dance. Not to mention

all the yoga and holistic therapies that are hugely popular in

Bristol. Wild Wolf’s Yoga, Bristol City Yoga and Bristol Yoga

Space are all fairly central.

A SPIRITUAL TRAIL

If the wellness you seek is spiritual, you’ll find plenty of

absorbing sacred spaces along the Great West Way. Early

travellers between London and Bristol would surely have

found comfort in these places, as every journey was a leap

of faith that came with the threat of highwaymen and

unforeseen hazards.

Some suggest Stonehenge was constructed as a place of

healing, and that the smaller bluestones used were dragged

all the way from south Wales because they were imbued

with healing powers from nearby hot springs.

Or visit one of the almighty cathedrals on or near the Great

West Way. There’s the inimitable Bath Abbey, perfect for →

Pictured

left then

clockwise:

Aheli Spa

at The

Roseate

Reading;

Spa Village

at The

Gainsborough

Bath

Spa; spa at

No.15 Great

Pulteney

Hotel &

Spa

GreatWestWay.co.uk 61


Pictured leftright:

Stonehenge;

Koala at

Longleat

Safari Park

YOU MIGHT ALSO ENJOY

pondering higher spiritual planes, as well as Bristol, Wells,

Salisbury and Gloucester Cathedrals. Amid those, you’ll also

find churches, temples and mosques.

Or why not feel the power of England’s pagan past with a

lesser-known wellbeing experience at Stanton Drew? Pagan

rituals are held on the four Fire Festivals usually on Saturday

11am for an hour. Park at the Druid's Arms, upper level, (by kind

permission). You don't need to be a pagan to attend, and ritual

dress is optional.

HEALTH RETREATS

Find balance in body and mind at a Casterley Barn Wellness

Retreat, Pewsey with their series of retreats focusing on selfcare

and mindful living.

Danesfield House Hotel & Spa, Marlow-On-Thames offers

three, five or seven-day retreats based around healthy eating,

conscious movement, bodyweight exercises, personal training,

relaxation and yoga.

In Hungerford you could buy a day pass to the Herongate

Club and take part in an aerobics class before enjoying a fresh

juice from their first-floor lounge café.

LUXURY SPA STAYS

If lounging about in a robe at a nice hotel, with a glass of

bubbles in one hand and a magazine in the other sounds like

just what you need then try an overnight stay (or three!) at one

of the spa hotels along the Great West Way (see p78 for more).

You might enjoy breaking up your journey with a stay at The

Roseate Reading where they have recently unveilled a new spa.

If you really want to splash out, make like a princess (or

prince) for a spa retreat at Cliveden House Hotel. As well as

various enticing pools, flotation experiences and treatments,

they offer a Garden Oasis Purifying Experience - a combination

of body brushing, massage and reflexology that promises to

tease you back to tip top condition.

Moored on the banks of Monkey Island in the historic village

of Bray this first-of-its-kind floating luxury spa is the ultimate

escape, while on the edge of the Cotswolds, a short detour

from the route, both Cricklade House and Woolley Grange

Hotel offer spa hotels in scenic locations too.

62 GreatWestWay.co.uk

The Great West Way boasts an exciting

abundance of new experiences assured to leave

you feeling inspirited and rejuvenated...

Winter Solstice at Stonehenge

Each year in December visitors from around the world

gather at Stonehenge early in the morning to mark the

Winter solstice and to see the sunrise above the stones.

We hope to see you there for sunrise!

A Hot Air Balloon Ride

Fancy an adventure? Why not watch the world go by

from a different perspective for a while and take flight

with Bristol Balloons and fly high above Bristol and

Bath, Gloucester, Wells and Westonbirt

Wild Swimming in The Thames

Take a dip in fresh waters at Cock Marsh near

Cookham, where you'll find sandy beaches to paddle

out from and clear, clean waters

Exclusive use of The Cross Baths

You might want to upgrade your Thermae Bath

Spa experience for a more intimate open-air thermal

bath, located just across the street

A Tandem 1300ft Skydive

From the thrill of your first jump, right through to

the exhiliration for those who take it to the extreme

with Wingsuit flying, this sport has it all!

Climbing an 120-foot Neoclassical Tower

Built for Europe's wealthiest manclimbing

Beckford Tower, just outside Bath is an

experience you won't forget!

Yoga on a Stand Up Paddleboard

Take to the water for a yoga session! Experts SUP

Bristol and Original Wild will show you the ropes

Meeting some animals

Visit the big cats, giraffes, zebras, curious monkeys,

rhinos and more at Cotswold Wildlife Park, Bristol Zoo

Gardens, Noah's Ark Zoo Farm or Longleat Safari Park

Taking a road and river adventure

Take a trip through scenic Windsor and enjoy

fantastic views of Windsor Castle from the

water with Amazing Duck Tours


From quintessential cottages and country houses

to quirky windmills and lighthouses…

Find your special place

along the Great West Way

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BY DAY OR NIGHT

COME RAIN OR SHINE...

Relax in the warm, mineral-rich waters of Bath’s

natural thermal Spa. Bathe in the open-air rooftop

pool and indoor Minerva Bath, refresh your senses

in the multi-sensory Wellness Suite and choose from

over 40 spa treatments and packages.

Open daily from 09.00 – 21.30

(pools & Wellness Suite close at 21.00)

01225 33 1234

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COME AND SEE


DYNAMIC CITY CULTURE

If you’re an urban adventurer, exploring the cities of the South West,

out of England’s buzzing capital, couldn’t be easier via the Great West

Way... take a journey to discover the bright lights beyond London

Words: Katherine Holt

Pictured:

Stall

Street,

centre of

Bath

V

ISITORS HAVE BEEN travelling the Great West

Way, visiting cities and embracing the varied

culture at each place, for hundreds of years. Take

your time to enjoy the diversity of each city,

with its own artisan produce, independent shops, artists,

museums, bars and restaurants.

A twin-city break Bristol to Bath (or Bath to Bristol)

is just 12 minutes by train. Your Great West Way City

Culture journey could begin simply by hopping on a train

at London Paddington to Bath, (1 hour 11 minutes), or you

might prefer to fly directly to Bristol airport, with direct

services from over 100 destinations across Europe.

From here you could take the Airport Flyer Express Link

to Bristol City Centre, Bristol Harbourside, Bristol Temple

Meads Station, Bristol Bus Station, or Clifton.

Unlike many a metropolis, in Bath the pace of life is

gentle. Or should that be genteel. For Bath is a dignified,

fashionable sort of place. It has been since its most

famous former resident, Jane Austen’s day. Given that so

much of the handsome golden architecture from the →

GreatWestWay.co.uk

65


Regency period remains, you might wonder if anything

has changed. But spend a day here and you’ll realise it’s as

contemporary as it is classic.

Given the compact layout of the city, and its UNESCO

World Heritage status, a self-guided walking tour is highly

recommended. So grab a flat white and a croissant at one

of the hip cafés in the centre - Colonna & Small’s perhaps

- and take a leisurely stroll to get your bearings. Without

too much ado you should pass sights including The Circus,

Pulteney Bridge, Bath Abbey, Bath Assembly Rooms and

the arc of golden homes synonymous with the city: the

Royal Crescent. The latter was specifically designed to

give city residents the feeling of living in the countryside.

Treat yourself to a leisurely lunch at one of Bath’s cafés

or a tour of Bath’s culinary delights with Savouring Bath.

There’s a buoyant foodie scene in the city so you won’t

be short on options. Amid the selection of vegan Indian

wraps, Filipino chicken boxes and modern British salads,

you’re bound to find a favourite.

Fully energised, it’s time for some culture. Bath is

blessed with some amazing museums. Highlights include

the Fashion Museum (where you can dress up), the Jane

Austen Centre (where you can meet Mr Darcy) and some

very respectable art, design and history museums in the

form of The Holburne Museum, Victoria Gallery and No 1

Royal Crescent - a time capsule back to the 1770s.

Some more niche options include Bath Museum of

Architecture, the Museum of East Asian Art and the

American Museum in Britain - the only American folk art

museum outside the US is in an elevated position on the

outskirts of the city.

If you’re here in the summer, have a torchlit dinner at

the Roman Baths. Then, tired and happy, relax back at

your hotel.

There are some really interesting places to stay in Bath,

ranging from the University of Bath campus in summer,

just a short bus ride from the centre, to the literarythemed

Tasburgh House where Jane Austen once slept.

As the ‘capital of the Southwest’, Bristol has a very

different feel to Bath. In some ways it more closely

resembles London, with its distinct, characterful

neighbourhoods to explore - from the leafy avenues of

Clifton Village to the graffiti-splashed streets of Stokes

Croft. Since one of Bristol’s most famous sons is Banksy,

start your day with a Bristol Street Art Tour.

Or, better yet, arrive early enough for brunch at one of

the Harbourside cafes, and then go on one of the weekend

walking tours. Choose between a heritage tour, where

you explore the history of the city, or a street art tour,

where you are taken to see a mix of brand new and wellpreserved

artworks - including some Banksy originals.

If your legs are in need of a bit of a rest Bristol Insight

will show you around their wonderful city from a seat on

one of their lovely bright red buses!

You could then take a leisurely stroll around the

Regency streets of Clifton Village and visit its stylish

boutiques. Or head to Bristol Shopping Quarter and

flit between High Street staples and one-off wonders.

If retro and vintage tickle your fancy then leave some

time for exploring the alternative shops of Stokes Croft

and Gloucester Road – the latter boasts Europe’s longest

street of independent shops!

Bristol does street food lunches very well. So,

depending on what day you’re visiting, some options to

try include St Nick’s Market, The Harbourside Market

and the Tobacco Factory Market. Vendors inevitably

change, but there’ll always be a great mix of global

cuisine to try, from Jamaican curried goat to Nepalese

momos. You could also check out Cargo, a cool new

container development at Wapping Wharf where you

can get delicious bites to grab and go, like chip-stuffed

Greek wraps, fresh Indian curry boxes and melty cider

and cheese toasties. When you’re suitably stuffed,

discover Bristol’s other famous son: Isambard Kingdom

Brunel. Although the Victorian engineer may not seem

to have much in common with Banksy, he too was a

66 GreatWestWay.co.uk


ave pioneer. You can visit one of his most remarkable

achievements, the SS Great Britain - the world’s first great

ocean liner - and get a feel for how the passengers from

steerage to first class experienced long voyages across the

Atlantic. Included with your ticket price is the new Being

Brunel exhibition, an immersive experience which takes

you inside the brain of the man himself.

If you have time, venture up to Clifton Suspension Bridge

- another of his projects that, sadly, he didn’t live to see

finished. The arts are alive in all their guises in this creative,

cutting-edge city. After dinner at one of Bristol’s many

independent restaurants, seek some of it out. Depending

on your tastes, you could catch some theatre at the Bristol

Old Vic - the oldest continuously open theatre in the

English-speaking world, even throughout its exciting recent

renovations. You could also enjoy live music, see stand-up

comedy or do something thoroughly subversive like go an

immersive dining experience in a mystery location. Local

go-tos for experimental entertainment include Old Market

Assembly and Tobacco Factory Theatres.

If you have time, venture a little off the Great West

Way to find Salisbury, a city that embraces everything

arts and culture. Visit Mompesson House, the 18thcentury

property featured in the all-star film version of

Jane Austen’s Sense and Sensibility (1995). There’s also

Salisbury Playhouse, Salisbury Museum and Salisbury

Cathedral - or pop into the Old Sarum Airfield Museum

where you can sit in more aircraft cockpits than anywhere

else in the UK! And of course those sacred stones aren’t

too far away… If you’re heading north, don’t miss the

learned university city of Oxford. Of course, it’s not all

lounging around in the the Bodleian Library, pretending

to study. Discover some of the city’s more unexpected

attractions, like the Pitt Rivers Museum, full of alarming

anthropomorphic artefacts, or The Eagle and Child pub,

where C.S. Lewis and J.R.R Tolkien used to meet and swap

stories. There’s also bikes, board game cafés and strange

sculptures to find - including a curious headless shark.

Did you know? Bristol has its own currency, the

Bristol Pound, which helps boost local businesses.

You can buy the colourful notes at the Tourist

Information Centre on the Harbourside...

Pictured top left

then clockwise:

UNESCO World

Heritage status,

Bath; The Mild

Mild West Mural

by graffiti artist

Banksy; Clifton

Suspension

Bridge; Bristol

Harbourside;

Brunel’s SS Great

Britain Mast; The

Oracle, Reading

Or that Reading is the UK’s largest town much thought of

as a defacto city? Soak up the energetic atmosphere at

The Oracle Shopping Centre, or visit the independent

and craft stores in the nearby streets or Harris Arcade

GreatWestWay.co.uk

67


SHOPPING

GEMS

From antique stores and

independent shops to stylish

shopping centres and malls

SOUVENIR HUNTING

Shop like the Victorians and go in search of the ultimate

memento of your travels. Books by local authors,

artworks, traditional crafts and handmade memorabilia.

You’ll find independent bookshops, such as the

award-winning Hungerford Bookshop at the heart of the

historic town, stores and pop-up boutiques such as We

Make Bristol in Westbury-on-Trym, which only stocks

products by local artists and designers, hidden in all

corners of the Great West Way.

Bath is a fantastic shopping destination for

independents - whether you’re into antique jewellery,

antiquarian books, bohemian interiors or fine cheeses,

you can take home some really unique finds. Head to

Milsom Place to discover a fantastic mix of both famous

names and breakthrough brands.

Don’t dismiss the gift shops at top tourist attractions

or tourist information offices either. Stonehenge gift

shop, for instance, sells striking lino prints of the stones

by local artist Caroline Day. Or pop into The Mill Shop

following your visit to Whitchurch Silk Mill for exclusive

silk gifts that have been woven right there at the Mill.

Look for shops in unexpected locations, too. St Peter’s

Church in Marlborough is now home to a craft shop

selling all sorts of cute, colourful gifts. Or visit for their

twice-weekly market, located on the High Street - one

of the widest in the UK and lined on both sides with

characterful old buildings housing an array of chic cafés

and independent shops.

In Bristol, the Christmas Steps Arts Quarter is a

hidden-away haven for one-offs including musical

instruments, herbal remedies and fine spirits. There’s also

some marvellous markets selling everything from local

crafts to artisan delicacies. Check out the Charter Market

in Salisbury on Tuesdays and Saturdays or St Nick’s Market

in Bristol, every day except Sunday.

Did you know? Bath has its own Gift Card that is

accepted across the city in shops and restaurants,

hotels and bars, museums and manicurists. The

best of Bath in one little card! To find out more visit

bathgiftcard.com

DESIGNER FASHION

The Great West Way is proud to be home to one

of the largest covered designer outlets in Europe -

McArthurGlen Designer Outlet Swindon, or a short

detour from the route, Clarks Village, Somerset are

great places to pick up discounted top name brands like

Hobbs, Jack Wills, Molton Brown, North Face and Osprey.

Then there’s Kilver Court Designer Village, a short

distance south of Bath, where as well as fashion there are

luxurious lifestyle brands like Liberty London, known for

its iconic floral prints, plus a gorgeous garden to explore.

For a truly personalised service, and exclusive couture

clothing, visit one of the posh boutiques along the

touring route. Fluidity in Henley-on-Thames attracts

high flyers near and far and is rumoured to be former

Prime Minister Theresa May’s favourite.

For jewellery, consider getting a bespoke piece

made by a local jeweller. Goldsmith Paul Newton in

Malmesbury crafts exquisite pendants, earrings and

rings set with dazzling jewels (good to know if you’re

thinking of making a proposal while you’re away!). Or

for sensational silver jewellery, go to Tundra Jewellers in

Devizes, or visit Deacons Jewellers in Swindon.

68 GreatWestWay.co.uk


Pictured top

left then

clockwise:

The Oracle,

Reading;

visitors

to Bath;

Marlborough

High Street;

Henley on

Thames

VINTAGE, ART & ANTIQUES

There’s no better way to buy a piece of art than direct

from the artist - and at Reading’s art events, including

Whiteknights Studio Trail, Caversham Arts Trail, and

Artline art market, you can do just that.

Or why not head to Previous, a wildly eclectic vintage

shop (and café) located on Corsham High Street, for

one-off homewares and quirky retro items. Then wander

across the road to explore Paul Martin from BBC’s Flog

It! antiques shop - The Table Gallery.

If you’re mainly in the market for antiques, you’re

sure to stumble upon more rare finds in Marlborough,

Chippenham, Bradford on Avon, Marlow and Tetbury.

Head to Pewsey and call in at Crystal Clear – a

gemstone of a shop, located on the High Street, and be

charmed by unique natural crystal jewellery, crop circle

artwork, crystals and minerals, and hand made gifts.

There’s also the delightful Woodborough Yard, full of

independent shops, workshops and cafés.

For original artworks you can’t beat Turville Studios

located in the picturesque village of Turville, the filming

locations for Midsomer Murders, Vicar of Dibley, Chitty

Chitty Bang Bang and most recently Killing Eve.

If you’re happy to travel a short distance north of the

Great West Way, you should definitely have a rummage

at Antiques on High, an Oxford institution where you’ll

find original oil paintings to adorable writing desks. →

GreatWestWay.co.uk

69


Back in the beautiful city of Bath, their Vintage & Antiques

Market, held 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.

While Vintage to Vogue can style you in top quality

fashion, from the 1900s onwards, then have it tailored

specifically to your shape. Very dapper! And there are

exceptional restaurants to stop and refuel wherever the need

takes you - keep an eye out for The Circus, Acorn and The

Olive Tree at The Queensberry Hotel.

Nearby Bristol is known for its alternative outlook,

making it a go-to place for vintage and offbeat fashion finds.

Established in 1743 St Nicholas Market is the oldest and best

loved market in Bristol, famous for some of the best food in

the city, or head 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).

Love tea? Learn all about the art of tea blending and tea

tasting at a Bird & Blend Tea Masterclass.

Good to know: 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.

SUSTAINABLE FASHION

Try and catch one of the Duck Pond markets, which take

place regularly in various scenic locations not far from

London such as Henley-on-Thames and Chalfont St Giles.

Their ethos is local, ethical and sustainable, so you can

feel good about supporting the planet as well as local

businesses when you buy.

Pictured top

left then

clockwise:

Parkway

Shopping

Centre,

Newbury;

McArthurGlen

Designer

Outlet

Swindon;

St Nicholas

Market,

Bristol;

Shopping at

The Oracle,

Reading

70


A SEASON OF

SURPRISES

Somerset Outlet Shopping; discover

up to 60% off gifts, fashion and more.


CULINARY

DELIGHTS

The Great West Way is home to some

of England’s best foodie experiences

THERE’S A TANTALISING buffet of food and drink

experiences along the Great West Way. Discover

award-winning high-end restaurants and cosy,

traditional pubs, with a galaxy of Michelin stars

and plenty of local food heroes serving up everything

from vegetables hand grown in the kitchen garden to

just-baked homemade cakes.

7 OF THE FINEST RESTAURANTS

HAND AND FLOWERS, MARLOW

The first pub to achieve two Michelin stars, a relaxed

place to settle in for some proper English dishes,

including a fabulous Sunday roast. Chef Tom Kerridge

serves up sophisticated yet familiar dishes – think half

roast chicken with oak gravy and pork belly with roasted

pineapple and chorizo mayonnaise.

thehandandflowers.co.uk

SINDHU RESTAURANT BY ATUL KOCHHAR,

MARLOW

Overlooking the banks of the River Thames in beautiful

Marlow, Sindhu restaurant by twice Michelin-starred

chef Atul Kochhar offers contemporary Indian cuisine

featuring vibrant flavours, subtle blends of spices and

incredible aromas. Located in The Compleat Angler

Hotel, a stone’s throw from Marlow station.

› sindhurestaurant.co.uk

CLAYTON’S KITCHEN, BATH

Clayton’s Kitchen is a perennial favourite for local foodies

and discerning travellers. Robert Clayton, the restaurant’s

Chef Patron, creates uncomplicated dishes that explore

and showcase the freshest and very best ingredients. He

is inspired by Mediterranean and modern French cuisine.

Robert ensures that every dish is prepared, cooked and

presented to perfection.

› claytonskitchen.com

72 GreatWestWay.co.uk


Crown I n, To ldown, Dyrham, Somerset

Try beers brewed with pa sion

Bird in Hand, Knowl Hi l, Reading, Berkshire

EAT, DRINK & STAY WITH

ALONG THE GREAT WEST WAY ®

To discover more, visit GreatWestWay.co.uk

Wadworth Brewery, Devizes, Wiltshire

Bear Hotel, Devizes, Wiltshire

Black Swan, Devizes, Wiltshire

GGW advert.qxp_Layout 1 19/11/2019 15:26 Page 1

A proper English afternoon tea is far more than just

a hot beverage. In fact, it can be a whole meal in

itself, no to mention a thoroughly pleasant way to

jam and cream, and cakes. Most people ea them

in that order, but since many of the most upmarket

places will keep replenishing each level, you could

switch back and forth for hours.

Afternoon tea was invented in England, in the 19th

century when the fashion for having dinner later

(around 8pm) took hold among the upper classes

lon

M et our working shire horses

George I n, Norton St Philip, Bath, Somerset

Enjoy great food from pub cla sics to a special treat

W W W.WA D W O R T H.C O.U K

WHATLEY MANOR

days and includes plenty of child-friendly activities.

HUNGERFORD FOOD FESTIVAL (F4)

EAT READING (H4)

Broad St and Market Place, Reading, June

livingreading.co.uk

Two-day festival showcasing Reading’s best foodie

businesses, featuring live cookery demonstrations,

street food tastings, cocktail mixology and a popup

street café.

Hungerford Town Ha l and High St, October

hungerfordfoodfestival.com

Fu l-day event featuring street food sta ls, talks

and live cooking demos. Sustainability is a key

GREAT BRITISH FOOD FESTIVAL

Englefield, Reading (H4), June and

Westonbirt House (C3), August

greatbritishfoodfestival.com

This touring festival brings artisan producers and

street food vendors together over two or three

that includes tastings, chef demonstrations, film

screenings and the finale Riverside Fiesta with

street food and a floating gin bar.

A fortnight o feasting, with a line-up of events

ABBEY HOTEL (B4)

abbeyhotelbath.co.uk

APEX HOTEL (B4)

apexhotels.co.uk

BAILBROOK HOUSE HOTEL (B4)

handpickedhotels.co.uk/bailbrookhouse

THE PUMP ROOM RESTAURANT (B4)

Roman Baths, Bath BA1 1LZ 01225 444477

ROSEATE HOUSE (L3)

roseatehotels.com/london/roseatehouse

THE ROSEATE VILLA BATH (B4)

roseatehotels.com/bath/theroseatevi la

THE ROYAL CRESCENT HOTEL & SPA (B4)

16 Royal Crescent, Bath BA1 2LS

THE FAT DUCK (J3)

High St, Bray SL6 2AQ

THE HAND AND FLOWERS (J3)

126 West St, Marlow SL7 2BP

Great West Way and England’s Great West Way are registered trade marks. A l rights reserved.

If you can, time your visit for one of the food and

drink-focused events along the Great West Way.

Some of the bigger ones include the Great Bath

Feast, Bristol Food Connections, Longleat Food and

Music Festival and the Great British Food Festival.

There are also hundreds of sma ler events, alongside

weekly produce and street food markets in market

towns throughou the touring route. You might even

stumble upon Chippenham’s Pancake Races!

Enjoy dining while trave ling the route by train

with our Great West Way Discoverer pass.

Great Western Railway serve delicious produce

from their at-sea tro ley service, from classic

CULINARY DELIGHTS

IN MICHELIN STARRED

RESTAURANTS

BRADFORD ON AVON FOOD FESTIVAL (C4)

Victory Field, Bradford on Avon, 30 May

scrumptiousfoodfestivals.co.uk

snacks and swee treats, to tasty sandwiches

and wraps. Plus, a great range of soft drinks,

beers, and wines to accompany your journey.

LONGLEAT FOOD & MUSIC FESTIVAL (C5)

Longleat, Warminster 4 and 5 July

longleat.co.uk

Join Longleat on the 4th and 5th July 2020 for a

harmonious festival sure to tantalise your taste

buds. You’ l enjoy diverse food and drink stalls,

demonstrations by celebrity chefs, plus live music

from an a ray of artists taking to the stage with

Longleat House as the backdrop; each day’s line-up

wi l be announced closer to the event.

FOOD ON THE MOVE

FABULOUS FOOD &

DRINK FESTIVALS

ale along the Great West Way.

TEA ROOMS & CAFÉS

NATIONAL TRUST SEASONAL EATING,

DRINKING AND SHOPPING

Did you know that 187 of National Trust’s cafés,

DYRHAM PARK, GLOUCESTERSHIRE (B3)

The Tea-room and Tea Garden

PRIOR PARK, BATH (C4)

Kennet and Avon Canal Trust work in partnership

with cafés along the canal at Bradford on Avon,

Devizes, Crofton Beam Engines and Newbury,

so you can be sure of some tasty refreshments

whenever you visit. For more information on their

cafés see katrust.org.uk/attractions

ALDERMASTON TEA ROOMS (H4)

katrust.org.uk/attractions

IN PARTNERSHIP WITH:

p

glorious views of the estate from its windows and

hearty dishes such as guinea fowl and lamb loin on

its menu. There’s also a fu l vegetarian and vegan

menu and exce len traditional Sunday roasts.

Malmesbury, SN16 0BW,

01666 822344 • oldbe lhotel.co.uk

The Old Be l Hotel & Restaurant is reputed to

be the oldest purpose-built hotel in England and

Grade 1 listed. The Refectory and Bar uses fresh,

local and seasonal produce accompanied by a

wide selection of drinks.

THE NEWBURY

SHELBURNE RESTAURANT, BOWOOD

HOTEL, SPA & GOLF RESORT (D4)

Derry Hi l, Calne SN11 9PQ, 01249 822228

bowood.org/bowood-hotel-resort

The classy restaurant a this luxury hotel has

THE WHITE HORSE INN (D4)

whitehorse-comptonbassett.co.uk

AEROSPACE BRISTOL CAFÉ (B3)

Hayes Way, Patchway, Bristol, BS34 5BZ

aerospacebristol.org/cafe

Whilst enjoying a relaxing Spa, be sure to add extra

time to your spa session so you can enjoy afternoon

tea or a tasty meal at your leisure.

THE SWAN BRADFORD ON AVON (C4)

ALDWICK ESTATE VINEYARD

PLUM + SPILT MILK, GREAT NORTHERN

HOTEL (M3)

gnhlondon.com

prepared hot and cold refreshments. Food is

prepared and cooked onsite, whils the fresh bread

is from Hobbs House Bakery and made using local

Shipton Mi l flour from nearby Long Newnton.

WINDSOR CASTLE UNDERCROFT CAFÉ –

OPENING 2020 (K3)

rct.uk/visit/windsor-castle

RICK STEIN, MARLBOROUGH (E4)

rickstein.com/eat-with-us/marlborough

COBBS FARM SHOP

theswanbradford.co.uk

WOOLLEY GRANGE HOTEL (C4)

woo leygrangehotel.co.uk

ALDWICK ESTATE VINEYARD (A4)

01934 864404 • aldwickestate.co.uk

COBBS FARM SHOP & KITCHEN,

ENGLEFIELD (H4)

cobbsfarmshops.co.uk

ALDER RIDGE VINEYARD (F4)

01488 686770 • alderridge.co.uk

A’BECKETT’S VINEYARD (D5)

01380 816669 • abecketts.co.uk

THE OLD BELL HOTEL (C3)

ROVES FARM SHOP (E3)

Rovesfarm.co.uk/farmshop

The chalk soils and temperate climate of the south

are pretty perfect for crisp, white, bubbly varieties,

and English wines are winning international awards.

Take a vineyard tour with one of the wine producers

on the Great West Way.

DINING RESTAURANTS

while autumn means squash and pumpkin.

The café uses the same produce where possible

and serves breakfasts and lunches including

Wiltshire cured ham and homemade quiche.

Down the road in Englefield, Reading you wi l

find another Cobbs Farm Shop & Kitchen with

a whole host of local produce.

COBBS FARM SHOP & KITCHEN,

HUNGERFORD (F4)

Cobbs Farm, Bath Rd, Hungerford RG17 0SP,

CHOLDERTON CHARLIE’S FARM SHOP

(E5)

Choldertoncharliesfarm.com/farm-shop

One of the greatest pleasures of a drive

through the English countryside is stopping

at a farm shop café for a cup of tea and some

tasty local produce. You’ l happen upon them

Corsham Farmers’ Market 3rd Sat of month

Harbourside Street Food Market Broad Quay,

Bristol, every Wed & Thur

Newbury Farmers’ Market 1st Sun of month

01488 686770 • cobbsfarmshops.co.uk

This exce lent farm shop se ls produce from

the su rounding farm. Expect asparagus and

rhubarb in spring and soft fruits in summer,

as you travel along the Great West Way.

ENGLISH WINE

FARM SHOPS

BUTTLE FARM (D4)

buttlefarm.co.uk

Salisbury 1st & 3rd Wed of month

BATH ARTISANS MARKET

BRISTOL BEER FACTORY

MOOR BEER

WEST BERKSHIRE BREWERY

BATH ARTISANS MARKET

FOOD & DRINK TOURS & TASTINGS

MARVELLOUS FOOD MARKETS

(E5)

BEAU’S BAR AND RESTAURANT AT

DONNINGTON GROVE HOTEL &

COUNTRY CLUB (G4)

donnington-grove.com

CLAYTON’S KITCHEN (B4)

claytonskitchen.com

CLOISTERS RESTAURANT,

BAILBROOK HOUSE HOTEL (C4)

handpickedhotels.co.uk

DAN MOON AT THE GAINSBOROUGH

RESTAURANT (B4)

GEORGE INN, NORTON ST PHILIP (C5)

georgeinnnsp.co.uk

city and su rounding countryside. Quench

your thirst in tap rooms, fantastic beer

shops and traditional pubs, or fo low the

lead of the local tour guides at Bristol

Brewery Tours or Bristol Hoppers.

visitbristol.co.uk/beer

Bristol is one of the UK’s leading craft beer

destinations and is brimming with bri liant

breweries – there are more than 20 in the

BEAR, DEVIZES (D4)

thebearhoteldevizes.co.uk

BIRD IN HAND, KNOWL HILL (J3)

birdinhand.co.uk

WADWORTH EAT,

DRINK AND STAY

ON THE GREAT

WEST WAY

BLACK SWAN, DEVIZES (D4)

blackswandevizes.co.uk

CROWN, TOLLDOWN (B3)

thecrownto ldown.co.uk

BRISTOL

KOFFMANN & MR WHITE

FRENCH BRASSERIE (B4)

castlehotelwindsor.com

monkeyislandestate.co.uk

THE MOONRAKER HOTEL (C

moonrakerhotel.com

THE OLD BELL HOTEL (C3)

Malmesbury, SN16 0BW,

THE FAT DUCK, BRAY

A simply superlative restaurant from highly regarded English

chef Heston Blumenthal. Awarded three Michelin stars for its

creative menu, which takes guests on a sensory journey to

the seaside and begins before you even arrive, with a phone

consultation. Expect to be dazzled – and to be talking about it

for years. Bookings essential, and well in advance.

› thefatduck.co.uk

Pictured

left then

clockwise:

Koffmann &

Mr. White’s

English

and French

Brasserie,

Bath; Whatley

Manor Hotel &

Spa, Wiltshire;

Dessert at

The Fat Duck,

Bray; Hand

and Flowers,

Wycombe;

Dessert at

Hand and

Flowers,

Wycombe

THE DINING ROOM, WHATLEY MANOR

HOTEL & SPA, MALMESBURY

The Dining Room at Whatley Manor Hotel & Spa has recently

been awarded their second Michelin star, just two years after

earning their first. Executive Chef, Niall Keating, who previously

worked around the world at some of the finest Michelin starred

restaurants was awarded a coveted Michelin star in less than

a year of joining Whatley Manor. Niall draws inspiration from

many different cuisines, including Korean, Japanese and classic

French. Niall’s cuisine is very much ‘of the moment’.

› whatleymanor.com

CASAMIA, BRISTOL

An impressive Grade II listed former Victorian hospital on

the harbour-side, overlooking Bathurst Basin, at Casamia

the menu of seasonal dishes, from Wiltshire rainbow trout

to Spanish winter truffle, are regularly changing, and are

presented to you at your table by the chefs themselves.

Vaulted arches give this innovative restaurant a light, airy feel

and the state-of-the-art open kitchen acts as the focal point.

› casamiarestaurant.co.uk

KOFFMANN & MR. WHITE’S ENGLISH AND

FRENCH BRASSERIE, BATH

A delightful English and French all day dining city centre

brasserie created by culinary legends Pierre Koffmann and

Marco Pierre White. The menu is homage to their 36 yearold

friendship; a culinary combination of the chefs’ personal

favourites, careers and homelands. Set within Bath's historic

Abbey Hotel, the restaurant boasts an idyllic and classic setting.

› mpwrestaurants.co.uk →

Bristol Airport’s cafes, bars and restaurants

stay open until the final flight of the day,

so you can fuel up before you take off, with

anything from a tasty snack to a sit down meal.

Our pick is Cabin Bar - premium bar with rooftop

te race. The Cabin, o fers fine wine, craft beers

and loca ly sourced food in a relaxing environment

– and includes a stylish outdoor te race with

retractable roof.

If its award-winning you’re looking for then you’re

in for a treat. There are numerous celebrity chefs

along the route and top-notch country pubs such as

The Red Lion Freehouse. Listed are some of the best

restaurants.

RED LION FREEHOUSE (E5)

East Chisenbury, Pewsey SN9 6AQ,

01980 671124 • redlionfreehouse.com

Thatched country pub with food so good it holds a

Michelin star. There’s pub grub such as ham, egg and

chips as we l as the more refined main menu which

changes daily and focuses on what’s in season.

THE DINING ROOM, WHATLEY MANOR

HOTEL & SPA (C3)

Easton Grey, Malmesbury SN16 0RB,

01666 822888 • whatleymanor.com

A Michelin-sta red tasting menu from the kitchen of

executive chef Nia l Keating is served in this friendly

but formal dining room. There’s often charcuterie

from the manor to start, fo lowed by a creative lineup

of modern British dishes.

KOFFMANN & MR WHITE’S ENGLISH AND

FRENCH BRASSERIE (B4)

mpwrestaurants.co.uk

THE MARCO PIERRE WHITE RESTAURANT

AT THE CASTLE HOTEL (K3)

castlehotelwindsor.com

THE MONKEY ISLAND BRASSERIE AT THE

MONKEY ISLAND ESTATE (J3)

monkeyislandestate.co.uk

THE MOONRAKER HOTEL (C4)

moonrakerhotel.com

THE DOWER HOUSE RESTAURANT, THE

ROYAL CRESCENT HOTEL & SPA (B4)

16 Royal Crescent, Bath BA1 2LS,

01225 823333, royalcrescent.co.uk

This formal but friendly restaurant serves both

tasting menus (one is vegetarian) and á la carte

dishes, with a focus on seasonal British cuisine.

The dining room overlooks the hotel’s gardens,

where you can dine al fresco in summer.

You’ l find many of the restaurants along the

Great West Way are dining rooms within our

Ambassador hotels, many of which source their

ingredients from sma local producers. You’ll also

find several celebrity chefs including Rick Stein,

Pierre Ko fmann and Marco Pie re White. There’s

also plenty of di ferent cuisines to tempt you.

BEAU’S BAR AND RESTAURANT AT

DONNINGTON GROVE HOTEL &

COUNTRY CLUB (G4)

donnington-grove.com

THE BRASSERIE AT SIR CHRISTOPHER

WREN HOTEL (K3)

sirchristopherwren.co.uk

CEDAR AT THE LANGLEY (K3)

thelangley.com

CLAYTON’S KITCHEN (B4)

claytonskitchen.com

CLOISTERS RESTAURANT,

BAILBROOK HOUSE HOTEL (C4)

handpickedhotels.co.uk

DAN MOON AT THE GAINSBOROUGH

RESTAURANT (B4)

thegainsboroughbathspa.co.uk

THE DISPENSARY, NO 15 GREAT

PULTENEY (B4)

no15greatpulteney.co.uk

GUYERS HOUSE HOTEL

& RESTAURANT (C4)

guyershouse.com

THE HARROW AT LITTLE BEDWYN (F4)

theharrowatlittlebedwyn.com

HEYWORTH RESTAURANT, HENLEY

GREENLAND’S HOTEL (H3)

hospitalityuor.co.uk

Richmond Duck Pond Markets every Sat & Sun

Swindon Farmers’ Market Swindon Designer

Outlet, every Sun

Thames Va ley Farmers’ Market Ascot, 3rd Sun

of month; Newbury, 1st Sun of month; Reading 1st

& 3rd Sat of month; Windsor, 1st Sat of month

Trowbridge Weaver’s Market 2nd Saturday of

the month (not winter)

Wiltshire Farmers’ Market Devizes, 1st Sat of

month; Royal Wootton Bassett 4th Sat of month;

Salisbury 1st & 3rd Wed of month

SAVOURING BATH (B4)

savouringbath.com

THAMES LIDO (H4)

thameslido.com

THAMES RIVERCRUISE (H4)

thamesrivercruise.co.uk

VAUGHAN’S KITCHEN (D4)

vaughanskitchen.co.uk

WILTON WINDMILL (F4)

wiltonwindmi l.co.uk

Join one of the Great West Way’s best food

experiences to rea ly ge to grips with the local

cuisine. There are plenty of places to try homegrown

tipples. Beer, wine and gin are a l made along the

Great West Way. You can take a brewery, vineyard or

disti lery tour, try a hands-on foodie experience like a

cookery school, or take a city food tour.

AROUND AND ABOUT BATH (B4)

aroundandaboutbath.com

BOMBAY SAPPHIRE DISTILLERY (G5)

disti lery.bombaysapphire.com

BRISTOL PACKET BOAT TRIPS (A4)

bristolpacket.co.uk

FRENCH BROTHERS (K3)

frenchbrothers.co.uk

HOBBS OF HENLEY (H3)

hobbsofhenley.com

LIDO BRISTOL (A4)

lidobristol.com

The Great West Way runs through some of

England’s most fertile agricultura land, so it’s no

surprise that you’ l find regular farmers’ markets

along the route. Check ou these markets for fresh

local food and drink, direct from the producers.

Bath Farmers’ Market Green Park Station,

every Sat

Bristol Farmers’ Market St Nicholas Market,

every Wed

Bristol Street Food Market St Nicholas Market,

every Tue & Fri

Corsham Farmers’ Market 3rd Sat of month

Harbourside Street Food Market Broad Quay,

Bristol, every Wed & Thur

Henley Farmers’ Market 2nd Sat, 4th Thur &

5th Sun of month

Maidenhead Farmers’ Market 2nd Sun of month

Malmesbury Artisan and Farmers’ Market

every Fri

Newbury Farmers’ Market 1st Sun of month

One-day event featuring food sta ls from local artisan

producers, cookery demonstrations by professional

chefs and a children’s activity area.

BRISTOL FOOD CONNECTIONS (A4)

Bristol, June • bristolfoodconnections.com

A citywide line-up of events over almos two weeks,

including talks on food and health, lunchtime boat

trips and cooking demonstrations.

THE COFFEE HOUSE PROJECT (A4)

The Passenger Shed, Bristol, September

thecoffeehouseproject.co.uk

Bristol’s first co fee festival celebrates local, artisan

roasters and independent food and drink retailers over

two days.

DEVIZES BEER FESTIVAL (D4)

The Wharf, Devizes, July • camra.org.uk

Long-running one-day beer festival with more than

100 real ales and ciders served up canalside. Live

music too.

theme.

PUB IN THE PARK (BATH B4 / MARLOW J3)

Marlow, May and Royal Victoria Park, Bath,

June • pubintheparkuk.com

Celebrity chef Tom Ke ridge combines tastings,

chef demonstrations, masterclasses and music

from top live acts in his ‘ultimate pub garden’ over

three lively days.

THE SURREY FOOD FESTIVAL (L3)

Old Deer Park, Richmond, April

surreyfoodfestival.com

A weekend o foodie fun, with talks, tastings and

demos in the marquee and an extensive line-up

o food and drink sta ls, plus live music and a kids’

zone.

TASTE OF CORSHAM (C4)

Corsham, June • corsham.gov.uk

Fu l-day celebration of Corsham’s local food

producers, with food and drink sta ls lining the

High Street, live music and a silent disco.

TASTE HERE.

GreatWestWay.co.uk/food-and-drink

FOOD &

DRINK

Great places to savour along the

Great West Way.

The Great West Way roams between London and

Bristol, passing through some of England’s most

idyllic countryside and weaving a pathway from

ancient market town to quaint village, thatched pub

to beamed tearoom.

This slice of quintessential England is home to some of the country’s best

agricultura land, and with that comes exce lent local produce, from fresh

fruits and vegetables to fine wines. Farms rear animals and nurture crops,

breweries experiment with craft beers, and kitchen gardens cultivate seasonal

veggies. While pubs and restaurants selec the best of it all for their menus,

and family-run tea rooms whip up fresh cakes daily.

A l of this adds up to one very tasty journey along the Great West Way. From

farm shops, international cuisine, Michelin starred restaurants, tours, tastings,

cookery schools and more take a look at our pick of the best places to visit.

START HERE.

DEVIZES FOOD AND DRINK FESTIVAL (D4)

Devizes, September-October

devizesfoodanddrinkfestival.info

Week-long celebration of local food and drink

products, including a food market in the Market

Place and visits to producers including a goat farm

and vineyard.

EAT! FOOD FESTIVAL HENLEY (H3)

Henley on Thames, June • eatfoodfest.co.uk

With so many great places to

savour along the Great West

Way, from thatched pubs to

beamed tearooms in ancient

market towns to quaint villages,

you might find you first need

one of our food maps

GreatWestWay.co.uk/

explore/maps

THE NEWBURY

137 BARTHOLOMEW ST, NEWBURY RG14

5HB, 01635 49000 • thenewburypub.co.uk

The Newbury offers an exciting British à la carte

menu and fantastic atmosphere. It is also the

home of 137 Gin, where multi-award winning

Lumber’s Bartholomew Gin is disti led.

Landlord Pete’s vision is at the heart of The

Newbury and 137, from the distinctive branding

to the stunning décor.

BEER & BREWERIES

Beer has been brewed in England for thousands

of years – a fermented mixture of water, hops,

malt and yeast. Although beer itself wasn’t

invented here, the English have developed their

own unique style which is quite unlike what

you’ l find in other countries.

This is called ‘real ale’, a name first coined in the

1970s by CAMRA (the Campaign for Real Ale)

to describe traditional draught cask beers that

contain live yeast. Real ale is a living product,

the yeast continuing to ferment until the beer is

served – generally from a traditional hand-pu l

pump mounted on the bar. This gives real ale

bags o flavour and a natural light carbonation

that is very di ferent from the more ubiquitous

lagers and highly carbonated beers produced by

the large international brewers.

You’ll find real ale in almost a l pubs along

the Great West Way. It comes in numerous

varieties including IPA (India Pale Ale), bi ter,

mild, stout, porter and golden. Flavours can

vary significantly within varieties, so don’t be

afraid to request a taste first – and always ask

for what’s local.

These are some of the best places to drink real

BREWERIES

THE BATH BREW HOUSE (B4)

thebathbrewhouse.com

WADWORTH BREWERY (D4)

Northgate Brewery, Devizes SN10 1JW,

01380 723361 • wadworth.co.uk

Stately red-brick brewery in Devizes town centre,

producing a range of real ales including the widely

distributed 6X. Ca l in to the Harness Room Bar

for a taste and don’t leave without checking out

the Brewseum.

WEST BERKSHIRE BREWERY (G3)

The Old Dairy, Frilsham Farm, Yattendon RG18

0XT, 01635 767090 • wbbrew.com

A menu of homemade pizzas, burgers and salads

soak up the beers in the Taproom of this modern

brewhouse. You’ll have views into the brewery on

one side and out over the Berkshire countryside

on the other.

BARS AND PUBS SERVING

REAL ALES

HELEN BROWNING’S ROYAL OAK (E3)

helenbrowningsorganic.co.uk/royal-oak/

THE NEWBURY (G4)

thenewburypub.co.uk

THE PRINCE STREET SOCIAL (B4)

princestreetsocial.com

QUEENS ARMS, EAST GARSTON (F4)

queensarmseastgarston.co.uk

THE ROYAL OAK YATTENDON (G3)

royaloakyattendon.co.uk

THE ROYAL WINDSOR PUB (K3)

theroyalwindsor.co.uk

THE SWAN BRADFORD ON AVON (C4)

theswanbradford.co.uk

THREE TUNS FREEHOUSE (F4)

tunsfreehouse.com

WADWORTH EAT,

DRINK AND STAY

ON THE GREAT

WEST WAY

BEAR, DEVIZES (D4)

thebearhoteldevizes.co.uk

BIRD IN HAND, KNOWL HILL (J3)

birdinhand.co.uk

BLACK SWAN, DEVIZES (D4)

blackswandevizes.co.uk

CROWN, TOLLDOWN (B3)

thecrowntolldown.co.uk

GEORGE INN, NORTON ST PHILIP (C5)

georgeinnnsp.co.uk

BRISTOL

visitbristol.co.uk/beer

Bristol is one of the UK’s leading craft beer

destinations and is brimming with brilliant

breweries – there are more than 20 in the

city and surrounding countryside. Quench

your thirst in tap rooms, fantastic beer

shops and traditional pubs, or fo low the

lead of the local tour guides at Bristol

Brewery Tours or Bristol Hoppers.

MOOR BEER

BRISTOL BEER FACTORY

ENGLISH WINE

The chalk soils and temperate climate of the south

are pre ty perfect for crisp, white, bubbly varieties,

and English wines are winning international awards.

Take a vineyard tour with one of the wine producers

on the Great West Way.

FARM SHOPS

One of the greatest pleasures of a drive

through the English countryside is stopping

at a farm shop café for a cup of tea and some

tasty local produce. You’ l happen upon them

as you travel along the Great West Way.

COBBS FARM SHOP & KITCHEN,

HUNGERFORD (F4)

Cobbs Farm, Bath Rd, Hungerford RG17 0SP,

01488 686770 • cobbsfarmshops.co.uk

This exce lent farm shop se ls produce from

the su rounding farm. Expect asparagus and

rhubarb in spring and soft fruits in summer,

while autumn means squash and pumpkin.

The café uses the same produce where possible

and serves breakfasts and lunches including

Wiltshire cured ham and homemade quiche.

Down the road in Englefield, Reading you will

find another Cobbs Farm Shop & Kitchen with

a whole host of local produce.

BUTTLE FARM (D4)

buttlefarm.co.uk

CHOLDERTON CHARLIE’S FARM SHOP

Choldertoncharliesfarm.com/farm-shop

COBBS FAR

ENGLEFIELD

cobbsfarmsho

ROVES FARM

Rovesfarm.co.

A’BECKETT’S V

01380 816669 •

ALDER RIDGE V

01488 686770 •

ALDWICK ESTAT

01934 864404 •

THE LANGLEY (K3)

thelangley.com

Experience an authentic Afternoon Tea in the

classic decor of the Drawing Room. Appointed

with historic features, original artwork and

contemporary furnishings, this is the perfect

spo to view our landscaped gardens and lake

while enjoying our contemporary afternoon tea.

AFTERNOON TEA

BOWOOD HOTEL, SPA & GOLF RESORT (D4)

Calne, Wiltshire SN11 9PQ 01249 822228

bowood.org/bowood-hotel-resort

Finger sandwiches, scones and colourful cakes

served in the Shelburne Restaurant, Bar and

Library. Fire in winter.

CRICKLADE HOUSE HOTEL (E2)

crickladehotel.co.uk

THE BRIDGE TEA ROOMS (C4)

thebridgetearooms.co.uk

NO 15 GREAT PULTENEY (B4)

no15greatpulteney.co.uk

restaurants and tea-rooms have received the

Food for Life Served Here Award? The award

recognises tha they serve fresh, local food that

is ethica ly and sustainable produced. There

are seven National Trust places you can find on

the Great West Way and eight more which are

within easy reach of it, so if you’re looking for an

afternoon tea, a picnic or a food hamper to take

back there should be something to tempt your

tastebuds.

AVEBURY, MARLBOROUGH (E4)

The New Circles Restaurant

Avebury Manor Tearoom

Coach House Café

Refuel in the café whilst on a visi to Aerospace

Bristol. This light and airy café serves a delicious

range of light meals, snacks and drinks. Produce is

loca ly sourced where possible.

THE BRIDGE TEA ROOMS (C4)

thebridgetearooms.co.uk

GARDEN CAFÉ AT THE HOLBURNE MUSEUM (C4)

holburne.org

HONEYSTREET BOATS AND CAFÉ (E4)

honeystreetmi lcafe.co.uk

SPRING’S CAFÉ AND RESTAURANT (B4)

Thermae Bath Spa, Bath, BA1 1SJ

01225 331234 • thermaebathspa.com

MARVELLOUS FOOD MARKETS

The Great West Way runs through some of

England’s most fertile agricultura land, so it’s no

surprise that you’ll find regular farmers’ markets

along the route. Check ou these markets for fresh

local food and drink, direct from the producers.

Bath Farmers’ Market Green Park Station,

every Sat

Bristol Farmers’ Market St Nicholas Market,

every Wed

Bristol Street Food Market St Nicholas Market,

every Tue & Fri

Richmond Duck Pond Markets every Sat & Sun

Swindon Farmers’ Market Swindon Designer

Outlet, every Sun

Thames Va ley Farmers’ Market Ascot, 3rd Sun

of month; Newbury, 1st Sun of month; Reading 1st

& 3rd Sat of month; Windsor, 1st Sat of month

Trowbridge Weaver’s Market 2nd Saturday of

the month (not winter)

Wiltshire Farmers’ Market Devizes, 1st Sat of

month; Royal Woo ton Basse t 4th Sat of month;

73

DINING RESTAURANTS

You’ll find many of the restaurants along the

Great West Way are dining rooms within our

Ambassador hotels, many of which source their

ingredients from sma local producers. You’ l also

find several celebrity chefs including Rick Stein,

Pie re Ko fmann and Marco Pie re White. There’s

also plenty of di ferent cuisines to tempt you.

while away an afternoon.

romanbaths.co.uk/pump-room-restaurant

An elegant space at the Roman Baths where a

range of teas is served, from the smaller cream tea

The Tea Shed

THE TUTTI POLE (F4)

thetuttipole.co.uk

Henley Farmers’ Market 2nd Sat, 4th Thur &

5th Sun of month

THE BRASSERIE AT SIR CHRISTOPHER

WREN HOTEL (K3)

mpwrestaurants.co.uk

There is always tea, of course. Usua ly this is served

to the fu l tiered stand of treats.

TYNTESFIELD, BRISTOL (A4)

Cow Barn Restaurant

WESTONBIRT, THE NATIONAL ARBORETUM (C3)

sirchristopherwren.co.uk

THE MARCO PIERRE WHIT

AT THE CASTLE HOTEL (K3

by the pot and made from tea leaves, poured

through a strainer into a bone china cup. A tiered

cake stand is the mos traditional way to serve the

accompanying food: sandwiches, scones served with

THE ROSEATE (H4)

roseatehotels.com/reading/theroseate

Westonbirt, Tetbury, Gloucestershire, GL8 8QS

0300 067 4890 • Forestryengland.uk/Westonbirt

The Westonbirt Restaurant o fers tasty, freshly

Maidenhead Farmers’ Market 2nd Sun of month

Malmesbury Artisan and Farmers’ Market

every Fri

CEDAR AT THE LANGLEY (K3)

thelangley.com

THE MONKEY ISLAND BRA

MONKEY ISLAND ESTATE (J

and made the gap between

01225 823333 • royalcrescent.

Take a se

CAN

Royal Co lection Trust is in

FOOD & DRINK TOURS &

Join one of t

thegainsboroug

01666 822344 • oldb


FEELING THIRSTY? OKTOBERFEST

SWINDON IN OCTOBER AND BRISTOL

CRAFT BEER FESTIVAL IN SEPTEMBER

ARE BOTH GREAT FUN.

PUBS, BREWERIES AND DISTILLERY TOURS

Village pubs along the route are a great place to head for

tasting British food traditions passed down generations, such

as Sunday roasts and Friday fish and chips, or simply bread,

cheese and pickles, known as the ‘ploughman’s lunch’.

Gastropubs offer newer cuisines and often their

restaurants are recognised with a Michelin star or two. And

there are also plenty of homegrown tipples to try too. Beer,

wine and gin are all made along the Great West Way. Take a

brewery, vineyard or distillery tour or just pull up a stool at

the village pub and see what’s on tap.

The Three Tuns Freehouse, Great Bedwyn is Sawdays

“Most Authentic Pub” 2018/19. The Michelin starred

Red Lion Freehouse, Pewsey offers private dining with a

window into the kitchen to watch the team prep. Pigs,

pies, pints and pillows is supplied by Helen Browning's

Royal Oak, Bishopstone, set in the middle of an organic

farm. Take lunch on a Friday and sample the fish menu at

award-winning The Queen’s Arms, East Garston. The Swan,

Bradford on Avon offers both Pub Classics or its Thai Chilli

Restaurant. The Crown & Anchor, set at the foot of the

North Wessex Downs has recently reopened following a

three year refurbishment. Serving Royals and residents alike,

be sure to pop into the Royal Windsor pub with spectacular

views of Windsor Castle, specialising in handmade liquor

and premium craft beers, including a house-brewed Royal

Windsor Pint. You could plan your visit with a stay at The

Royal Oak, Yattendon, a country inn with traditional British

food, to coincide with a drinks festival, and taste their very

own gin distilled on the premises in ‘Harry’ their still.

There's also a'Beckett's Vineyard making english sparkling

and still wines along with cider and apple juice from

their vineyard near Devizes in Wiltshire. Or try The West

Berkshire Brewery at Yattendon and Wadworth Brewery at

Devizes, offering tours and tasting of their award-winning

ales. You might also enjoy Wadworth's 'Eat, Drink, Stay' trail

from their Brewery in Devizes, to their four pubs along the

route - The Bear and The Black Swan in Devizes, The Crown

in Tolldown, and The George Inn in Bath.

The Bombay Sapphire Distillery at Whitchurch is at the

forefront of the English gin resurgence while the Newbury

pub is host to Newbury’s first ever gin distillery thanks to

a working micro distillery and private dining room open all

year for tastings. →

74

Pictured

top-left then

clockwise:

Red Lion

Freehouse;

The West

Berkshire

Brewery at

Yattendon;

Crown &

Anchor, Ham,

Wiltshire; The

Royal Oak,

Yattendon


GIN MAKING

Explore the magic of gin-making. We are reinstalling

an appreciation for gin-making through a fun,

hands-on experience. Enjoy tasting, distilling, and

creating your very own bespoke gin blend.

The Newbury is an imposing grade II listed gastro

pub in the centre of Newbury. It is a multi-award

winning venue which prides itself on its exciting

British a la carte menu, a great selection of ales,

extensive wine list & fabulous service.


UNEXPECTED READING


CAFÉS, LUNCH AND AFTERNOON TEAS

While travelling the Great West Way you are never too far away from

a café or farm shop for lunches, afternoon tea or a drink at the end of

the day. Drive through the North Wessex Downs AONB to Cobbs Farm

Shop for lunch and enjoy a glass of wine from their vineyard, Alder Ridge,

Hungerford.

For those heading to Bath, stop off at the Bridge Tea Rooms in

Bradford on Avon. Double winner of the UK Tea Guild's 'Top Tea Place',

and one of the UK's finest spots for afternoon tea with a list of regal

afternoon teas including the Queen Victoria. A Hansel and Gretel-style

exterior leads onto the cosiest of dining rooms, filled with homely

trinkets, hefty wooden beams and the soft chink of fine bone china.

Clayton’s Kitchen in Bath serves seasonal British fine dining in a

traditionally appointed 4-storey Georgian townhouse.

In Bristol visit Prince Street Social, a welcoming modern-style

British Brasserie located in the centre, or stop for lunch alongside the

picturesque harbourside at Spoke & Stringer for a delicious home-made

Shakshuka, or at Stokes Croft Restaurant for a quirky Pieminister Pie;

everyone from Kate Moss to the Queen has tried one. The Tutti Pole,

Hungerford is a tea shop and family restaurant and was originally the

place where ‘Tutti Poles’ were made for an historic local ceremony, still

continued today.

At Whatley Manor, Nr Malmesbury traditional afternoon tea is served

with a glass of Champagne Deutz. Other places for indulgent afternoon

teas include The Royal Crescent Hotel & Spa and The Abbey Hotel,

Bath, The Old Bell Hotel, Malmesbury, Monkey Island Estate, Bray or

The Langley, Near Windsor. Or why not take tea by the Kennet & Avon

Canal, there’s plenty of choice including the Aldermaston Tea Room, Canal

Trust Café, Honeystreet Mill Café, The Engineman’s Rest Café, The Tea

Shop by the Canal and the Wharf Tea Rooms.

Or for a unique culinary experience in Devizes, book yourself a place on

one of Vaughan's Kitchen Cookery School Masterclasses.

Pictured

top-left then

clockwise:

Afternoon Tea

at Whatley

Manor Hotel

& Spa; Bridge

Tea Rooms in

Bradford on

Avon; Cobbs

Farm shop

& Kitchen,

Hungerford;

hot chocolates

being served

at Wharf

Tea Rooms,

Devizes

GreatWestWay.co.uk

77


WHERE

TO STAY

The Great West Way offers plenty of

choice when it comes to places to stay

WHETHER YOU PREFER the excitement of

a buzzing city or a more rural countryside

retreat, from a stylish boutique hotel, to

a cool gastro pub – there’s always a great

place to stay along the Great West Way. From 5-star

city hotels, country house hotels, to boutique bed and

breakfasts, to camping and glamping retreats, we hope

you will find what is right for you.

IN THE CITY

Starting your Great West Way journey from London?

You might enjoy a stay at Roseate House London just a

short walk from Hyde Park.

Roseate Hotels has two further luxury boutique

hotels along the Great West Way; The Roseate Reading,

described by the Evening Standard as ‘UK’s Sexiest

Townhouse Hotel’; and located in the centre of Bath

The Roseate Villa Bath. Stopping at Reading? The Bird

In Hand Hotel, at Knowl Hill, recently acquired by

Wiltshire brewer Wadworth, is a delightful 14th Century

Inn with a history that spans 600 years.

In Bath you are spoiled for choice of luxury hotels, but

it could be claimed, none quite as grand and spectacular

as The Royal Crescent Hotel & Spa. Built between 1767

and 1775 this is a fine example of Georgian architecture,

located in the most famous crescent in the world.

Effortlessly combining AA Five Red Star service, an

award-winning Spa and beautiful gardens.

In the heart of Bath, Abbey Hotel Bath is an

experiential art-driven hotel, for people seeking true

Bathonian encounters - inspired by the city’s most

celebrated icons - it blends the new with the old,

the refined with the comfortable and the local with

the worldly. Guests are immersed in rich history,

architectural beauty, regional artistry and craftsmanship.

Built in 1739, the building composed part of John Wood’s

vision for Bath - essentially the playground for the

pleasure-loving visitors of the Georgian haute monde.

The Gainsborough Bath Spa occupies two Grade II Listed

buildings, centred around the natural thermal, mineralrich

waters. Dukes Hotel, occupies two magnificent

Georgian Townhouses on Great Pulteney Street, or try the

Apex Hotel, Bath’s largest hotel, close to Thermae Bath

Spa. Bailbrook House Hotel is a Grade II listed hotel,

also in the city, set in 20 acres - here you can enjoy the

historic Cloisters restaurant or contemporary dining in

The Conservatory.

Desire your own holiday home? The Apartment

Bath is an award-winning two-bedroom luxury property

in a fantastic central location, or try Bath Apartment

Breaks. For a selection of independently owned holiday

properties search online with the help of Stay in Bath,

Tucking Mill Holidays in Bath and Bath Area Self

Catering. For an elegant and vivacious new boutique

townhouse hotel located on the grandest street in Bath

head to No. 15 Great Pulteney.

78 GreatWestWay.co.uk


Accommodation in Bristol is as colourful and varied as the

city itself. From a city centre hostel attached to a vintage

bowling alley to a luxurious lodge in the grounds of a

zoo, you’ll find somewhere special to suit you. The city’s

distinct neighbourhoods each offer different experiences,

so it depends what type of trip you’re hoping for…

For something unconventional, check into one of

Brooks Guesthouse’s rooftop airstreams for a spot of

urban glamping in the Old City. Right next to St Nicholas’

Market, you’ll be in prime position for perusing local

craft stalls and tucking into the delicious street food it’s

renowned for, from sausage baps to falafel wraps.

If it’s dining, drinking and nightlife you’re after, check

out Rock & Bowl Motel right in the city centre, The

Bristol Wing, a boutique hostel in the Grade II listed old

Police Headquarters, or The Full Moon - a backpacker

hostel adjoining the lively Attic Bar in arty, alternative

Stokes Croft.

If you would prefer somewhere more serene,

close to University of Bristol Botanic Garden, opt for

somewhere in Clifton. Although it has a village feel,

independent shops, cosmopolitan restaurants and the

iconic Suspension Bridge are all within walking distance.

Number Thirty Eight, a boutique hotel in a refurbished

Georgian merchant’s house, is in prime position. Relax

in a room with a roll top bath or soak up panoramic park

views. Alternatively, go for a really wild stay at Bristol

Zoo Gardens. The Lodge is a super stylish apartment

with safari-themed rooms and a private terrace looking

onto the zoo’s glorious gardens.

And if you’re just in Bristol for a flying visit - where

could be more convenient than Hampton By Hilton

Bristol Airport?

IN THE COUNTRYSIDE

Sitting proudly next to the 12th Century Abbey in the

centre of the historic, vibrant and charming Wiltshire

market town of Malmesbury, England’s oldest hotel The

Old Bell Hotel has recently been restored to the height of

elegance, glamour and English charm. Beechfield House

also in Wiltshire, is a stunning 4 AA red star, 2 AA rosette,

relaxed country house hotel offering a truly opulent

place to stay. Or try The Manor House, a 14th Century

luxury hotel and golf club in Castle Combe, part of the

Exclusive Collection along with Pennyhill Park, surrey and

Royal Berkshire, on the outskirts of Ascot. Or for a lovely,

secluded and unique cottage on a working farm head to

Cliffe Farm Dairy with beautiful views of the steep chalk

escarpment leading up to Salisbury Plain.

Another gorgeous countryside retreat is the five-star

Whatley Manor Hotel & Spa, in the Southern Cotswolds

set in 12 acres of gardens. If you are travelling with

children Woolley Grange Hotel in Bradford on Avon →

Pictured

top-left then

clockwise:

The Roseate

Reading; Brooks

Guesthouse,

Bristol, rooftop

airstreams;

Whatley Manor

Hotel & Spa,

Cotswolds;

Beechfield

House; The

Abbey Hotel

79


is a beautiful Jacobean manor house on the edge of the

Cotswolds offering a very warm welcome to families.

Or try The Langley, Buckinghamshire - the former country

estate of the third Duke of Marlborough has a wonderful spa,

exceptional dining and Capability Brown designed gardens.

Guyers House Hotel & Restaurant, Corsham is a traditional

country house with an award-winning restaurant.

If you’re looking to stay somewhere quieter, away from the

hustle and bustle, with farm-fresh produce on the table, and a

‘home from home’ feel, then a cosy countryside B&B or selfcatering

cottage make a great option.

The Coachmans Self-Catering Holiday Cottage is an

idyllic retreat in the heart of Steeple Ashton - a delightful

quintessential village, with award-winning village shop,

magnificent church, and beautiful historic architecture

spanning 700 years, set amidst beautiful Wiltshire

countryside. For an opulent and elegant stay close to the

North Wessex Downs, Heritage Luxury B&B is perfectly

placed on the Great West Way in Calne.

Kingsbury @ No 8 is a boutique-hotel style B&B close

to the centre of Marlborough’s historic high street. Stay

here and dine at Rick Stein’s restaurant in Lloran House

and enjoy a menu that features some of Rick’s most iconic

seafood dishes like Indonesian seafood curry, Dover sole a la

meunière and turbot hollandaise.

Or you could try The White Horse Inn, Calne, a

traditional country pub in the Wiltshire countryside with

two AA Rosette restaurant and Gold award Bed & Breakfast

accommodation.

Donnington Grove Hotel & Country Club, Newbury

is set in 500 acres of countryside and offers countryside

pursuits such as fishing and clay pigeon shooting, while just

a short drive away, in the picturesque farming village of

Hampstead Norreys, are Manor Farm Courtyard Holiday

Cottages luxuriously-appointed self-catering cottages.

Church Farm Country Cottages offer self-catering

cottages on a working sheep farm between Bath and

Bradford on Avon with an indoor heated pool.

Cumberwell Country Cottages, Bradford on Avon, have

converted an old Tythe Barn into luxurious self-catering

cottages. Or try Beanhill Farm B&B, Chippenham - located

on a farm with prize-winning cattle and sheep. Lorne

House, near Corsham, the childhood home of Thomas the

Tank Engine author, Reverend W.V. Awdry, is today a large

Victorian villa with elegant charm. Stay as a B&B guest, or

hire the entire house.

You might enjoy having your own private Manor House

wing? Try Sheephouse Manor Cottages, situated between

Maidenhead and Cookham. →

Pictured

top-left then

clockwise:

The Langley;

Guyers House

Hotel &

Restaurant;

Lorne House

B&B

80


Experience Wiltshire at its Best!

Adult-only Glamping in a glorious part of rural England

Totteridge Farm Camping Pods

Pewsey +44 (0)7917 573407 Wiltshire

www.totteridge-farm.website

- BOUTIQUE BED & BREAKFAST -

- WHAT OUR GUESTS SAY -

“Loved everything about this Guest House B & B.

Rooms were excellent. Breakfast excellent. Hosts

were spot on. Showers awesome. The homemade

gold marmalade 5 star. What else can I say!”

Judith, New Zealand

“Lovely location, lovely guest house, lovely people”

Sean, UK

“Everything relating to Lorne House I can mark

11/10! Staff, facilities, cleanliness, food, local

information given on request...quite honestly,

everything! I do, can and will recommend Lorne

House to everybody that wants to know.”

Holly, UK

“Loved everything! Clean, comfy and quiet. Room

Lorne House is a large Vict

villa in the lovely Wiltshire

London village Rd of Box, just six mile

London Rd

Lorne Box London House Rd is a large Vict

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Avalon Lodge Bed & Breakfast, Devizes has countryside

views and south facing balconies, free ranging hens and

ducks and two rescue donkeys.

There are also many pubs offering B&B in great locations,

such as Troutbeck Guesthouse, East Chisenbury for boutique

accommodation by the River Avon and the nearby Red Lion

for food. The Royal Oak, Yattendon is a traditional English

country pub with Michelin rated food, luxurious bedrooms,

award-winning real ales, log fires and a walled garden.

The Queens Arms, East Garston, is an award-winning pub,

restaurant and hotel with large bar and log fire, dining room

and covered terrace and garden.

Or try Helen Browning’s Royal Oak, Bishopstone, a dining

pub with rooms in the middle of an organic farm on the edge

of the Wiltshire Downs.

CAMPING & GLAMPING

For those who really want to get in touch with their

surroundings The Camping and Caravanning Club with sites

in Salisbury, Walton on Thames, Cheddar Mendip Heights,

Devizes and Chertsey is a great option - as is The Chilterns

View, Wallingford's Luxury lodge accommodation in the

village of Ewelme, South Oxfordshire, overlooking the

beautiful Chilterns Hills. Mill Farm takes luxury camping to a

whole new level with their high end luxury accommodation,

set on their organic farm in the heart of the glorious

Wiltshire countryside.

Or head to The Farm Camp, an off grid, eco-friendly,

luxury campsite near Bath offering plenty of activities.

Totteridge Farm in the heart of the Vale of Pewsey, is an

adult-only campsite with five glamping pods and spectacular

views from the hills on either side of the Vale. Buttle Farm,

Compton Bassett, has stunning barn conversions on a rare

breed pig farm and runs charcuterie experiences. While

Shillingridge offer Luxury Glamping Safari Lodges, nestled in

the Chiltern Hills by the stunning riverside town of Marlow

on Thames in Buckinghamshire. →

Pictured

top-left then

clockwise:

Avalon

Lodge Bed &

Breakfast; Mill

Farm; Helen

Browning’s

Royal Oak

83


Pictured

top-left then

clockwise:

Canal boats

on the river;

Henley

Greenlands

Hotel;

Honeystreet

Boats

ON OR BY THE WATER

On the River Thames, Henley Greenlands Hotel, once home

to the WH Smith family, is set within the 30 acre Henley

Business School estate in the Oxfordshire countryside, while

Sir Christopher Wren Hotel and Spa is a 4-star comprising

several characterful buildings clustered around a historic

cobbled street by Eton Bridge and Windsor Castle, with a

gym, spa treatments, outdoor whirlpool and sauna.

The stunning hotel is located right on the River Thames,

within easy walking distance of Windsor’s restaurants, shops

and attractions including Windsor Castle. The world-famous

Eton College is a seven-minute walk from the hotel, just over

Eton Bridge and down the High Street. Also in Windsor, both

Castle Hotel MGallery and Sir Christopher Wren Hotel & Spa

offer spectacular views of the Thames and Windsor Castle.

Thought boats were just for day trips? Well, along the

Great West Way you can sleep on them too. You’ll never

forget waking up on the water, peering through portholes at

passing ducks as you prepare to rise and shine.

Canal boat hire in England is easy to organise and

incredibly rewarding, enabling you to fully experience the

pleasures of the wildlife-rich waterways, including such

delights as Caen Hill Locks and Bathampton. The Canal and

River Trust can give you all the information you need about

how to take to the waters. Along the River Thames and the

Kennet & Avon Canal you can hire your own boldly painted

boat and take the journey at your own pace.

Consider a boating holiday on a self-drive barge or

motor cruiser, or for a more relaxing break a river cruise on a

hotel boat. Honeystreet Boats provides friendly canal boat

holidays on the Kennet & Avon Canal. Sally Narrowboats, in

the Bradford on Avon Marina, is great to cruise to Bath in a

westerly direction and Reading in the east. Hobbs of Henley

has 2 luxury Linnsen motor cruisers to cruise from Henley

to Oxford or Henley to Reading. While Bruce Boats at Great

Bedwyn Wharf, Kennet & Avon Canal, offers canal holidays

for older people and Devizes Marina Village offer selfcatering

lodges with hot tubs and fantastic views.

Or for somewhere where there’s quite literally water,

water everywhere, visit the Cotswold Water Park, just a short

detour off the route, and enjoy 40 square miles, with more

than 150 lakes set in beautiful countryside.

Fun fact:

People who

like observing

England’s canal

life from the

sidelines are

affectionately

called

‘gongoozlers’.

84


Visit

Chippenham

Visit and stay in Chippenham as part of your Great West Way® journey of discovery.

Find out more at GreatWestWay.co.uk

www.chippenham.gov.uk

Open all day for

breakfast, afternoon tea,

freeze shakes and dinner.

Bite Me Burger, No 7 Kingsbury Street, Marlborough.

Tel: 01672 514776

www.bitemeburger.com


JOIN THE FUN!

From confetti battles to music festivals, canoe races

to country shows and big-ticket exhibitions

Words: Samantha Rutherford

Pictured

left-right: Pub

in the Park,

Marlow and

The Bradford

on Avon annual

Duck Race

CALENDAR OF EVENTS

JANUARY / FEBRUARY / MARCH

Celebration of light, Bristol

FEBRUARY-MARCH

This illuminating new annual event will

celebrate the creative talents of local,

national and international designers

and collaborators in a playful outdoor

gallery of light installations that will

bring vivid colour to Bristol city centre's

public spaces at a traditionally quiet and

dark time of the year. îvisitbristol.co.uk

Parties, Portraits and Politics

UNTIL EARLY APRIL

A new temporary exhibition will give

visitors a glimpse of what it was like

to be entertained in Blenheim Palace

during the 1920s, from the menus and

wine to the fashion, music, politics

and art. The 9th Duke of Marlborough

and his second wife ‘Gladys Deacon’,

entertained lavishly throughout

the roaring twenties during their

glamourous house parties.

îblenheimpalace.com

Wonder FEBRUARY

A new year-round programme

and festival of children’s book events

in Bath and beyond that will capture

imaginations and inspire future

storytellers. îvisitbath.co.uk

Bath Comedy Festival

31 MARCH–19 APRIL

Bath Comedy Festival presents

household names in the world of

comedy and promotes the big names

of tomorrow. îvisitbath.co.uk

86 GreatWestWay.co.uk


APRIL / MAY / JUNE

Devizes to Westminster

International Canoe Race

10-13 APRIL

This is the world’s longest non-stop canoe

race, which starts in Devizes, following

the Kennet & Avon Canal and joining

The Thames, finishing just downstream

of Westminster Bridge, opposite the

Houses of Parliament, a total distance of

125 miles, 77 portages. îdwrace.co.uk

Howard’s Day at Castle Combe

Circuit 13 APRIL

Easter Monday is the traditional start

to the motor racing season at Castle

Combe Circuit and is marked by this

popular race day.

îcastlecombecircuit.co.uk

The Bradford on Avon Duck

Race, 13 APRIL

At this the famous annual

Duck Race over a 1000 ducks are

launched into the river from the Town

Bridge, where Rowing Club kayakers

wait at the finish line to retrieve the

lucky winners of many amazing prizes

to be won!

îbradfordonavontowncouncil.gov.uk

The Bath Festival

15-24 MAY

Having recently celebrated its 70th

birthday, this 10-day festival celebrates

music and literature, bringing

prominent writers, musicians and

cultural figures to the city.

îbathfestivals.org.uk

Pub in the Park Marlow

15-17 MAY

Set in the beautiful town of Marlow

this is a glorious three day feast of

the best food the country has to offer

created by some of the world’s best

chefs, pop-up pubs and great live music.

îpubintheparkuk.com

Highclere Country Show

24-25 MAY

The estate better known as Downton

Abbey, Highclere hosts one of

England’s best country shows, with

falconry, gundog displays and the

chance to have a go at clay shooting.

îhighclerecountryshow.co.uk

Calne Summer Carnival

27 JUNE

The Calne Summer Carnival draws in

over 5000 visitors to its historic town

centre, with activities from live music to

street entertainers, food stalls to local

crafters, and the marvellous carnival

procession. îcalne.gov.uk

The Little Welly Obstacle

Course & Festival,

Henley on Thames 6-7 JUNE

Let your kids Go Wild, Get Muddy and

enjoy tackling the 3km landscaped

course with over 30 big obstacles –

involving water, foam and of course

plenty of MUD! îthelittlewelly.co.uk

Royal Ascot 16-20 JUNE

Arguably England’s most famous

– and grandest – horse racing event,

with five days of races each kicked off

by a royal carriage parade.

This is your chance to wave at the

Queen and to wear a fabulous hat!

îascot.co.uk →

GreatWestWay.co.uk

87


JULY / AUGUST / SEPTEMBER

Henley Royal Regatta

1-5 JULY

Established in 1839, this annual regatta attracts rowing

crews from around the world to its five days of head to head

knockout competitions and is regarded as an integral part of

the English social season. îhrr.co.uk

Kew the Music

8-12 JULY

Kew Gardens hosts five nights of laidback picnic concerts,

from big names in every genre of music from pop and

rock to classical and jazz. Headliners include Craig David,

Beverley Knight and Jools Holland. îkewthemusic.org

Bristol Harbour Festival

17-19 JULY

Bristol’s largest annual event fills the harbour from the

SS Great Britain to the city centre with tall ships, music

stages, dance areas and food markets. Expect water

displays and circus acts too. îbristolharbourfestival.co.uk

Royal International Air Tattoo, Fairford

17-19 JULY

Few events can rival the intensity, drama, and spectacle

on offer at one of the world's greatest airshows. Over

300 aircraft typically take part in the flypasts and aerial

acrobatics. îairtattoo.com

WOMAD, Malmesbury

23-26 JULY

Global fiesta of music, dance, art and food that started in

Charlton Park, Malmesbury and has since taken the party

to more than 27 countries worldwide including Australia,

Chile and Spain. îwomad.co.uk

Marlborough College Summer School

12 JULY-18 AUGUST

Established in 1974, this annual event is one of Europe’s

largest multi-generational learning experiences; its

popularity underpinned by the phrase “something for

everyone”. The College’s historic grounds are conveniently

located to enjoy Marlborough’s famous High Street and

host over 500 courses encompassing the creative arts,

history, science, body and mind, life skills, sport and

country pursuits..! îsummerschool.co.uk

Bath Carnival

11 JULY

Bath’s biggest party features a procession of more than

1,000 dancers and musicians through the city plus plenty

of world music on the sound systems and at Party in the

Park in Sydney Gardens. îbathcarnival.co.uk

Bristol Pride

11 JULY

Bristol Pride is an annual celebration of the LGBT+

community. A series of events that take place across Bristol

ranging from theatre, comedy, dance and their award

winning film festival, Queer Vision. An incredible 40,000

took part in their 10th-anniversary celebrations last year!

îbristolpride.co.uk

Malmesbury Carnival & Festival

20 JULY-1 SEPTEMBER

Malmesbury Carnival been going for over 100 years! The

Carnival is now a whole month of events. It changes every

year, with events ranging from open gardens to open mic,

bands to beer festivals, high jinks to history talks, wine

tasting to wine bluffing and of course the Carnival Parade!

îmalmesburycarnival.co.uk

88 GreatWestWay.co.uk


Pictured

left-right:

Marlborough

High Street;

fun at Devizes

Festival; and

celebrations at

Bristol Pride

Festival of British Eventing, Gatcombe Park

7-9 AUGUST

Held at the spectacular home of the Princess Royal

and her family, incorporating the British Open,

Intermediate and Novice Championships, as well

as the Amateur Championship, The Corinthian Cup.

îfestivalofbritisheventing.com

Bristol International Balloon Fiesta

6-9 AUGUST

Europe’s largest annual meeting of hot air balloons brings

colour to the sky above Bristol with twice-daily mass balloon

launches and the chance to take a ride yourself.

îbristolballoonfiesta.co.uk

Reading Festival

28-30 AUGUST

One of England’s biggest and best-loved music festivals,

featuring big-name acts from around the world – think

Kings of Leon and Foo Fighters. îreadingfestival.com

The Colour Rush and Confetti Battle, Devizes

5 SEPTEMBER

Nobody knows why it started but Devizes’ Confetti Battle

is surely the most fun you can have with torn up bits of

coloured paper. Get stuck into the battle in the marketplace

and stay for the fireworks! îdocadevizes.org.uk

Jane Austen Festival, Bath

11-20 SEPTEMBER

2020 marks the 20th anniversary of The Jane Austen

Festival. Get your top hats, bonnets and lace out for

this 10-day celebration of all things Austen to include a

costumed Promenade through the city, and the Regency

Costumed Masked Ball, with dancing in the Pump Room of

the Roman Baths. îjaneaustenfestivalbath.co.uk

Heritage Open Days

11-20 SEPTEMBER

This national event sees normally hidden and closed

places throw their doors open to the public. Highlights

along the Great West Way include Reading Synagogue,

Sevington Victorian School in Wiltshire and the Rolls-

Royce Heritage Trust in Bristol - with many more besides!

îheritageopendays.org.uk

Mini Action Day, Castle Combe Circuit

12 SEPTEMBER

Things go pocket-sized for Mini Action Day – the UK’s

oldest, best and only track-based Mini event.

Prepare to marvel at the hundreds of both old and new

examples of this iconic car that make the venue their

home for the day.

îminiactionday.co.uk

Henley Literary Festival

26 SEPTEMBER – 4 OCTOBER

Bringing together punters and pundits from far and wide,

last year’s line-up included Theresa May, Sir Alastair

Cook, Kate Atkinson and Mary Berry, so expect an equally

diverse and stellar line up for 2020.

îhenleyliteraryfestival.co.uk

Cliveden Literary Festival

14-15 SEPTEMBER

Cliveden House has been at the centre of British political,

royal and literary life since it was first built, and in the

1960s became notorious as the setting for the Profumo

Affair that brought down a government and changed

Britain forever. Today Cliveden’s annual literary festival

attracts writers from the world.

îclivedenliteraryfestival.org →

GreatWestWay.co.uk

89


Only 6 Miles From Bristol

REME MUSEUM

PRINCE PHILIP BARRACKS, LYNEHAM,

CHIPPENHAM, SN15 4XX

ENJOY A FASCINATING DAY EXPLORING THE HISTORY OF THE BRITISH ARMY’S

ROYAL ELECTRICAL AND MECHANICAL ENGINEERS (REME)

▶ the award winning museum has 8 modern, interactive galleries

▶ displays include huge armoured vehicles, medals, uniforms and weapons

▶ discover incredible stories; how reme saved volkswagen, why the museum has the brass boots

from mussolini’s statue and so many more.

▶ there is a large free car park and the excellent crowns café for refreshments.

WITH EVENTS THROUGHOUT THE YEAR PLEASE VISIT THE WEBSITE FOR FURTHER DETAILS

WWW.REMEMUSEUM.ORG.UK | ENQUIRIES@REMEMUSEUM.ORG.UK | 01249894869


Pictured: Windsor high street

at Christmas

OCTOBER / NOVEMBER / DECEMBER

LEGOLAND Fireworks Spectacular

1-2 NOVEMBER

Make your visit to Legoland even more magical by timing it

to coincide with the annual fireworks spectacular, part of the

theme park’s spooky Halloween season.

îlegoland.co.uk

Cary Grant Comes Home Festival

20-22 NOVEMBER

Bristol puts on a weekend of events celebrating the life and

work of one of the city’s most famous sons: the Hollywood

actor and style icon Cary Grant.

Cary Comes Home for the Weekend Festival is a

celebration of Cary Grant’s Bristol roots, with the aim to

develop new audiences for his films and recreate the much

loved golden age of cinema-going.

îcarycomeshome.co.uk

Hobbs of Henley Christmas Party Nights

10-19 DECEMBER

Celebrate the start of the festive season in style by setting

sail with Hobbs of Henley on a Thames Christmas Party

Cruise. Guests are handed a welcome drink on arrival, enjoy

a 3 course meal and spend the rest of the night dancing

away to their resident DJ.

îhobbsofhenley.com/christmas-party-nights

Christmas at Kew

LATE NOVEMBER-EARLY JANUARY

A show-stopping trail of festive light installations. More

than a million teeny glittering lights are installed along the

route with a fantastic light show grand finale at the iconic

Temperate House, plus enjoy festive treats such as spiced

cider and toasted marshmallows. îkew.org

Windsor On Ice

DATES TO BE CONFIRMED

Alexandra Gardens plays host to two ice rinks – one indoor

and one outdoor. You’ll also find the UK’s biggest dodgem,

Bungees, Twister, Race-o-Rama, the Waltzer, the Toy ride,

Mini planes, Helicopters and Santa's Sleigh roller coaster!

îwindsoronice.com

Bath Christmas Market

DECEMBER

One of the country’s biggest Christmas markets, consisting

of 180 stalls, set amongst Bath’s Georgian streets, the

market sells hand-made ceramics, glassware, jewellery and

local produce and is a must visit for winter.

îbathchristmasmarket.co.uk

To discover more events on the

Great West Way visit GreatWestWay.co.uk

/see-and-do/festivals-and-events

GreatWestWay.co.uk

91


Luxury for

the curious

bathgiftcard.com

Enjoy your gift card across Bath

Food & Drink • Health & Beauty

Museums & Galleries • Hotels & Shops

The best of Bath in one little card

An elegant and

vivacious boutique

townhouse hotel

and spa on the very

grandest street in

Bath, No.15 Great

Pulteney is well

known for its

curious collections,

warm hosting and

unique personality.

15 Great Pulteney Street,

Bath BA2 4BR

01225 807015

no15greatpulteney.co.uk

SCHEDULED WEEKLY TOURS INCLUDE:

‘GUILTY PLEASURES’

A naughty but nice

tour of the city!

Explore the UNESCO

World Heritage City of

Bath using your taste buds

on artisanal food & drink

sampling experiences

4_Doc_Fix_120x96mm_v1.1.indd 1 11/02/2019 16:36

‘FOOD HEROES’

The people & foods who have put

Bath on the culinary map of the UK

What our customers say...

“If you’re a foodie there isn’t a better way

to spend an afternoon…”

BOOK ONLINE AT SAVOURINGBATH.COM

Stay in a Jacobean

manor on your Great

West Way journey!

HOTEL | SPA | RESTAURANT

01225 864705 | woolleygrangehotel.co.uk

Woolley Green, Bradford-on-Avon, Wiltshire, BA15 1TX


Family Days

at Stonor

House • Play Park • Park & Gardens

Stonor Park

Henley-on-Thames

RG9 6HF

www.stonor.com

THE ONLY MOTOR MUSEUM IN WILTSHIRE!

EXPLORE THE GREAT WEST WAY ® WITH AN EXPERT GUIDE

Chauffeur driven tours with a Blue Badge Guide

■ A small, friendly museum just off the A4 in Calne

■ 100+ exhibits - many are vehicles from the 1920s onwards

■ Apr-Oct (Tues-Sun11-5) Nov, Feb-March (Thurs-Sun 11-4) Dec-Jan (Sat-Sun 11-4)

www.atwellwilson.org.uk

www.southwestdriverguide.co.uk

southwestguide@gmail.com


AWARD WINNING SMALL GROUP DAY TOURS FROM BATH

STONEHENGE * COTSWOLDS * GLASTONBURY

Tel +44(0)7990 505970 | www.madmaxtours.co.uk

THE BRIDGE TEA ROOMS

ONE OF THE FINEST SPOTS

FOR AFTERNOON TEA

Step back in time to the glorious Victorian era,

double winner UK’s ‘Top Tea Place’, and one of the

finest spots for afternoon tea. Based in a former

blacksmith’s cottage the Hansel & Gretel-style

exterior leads onto the cosiest of dining rooms.

A wonderful and atmospheric venue for groups.

From morning tea or coffee, mini Cream Tea to an

extended visit for Empire Full Afternoon Teas.

24a Bridge Street, Bradford on Avon, Wiltshire BA15 1BY

+44 (0)1225 865537

www.thebridgetearooms.co.uk

Honeystreet Mill Café

THE FRIENDLY CANALSIDE CAFÉ

Homemade · Freshly Made · Locally Sourced

Breakfast · Light lunch · Afternoon Tea

Snacks · Drinks · Wine, Beer and Cider

OPEN Monday-Saturday 9am-5pm

Sunday 10am-5pm

www.honeystreetmillcafe.co.uk

01672 851155

Honeystreet Mill, Honeystreet Village, Pewsey Vale, Wiltshire, SN9 5PS

Self Drive Classic Car Hire

Based in Wiltshire

with

Vintage

Classics

Where? Windsor, Henley, Reading, Kennet and Avon Canal,

River Thames, Chiltern Hills, North Wessex Downs

How? Waterways trips, town and countryside walking tours,

coach tours, themed tours

Who? Graham Horn, GREAT WEST WAY® Ambassador,

experienced Blue Badge Guide, local knowledge

Contact me to enhance your GREAT WEST WAY® tour

• www.tours2order.com

• graham@tours2order.com

■ Classic Car Rental

■ Classic Car Tours

SEE WILTSHIRE, THE COTSWOLDS & WEST COUNTRY

WHILST DRIVING AN ICONIC CLASSIC CAR!

BOOKINGS MUST BE MADE AT LEAST 7 DAYS IN ADVANCE OF HIRE

BOOKING LINE: 01225 703377

View our fine range of classics online: www.vintage-classics.co.uk

Q

ueens

HOTEL • PUB • RESTAURANT • PRIVATE ROOMS • GARDEN

Perfect place for

long, lazy weekends!

Daily Telegraph

East Garston • Berkshire • RG17 7ET

Tel: 01488 648 757

info@queensarmseastgarston.co.uk

www.queensarmseastgarston.co.uk

3 miles off J14 of M4 (Hungerford & Lambourn)

TOUR & EXPLORE

with Anne Bartlett

Anne is an experienced

Cotswold based Blue Badge

Tourist Guide and Tour

Director who provides a

friendly, professional guiding

service for groups exploring

the Great West Way.

Email: anne@tourandexplore.com

tourandexplore.com

Ambassador for The Great West Way


0617006 A5 1pp.indd 1 27/06/2017 14:13

STAY MEET DINE CELEBRATE

HENLEY GREENLANDS HOTEL

100 bed hotel afternoon tea

riverside restaurant fine dining

weddings meeting & conference rooms

private jetty

www.hospitalityuor.co.uk/henley-greenlands-hotel

Greenlands

Greenlands

Henley-on-Thames

Henley-on-Thames

Oxfordshire

Oxfordshire

RG9

RG9

3AU

3AU

Over 147 years of River and Boating Service

Over Over Over 147 150 147 years of of River and Boating Service

Over 147 years of River and Boating Service

A great family

day out come

rain or shine!

Luxury Passenger Boat Charter

Luxury Passenger Boat Charter

Self Self Drive Adventure

Luxury Passenger Boating Boat Holidays

Charter

Luxury Passenger

Self Drive Adventure

Boat Charter

River Trips

Self Luxury Drive Boating Adventure

Holidays

Moorings and Storage

River Trips

Edwardian Luxury Chauffeured Boating Holidays Launches

Edwardian

Moorings

Chauffeured

and StorageLaunches

Edwardian River Chauffeured TripsLaunches

For bookings and enquiries please contact Hobbs of Henley

For bookings For on bookings 01491 and Moorings 572035 and enquiries or boats@hobbsofhenley.co.uk

please

and

contact

Storage

Hobbs Hobbs of Henley of Henley

on Edwardian 01491

on

572035

01491 572035

Chauffeured or

or boats@hobbsofhenley.co.uk

Launches

For bookings and enquiries please contact Hobbs of Henley

on 01491 572035 or boats@hobbsofhenley.co.uk

0617006 A5 0617006 1pp.indd A5 1pp.indd 1 1 27/06/2017 27/06/2017 14:13 14:13

www.rovesfarm.co.uk

Sevenhampton, Swindon, Wilts, SN6 7QG 01793 763939


The Tutti Pole Tea Shop

Hungerford

DIDCOT RAILWAY CENTRE

Explore the Living Museum of the Great Western Railway

Breakfasts, Morning Coffee,

Sunday Roasts, Luncheons, Snacks

Cream Teas & Afternoon teas.

RG170DN Tel: 01488 682515

Traditional Family Run Tea Shop

A Delicious Stop Along the Great West Way

GET OFF THE BEATEN TRACK

VISIT THE VALE OF PEWSEY IN WILTSHIRE

TRANQUIL SPIRITUAL ANCIENT

WWW.VISITPEWSEYVALE.CO.UK

• 20 former GWR steam locomotives,

including 2 replica broad gauge (7 ft)

locomotives, 40+ GWR coaches, 50+

GWR wagons, a working turntable,

with demonstrations on steam days, a

railway-themed playpark and a small

relics museum.

• Original (working) GWR locomotive

shed, & many other original GWR

buildings and infrastructure.

• Special events include Day Out With

Thomas (and to meet Father Christmas),

special gala events and also non-railway

related themed events.

PHONE OR SEE WEBSITE FOR DETAILS OF STEAMDAYS AND OTHER EVENTS

OPEN EVERY WEEKEND

DIDCOT, Oxfordshire, England, OX11 7NJ TEL: 01235 817200

E-MAIL: info@didcotrailwaycentre.org.uk

Entrance at Didcot Parkway rail station signed from M4 (junction 13) & A34

LEARN TO SKYDIVE

TANDEM SKYDIVE,

ACCELERATED FREE FALL & FIRST JUMP

COURSES

FLY FROM BATH, BRISTOL, GLOUCESTERSHIRE AND SOMERSET!

WWW.BRISTOLBALLOONS.CO.UK

Skydiving vouchers — from Tandem to Solo

Simply the best gift for every occasion!

Near Hungerford Real Ale & and Craft Marlborough

Beers

Real Ale & Craft Beers

Restaurant Real Ale & Craft Private Beers Dining

Restaurant & Private Dining

Delicious Food Locally Sourced

Restaurant Delicious & & Private Freshly Food Locally Prepared Dining Sourced

& Freshly Prepared

8 Luxurious en-suite Bedrooms

Delicious Food 8 Luxurious Locally en-suite Sourced

Bedrooms

Walker, Cyclist and Dog Friendly

& Freshly Walker, Prepared

Cyclist and Dog Friendly

info@crownandanchorham.co.uk

8 Luxurious en-suite Bedrooms

01488 50 30 40

Walker, Cyclist www.crownandanchorham.co.uk

Dog Friendly

01488 01488 50 3050 4030 40

OPENING HOURS

OPENING HOURS Monday: Closed

Tuesday - Saturday:

Monday: Closed

11am—11pm

Tuesday - Saturday:

11am—11pm Food served

ONE OPENING DAY, ONE HOURS JUMP, ONE AMAZING ADVENTURE!

Monday: Closed

Tuesday - Saturday:

11am—11pm

12 noon— 2.30pm Food served

&

12 Home noon— of the 2.30pm ARMY PARACHUTE ASSOCIATION

& 6pm — 9.30pm

6pm — 9.30pm Home of the Red Devils & with some of the best Military Instructors anywhere

Sunday:

Sunday:

6pm — 9.30pm

12 noon—6pm

12 noon—6pm

Military discount on Tandems & Courses on request

Food served 12 noon—3pm

Learn with the best!

crownandanchorham.co.uk Sunday:

T: 01980 670734 12 noon—6pm

www.netheravon.com E: coursesmanager@netheravon.com

Food served Airfield 12 Camp, noon—3pm Netheravon, Wiltshire, SP4 9SF

Food served

12 noon— 2.30pm

Food served 12 noon—3pm

crownandanchorham.co.uk

SKYDIVE NETHERAVON

nfo@crownandanchorham.co.uk

01488 50 30 40

crownandanchorham.co.uk


WITHIN EASY REACH OF THE GREAT WEST WAY

Inspiring a passion for

traditional weaving in Britain’s

oldest working silk mill, in

beautiful, rural Hampshire

Explore the home of Bombay Sapphire

in the heart of Hampshire

BOOK YOUR GIN EXPERIENCE TODAY: DISTILLERY.BOMBAYSAPPHIRE.COM

www.whitchurchsilkmill.org.uk

Accessible by train and shuttle bus from Overton and Micheldever Stations.

Bombay Sapphire Distillery | Whitchurch | Hampshire

HELLO@BOMBAYSAPPHIRE.COM | 01256 890090

THE BISHOP'S PALACE

FIND

YOUR

HAPPY

PLACE

THE BISHOP'S PALACE

& GARDENS, WELLS

SOMERSET

FIND

YOUR

HAPPY

PLACE

01749 01749

988 988

111

111

WWW.BISHOPSPALACE.ORG.UK

WWW.BISHOPSPALACE.ORG.UK

Tarr Farm Inn

Tarr Steps, Dulverton, Exmoor, TA22 9PY

Telephone: +44 (0)1643 851507

Email: enquiries@tarrfarm.co.uk

www.tarrfarm.co.uk


THANK YOU TO

THANK YOU THOSE TO OUR WHO AMBASSADORS

HELPED

US ALONG THE WAY

Title Ambassadors

Bristol Airport

Canal & River Trust

Great Western Railway

National Trust

Destination Ambassadors

Bath Business Improvement District

Bradford on Avon Town

Calne Town

Chippenham Town

Corsham Town

Cotswolds Tourism

Devizes Town

Henley on Thames Town

Hungerford Town

Malmesbury Town

Marlborough Town

Marlow Town

North Wessex Downs AONB

Reading UK

Royal Borough of

Windsor & Maidenhead

Steeple Ashton Village

Stonehenge & Avebury World

Heritage Site

Swindon Town

Tourism South East

Trowbridge Town

Vale of Pewsey

Visit Bath

Visit Bristol

Visit Thames

VisitNewbury

VisitRichmond

VisitWiltshire

Designated Attraction

& Hotel Ambassadors

Aerospace Bristol

Bowood House & Garden, Calne

Cheddar Gorge & Caves

Cobbs Farm Shop & Kitchen,

Hungerford

Longleat, Warminster

McArthurGlen Designer Outlet,

Swindon

The Old Bell Hotel, Malmesbury

The Roman Baths, Bath

The Royal Crescent Hotel & Spa,

Bath

Stonehenge

Thermae Bath Spa, Bath

Wadworth Brewery & Tours, Devizes

West Berkshire Brewery, Yattendon

Westonbirt, The National

Arboretum, Tetbury

Whatley Manor Hotel & Spa,

Malmesbury

Windsor Castle

Discover more about

our Ambassadors at:

GreatWestWay.co.uk

Gateway Ambassadors

Devizes Marina Day Boat Hire

Rick Stein, Marlborough

A Taste of England

Devizes Wharf Tea room

River & Rowing Museum, Henley on Thames

Title Ambassadors

a’Beckett’s Vineyard, Devizes Gateway Ambassadors Didcot Railway Centre Devizes Marina

Roman Prior Bath Park Private Landscape Hire Garden

Abbey Hotel, Bath

Donnington Grove, Newbury Devizes Marina Day Boat Hire The Rose Queens of Hungerford Arms, East Garston

Bristol The Airport Abbey Quarter, Reading Abbey Hotel DoubleTree by Hilton, Devizes Swindon Wharf Tea room Roseate Reading House Museum London, Tyburnia

Canal & Active River Trust England

The Abbey Quarter Dukes Hotel, Bath Didcot Railway Centre

The Roseate The Red Reading Lion East, Chisenbury

Great Western Alder Ridge Railway Vineyard, Hungerforda’Beckett’s Vineyard Dyrham Park, Chippenham Donnington Grove

The Roseate REME Museum Villa Bath

National Trust

Active England

DoubleTree by Hilton, Swindon

River & Rowing Museum

Aldermaston Tea Rooms, Reading

The Engineman’s Rest Café, Crofton

Roves Farm, Sevenhampton

Aldermaston Tea Rooms,

Dyrham Park

Roseate House London

Aldwick Estate, Bristol

Destination Ambassadors

Visitor Centre, & ShopFashion Museum, Bath The Engineman’s Rest Café Royal Berkshire, The Roseate Sunninghill Villa, Bath

Alison Howell’s Foottrails Aldwick Estate French Brothers, Windsor The Farm Camp

The Royal The Oak, Roseate Yattendon Reading

Bath Business All Saints Improvement Church, Alton District Priors Alison Howell’s Foottrails The Gainsborough Bath French Spa Brothers

The Royal Rose Windsor of Hungerford Pub

Bradford The on Apartment Avon Town Bath

Alton Priors Church The George Inn, Glenside Hospital Museum Salisbury Roves Camping Farm and Caravanning Club Site

Calne Town Apex Hotel, Bath

Apex Hotel, Bath Norton St Philip Great Northern Hotel

Salisbury Royal Cathedral Oak, Yattendon

Chippenham Town

Arnos Vale Cemetery

Hampton by Hilton Bristol Airport Salisbury Cathedral

Apsley House, London

Glenside Hospital Museum, Bristol

Salisbury, Stonehenge and Sarum Tours

Corsham

Around and About Bath

Hampton Court Palace

Salisbury, Stonehenge and Sarum Tours

Cotswolds Arnos Tourism Vale Cemetery, Bristol Aspley House Guyers House Hotel, Harrow Corsham at Little Bedwyn Sally Narrowboats, Salters Steamers Bradford on Avon

Destination Around Bristol and About Bath Atwell-Wilson Motor Hampton Museum by Hilton Helen Bristol Browning’s Airport Royal Oak Salters Savouring Steamers, Bath Reading

Devizes Atwell-Wilson Town Motor Museum, Calne Avalon Lodge Bed and Hampton Breakfast Court Palace, Henley East Greenlands MoleseyHotel

Henley Avalon Thames Lodge Bed and Breakfast, Avebury DevizesLandscape Wiltshire Helen Browning’s Royal Heritage Oak, Bed Bishopstone & Breakfast

Savouring Shaw Bath House

Shaw House Skydive Netheravon

Hungerford

Avebury

Town

Landscape

Avon Valley Adventure

Henley

& Wildlife

Greenlands

Park

Hotel

Hobbs of Henley

Sheephouse

Stonor

Manor

Park

Cottages, Maidenhead

Malmesbury Town

Bailey Balloons

The Holburne Museum

South West Heritage Tours

Avon Valley Adventure & Wildlife Park, Bristol Henley Rowing Association

Sir Christopher Wren Hotel & Spa, Windsor

Marlborough Town

Bainton Bikes

Holiday Inn, Salisbury - Stonehenge South Western Railway

Marlow Bailbrook House Hotel, Bath Barbara McLellan Heritage Bed & Breakfast, Honey Street Calne Boats & Café Skydive Stourhead Netheravon

North Wessex Bailey Balloons, Downs AONB Bristol

Reading The UKBarn Theatre, Cirencester

The Barn Theatre

Barrington Court

Herongate Fitness & Hungerford Wellbeing, Wharf Hungerford and Kintbury

The Hidden Gardens Iford of Bath Manor Gardens

South West SUP Bristol Heritage Tours

South Western The Swan, Railway Bradford on Avon

Royal Borough Barrington of Windsor Court, & Ilminster Bath Apartment Breaks Hobbs of Henley Inspirock

Stay in Swinley Bath Bike Hub

Maidenhead

Bath Apartment Breaks

The Bath Brew House

The Holburne Museum,

Jane

Bath

Austen Centre

Stonehenge

Thames

and

Lido

Avebury World Heritage Site

Stonehenge & Avebury WHS

Bath Bus Company

Kenavon Venture

Thames Rivercruise

Bath Area Self Catering

Holiday Inn, Salisbury – Stonehenge

Stonehenge Landscape

Swindon Town

Bath Self Catering

Koffmann & Mr. Whites

Three Tuns Freehouse

Tourism Beanhill South East Farm B&B, Chippenham Beanhill Farm B&B Honey Street Mill Café English and French Brasserie Stonor Tintinhull Park, Henley Garden on Thames

Trowbridge The Bear Town Hotel, Devizes Berkeley Castle Hotel Novotel Reading Lacock Centre Abbey, Fox Talbot Stourhead, Totteridge Stourton Farm

Vale of Berkeley Pewsey Castle

Best Western Plus Angel Hungerford Hotel, Wharf Museum and village

Strawberry Tour and Hill Explore House & Garden, Twickenham

Visit Bath Best Western Plus Angel Hotel, Chippenham

Iford Manor Gardens, The Bradford Langley on Avon

Sulis Guides Tours 2 Order

Visit Thames

The Bird in Hand, Knowl Hill

Bombay Sapphire

The Jane Austen Centre,

Lido Bristol

Bath

The Swan

TransWilts

Hotel,

Community

Bradford on

Rail

Avon

Partnership

Visit Newbury

Bozedown Alpacas

Lytes Cary Manor

Troutbeck

Visit Richmond

The Black Swan Hotel, Devizes

Bristol Blue Glass

The Kingsbury @ No.8,

Macdonald

Marlborough

Hotel & Spa Bath

Swinley

Tucking

Bike Hub

Mill

Swinley

Self catering

Forest’s Trail Centre,

VisitWiltshire Blenheim Palace, Woodstock Bristol Cathedral Koffmann & Mr White’s Maidenhead English Heritage French Centre Bracknell Tutti Pole

Bombay Sapphire, Whitchurch Bristol Community Ferry Brasserie, Boats Bath Manor Farm B&B

Teashop Tyntesfield By The Canal, Newbury

Designated Boscombe Attraction Down Aviation Collection, Bristol Salisbury Packet Boats Lacock Abbey, Fox Talbot Marlborough Museum College and Village Summer School Thames University Lido, Reading of Bristol Botanic Garden

& Hotel Bozedown Ambassadors Alpacas, Reading Bristol Tandem Hire The Langley, Slough The Matthew Of Bristol Thames Vaughan’s Rivercruise, Kitchen Reading

Bristol Zoo Gardens

Meadowbank House

Vintage Classics

The Bridge Tea Rooms, Bradford on Avon Liberty Car Tours, Bath

Three Tuns Freehouse, Great Bedwyn

Aerospace Bristol

Brooks Guest House B&B, Bath

Merchants House

The Watermill Theatre

Alder Ridge

Bristol

Vineyard

Blue Glass

Bruce Branch Boats

Lido Spa & Restaurant,

Mompesson

Bristol

House

Tintinhull

Wellington

Garden

Arch

Bowood Bristol House Cathedral & Gardens

Brunel’s SS Great Britain Lorne House, Corsham Montacute House

Totteridge West Farm Berkshire Camping Museum Pods, Pewsey

Cheddar Bristol Gorge Community & Caves Ferry Boats Buttle Farm Lytes Cary Manor The Museum of English Rural Life Tour and We Explore The Curious

McArthurGlen Bristol Insight Designer Outlet, Swindon Canal Trust Café Maidenhead Heritage MV Centre Jubilee

Tours 2 Whitchurch Order Silk Mill

Fashion Bristol Museum Nordic Bath Walking

Castle Combe Circuit Manor Farm Courtyard Newark Cottages, Park Thatcham TransWilts Wiltshire Community landscape, Rail Stonehenge Partner

Longleat

Cheddar Gorge

The Newbury Pub

Wiltshire Museum

Bristol Packet Boats

The Manor House, Castle Combe

Troutbeck Guest House, East Chisenbury

The Roman Baths

The Chilterns View

Newbury Racecourse

Wiltshire Music Centre

Royal Crescent

Bristol Tandem

Hotel & Spa

Hire

Chippenham Museum

Marlborough College

No.

Summer

1 Royal Crescent

School

Tucking

Wiltshire

Mill View,

Wildlife

Midford

Trust, Blakehill Farm

Stonehenge The Bristol Wing

and Heritage Centre The Matthew of Bristol Noah’s Ark Zoo Farm

Turner’s Wiltshire House, Wildlife Twickenham Trust, Lower Moor

Thermae Bristol Bath Zoo Spa Gardens

Church Farm Country The Cottages Merchant’s House, The Marlborough

Old Bell, Malmesbury The Tutti Wiltshire Pole, Hungerford

Wildlife Trust, Jones’s Mill

Wadworth Brooks Brewery Guest & House Tours B&B, Bath Clifton Suspension Bridge Mill Farm Glamping, The Poulshot Old Chapel

Tyntesfield, Woolley Wraxall Grange Hotel

West Berkshire Brooks Guest Brewery House B&B, Bristol& Visitor Centre Mompesson House, Old Salisbury Sarum

Westonbirt, The National Arboretum Cobbs Farm Shop

Oldbury Tours

Bruce Branch Boats, Marlborough

Monkey Island Estate, Bray

Whatley Manor

Compass Holidays

Parkway Shopping, Newbury

Windsor Brunel’s Castle SS Great Britain, Bristol The Courts Garden Montacute House Pound Arts

Buttle Farm, Compton Bassett Cricklade Hotel Museum of East Asian Practical Art, Bath Car and Motorhome

Canal Trust Café,

Bradford on Avon

Crofton Beam Engines The Museum of English hire, Rural Chippenham Life, Reading

Cumberwell Country MV Cottages Barbara McLellan, Prince Bradford Street on Social Avon

Castle Combe Circuit, Chippenham

MV Jubilee, Newbury

Castle Hotel, Windsor

MV Kenavon Venture, Devizes

Cheddar Camping and Caravanning Club Site National Garden Scheme

Cheddar Gorge

Newark Park, Ozleworth

Discover more about our Ambassadors at: GreatWestWay.co.uk

Chertsey Camping and Caravanning Club Site

The Chilterns View, Wallingford

Chippenham Museum and Heritage Centre

Cholderton Rare Breeds Farm, Salisbury

Church Farm Country Cottages, Bradford on Avon

Clayton’s Kitchen, Bath

Cliffe Farm Dairy, West Lavington

Clifton Suspension Bridge, Bristol

Cobbs Farm Shop & Kitchen, Englefield

Compass Holidays, Cheltenham

Cotswold Water Park, South Cerney

The Courts Garden, Trowbridge

Cricklade House Hotel, Swindon

Crofton Beam Engines, Crofton

The Crown & Anchor, Ham

The Crown, Tolldown

Cumberwell Country Cottages, Bradford on Avon

Devizes Camping and Caravanning Club Site

Devizes Marina

The Newbury Pub

Newbury Racecourse

No. 1 Royal Crescent, Bath

No.15 Great Pulteney, Bath

Noah’s Ark Zoo Farm, Wraxall

Old Sarum, Salisbury

Oldbury Tours

Original Wild, Bath

Parkway Shopping Centre, Newbury

Pennyhill Park, Bagshot

Postern Hill Campsite, Marlborough

The Pound Arts Centre, Corsham

Practical Car & Van Hire, Chippenham

The Prince Street Social, Bristol

Prior Park Landscape Garden, Bath

The Queens Arms Hotel, East Garston

Reading Museum

Red Lion Freehouse, East Chisenbury

REME Museum, Lyneham

University of Bristol Botanic Garden

Vaughan’s Kitchen, Devizes

Vintage Classics, Melksham

Visit Hillbrush, Mere

Waddesdon Manor

Walton on Thames Camping and

Caravanning Club Site

The Watermill Theatre, Bagnor

The Wave, Bristol

We The Curious, Bristol

Wellington Arch, London

West Berkshire Museum, Newbury

Whitchurch Silk Mill

White Horse Inn, Compton Bassett

Wild Swim Bike Run

Wilton Windmill

Wiltshire Museum, Devizes

Wiltshire Music Centre, Bradford on Avon

Windsor Carriages

Windsor Duck Tours

Woolley Grange Hotel, Bradford on Avon

WWT Blakehill Farm Nature Reserve,

Swindon

WWT Jones’s Mill at the Vera Jeans Reserve,

Pewsey

WWT London Wetland Centre, Barnes

WWT Lower Moor Farm

Wyvern Theatre, Swindon

YMCA, Bath


Begin your next adventure at

GreatWestWay.co.uk

WHICH WAY NEXT?

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