Great West Way® Travel Magazine | Issue 05

ContistaMedia

It has been a year since we launched our special virtual edition of the Great West Way Travel Magazine, following the changes brought about by covid, and yet, despite the challenges faced since, businesses along the route have achieved so much. From award-winning restoration projects, new paddle boarding tours along the Bradford on Avon river to the launch of Bridgerton-themed holiday itineraries. There’s even a new Banksy - unexpectedly unveiled on the walls of the disused Reading jail - along with yet many more new immersive, and self-guided, experiences. In the autumn, trees along the Kennet & Avon canal turn spectacular hues of red, brown and gold. We hope you will enjoy our new Kennet & Avon Canal map, with 87 miles of magnificent sites and spectacular landscapes to explore by water, or take an Autumn Colours Canal Trip on the Barbara McLellan and enjoy a delicious Ploughman's Lunch. We have new branded signage along the route, and have just launched a new video campaign travelling the entire length from London to Bristol virtually. Our 2021-2022 edition is full of yet more inspiration, from Unforgettable Experiences (p54) to Striking Architecture (p78), Gourmet Guide (p112), Museum Gems (p118) and so much more. Now that travel restrictions have been lifted, we hope that planning your next journey will have never been easier - we look forward to offering you the warmest of welcomes.

2021 Annual Edition

TRAVEL MAGAZINE | ISSUE 05

GreatWestWay.co.uk

SUSTAINABLE

TOURISM

Lose yourself

in an authentic

car-free journey

JOIN THE FUN!

From confetti battles

to canoe races and

country shows

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 WILTSHIRE ON

THE GREAT WEST WAY ®

Explore picturesque Pewsey Vale and historic Bradford

on Avon along the Great West Way touring route.

Find out more at GWR.com/GreatWestWay


Pictured Below: Bowood in the Autumn; Couple at Windsor

Royal Station planning their journey.

WELCOME TO ENGLAND'S

GREAT WEST WAY

All legal lockdown restrictions have now been lifted

in England. However, some venues may choose to

keep requirements around social distancing or mask

wearing to keep visitors and staff safe; please check

with individual venues for more information.

IT HAS BEEN A YEAR since we launched our

special virtual edition of the Great West Way

Travel Magazine, following the changes

brought about by covid, and yet, despite the

challenges faced since, businesses along the

route have achieved so much.

From award-winning restoration projects,

new paddle boarding tours along the Bradford on

Avon river to the launch of Bridgerton-themed holiday itineraries.

There’s even a new Banksy - unexpectedly unveiled on the walls

of the disused Reading jail - along with yet many more new

immersive, and self-guided, experiences.

In the autumn, trees along the Kennet & Avon canal turn

spectacular hues of red, brown and gold. We hope you will enjoy

our new Kennet & Avon Canal map, with 87 miles of magnificent

sites and spectacular landscapes to explore by water, or take an

Autumn Colours Canal Trip on the Barbara McLellan and enjoy a

delicious Ploughman's Lunch. We have new branded signage along

the route, and have just launched a new video campaign travelling

the entire length from London to Bristol virtually.

Our 2021-2022 edition is full of yet more inspiration, from

Unforgettable Experiences (p54) to Striking Architecture (p78),

Gourmet Guide (p112), Museum Gems (p118) and so much more.

Now that travel restrictions have been lifted, we hope that

planning your next journey will have never been easier - we look

forward to offering you the warmest of welcomes.

Jessica x

Jessica Way

Editor-in-Chief, Great West Way Travel Magazine

Download your Great West Way map:

: GreatWestWay.co.uk/explore/maps

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

2021 Annual | Edition 05

Pictured

left then

clockwise:

Sculling in

Marlow;

Tea Shop by

the Canal,

Newbury; and

Reading Town

Hall, Reading

DISCOVER OUR WAY

EXPLORE THE ROUTE

09 44

THE WAY FORWARD

A look at some of the highlights and

what’s new on the Great West Way for 2021.

17

AERIAL VISTAS

Enjoy the Great West Way from a

bird's-eye view with our selection of scenic

virtual tours and captivating drone footage.

32

MY GREAT WEST WAY

Discover the Great West Way through the

eyes of a local, Communications Manager in

charge of the UK's largest town, Alex Brannen.

38

GREAT WEST WAY MEMENTOS

For something unique and special that

reminds you of your trip, we take a look in the gift

shops in museums, galleries and other attractions.

ENJOYING THE RIVER

The Great West Way flows along with

wonderful waterways, offering plenty of opportunities

to splash about in the water.

51

SMART PHONE TOURS

Discover the Great West Way at your own

pace with these easy-to-follow smartphone apps.

54

10 UNFORGETTABLE EXPERIENCES

Packed with hidden gems and unexpected

treasures, there’s something for everyone to

experience along the Great West Way.

64

SUSTAINABLE TOURISM

Take time to explore the Great West Way

evoking all your senses, losing yourself in an

authentic car-free journey.

GreatWestWay.co.uk

5


PUBLISHED BY

Contista Media Ltd

Mitchell House, Brook Avenue,

Warsash, Southampton,

Hampshire, SO31 9HP

contistamedia.co.uk

Brought to you by the Great West Way

GreatWestWay.co.uk/digitaltravelmagazine

With a special thanks to:

Bristol Airport, Canal & River Trust,

GWR, and National Trust

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

Marlborough College p5: Pete Davies Photography. Windsor, p14,

Bath, p47, STEAM, p92: @nicksmithphotography.com. SS Great

Britain, p94: © Adam Gasson, p120. Stonor p23: Paul Upward

Photography. Bath, p53: ©VisitBritain/Simon Winnall, p62.

Architecture p61: Great Pagoda Jeff Eden © RBG Kew. Playing

croquet on the lawn at Tyntesfield, Somerset, p74: ©English Heritage

Trust, p96: ©National Trust Images/Trevor Ray Hart, p100. Bristol

Science Centre: P95 ©VisitBritain / Pawel Libera p121. Wellness

p100: Getty Images/iStockphoto p130. Thermae Bath Spa, p103:

©jon@attenborough.net. Hotel Stays, p1110: ©VisitBritain / Joanna

Henderson p141. Monkey Island Estate, p115: Credit: Isabelle

Plasschaert / Alamy Stock Photo p145. Architecture, p97 ©SueBarr

Follow us on

Twitter @theGreatWestWay

Facebook @GreatWestWay

Instagram.com/GreatWestWay

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.

6 GreatWestWay.co.uk

THE GREAT OUTDOORS

74

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!

78

STRIKING ARCHITECTURE ON THE GREAT WEST WAY

There are many impressive styles of architecture to see on the Great

West Way. How many in our list have you visited?

100

GARDENS THROUGH THE SEASONS

The gardens of the Great West Way are beautiful whatever the

season, but here are the must-sees throughout the year.

106

HISTORIC STOPS: TRAIN TRAVEL

Making tracks on the Great West Way can point you at endless

amounts of history and fun facts to be discovered

YOUR NEXT ADVENTURE

112

GOURMET GUIDE: FOOD & DRINK

Discover a wealth of hidden culinary delights and epicurean

experiences on the Great West Way.

118

MUSEUM GEMS

The Great West Way is home to some of England’s most fascinating

heritage sites and unmissable museums to visit on your journey.

124

WHAT ITEM WOULD YOU SAVE FROM A FIRE

Curators of some of the best museums along the Great West Way

reveal what single item in their collections they would choose to save.

128

MIND, BODY AND SOUL

Take some time out for yourself and re-energise by adding

some wellness to your trip.

140

151

POST-COVID HOTEL STAYS

From the city, riverside, to the countryside - a warm welcome awaits.

CALENDAR EVENTS

From confetti battles to music festivals, to canoe races and

country shows.

Pictured: Henley

Festival; Henley

on Thames


Wonders await

those who venture off the beaten path...

Royal patronage, rich cultural heritage, stunning architecture and beautiful natural

scenery along a 20 mile stretch of the River Thames. Add to this an abundance

of places to stay from 5 star resorts to riverside camping, quaint villages, one-ofa-kind

shops and a culinary scene headed by the likes of Heston Blumenthal and

you’ll have a reasonable idea of the treats in store for you in and around Windsor.

#RoyalBoroughUnlocked

www.windsor.gov.uk


Take your

time on the

Kennet &

Avon Canal


THE WAY FORWARD

A look at some of the highlights and

what’s new on the Great West Way

ACCOMMODATION NEWS

THE FARM AT AVEBURY

The Farm at Avebury, in the heart of Wiltshire,

has been under the stewardship of the Hues

family for four generations as a family-run

working farm - and they are delighted to

announce the next chapter in their long

and successful story, launching brand new

accommodation for guests. There are six, newly

converted, self-catering holiday apartments

inside the former stables, with exposed timbers

and the original staddle stones, clustered

around a landscaped courtyard - think wild

flowers and grasses in corten steel planters.

The Farm is situated inside the UNESCOprotected

Avebury World Heritage site. Nearby

attractions include Avebury Henge and Stone

Circle and The Red Lion, the only pub in the

world to be surrounded by ancient stones.

thefarmatavebury.co.uk

GreatWestWay.co.uk

9


FAIRMONT WINDSOR PARK

In need of a luxury spa break in a remarkable location for the

mind, body and spirit? Perfectly sited adjacent to Windsor

Great Park and The Savill Garden, this regal country estate is

destined to be the UK’s leading wellness retreat comprising

a sprawling world-class spa spanning 2,500 square metres

with indoor and outdoor pools, 18 treatments rooms, a salt

room, Hamman and Japanese foot spa. Set in beautifully

landscaped gardens, the new hotel resembles an English

countryside sanctuary following a multi-million-pound

redevelopment of the former Savill Court Hotel. A home

away from home, with 200 spacious guestrooms and suites

with modern interiors using natural stone and soft textures,

and with many offering sweeping views of the surrounding

gardens. There’s also a Library club and even a barbershop

under license from the iconic St. James’s based Truefitt &

Hill – the oldest Barbershop in the world.

fairmont-windsorpark.com

ARTIST RESIDENCE, BRISTOL

Fancy an urban adventure to one of the country's hippest

cities, staying in a boutique hotel with a difference?

Housed in a former boot factory, adjoined to a Grade I

listed townhouse in Portland Square, this new city-centre

hotel is a continuum of the bohemian Artist Residence

style – an eclectic fusion of art and vintage chic. There's

also a café, bar, and a beautiful garden and outdoor space.

artistresidence.co.uk/our-hotels/bristol

GAINSBOROUGH BATH SPA HOTEL

The TV series Bridgerton had us swooning over the

ravishing city of Bath, used as a location. Offering the best

of both worlds – ultra luxurious self-catering for up to five

people, plus the hotel next door for dining out or using the

spa. The real wow factor facility here, however, is private

access to the Cross Bath. This sacred open-air bath taps in

to the city’s thermal waters and beats a hot tub any day.

thegainsboroughbathspa.co.uk

10 GreatWestWay.co.uk


WINDSOR CARRIAGES PARTNERS

WITH CASTLE HOTEL WINDSOR

As part of the new Memorable Moments package, guests

at Castle Hotel Windsor will be treated to a 30 minute

carriage ride with Windsor Carriages followed by Captain Sir

Tom Moore Tea. Windsor Carriages is the only company to

operate carriages on The Long Walk at Windsor Castle and

throughout The Great Park, making it the first and only hotel

in Windsor to offer this unique and bespoke experience.

Perfect for those special and memorable occasions, guests

will witness the stunning views of Windsor Castle, meet

with the resident deer and encounter historical monuments,

ancient forests and stunning horticultural displays.

The afternoon tea collaboration follows a visit to the hotel

by Captain Sir Tom Moore and his family after he received

his knighthood from Her Majesty The Queen at Windsor

Castle, celebrating over afternoon tea.

castlehotelwindsor.com

THE YARD IN BATH

This new luxury boutique hotel in Bath is set around a

historic courtyard close to The Circus, Roman Baths and

a short walk to the Royal Crescent. Once a coaching inn,

there are now fourteen beautifully restored characterfilled

bedrooms. Think comfy king-size beds, rainfall

showers, REN toiletries, Netflix, Roberts Radios, fully

stocked mini-bars and Nespresso coffee machines.

theyardinbath.co.uk

THORNBURY CASTLE HOTEL

Once owned by King Henry VIII and Queen Mary I,

Thornbury Castle Hotel in South Gloucestershire has

re-opened following a multi-million-pound refurbishment.

Many of the bedchambers have been renamed to recognise

the key historical figures from the castle’s Tudor history,

including Henry VIII Suite (the bedchamber where the

King and Anne Boleyn stayed for 10 nights in 1535).

thornburycastle.co.uk

GreatWestWay.co.uk 11


GLAMPING SUITES AT WOOLLEY GRANGE

There is an exciting new option nestled in the Luxury

Family Hotel grounds of Woolley Grange, a beautiful

Jacobean manor house on the edge of the Cotswolds.

These luxurious bespoke glamping suites offer both luxury

and adventure, bringing a brand new meaning to spending

a night under canvas. Each glamping suite comes with a

large master bedroom, twin bedroom and bathroom (with

an all-important flushing toilet and shower), lounge, and

private terrace with outdoor seating. As a guest of Woolley

Grange you have access to the historic hotel and its facilities

too, including indoor and outdoor swimming pools, spa,

childcare, pop-up café and bar (also new). Even better,

you’ll be able to wake up each morning to a pre-ordered

continental breakfast hamper, delivered direct to your suite –

including homemade treats such as muffins, overnight oats,

fruit and granola pots, and freshly made tea and coffee.

woolleygrangehotel.co.uk/family-hotel/glamping-suites

THE GUILD

Formerly Wilton Shopping Village, The Guild in Wiltshire

is a riverside, industrial vibe outdoor-indoor space home

to a distinctive mix of independent and national brands

ranging from homeware, interiors, lifestyle, gifting and

wellbeing. There's also Herbs & Wild, a superb eatery

using locally sourced produce and annual events are held

in the pretty courtyard under a spacious boho-style tipi tent.

theguildwiltshire.co.uk

BANKSY ARTWORK ON READING PRISON WALL

Reading’s former Grade II-listed prison, where Wilde was

held between 1895 and 1897, has been causing a bit of

a media stir. It is yet to be decided if the site is going to

be knocked down for a housing or redeveloped into an

exciting new cultural hub for the town. We are hopeful

for the latter, and it seems both Banksy, whose prisoner

artwork appeared on the side of the prison wall, is too.

livingreading.co.uk

12 GreatWestWay.co.uk


FISHERTON MILL IN SALISBURY

The largest independent art gallery in the South West is just

a short detour off the route close to Salisbury train station.

The gift shop is full of delightful displays of arts and crafts

from over 200 local and British artists. The Gallery and Gift

shop are Salisbury’s perfect places to find unusual, stylish

and memorable gifts and original artworks. Meet the artisan

makers during Makers Markets or take part in one of their

creative workshops from learning to knit, creating your own

Christmas decorations to fusing glass. Their award-winning

café has plenty of seating inside or dine alfresco in the pretty

garden terrace. The food is so good they have been voted

best café in Wiltshire, and this year have launched their first

‘Recipe Calendar’ available to buy in the shop with £2.50 from

each sale going to support local charity the Salisbury Pantry, a

food support project launched during the Pandemic based to

provide affordable and nutritious food to local residents.

fishertonmill.co.uk

NO.15 GREAT PULTENEY BY GUESTHOUSE

Three brothers behind the new independent hospitality

group, GuestHouse, have snapped up their first property

on one of the UK’s grandest streets, No.15 Great Pulteney.

The hotel has all of the original charms of its previous

owner, with acclaimed British designer, Martin Hulbert,

being contracted to reboot the interiors he originally

conceived - but with new fun-loving stylish twists.

guesthousehotels.co.uk

LEONARDO HOTEL BRISTOL GLASSFIELDS

This brand new low energy sustainability-conscious

197-bedroom hotel is situated near Temple Meads train

station. Highly convenient as an overnight stop for visitors

travelling the Great West Way route by train on the

GWR (see more on p96). Based close to the centre of

the city, within walking distance of the famous Clifton

Suspension Bridge and the Clifton Observatory.

jurysinns.com/hotels/bristol/leonardo-glassfields

GreatWestWay.co.uk

13


SECOND WORLD HERITAGE AWARD FOR BATH

It has been an exciting year for Bath, not only being named

as one of the World’s Greatest Places in TIME’s annual list,

Bath was also recently awarded a second prestigious World

Heritage inscription by UNESCO. The committee has inscribed

the ‘Great Spas of Europe’ on to the World Heritage list -

with Bath being the only one out of the 11 towns on the list

to already have World Heritage Status. It means that the City

of Bath, will have an exceptional second inscription.

The Great Spa Towns of Europe project focuses on historic

spa towns, based around mineral springs, which formed

fashionable resorts of health, leisure and recreational

‘diversions’ such as gambling and dancing from the eighteenth

to the early twentieth centuries. The towns were built in

harmony with their natural therapeutic landscape settings

to create unique urban forms. Historic and influential spa

destinations they were the pioneers of modern tourism.

visitbath.co.uk/blog

GIFFORDS CIRCUS LAUNCHES IN THE COTSWOLDS

The famous travelling restaurant, Circus Sauce, that

accompanies Giffords Circus on its summer tours is launching

a brand-new winter restaurant in Gloucestershire, offering

hearty British dishes inspired by local, seasonal produce.

Taking up residence at The Old Gore Barn in Cirencester,

serving dinner on selected evenings, as well as Sunday

lunches, throughout November and December 2021.

soglos.com

MARY SHELLEY’S HOUSE OF FRANKENSTEIN

Located in Bath's Gay Street, Mary Shelley’s House of

Frankenstein is the world's-first truly immersive visitor

experience to commemorate the life of the female novelist,

who wrote much of Frankenstein in Bath. The attraction

extends over four atmospheric floors, including a dank

foreboding basement - and, new for Halloween, the

Victor’s Lair Escape Room, and After Dark experiences.

houseoffrankenstein.com

14 GreatWestWay.co.uk


PICTURE PALACE: BLENHEIM’S STARRING ROLE IN

NEW CINDERELLA BLOCKBUSTER

Blenheim Palace has a leading role in Amazon Prime Video’s

new film, Cinderella which launched exclusively around the

world in over 240 countries and territories in September.

Both the interior and exterior of Britain’s ‘greatest palace’ are

featured extensively in the musical. Written and directed by

Kay Cannon, the star-studded production is musically-driven,

with Camila Cabello as the titular character, in addition to

Idina Menzel, Minnie Driver, Nicholas Galitzine, Billy Porter,

and Pierce Brosnan. It’s the second time the Baroque palace

has been used as a setting for the Cinderella story. As well as

Cinderella, Blenheim has had a starring role in a host of other

movie blockbusters – from Harry Potter and The BFG to James

Bond, Gulliver’s Travels and Mission Impossible. Most recently,

the Palace stood in for Buckingham Palace in ‘Dolittle’ (2020)

starring Robert Downey Jr and Emma Thompson.

blenheimpalace.com

TROWBRIDGE MUSEUM

After a period of refurbishment and renovation generously

financed by the Heritage Lottery Fund, Trowbridge Museum

has reopened, marking its return and reaffirming its status

as one of Wiltshire’s leading historical visitor attractions.

Visitors can explore 1000 years of the town’s history, and

discover its incredibly rare Spinning Jenny (one of only five

surviving in the world) and new state-of-the-art facilities.

trowbridgemuseum.co.uk

THE TUTTI POLE

The much loved family-run tea shop and restaurant

in Hungerford, The Tutti Pole, celebrated 40 years in

business on the 29 August. The 40th customer of the

day (and her family) won their meal and drinks as a prize

gifted to them by The Tutti Pole team. Pictured above

are the lucky winners, the Ghost's from Swindon, along

with Stephen, owner of The Tutti Pole, pictured far right.

thetuttipole.co.uk

GreatWestWay.co.uk 15


Booking online

essential

Explore ancient chambers

and sacred springs in the

heart of Bath.

Book your slot online at:

romanbaths.co.uk


VIRTUAL SPECIAL

AERIAL VISTAS

Enjoy the Great West Way from a bird's-eye view

with our selection of stunning panoramic virtual

tours and captivating drone footage!

Words: Samantha Rutherford


GreatWestWay.co.uk 17


CLICK

HERE

WINDSOR

18 GreatWestWay.co.uk



GreatWestWay.co.uk

19


20 GreatWestWay.co.uk


CLICK

HERE

OLD SARUM


GreatWestWay.co.uk 21


CLICK

HERE

READING

22 GreatWestWay.co.uk


CLICK

HERE

BATH


GreatWestWay.co.uk 23


24

GreatWestWay.co.uk


CLICK

HERE

VISIT

WILTSHIRE

GreatWestWay.co.uk

25


CLICK

HERE

BAILEY BALLOONS

26

GreatWestWay.co.uk


CLICK

HERE

STONOR


GreatWestWay.co.uk 27


28


CLICK

HERE

BRISTOL


29


CLICK

HERE

BLENHEIM

PALACE

30 GreatWestWay.co.uk


GreatWestWay.co.uk 31


32


MY GREAT WEST WAY:

ALEX

BRANNEN

Discover the Great West Way

through the eyes of a local, the

Communications Manager in

charge of the UK's largest town

So, we hear it is an exciting year for Reading with plans for a potential new cultural

hub and an anniversary to celebrate – tell us more?

Alex: Yes, Reading’s disused Victorian prison, where Oscar Wilde was convicted after his

affair with Lord Alfred Douglas was exposed, is hopefully going to be given approval for

an exciting redevelopment plan of the area into a new diverse cultural and arts hub. We

are still waiting to hear how Reading Gaol’s great cultural heritage will underpin future

redevelopment of the site. However, there has been plenty of support from passionate

locals and artists too. The prison has been used for cultural events for a number of years

now, with many celebrities performing in 2016 including Ralph Fiennes and Patti Smith,

as well as our ArtAngel exhibition which features the work of people such as Steve

McQueen. Professional theatre company Rabble have some exciting ideas to bring to the

redevelopment too.

The prison is also part of the Abbey Quarter area, which celebrates 900 years this year

and it is possible that King Henry I of England is buried under what is the car park of the

Prison. The Abbey Ruins are separated from the Prison by one high wall, so this is part of a

huge cultural area's potential regeneration.

You must be busy then?!

Alex: Always! 2021 has been an exciting year for Reading Abbey and its 900th anniversary

celebrations took place in June, albeit within COVID manageable →restrictions, but we still

welcomed thousands of people to the site for a magnificent day of arts, re-enactments,

music and history. A hugely successful run of a new play by Rabble Theatre about the

Abbey’s Last Abbot (executed by Henry VIIII for his beliefs) was performed in the Abbey’s

Chapter House to great reviews in June/July and was a real highlight of the year. We are

also about to open a new theatre in Reading in October – Reading Rep Theatre – so the

performing arts are alive and kicking in Reading!. →

GreatWestWay.co.uk

33


Pictured left-right: Maiwand Lion - - one of the biggest cast iron statues in the world. Reading's Abbey Quarter;

The Oracle Shopping Centre, Reading's Riverside; Reading Prison: the restored Edwardian Thames Lido.

What’s a typical day like for you?

Alex: I work with hotels, museums, river boat

companies, shops and other tourism businesses to

make sure Reading puts on its best face for visitors.

Reading is a bit of an undiscovered gem, but through

the Great West Way, visitors are beginning to see

the breadth of what we have to offer. We are blessed

with the rivers Thames and Kennet and surrounding

lakes used for boating, swimming, SUP, jet ski-ing and

inflatable fun. Reading is a great outdoor destination as

well as a historic urban stopover.

What do you love most about your job?

Alex: I love taking people around Reading and telling

them the story of this fascinating place. Many people

don’t know that Oscar Wilde and Jane Austen have

strong links with Reading or that England’s last

undiscovered King, Henry I, was buried here. The

UK’s most famous biscuit manufacturer, Huntley and

Palmers, owned half the town in Victorian times and

we have glorious stretches of the River Thames and

Kennet flowing through the heart of the town. And

there’s loads more…not least a vibrant cultural scene.

How did you get started?

Alex: I started off my working life in tourism in London

in the 1990s, which was such an exciting time for the

Capital. After doing a variety of other jobs, I am really

enjoying sharing my enthusiasm again for the place in

which I live. Living and working in one place means you

really get the measure of what makes it tick.

What achievements are you most proud of?

Alex: I am running the Reading Half Marathon this

November, having been thwarted by the weather in

2018! Reading Half Marathon is a race that attracts

14,000 people to run through the streets of the

town every spring. I had never been a runner but the

whole of Reading turns out to support the runners on

Marathon Day – there’s a great atmosphere - and you

get the chance to run round many of Reading’s main

streets closed to traffic and finish in the Madejski

Stadium, home of the Royals, Reading Football

Club. Sadly, freak snow led to the cancellation of the

race and I had to use my training to run the 22 km

elsewhere, but I managed it!

What do you find inspiring day-to-day? What keeps

the enthusiasm going?

Alex: There is a real sense of pride in Reading about

our town – our heritage - both the buildings and

the people, our cultural scene, dynamic business

environment and neighbourliness. We are a welcoming

place that wants to share what we have with people

more widely. We think visitors will agree.

Any interesting or funny anecdotes related to your

role or your experiences with visitors you can share?

Alex: Not funny but maybe useful when you get here.

The pronunciation of Reading is like the colour Red in

‘Redding’ not like ‘reading’ a book. Locals sometimes

refer to the town as ‘the Ding’ and if you are looking for

Reading on twitter, search #rdguk.

34 GreatWestWay.co.uk


What does slow travel mean to you?

Alex: I cycle to work in Reading town centre every

day – Reading is a good scale for cycling. We also have

lovely footpaths along the Thames and Kennet, river

boat companies, the UK’s best bus company and a

£900 million train station in the heart of the town. For

me, slow travel is any journey where you don’t have to

take the car. Any of those would be THE BEST way to

visit Reading.

What do you think makes the Great West Way

special?

Alex: I know when I travel on holiday that a trail type

itinerary that brings together a diverse experience

and range of places really helps me explore under my

own steam. I think the Great West Way will provide

great ideas for exploring a special part of England and

allow visitors to see a number of different sides of our

country, from charming countryside and villages to

gritty multicultural urban landscapes – all within really

easy travelling distance of each other.

Do you have any insider tips or advice for travellers

who want to experience the touring route ‘like a

local’?

Alex: Chat to people when you are visiting/travelling.

Diffident British people probably won’t make the first

move to talk to you but if you ask their opinion or

start the ball rolling they’ll be delighted to share their

knowledge and experience with you. My best holiday

memories have always involved local people so treat

every pub, train journey or shopping trip as a chance to

make a new friend.

Describe your perfect adventure on the Great West

Way:

Alex: I think it is the diversity of any one day on the

Great West Way that makes it special. If you were in

Reading, that could involve a guided tour of the Abbey

Ruins, open air swimming at the restored Edwardian

Thames Lido, watching Reading FC in action at the

‘Mad Stad’, afternoon tea at The Roseate or a great live

band at one of Reading’s many live music venues.

What’s your favourite thing to eat or drink along the

touring route, a meal, a local delicacy or a favourite

tipple perhaps? And any cafes, restaurants or pubs

you can recommend?

Alex: Many first time visitors to the UK are surprised

by how multicultural our country is. 150 languages

are spoken in Reading schools, for example. For food

and drink fans, one of the benefits of our multicultural

society is the amazing choice of food on offer. In

Reading, you could try the Spanish/North African

influence at Thames Lido, the new Ethiopean café in

Palmer Park, Modern Indian at Clays Hyderabadi or

the non-licensed Lebanese Bakery House or take your

pick on the Wednesday/Friday street food markets.

Fans of ‘bitter’ (British ale/beer) should head for one

of the best pubs in the south of England, the Nags

Head or one of the new taprooms springing up around

Reading. →

GreatWestWay.co.uk

35


The joy of the

Great West Way is

that every traveller’s

experience is

different.

Every journey is

exceptional in its

own way.

Are you a city, town or country person?

Alex: Definitely a city person. Having said that, as a

family we walk in the nearby lovely Chiltern Hills just

north of Reading whenever we can, and we enjoy a

ramble round the walls of the abandoned Roman city

of Silchester, south of Reading. But I never tire of the

buzz of people so it’s a city life for me.

Can you pick a place along the Great West Way that

best represents you and what you do?

Alex: I have lived and worked in London, Wiltshire

and Reading along the Great West Way so I know the

territory well. I’ve travelled much further afield too

but London remains for me the greatest city I have

ever explored. If the scale of London might be a bit

overwhelming, Reading offers many of the advantages

of big city life without the drawbacks. If I were to

choose a weekend away on the trail, I’d head to Bristol.

A great maritime history, University city and urban grit,

Bristol wears its green credentials proudly and is a great

cultural destination as well.

Are there any English stereotypes or traditions

you’d like to set straight?

Alex: I think visitors sometime have an outdated

concept of what England and the English are like. Like

every country, our history and culture has evolved

in recent decades, but we have done a good job

in protecting the best of our countryside and built

heritage. On the Great West Way, you’ll be able to find

a traditional view of England often depicted in films,

but you will also find a vibrant, cosmopolitan place

that celebrates the best of the world in a harmonious

co-existence.

If you could choose one must-visit attraction along

the Great West Way, what would it be and why?

Alex: Perhaps not strictly an attraction, but the

River Thames from London to Reading is a majestic

waterway and its many twists and turns tell the story

of this part of the world. Take some time to walk, cycle,

take a cruise, hire a boat, row or even swim!

What do you think will surprise first-time visitors

about the Great West Way?

Alex: The Great West Way is dense with things to

do and places to visit. You might think you are going

to ‘skate’ through it in no time, but you could easily

spend several weeks! The route is particularly rich in

great specialist museums. In Reading, try the museum

of food and the countryside - the Museum of English

Rural Life, or seek out the Huntley Palmer biscuit tin

collection at the Reading Museum.

What’s your preferred mode of transport: train, car,

bus or boat? Why?

Alex: I would choose bike – you can set your own pace,

stop where you like, get off the beaten track and you

just see so much more than you do through a window.

Oh, and it’s good for you!

Read more interviews with

the people who make the

Great West Way so special

- chefs, gardeners, tour

guides and more.

CLICK

HERE

36 GreatWestWay.co.uk


DISCOVER

FISHERTON

SALISBURY

MILL

5 MINUTE

WALK FROM

THE CITY

CENTRE

AWARD-WINNING CAFE

GALLERY

&

STUDIOS

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

fab fresh food

boutique studios art craft

gifts homewares exhibitions workshops

108 Fisherton St, Salisbury, SP2 7QY Mon - Sat 10am - 5pm

w w w . f i s h e r t o n m i l l . c o . u k


GREAT WEST WAY

MEMENTOS

For one-of-a-kind souvenirs, gift shops in museums, galleries and other

attractions often come up with the goods. From a glass bauble at Bristol Blue

Glass to stylish sarsen necklaces at Stonehenge, you’ll come away with

something unique and special that reminds you of your trip

WHITCHURCH SILK

TIE, MADE USING

THE SILK WOVEN ON

VICTORIAN LOOMS

AT WHITCHURCH SILK

MILL, £40

MALLARD INSPIRED

KEYRING MADE WITH

WHITCHURCH SILK

MILL HERRINGBONE

SILK, £9.50

SILK SCARVES MADE

WITH LIMITED EDITION

NEON SILK WOVEN AT

WHITCHURCH

SILK MILL ON THEIR

VICTORIAN LOOMS, £70

whitchurchsilkmill.org.uk

38 GreatWestWay.co.uk


FRAMED PRINT OF A PEN

OF THEAVES FROM MUSEUM

OF ENGLISH RURAL LIFE, £15.95

FOR THE PRINT, FRAMED

PRICES FROM AROUND £80

artuk.org

The Great West Way

is Brunel Country. The

great engineer, Isambard

Kingdom Brunel, built

bridges, tunnels, ships and

the Great Western Railway

- all taking centre stage

throughout the region.

Isambear is a perfect

reminder of the hero

engineer's impact on the

world, £17

shop.ssgreatbritain.org

shop.ssgreatbritain.org

A recreation of a Victorian souvenir, these

Thames Tunnels peepshows capture the

magic of the Thames Tunnel in London,

designed and built by Sir Marc Brunel and

Isambard Kingdom Brunel, £15

GreatWestWay.co.uk

39


ENGLISH SPARKLING

WINE OF WILTSHIRE

CLASSIC CUVEE, £35

bluestonevineyards.co.uk

40 GreatWestWay.co.uk


Hobbs of Henley's new

clothing line 'Henley

1870', a design that

encapsulated Henley,

the River and Hobbs,

and appeals not just

to locals but visitors

too. Environmentally

friendly Hoodies and

T Shirts are made from

recycled materials

and with 100% organic

cotton. £1 from every

garment sold is

donated to the River

Thames Society a

charity whose aim is

to protect the natural

beauty of the River

Thames. Unisex Organic

Cotton Hoodie £55,

Unisex Organic Cotton

T Shirt, £25

hobbsofhenley.com

/merchandise

STONEHENGE TRILITHONS

Celebrate and commemorate

the magic of Stonehenge with

Trilithon Drop Earrings, £22

english-heritageshop.org.uk

BRISTOL BLUE GLASS

Uniquely handmade in Bristol,

Aurora Blue Glass Vase, priced

£32 and Lily Vase, £86

bristol-glass.co.uk

RING OF STONES GAME

Beautifully hand crafted in resin

and made in England exclusively

for English Heritage, £12.

english-heritageshop.org.uk

GreatWestWay.co.uk

41


BOMBAY GIN COLLECTION, £120

bombaysapphire.com

CLIFTON SUSPENSION BRIDGE

Add this unique silver charm to your

bracelet as a memory of your adventures

along the Great West Way, £35

Clifton Suspension Bridge Visitor Centre

SUPERSONIC HARDBACK

This beautiful book from Aerospace

Bristol explores the look and feel

of flying on Concorde, £27.50

shop.aerospacebristol.org

TEA INFUSED GIN

Somerset Spirit Co Gin, infused

with Bristol's Cox and Baloney

Berry Sundae Fruit Tea.

coxandbaloney.co.uk

42 GreatWestWay.co.uk


GREAT WEST WAY

STAINLESS STEEL

TRAVEL BOTTLES,

(500ML) £14.99

GreatWestWay.co.uk/shop

Want to find

more gifts for

friends or take

back home?

The Great West

Way delivers all

sorts of shopping

opportunities.

CLICK

HERE

GreatWestWay.co.uk

43


44 GreatWestWay.co.uk


ENJOYING THE RIVER

Since the Great West Way flows along

with wonderful waterways, opportunities

to splash about in the water abound

Words: Samantha Rutherford

ALONG THE GREAT WEST WAY there are plentiful

opportunities to mess about in boats – or in

canoes, or on a paddle board perhaps. And,

with the Kennet & Avon Canal linking the River

Thames in the east with the River Avon in the west, the

Great West Way can even be travelled without setting foot

on dry land!

For a sedate sort of water sport, try one of the many

types of boating trips. You could hire a rowing boat at

Henley-on-Thames and gently row downstream, past rafts

of fluffy ducklings. Or kayak carefully down the Thames,

past the Houses of Parliament and other equally big sites,

on an alternative tour of London. Or even go stand-up

paddle boarding on Bristol's Floating Harbour.

Water sports aren’t just for lakes or oceans, the rivers

and harbours along the way are ideal waterways to cool

down in and try something new. Paddle past Brunel’s SS

Great Britain whilst on a tour of Bristol Harbour - or tackle

the Giant SUP from Original Wild which fits up to 9 people,

as well as kayaking, canoeing and raft building. It’s a great

bonding experience and totally hilarious, there’s nothing

like a bit of laughter therapy! You can also swim in the river

at designated places such as Warleigh Weir near Bath and

north of Dundas Aqueduct.

The Great West Way’s scenic waterways support various

water sports too. Canoeing, kayaking, canal boat riding,

stand-up paddle boarding… Viewing the touring route

from the water will give you a whole different perspective

on the landscape and its natural inhabitants. Just watch out

for the blue flash of a kingfisher as it dips down to catch a

fish. (Speaking of which, there are many places in the Great

West Way to go fishing too.)

There are some more heart-pumping options as well,

such as Cotswolds Water Park, comprised of 150 lakes,

ideal for people who like being by - or more specifically on

or in - the water. You can kayak, canoe, windsurf, waterski,

wakeboard, sail or brave the chilly waters and go for a

refreshing open water swim. Or you can just hire a great

big inflatable and have a laugh in the water with family and

friends.

The Thames might be London’s river, but it is away

from the city, further west on the Great West Way, that

the waterway is at its most beautiful. The River Thames

flows through Windsor, Henley-on-Thames, Reading and

Oxford (where it is called the Isis). Did you know that at

215 miles, it is the longest river entirely in England and the

second-longest in the UK, after the River Severn? Climb

aboard one of the Thames River Boat’s vessels at Kew to →

GreatWestWay.co.uk

45


“Cruise upsteam through Boveney Lock passing

The Willows, Bray Film Studios and Monkey Island

enjoying the wonderful views of Windsor Castle.”

Richmond and Hampton Court and

spot wildlife while cruising down the

river. On this relaxed journey you’ll

pass Kew Gardens and Richmond

Park before sailing on through the

locks at Richmond, past the imposing

Palladian villa of Marble Hill House

and the splendid 17th-century Ham

House, to reach the historic royal

palace at Hampton Court.

Further upriver, there are boat trips

with French Brothers departing

from Windsor Promenade. You’ll

cruise upsteam through Boveney

Lock passing The Willows, Bray Film

Studios and Monkey Island enjoying

the wonderful views of Windsor

Castle during the return journey.

Or, you might enjoy hiring a boat in

Henley or join Salters Steamers along

the Thames from Reading to Henley,

Wind in the Willows style. Or why not

head along the Kennet & Avon Canal

on a Canadian canoe from Towpath

Canoe Hire, Bradford on Avon?

The Kennet & Avon Canal is 87 miles

of beautiful waterway from Reading

to Bristol. No matter where you are

along the stretch, there are plenty of

chances to get out on the water. Hop

on Jubilee, The Rose of Hungerford,

Kenavon Venture or Barbara Mclellan

for a relaxing boat trip. If you want

to have a go at being captain and

explore the canal for longer, you

can hire you own canal boat at

Honeystreet Mill Boats and Café,

Bruce Accessible Boats and Sally

Narrowboats.

Cyclists might prefer flowing

along the Kennet & Avon Canal on

two wheels along the cycle paths


from Bath to Reading. The 85-

mile cycle route is packed with

amazing attractions, incredible

countryside and an abundance of

wildlife. Highlights along the way

include Bradford on Avon’s Tithe

Barn, the Pewsey White Horse

and the dramatic flight of locks at

Caen Hill. For a day ride that’s not

overly challenging, the Bath to

Devizes section (22 miles) is almost

completely traffic-free. Why not

start your bike ride in Reading and

finish in the spa city of Bath where

you can treat yourself to a hot soak

at Thermae Bath Spa!

If you don’t want to travel the Great

West Way entirely by canal and river,

there are numerous places along the

route for getting out on the water

for the day or even just for an hour

or two. South Oxfordshire is an area

full of natural beauty, picturesque

villages, shops to browse and places

to stay and to eat. Book a stay in

Henley-on-Thames, home to the

world’s most famous rowing event,

the annual Henley Royal Regatta.

The regatta first took place in 1839

and now every July the stretch of →


the river that runs through this attractive town on

the Berkshire-Oxfordshire border hosts races that

attract the very best international crews. A channel

of the river stays open to spectators throughout the

event – this is a great time to take to the water and

see world-class rowing up close.

The rest of the year there are cruises with Hobbs

of Henley on the same stretch of water, including

short sightseeing cruises, wildlife spotting trips, gin

and jazz nights and even Christmas cruises to meet

Santa.

The other side of the North Wessex Downs you

will come to the Caen Hill Lock Flight, known in

narrowboating circles as one of the biggest and best

challenges in English canal cruising. This flight of

locks on the Kennet & Avon Canal runs for just over

two miles up the eponymous hill into the market

town of Devizes. On this stretch the canal rises 237

feet (72 metres), using 29 locks to manoeuvre boats

up and down the hill. Tackling the lock flight – in

either direction – takes at least half a day. Each lock

must be manually opened and closed using heavy

wooden gates, each time allowing the water to

either fill the lock or drain away from it to change the

water level and keep you climbing up or down.

Standing atop your boat and feeling the water

rise or fall around you is one of any narrowboating

holiday’s most memorable moments – that and

mooring up at the pub afterwards, of course. You

can visit or stay at the nearby Devizes Marina

Village, where you hire a canal boat to tackle the

locks yourself. If you don’t fancy doing the grunt

work yourself, you can leave your narrowboat at

Foxhangers at the bottom of the hill and walk up to

the town along the towpath, watching others hard at

work as you go.

The Kennet & Avon Canal continues to travel

along the Great West Way from Newbury in the east

to Bath in the west. One of the prettiest sections

of this historic waterway is the section between

the delightful Wiltshire town of Bradford on Avon

and the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Bath. Bath

Narrowboats have electric boat and canoe hire from

Brassknocker Basin, five miles outside Bath, and one

day is ample time for exploring this quiet stretch of

water with its canalside pubs and tea gardens. Allow

some time in Bradford on Avon itself too, this pretty

town has Medieval and Georgian buildings tumbling

down the hillside to the water’s edge, many of them

now excellent delis, cafés and boutiques.

48 GreatWestWay.co.uk


In the south of The Cotswolds and just north of

Swindon is an extensive area of watery playground.

Over some 40 square miles, more than 150 lakes

pool across the landscape, offering myriad ways to

get out on the water. This is the best place on the

Great West Way to try your hand at waterskiing,

wakeboarding or windsurfing or to have a go at the

latest watersports craze, stand up paddleboarding.

You can learn to sail here too, and there are canoes,

kayaks and rowing boats for hire, as well as thrilling

rides atop massive inflatables that are sure to put a

smile on your face.

Rather just have a swim? Head to Cotswold

Country Park and Beach where the South Lake has

an extensive beach and a paddling area for children,

plus pedalos and rowing boats for hire.

In Bath, Original Wild has stand up paddle

boarding tours leaving from Pulteney Bridge, which

will introduce the city from a very different angle,

standing on a board afloat in the Avon.

Along the river at Forester Road, Bath Boating

Station hire out canoes, kayaks, skiffs and punts so

that you can explore at your own pace.

Or, you could cruise along the River Avon to

Bathampton, a pretty village just two miles east

of Bath, or into the city as far as Pulteney Bridge. If

you’d rather stick to easier waters, the more placid

Kennet & Avon Canal meets the Avon in Bath and

there are narrowboats for hire by the day from Bath

Narrowboats.

At the end of the route Bristol’s Floating Harbour

offers not only one of the best ways to get around

the city by ferry, with boats running from Temple

Meads train station into and around the city centre

and Floating Harbour, but there are also cream

tea cruises on the River Avon with Bristol Packet.

Bristol Ferries run cruises out to Beese’s Tea Garden

for lunch, dinner or afternoon tea, and you can also

paddle board around with SUP Bristol.

Bristol Packet and Bristol Ferries also offer cruises

from the Floating Harbour to Avon Gorge and

Wapping Wharf, where you’ll sail along the River

Avon beside Isambard Kingdom Brunel’s SS Great

Britain, and beneath the Clifton Suspension Bridge,

another of the great engineer’s imposing and

unmissable designs.

Have you a copy of our new Kennet & Avon Canal map?

Slow down and enjoy 87 miles of the Kennet & Avon Canal

with our Great West Way map to include places to visit,

recommended accommodation, waterside restaurants and more.

GreatWestWay.co.uk/explore/maps

GreatWestWay.co.uk

49


This Way for

a Journey

Through Time

The Great West Way weaves through

the timeless county of Wiltshire.

The Ancient Briton, Romans, Normans and

Saxons have all left their mark.

Now it’s time for you to follow in

their footsteps.

It’s Time for Wiltshire

www.visitwiltshire.co.uk


FIVE OF THE BEST

SMART PHONE

TOURS

Discover the Great West Way at your own pace

with these easy-to-follow smartphone apps

1BANKSY BRISTOL TRAIL

Fans of street art will love this new

self-guided smart phone tour in Bristol

dedicated to the famous pseudonymous

street artist, Banksy. The tour takes

you to see his works of art around the

Floating Harbour, Park Street, Stokes

Croft and Montpelier, and includes

Valentine, the new artwork that only

appeared in Bristol last year.

CLICK

HERE

TO DOWNLOAD ON THE

APP STORE OR GET IT ON

GOOGLE PLAY


GreatWestWay.co.uk 51


CLICK

HERE

TO FIND OUT MORE

AND TO BOOK THE BATH

AND WILTSHIRE TOUR

2WALKING TOURS, BATH

Lose yourself without getting lost with

the must-have app when visiting Bath.

Available from the iTunes App Store or

Google Play to your mobile phone or

tablet this app offers a large choice of

themed sightseeing walks to include Bath’s

museums, coffee shops and shopping

gems, to where to find Jane Austen.

3BRUNEL TOUR, BRISTOL

When in Bristol, The Boat and the Bridge:

an audio tour about the creations and

genius of Brunel, offers a fantastic selfguided

insight into the creations and

genius of Brunel. Wind your way along the

river Avon, on a route that’s almost entirely

pedestrianised, and end at the Clifton

Suspension Bridge’s official viewpoint.

CLICK

HERE

TO DOWNLOAD

GPSMYCITY

CLICK

HERE

TO DOWNLOAD THE

BOAT AND THE BRIDGE

52 GreatWestWay.co.uk


4 5

SELF-GUIDED WALKS

Take your self-guided exploration to the

next level with an organised walking

holiday. Socially distancing yourself from

others is made easy when you are going

solo, and with the experts taking care of

your itinerary, maps and downloadable

tours all you need to worry about is

enjoying the journey. Try Cotswolds Walks

self-guided five night Bath and Wiltshire

tour, visit the World Heritage Site of Bath

with Roman Baths and Spa, and see the

iconic villages of Castle Combe and Lacock

with its magnificent Abbey.

NATIONAL TRUST APP

If you plan to visit one of the beautiful

National Trust properties on the Great

West Way, Basildon Park, The Courts

Garden or Tyntesfield perhaps, then be sure

to download the free National Trust - Days

Out App. Plan and enhance your visit by

staying up to date with events throughout

the year, download maps, keep a record of

the places you’ve visited, and make a wish

list for where to go next. Plus, everything

you need is available offline, so you can

use the app even in the most remote and

off-grid locations!

CLICK

HERE

TO DOWNLOAD THE

NATIONAL TRUST APP

ON THE APP STORE OR

GET IT ON GOOGLE PLAY

GreatWestWay.co.uk

53


TEN OF THE BEST

UNFORGETTABLE

EXPERIENCES

The Great West Way is packed with hidden

gems and unexpected treasures. There’s

something for everyone, and we hope you

enjoy our top ten unmissable adventures

1

FOR THE CYCLIST

Did you know the National Cycle Network route

can take you the entire length of the Great West

Way, and beyond? In total, from Greenwich,

London to Fishguard, Wales it’s an epic 432 miles.

Whether you choose to challenge yourself to a

week-long tour of the entire route from London

to Bristol (Route 4) or prefer to explore sections

of the Great West Way at a more leisurely pace,

you will be sure to find your perfect ride. The rural

charm of the touring route, including three Areas

of Outstanding Natural Beauty, makes it a dreamy

destination for any bike tour. There are plenty of

family-friendly woodland paths, long distance

cycle routes and exhilarating downhill mountain

bike trails. There are even lots of cute bike-friendly

B&Bs to stay in on your way. Experiencing the

route on a bike or e-bike is a fabulous option for a

charity challenge, a rewarding solo adventure or

an unforgettable family day out.

54 GreatWestWay.co.uk


VISIT SAFELY

Protect yourself and others

Businesses have been working

hard to make sure everything is

safe for both staff and visitors.

Things may look slightly different,

so please be patient as we all get

used to new ways of doing things.

Websites and businesses will

be displaying new certification,

including the nationallyrecognised

"We're Good to

Go" mark to demonstrate the

measures they have in place to

protect us all from COVID-19.


55


Did you know?

The Great West Way

route passes through

three Areas of

Outstanding Natural

Beauty. In London,

the southern section

of The Chilterns’

324-miles makes a

great start to the

route, The Wiltshire

White Horses and

the White Horse at

Uffington will be a

joy to spot ambling

in the North Wessex

Downs, or start your

tour from Bath and

follow The Cotswold

Way north, for 102

more, glorious miles.

2

FOR THE WALKER

Why not try the Great West Way six-day walking

and sightseeing tour? If you love nothing more

than exploring by foot then this fabulous themed

itinerary, taking you to some of the very best

locations along the route, will be sure not to

disappoint. Highlights include walking to Ancient

Avebury and Jones’s Mill Nature Reserve, through

pretty villages including Calne and Devizes, and

visiting attractions to include Westonbirt, The

National Arboretum, The Roman Baths’ Great

Bath by the light of flickering torches and Brunel’s

SS Great Britain. Worried you won’t keep up?

The walks are mainly flat and vary in length from

a reasonable four-nine miles. There are plenty

of pubs and cafés along the route for lunches,

afternoon tea or a drink at the end of the day. You

can book this tour with Great West Way Official

Tour Operators, Active England, Alison Howell’s

Foot Trails or Compass Holidays.

56 GreatWestWay.co.uk


3FOR THE BOOKWORM

Fancy stepping into the scene from one of your

favourite classic novels by getting dressed up and

joining in the fun of the Jane Austen Festival? This

annual celebration of everything Austen lures

Janeites from all over to the beautiful city of Bath

each September. It’s definitely one of the more

eccentric things to do in Bath, but don’t be shy -

come with your frilliest frock, reticule and parasol

and prepare to be thrilled (in a most elegant

way, naturally). The programme is different each

year, but past events have included costumed

promenades, etiquette talks, book readings, dance

workshops and masked balls. Surrounded by Bath’s

historic golden architecture you’ll feel totally

immersed in the era


GreatWestWay.co.uk

57


4FOR THE MOTORIST

Car enthusiasts will love the experience of going

behind the wheel of a Formula Ford 1600 or

Lotus Elise and driving laps of the Castle Combe

circuit racetrack, or for something extra special,

consider hiring a classic car. Some much-adored,

iconic choices include the Jaguar E-Type, the

nippy MGB Convertible and the Austin-Healey.

You can choose and hire your special wheels

from Vintage Classics and spend your day driving

stylishly through some of the prettiest villages

in England. Take your time as you cruise past the

quaint limestone cottages of Castle Combe, play

spot the chalky White Horse as you head to the

characterful village of Pewsey, and pass through

Tiddleywink, an adorable Wiltshire hamlet

consisting of just eight cottages - one of which is

historically known to serve beer to passing cattle

drovers. Don’t forget your camera, this will be a

day to remember.

58 GreatWestWay.co.uk


5

FOR THE

HORTICULTURALIST

For an unforgettable horticultural experience,

make a beeline for Kew Gardens. For a quick and

easy way to see the vast 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.

Did you know?

At Kew you can travel

the world with ‘The

Huntress of Flowers’,

Marianne North? The

boundary-breaking

Victorian botanist

who travelled solo

around the world

faithfully recording

the exotics plants

she encountered

has an exhibition

showing displaying

extraordinary oil

paintings - 833 of

them, in geographical

order - at her

eponymous gallery.


GreatWestWay.co.uk

59


6

FOR THE FOODIE

Bons vivants will love the Great West Way for its

superior gourmet offering – especially given it is

the only place where you can experience all five of

the UK's Three Michelin Starred restaurants. Now

there’s a tasty challenge to add to the bucket list!

This incredible gastronomic journey will take you

on a special and indulgent tour sampling signature

dishes from some of the world’s finest chefs, with

equally impressive hospitality, at their British

restaurants. If you are starting your journey in

West London, your first stop should be Restaurant

Gordon Ramsay, followed by Alain Ducasse at the

Dorchester, and Sketch Lecture Room and Library.

Next head to Berkshire for an incredible fine dining

experience at The Waterside Inn. Then last, but by

no means least, Heston Blumenthal's Fat Duck will

be unforgettable too – although this depends on

if you have been fortunate enough to book a table

reservation. Be sure to book in advance.

For the ultimate epicurean

experience, book a stay at

Bray Cottages Lavender

House, and enjoy Heston

Blumenthal’s son, Jack

Blumenthal and Scott

Perkins as your own private

chefs! Yes, that’s right, the

talented pair launched

their delicious private

dining experiences at Bray

Cottages in the heart of the

village, during lockdown.

You might wish to stay

for a few extra nights, as

there are seven Michelin

starred restaurants within

walking distance of the

cottage, to include, Heston

Blumenthal’s Fat Duck and

The Waterside Inn, Alain

Roux’s The Waterside Inn

and Roux at Skindles, plus

The Crown at Bray and

Caldesi in Campagna.

braycottages.com and

jackandscott.com

60 GreatWestWay.co.uk


7FOR THE ZOOPHILIST

For the ultimate overnight wildlife experience,

the recently opened Camp Baboon at Wild Place

Project is an absolute must. Think behind-thescenes

animal encounters, twilight tours of the

park and fully heated cosy wood cabins. Head into

the woods for a range of fun and exciting bush

craft activities, spot the native wildlife, and when

the gates close and you’re the only guests on-site,

toast marshmallows round a crackling fire before

settling down for sleep surrounded by amazing

animals from all around the world, including the

flamboyantly-furred Gelada Baboons! Wake up to

a special sunrise tour of the enclosures, and enjoy

feeding animals breakfast - just watch out for

those cheeky ring-tailed lemurs! Then enjoy free

entry to Camp Baboon’s sister property Bristol

Zoo Gardens, home to over 400 species set within

12 acres of beautiful gardens, including undercover

animal houses and wonderful picnic spots.

GreatWestWay.co.uk 61


8

FOR THE STYLIST

The fashion-conscious won’t want to miss a

trip to one of the designer shopping outlets,

McArthur Glen, Swindon, The Oracle Shopping

Centre in Reading, The Guild, Wiltshire, or a short

detour off the route, Clarks Village. While lovers

of homeware, book worms and art collectors

should keep their eyes open for one-of-a-kind

pieces in the many independent boutiques,

gift shops and museums along the route. From

a glass bauble at Bristol Blue Glass, a stylish

sarsen necklaces at Stonehenge to Rose Nisbet

handmade ceramics in Bristol, it is very easy to

come away with something unique and special

as a momentum of your Great West Way holiday.

For an all-encompassing super special stylist

shopping treat however Bath is the place to be.

The high street is made for fashion gurus, while

the smaller independent shops offer an eclectic

selection of unique finds. Mark the moment with

a unique piece of jewellery from Nicholas Wylde,

stop off at the Roman Baths to pick up a souvenir

or admire fashion through the ages at the Fashion

Museum Bath.

62 GreatWestWay.co.uk


9

FOR THE CHILDREN

Little ones will love the experience of getting lost

(and found) in the world’s largest hedge maze!

Longleat’s epic hedge maze is a short journey south

of the Great West Way (so parents please try not

to get lost before you get there). It was created

with 16,000 English yew trees, and more than two

miles of pathways, so it’s no easy feat reaching the

central observation tower. It’s a strangely satisfying

challenge to set yourself, but don’t take too long

- there’s a whole safari park to explore, not to

mention a glorious Elizabethan stately home.

10

FOR THE COMPETITOR

If you love a challenge then why not try your hand

at playing a game of Aunt Sally?! The Cotswolds

remains a stronghold for this traditional English

game that can be traced back to the 17th century.

The skittle-like lark is popular in country pubs,

especially in Oxfordshire, and involves teams

aiming wooden batons at a ‘doll’, which used

to resemble an old aunt. It can get competitive,

there’s even a world championship (singles knock

out) competition for it which takes place annually

(although not in 2020) a little north of the Great

West Way at Charlbury Beer Festival. Just don’t try

this one at home folks.

GreatWestWay.co.uk

63


64 GreatWestWay.co.uk


SLOW TRAVEL

SUSTAINABLE TOURISM

Take time to explore the Great West Way

evoking all your senses, losing yourself

in an authentic car-free journey

Words: Samantha Rutherford

THERE ARE MANY WAYS to discover your

Great West Way, the best approach is to take

it slowly. Enjoy a trip of a lifetime by fully

immersing yourself in the variety of culture,

food, attractions and natural beauty along the route.

From riverside walks and cycle routes through tranquil

English countryside, horse-riding, wildlife-watching

and visiting pretty villages by train to feeling lost in

the city.

Explore at your own pace, take time to uncover

local gems, and savour the journey. There are

many beautiful hotels to choose from, world-class

restaurants to dine in and spas to pamper yourself in.

You can float downstream on a narrowboat, fly high in

the sky in a hot air balloon, or lose yourself floating in

hot natural spring water in a rooftop pool.

No matter how you choose to travel the Great West

Way remember to stop and admire the views, pause

for a moment as you experience new places, delight

in delicacies from producers who have followed secret

recipes for generations - and most importantly, give

yourself the holiday time you deserve. Here is just one

idea of a journey that we hope will help inspire you

to travel at your own speed, for a holiday full of many

unforgettable and special moments.

One of the reasons the Great West Way is a worldclass

touring route is its variety of responsible modes

of transport. In a time of being socially responsible

and watching our carbon footprint, sustainable travel

is vitally important. Thanks to the A4 Great West

Road, the Great Western Railway, the River Thames,

the Kennet and Avon Canal, and multiple foot and

cycle paths, you can choose how you get around.

This trip takes you on a combination of boat, bike,

walking and train - leaving the car behind. By doing

so, you will get to see more, hear more, and find

yourself living in the present moment, while also

remaining kinder to the environment. Plus, you can

always hire out a classic for the day, an Aston Martin

or Morris Minor Convertible perhaps?

Planning the route from east to west (west to east

would also be an option), the journey begins with

an Afternoon Tea at a mid-19th century Victorian

boutique townhouse hotel, Roseate House, one →

GreatWestWay.co.uk

65


of Hyde Park’s most exclusive destinations. There’s

no better way to get you into the mindset of ‘slow

travel’ than delighting in finger sandwiches, handmade

pastries and traditional scones while enjoying

the delicate taste of hand-crafted tea blends.

The River Thames flows from London all the way

to the Cotswolds offering idyllic exploration and

navigation for the curious traveller. The paths and

waterways shape the first part of our ‘slow travel’

route abundant with wildlife and lots of riverbased

fun. It’s just a short journey upstream from

central London before you reach Royal Botanic

Gardens, Kew. This UNESCO World Heritage Site

is the perfect stop for the mindful environmentally

enriched adventurer.

Take a tour of Palm House, built with a rainforest

climate to nurture the plant life brought back

by Victorian botanists, head to The Hive for an

immersive experience that echoes the life going

on inside a real beehive and visit The Princess of

Wales Conservatory, packed with all sorts of prickly

curiosities from cacti to carnivorous plants.

From Kew, it is a short walk to Richmond, one of

London’s most attractive boroughs with a timeless

charm more akin to a village than a town. The

riverside around Richmond Bridge contains many

bars and restaurants. The stretch of the Thames

below Richmond Hill is known as Horse Reach, and

includes Glover's Island.

There’s no better way to appreciate its beauty

than by boat. Take a restful river cruise and soak it

all in. Thames Rivercruise offers various experiences,

allowing you to spot kingfishers, sing along to live

music or watch the sun go down with a drink on the

foredeck.

From Richmond there are good cycling routes to

Strawberry Hill House, equipped with bike racks

in the carpark. Strawberry Hill House was Horace

Walpole’s summer residence and is famous for

being Britain’s finest example of Georgian Gothic

Revival architecture.

Continue meandering your way along the Thames

path passing Bushy Park until you reach a palace

like no other, Hampton Court, one of Britain’s

most famous buildings. It is a picturesque sight,

located on the river bank, surrounded by swathes

of stunning gardens and parkland. The Tudor palace

was at the centre of the court and political life for

two centuries, so it was highly fitting that it was

used in the filming of Netflix's Bridgerton.

As the journey heads further west, the Great

West Way Discoverer pass and train travel is in

66 GreatWestWay.co.uk


Did you know? In 2013,

Laverstoke Mill became the first

distillery and first refurbishment

to achieve an ‘Outstanding’

design-stage BREEAM

accreditation for its distillery

process buildings.

itself part of the adventure. This pass offers unlimited

off-peak train travel with Great Western Railway from

London Paddington or London Waterloo to Bristol

Temple Meads, via the Reading and/or Basingstoke

routes, with options to branch off towards Oxford and

Kemble, in the Cotswolds, as well as to Salisbury on

the Wiltshire line through Westbury. Also included is

unlimited travel on bus services along the route. (Oneday,

three-day and week-long options are available,

with prices from just £24 per person).

This journey takes the route to Basingstoke. Hop on

a 76 bus and step off again right outside the Bombay

Sapphire Distillery, Laverstoke Mill, a conservation

area with over 1000 years of history. The Victorian and

Georgian buildings set astride the crystal-clear River

Test produced bank note paper for the Bank of England

and the British Empire for over 225 years.

Now, Laverstoke Mill is a state-of-the-art sustainable

distillery, which produces every drop of Bombay

Sapphire gin. This October the distillery launched a

brand new Turbine bar and Cinema Room adding to the

immersive experience offered to visitors.

Having been awarded the highly prestigious BREEAM

Award for Industrial Design accreditation for its

distillery process buildings the distillery is an impressive

example of sustainable tourism.

Learn about the distillery, its efficient processes and

behind-the-scenes production. Discover the flavours of

the botanicals identifying your personal taste profile,

then use it to order a complimentary cocktail from the

Mill Bar suited to your tastes.

A 76 bus towards Whitchurch will take you door-door

from the distillery to Whitchurch Silk Mill in around 10

minutes. One of the best parts about ‘slow travel’ is

learning from local craftsmen and seeing their artisan

skills in action - Whitchurch Silk Mill is 200-years-old

and still uses historic equipment and processes to →

Pictured previous

page: River Kennet

and Lock Newbury.

Pictured left-right;

Afternoon Tea

being served

at boutique

townhouse hotel,

Roseate House;

Botanicals being

grown at Bombay

Sapphire Distillery,

Laverstoke Mill

GreatWestWay.co.uk

67


“Whitchurch is on the south of the North Wessex Downs, an Area of Outstanding

Natural Beauty where you could easily spend a couple more days exploring.”

produce its beautiful silks. It is the oldest silk mill still

weaving silk in its original building - a gem of Britain’s

industrial heritage. See the original mill wheel and

Victorian machinery and fabulous fabrics on the looms

before enjoying a light lunch or delicious cake from the

riverside café. It is a beautifully tranquil setting.

Whitchurch is on the south of the North Wessex

Downs, an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty where

you could easily spend a couple more days exploring. Stay

overnight at Helen Browning’s Royal Oak or Meadowbank

House and enjoy the countryside walks and Kennet and

Avon Canal. The canal is the area’s lifeblood, linking

attractions such as Wilton Windmill, the only operating

windmill in Wessex and Crofton Beam Engines, home to

the oldest working steam engines in the world, as well as

many picturesque market towns and villages.

From Whitchurch to Hungerford you pass Highclere

Castle, or ‘The Real Downton Abbey’, as it’s known, being

the location for most of the Downton Abbey filming

(both the TV series and movie). It is one of England's most

beautiful Victorian castles, set amidst 1,000 acres of

spectacular parkland.

A little further north, Hungerford is in the middle of

the North Wessex Downs, a historic market town famous

for its antique shops. There are plenty of warm and

friendly pubs, tea shops and restaurants - it is easy to lose

yourself for a delightful few hours. Stop at The Tutti Pole

next to the canal before going on a private charter along

the Kennet and Avon Canal on The Rose of Hungerford,

owned by the Kennet and Avon Canal Trust and run

entirely by volunteers.

Take the route from Hungerford to Marlborough

stopping at the award-winning Alder Ridge Vineyard and

Cobbs Farm Shop and the Three Tuns Freehouse at Great

Bedwyn. Explore the magnificently restored 17th century

The Merchant’s House with its acclaimed wall paintings

and reconstructed gardens. From here, there’s a four-mile

circular walk to visit Marlborough’s White Horse, cut in

1804 by a group of schoolboys.

Head to the quaint village of Pewsey with its wharf, and

own White Horse carvings. Immerse yourself in history

with charming thatched cottages, quirky local landmarks,

and village churches dating from Saxon times. Ideal for

a ‘slow traveller’ with time to ponder, Pewsey is also a

hotspot for crop circle enthusiasts!

With a mainline railway station at Pewsey you can

jump back on the GWR via Westbury towards Salisbury,

famous for its World Heritage Site, Stonehenge, perhaps

stopping in for a night or two at the nearest hotel to

Stonehenge, Holiday Inn Salisbury. Get the most out of

your visit to this must-visit attraction by joining a tour

with entertaining and informative commentary from

an experienced guide. Many tours will take you from

Stonehenge to Old Sarum, a mighty Iron Age hill fort

where the first cathedral once stood and the Romans,

Normans and Saxons have all left their mark.

68 GreatWestWay.co.uk


Standing beside the ancient stone, looking up at a block

of rock upended from the earth and placed upright on

end by prehistoric man is a mesmerising experience.

Even better, though, would be if you can touch it. Hug

it even - and slow travel is all about connection. At

Stonehenge, you can’t get that close to the stones,

however, at Avebury, Wiltshire’s other prehistoric stone

circle, touching the stones is positively encouraged.

Here people have been living right inside the circle

for millennia – and there is even a pub, the Red Lion,

surrounded by the stones. The circle here is far larger, the

complex of stones far more sprawling. →

Pictured left-right:

Whitchurch

Silk Mill; views

of Whitchurch

riverside; Alton

White Horse; North

Wessex Downs

GreatWestWay.co.uk

69


Pictured:

Avebury,

Europe’s

largest

neolithic

stone

circle

“There isn’t the neatly stacked circle you’ll see at Stonehenge but Avebury is

Europe’s largest neolithic stone circle and there is much to see and explore.”

There isn’t the neatly stacked circle you’ll see at

Stonehenge but Avebury is Europe’s largest neolithic stone

circle and there is much to see and explore - and to touch.

No visit to Wiltshire is complete without spending

time in Calne. This friendly historic town is the place

where the traditional English technique of curing ham

and bacon – the Wiltshire Cure - was invented by the

Harris family. The factory is no longer here but Calne is

proud of this part of its history.

Remember what I said about hiring a car for the day?

Well now is the time to do it. Vintage Classics have

launched The Wiltshire White Horse Trail - its latest

tour for Great West Way visitors.

The circular route will take you to visit each of the

legendary eight White horses carved into the beautiful

Wiltshire landscape, and with some fabulous picnic

spots recommended, notably at Cherhill on the A4

near Calne and the historic site of the Westbury White

Horse, both affording spectacular views across the

county. Vintage Classics will even loan a picnic set

or basket and rug free of charge and can recommend

picnic providers where clients can pick up a gourmet

picnic to enjoy afternoon tea en-route.

The next stop on the GWR is Westbury Station. Hop

off the train and it’s under an hour's walk and gentle

incline to the Westbury White Horse - a key landmark

on the Great West Way. Take a look at Bratton Camp,

the iron age hillfort at the top - one of the best in

the country. The site is also an SSSI (Site of Special

Scientific Interest). There are woodlands as you go

down the slope and fantastic chalk grasslands with all

sorts of rare species.

For the more adventurous travelling with a bicycle

there is a beautifully picturesque circular bike trail from

here which will take you through the pretty villages of

Coulston, Marston, Bulkington, Steeple Ashton and more.

From Westbury, you might want to take a taxi (15

minutes drive and approximately £20) to Longleat,

the UK’s number one Safari Park with England’s only

koalas. Discover various species of animal from around

the world here including lions, tigers, wolves, koalas,

red panda and sea lions. Much like the Great West Way,

once inside the attraction, you have the option to travel

by road, rail, waterway and foot. You could book a VIP

experience or even stay overnight on the estate in one

of their new luxury cottages.

70 GreatWestWay.co.uk


It's official! #TheGreatWestWay

with 157,415,253 hashtags is No.1 in the

Tempcover's Top 50 most Instagrammable

Road Trips in the UK - so don't forget to

share your photos with us

instagram.com/GreatWestWay

YOU MIGHT ALSO ENJOY

One of the most enjoyable ways to embrace

Slow Travel is on foot so why not try one of

these great self-guided walking routes along

the Great West Way - offering you the perfect

opportunity to fasten up those laces and step

outside into the great British countryside.

NEW TRAILS FOR MALMESBURY

It takes just 28 minutes on the GWR from Westbury to

Bath or 50 minutes to Bristol. You could spend a few

more days in both of these fabulous cities. A blessing

for the urban adventurer since these cities are so close

together geographically - just 15 minutes by train - yet

miles apart in character. Perhaps treat yourself to a soak

in Britain’s only naturally warm, mineral-rich waters

as the Celts and Romans did over 2,000 years ago at

Thermae Bath Spa. Or in Bristol, you might enjoy a

dockside walk or river ferry trip. The historic harbourside is

lined with cafés and bars offering delicious locally sourced

food and drink.

The journey has now reached the western end of the

Great West Way. You could of course travel back the same

way, but there is so much more to discover. In our next

issue, we will take an alternative route from west to east,

which you could combine with this one for the ultimate

unhurried Great West Way experience.

› The White Walls Way is a brand new 20-mile

marked footpath trail, one of a handful of new

routes launched by Malmesbury Area Pathfinders.

Other routes include the Saxon Trail combining

physical remains with virtual reimagining and the

350 year anniversary of the Trial of the Malmesbury

Witches, with a new multimedia trail telling this

true story of turmoil, allegations and hangings.

exploremalmesbury.com

WALKERS ARE WELCOME IN PEWSEY

› Discover Pewsey Vale is a brand new online

planner for your trip to the Vale of Pewsey offering

a selection of walking and cycling itineraries. The

timing has come just as the partnership have

achieved a Walkers are Welcome accreditation

demonstrating the quality of walking in the area.

There is a map showing all the available walking

routes that are also downloadable from their

website. The Pewsey Vale Circular Way is one of

the itineraries launching later this year

malmesburyareapathfinders.org.uk

GreatWestWay.co.uk 71


oseatehotels.com/london/roseatehouse GRID REF: L3

roseatehotels.com/reading/theroseate GRID REF: H4

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

Meadowbank House Bed & Breakfast, Wiltshire

Tucking Mill, Bath Apartments & Cottages

The Red Lion and Troutbeck, East Chisenbury

Holiday Inn Salisbury–Stonehenge, Wiltshire

The Old Bell Hotel, Malmesbury, Wiltshire

The Swan, Bradford on Avon, Wiltshire

The Royal Crescent Hotel & Spa, Bath

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

woo leygrangehotel.co.uk GRID REF: C4

queensarmseastgarston.co.uk GRID REF: F4

The Royal Oak, Yattendon, Berkshire

Queens Arms, East Garston, Berkshire

Totteridge Farm, Pewsey, Wiltshire

Woolley Grange Hotel, Wiltshire

totteridge-farm.website GRID REF: E4

royaloakyattendon.co.uk GRID REF: C3

hisalisbury-stonehenge.co.uk GRID REF: E6

theswanbradford.co.uk GRID REF: C4

bathselfcatering.net GRID REF: B4

whatleymanor.com GRID REF: C3

meadowbankhouse.com GRID REF: E3

redlionfreehouse.com GRID REF: E5

royalcrescent.co.uk GRID REF: B4

macdonaldhotels.co.uk GRID REF: B4

Whatley Manor, Wiltshire

The Langley, Buckinghamshire

oldbe lhotel.co.uk GRID REF: C3

Manor Farm B&B, Wiltshire

The Old Chapel, Wiltshire

MacDonald Bath Spa Hotel

Roseate House, London

manorfm.co.uk GRID REF: E5

The Roseate Villa, Bath

The Roseate, Reading

marriott.com GRID REF: K3

Recommended accommodation

GreatWestWay.co.uk

Hampton by Hilton Bristol Airport, Bristol

DoubleTree by Hilton, Swindon, Wiltshire

cumberwe lcountrycottages.com GRID REF: E2

Cumberwell Country Cottages, Wiltshire

Helen Browning’s Royal Oak, Wiltshire

Church Farm Country Cottages, Wiltshire

helenbrowningsorganic.co.uk GRID REF: E3

Best Western Plus Angel Hotel, Wiltshire

Heritage Bed & Breakfast, Wiltshire

hamptoninn3.hilton.com GRID REF: A4

Avalon Lodge Bed & Breakfast, Devizes

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

doubletree3.hilton.com GRID REF: E3

churchfarmcottages.com GRID REF: C4

bathapartmentbreaks.co.uk GRID REF: B4

donnington-grove.com GRID REF: G4

Devizes Marina Village, Wiltshire

heritagebandb.co.uk GRID REF: D4

Great Northern Hotel, London

brooksguesthouse.com GRID REF: B4

thefarmcamp.co.uk GRID REF: C4

Beanhill Farm B&B, Chippenham

Donnington Grove, Newbury

devizesmarina.com GRID REF: D4

crickladehotel.co.uk GRID REF: E2

bathselfcatering.com GRID REF: B4

gnhlondon.com GRID REF: M3

abbeyhotelbath.co.uk GRID REF: B4

The Farm Camp, Wiltshire

bestwestern.co.uk GRID REF: C4

Apex City of Bath Hotel, Bath

buttlefarm.co.uk GRID REF: D4

Cricklade Hotel, Wiltshire

beanhi lfarm.net GRID REF: D3

Brooks Guest House, Bath

apexhotels.co.uk GRID REF: B4

Buttle Farm, Wiltshire

Bath Apartment Breaks

Bath Self Catering

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

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

GRID REF: E4

Abbey Hotel, Bath

(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 – all the way to the seaside. GRID REF: J3

7. See where the earliest surviving photographic

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

trade marks. A l rights reserved.

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

to REME, the museum of the Royal Electrical and

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.

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.

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 Coffee Shop in

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

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

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).

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

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

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

through a tunnel carved in the nineteenth century

by artist Wi liam West. GRID REF: A4

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,

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

in Silk Wood at Westonbirt Arboretum. GRID REF: C3

116. See the cave where two giants, Goram 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

13. Test your muscle power on a narrow boating

journey up one of the longest continuous flights of

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 Affair.

GRID REF: J3

In partnership with:

19. Mount your steed and thwack a polo ba l across the

GRID REF: L3

GRID REF: H3

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

94. Take a guided tour of the picture-postcard

fifteenth-century Great Chalfield Manor and check

out its beautiful Arts and Crafts style garden, complete

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

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

Confetti Battle (August). GRID REF: D4

29. Visit the Wiltshire white horses, carved by local

people into chalky hi lsides around the county. There

are eight 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

dinners.GRID REF: C3

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

2

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

GRID REF: G3

GRID REF: E4

story of the shoe at the Fashion

here you’ l find a co lection that

n silk shoes to Nike trainers.

60. Get a new insight

contemporary perform

at Bristol Shakespeare

61. Find dazzling carpet

West Woods just outsid

are bluebe l season here

Active England Tours

Active England Tours showcase

the real England and include

cycling and walking tours, family

adventures and multisport tours,

through beautiful Cotswolds,

Bath and Wiltshire countryside

and visiting a host of iconic

places from Downton Abbey to

Stonehenge and beyond.

From paddling and cycling

the canals into Bath on our

Adventure Weekends, to Walking

the Cotswolds Way. Hike the

Ridgeway on a week-long

walking adventure or visit the

highlights of the Cotswolds

including Windsor Castle,

Stonehenge, Avebury, Blenheim

Palace and Bath on our Classic

Cotswolds Cycling Tour. Travelling

like a local, on our guided or

self-guided trips, our routes will

lead you off the beaten track to

discover the best of the English

countryside.

Britain’s Best Heritage Tours

Specialists in expert-led bespoke

driver-guided tours, town and

city walks, country walks and

special interest heritage tourism

across the South West. Owned

by Ian Newman MITG and his

daughter Heather Newman

MITG, with guiding also provided

by Sandrine Maubeche MITG - all

registered Blue Badge Guides.

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 GUIDES

For a range of walking and cycling holidays these

experts are on hand to offer you a helping hand!

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!

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.

Tours2order

Blue Badge Tourist Guide,

Graham Horn, listens to your

ideas and then prepares a tour

or visit that is unique to your

needs. His specialisms are history

and historic towns, places,

waterways, geography, transport

and the countryside.

Uncover Britain Road Trips

Uncover Britain's curated

road trips tour guides will

fuel your sense of adventure.

We’ve gone the extra mile to

encompass travel essentials

with the inspirational – so you

can explore and discover more.

Self-drive road trip tour guides

include adventure, tops tips and

inspiration. Enjoy the freedom

to choose your own route at

your pace. Designed to be fully

adaptable, your perfect road

trip starts here. hoose from

Encounter England – showcasing

quintessential England, History

& Heritage – taking you on a

journey through time and Houses

& Gardens – grand estates on

screen and with Royal links.

Ready to book your Great West Way adventure?

You might like to know about our Great West

Way Package Trips...

Choose one of these perfectly packaged options, from a

6 Day Guided Cycling Trip, Literary and Culture Adventure

to a 4 Day Best of the Great West Way, our packaged

trips take the hassle out of planning for you and include

accommodation, tours and tickets, provided for you by

our Official Tour Operator partners.

Click here to find out more

CLICK

HERE

START HERE.

GreatWestWay.co.uk

TO DOWNLOAD OUR MAP

OF THE GREAT WEST WAY

Great things to do along the

Great West Way.

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.

START HERE.

125. Learn how stop animation works in Bristol, home

to Aardman Animations, the Academy Award winning

studio who brought the world Wa lace and Gromit.

We the Curious science centre hosts model making

workshops with experts from the studio – you’ l even

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

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

123. Go behind the scenes at Downton Abbey with a

visit to Highclere Castle, the building Julian Fe lowes

is 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

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

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

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, but two of the best places for a bumper catch

are Bathampton near Bath (C4) and Hungerford in

Berkshire (F4). Contact the local angling association

for a permit.

125

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

just 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 Mi lennium Square in Bristol (A4), Royal Victoria

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

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

108. Ge 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.

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 at 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 at 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

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 market 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 narrowboat 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 next to the twelfth century Abbey. Fu ly restored,

it offers elegant modern accommodation and relaxed

CLICK

HERE

To help you plan your journey be sure to

have a map which will not only help you

to navigate your jouney, it also includes

125 great things to do!

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.

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 staff at

the Beer Emporium, in the heart of Old Bristol and selling

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?

Another handy

map is the new

Great West Way

guide to walking in

the North Wessex

Downs. Click here

29

to download.

England

for the Curious

al street food in the heart of Bristol.

arket runs year-round on Tuesdays

ne Street and has everything from

food and vegan Thai snacks to freshly

s and Tibetan dumplings. GRID REF: A4

a l with some very cheeky

fari Park – as you drive through

m to clamber onto your car, and

f it with them! GRID REF: C5

mass at Stonor Chapel, built in the

on the site of a prehistoric stone

tholic ever since. GRID REF: H3

a creepy walk around the market

local historian John Girvan. The

as been terrifying children and adults

years and includes a trip to the site

ws. GRID REF: D4

30s at the Atwell-Wilson Motor

here a 1930s garage has been

lled with classic cars. GRID REF: D4

e direct from the vineyard at the

Ridge Vineyard (F4) or Aldwick Estate

sparkling wine is getting especia ly

give it a try.

“living work of art” at Stourhead, one

t landscape gardens. The best time

n, when the trees turn golden, but

ear you can seek out the classical

ake – a great shot for your Instagram.

rons at Bowood’s Woodland

ng during flowering season.

their way between the vibrantly

f which have been putting on

ince 1854. GRID REF: D4

artwork by the anonymous

he hails from, Bristol. You can

artists at work, painting the wa ls

st street art and graffiti festival,

66

31

50. St

with a

stretch

Bradfor

that it’s

51. Trav

stand-up

take a le

52. Play d

Bristol – y

into each

53. See pa

Gainsborou

at Bath’s H

54. Climb to

into the “blo

victory of th

55. Tune into

Wiltshire’s in

Crop Circle Ex

people think t

that appear ov

are the work o

56. Walk along t

stro ling from Ke

of Richmond, hom

57. Take a stro l t

at Bristol’s Arnos

cemetery surroun

home to numerou

58. Try a hot choc

Dyrham Park – you

it has cayenne pepp

59. Scan the skies f

the best time to see

is between October

of seeing them is in

Outstanding Natural

72 GreatWestWay.co.uk

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. Coun the deer in Richmond Park

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

two miles at Caen Hill 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

25. Gawp at the super-elite school that educated

Princes William and Harry – as we l as 19 British

Prime Ministers. The tour of Eton College includes

the School Yard and Co lege 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 mi lion

LEGO bricks at LEGOLAND. GRID REF: K3

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

negative was taken, by Henry Fox Talbot in 1835

at Lacock Abbey. GRID REF

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

GRID REF: K4

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

generous and as much as possible is h

You can vis

43. Watch stately Shire horses deliver local beer to

the pubs of Devizes, fresh from Wadworth Br

based in the town


TOUR & EXPLORE

with Anne Bartlett

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

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

visit: www.tourandexplore.com

Ambassador for The Great West Way

EXPLORE THE GREAT WEST WAY ®

WITH AN EXPERT GUIDE

Chauffeur driven tours with a Blue Badge Guide

www.bbhtours.co.uk | hello@bbhtours.co.uk | 01985 840049


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 prize to go here!

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 2022

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 2021 winner!

#GreatWestWay

74 GreatWestWay.co.uk


1

2

3

4

5

6

GreatWestWay.co.uk 75


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

îThe Roman Bath

1 @ni.co.let.ta 6

îBath

2 @daragh_cuthbert 7

îThe Circus, Bath

3 @her.grand.tour 8

îWiltshire

4 @dansramblings 9

îSunflowers

5 @casperfarrellphoto 10

îMarlborough

@pixiemarmalade

îPulteney Bridge

@emilymckay90

îVale of Pewsey

@stephen_davis_photos

îBristol

@matthewpriceartist

îAvebury Stones

@eagleeyeaerialphotography

76 GreatWestWay.co.uk


CAST YOUR VOTE FOR A

CHANCE TO WIN A PRIZE!

îVote for your favourite finalist

and you will be automatically entered

into our competition to win a luxury

weekend in Bath for two staying

overnight with breakfast in a Superior

Room at Apex City of Bath Hotel!

SIMPLY VISIT OUR WEBSITE TO

SUBMIT YOUR ENTRY:

îGreatWestWay.co.uk/competition

Closing date for all entries is 31 December

2021. The winner will be announced in

January 2022. Terms and conditions apply,

please see website page for details.

CAPTURING

THE MOMENT

PHOTOGRAPHY

WINNER

2020

WIN!

Bradford on Avon @wordyelaine

OUR 2020 WINNER!

îCongratulations to Elaine Abbott,

(@wordyelaine on Instagram) the

talented winner of our Capturing the

Moment Photography Competition

2020! Elaine has won free family tickets

to a host of iconic attractions along the

Great West Way, plus a Bombay Sapphire

Cocktail Masterclass experience!

The winner of our 2021 competition

will win free tickets to include Noah’s Ark

Zoo Farm and an afternoon tea for two at

The Reading Room, situated within The

Roseate Reading hotel.

GreatWestWay.co.uk 77


78


STRIKING

ARCHITECTURE

TO SEE ON THE ROUTE

There are many impressive styles of architecture to see on the

Great West Way. How many in our list here have you visited?

Words: Samantha Rutherford

79


CLIFTON

SUSPENSION

BRIDGE

BRISTOL

Be sure to stroll across

Bristol's famous Clifton

Suspension Bridge. One of

Victorian engineer Isambard

Kingdom Brunel’s most

striking works, it straddles

the dramatic Avon Gorge.

Pop into the Visitor Centre in

Leigh Woods to find out more

about the people who built,

maintain and treasure it.

Entrance to the Visitor Centre

is free, although donations

are appreciated.

80

GreatWestWay.co.uk


GREAT

PAGODA

KEW

Kew’s Pagoda was completed

in 1762 as a gift for Princess

Augusta, the founder of

the Gardens. It was one of

several Chinese buildings

designed for Kew by Sir

William Chambers, who had

spent time travelling and

studying the architecture of

East Asia. A popular ‘folly’ of

the age, it offered one of the

earliest and finest bird’s eye

views of London – which you

can enjoy today, thanks to a

major restoration project. The

Great Pagoda will re-open

for pre-booked guided tours

from 5 June 2021 - so enjoy

climbing up the Great Pagoda

and seeing those spectacular

views across the capital.


GreatWestWay.co.uk 81


82 GreatWestWay.co.uk


THAMES LIDO

READING

Thames Lido is the result of a

painstaking and sensitive 3-year

restoration of the disused King’s

Meadow swimming pool located by

the river Thames on King’s Meadow

in Reading, Berkshire.

The original pool was designed

and built by John Bowen, Borough

Engineer and Surveyor, at a cost of

£4890. It first opened to the public

in 1902 as the Ladies Swimming

Bath and is believed to be the oldest

surviving outdoor municipal pool

of the early Edwardian era. With

no windows giving onto the pool

itself, it was built to allow Edwardian

women to bathe in privacy and

was originally fed from the Thames

though it was converted to mains

water supply in the 1950s.

The pool was closed to the public

in 1974. In August 2004, as a result

of a public campaign, the building

was awarded Grade II listed building

status. The Thames Lido is an

urban retreat open all year round

offering spa days and swimming

memberships along with a strong

Spanish and Mediterranean feel

restaurant and tapas bar.


GreatWestWay.co.uk

83


BOMBAY

SAPPHIRE

DISTILLERY

HAMPSHIRE

Based at Laverstoke Mill

in rural Hampshire, just 15

miles from Winchester, the

Bombay Sapphire Distillery

is in a conservation area

with over 1000 years

of history. For over 225

years, the Victorian and

Georgian buildings set

astride the crystal-clear

River Test produced bank

note paper for the Bank

of England and the British

Empire. Now, Laverstoke

Mill is a state-of-the-art

sustainable distillery,

which produces every drop

of Bombay Sapphire gin.

Chart hundreds of years of

Laverstoke Mill’s illustrious

history, married with the

fascinating heritage of gin

and Bombay Sapphire.

Watch the production of

gin behind the scenes in

the Dakin Still House, and

uncover the secrets of

Bombay Sapphire’s unique

vapour-infusion distillation

process. Discover your

personal taste profile in

the Dry Room, then use

your profile to order a

complimentary cocktail

from the Mill Bar suited to

your tastes.

84 GreatWestWay.co.uk


BRISTOL

CATHEDRAL

BRISTOL

Bristol’s beautiful and

historic Cathedral is located

on College Green in the

West End of the city. A

church has almost certainly

stood on the site for over a

thousand years, but it came

to prominence in 1140 when

Robert Fitzhardinge founded

the Abbey of St Augustine.

The Chapter House and

Abbey Gatehouse remain

clear to see, and the other

remains are to be found

within Bristol Cathedral

School. The eastern end of

the Cathedral, especially

in the choir, gives Bristol

Cathedral a unique place in

the development of British

and European architecture.

The nave, choir and aisles are

all the same height, making

Bristol Cathedral the major

example of a hall church in

Great Britain and one of the

finest to be found anywhere

in the world.


GreatWestWay.co.uk

85


THE CIRCUS

BATH

Designated by UNESCO as a

World Heritage Site, Bath is

home to some of the most

impressive architectural

sights in the world including

the Royal Crescent, the Circus

and Pulteney Bridge. It is no

wonder then that this golden

city has been welcoming

visitors for over 2,000 years

86

GreatWestWay.co.uk


CABOT TOWER

BRISTOL

If you’d like to experience

a slightly less well-known

architectural experience, take

a trek up Brandon Hill to the

105ft Cabot Tower - then

climb up the tower’s spiral

staircase, where you’ll be

rewarded with panoramic

views of the city and further

architectural delights, to

include Clifton Suspension

Bridge and Bristol Cathedral.

Cabot Tower was built to

commemorate John Cabot’s

voyage from Bristol to the

continent of North America

over four hundred years ago.


GreatWestWay.co.uk 87


WILTON

WINDMILL

WILTSHIRE

Enjoy a guided tour and find

out about how a Victorian

miller would have lived and

how the windmill works.

Built in 1821 and set high in

the North Wessex Downs

Area of Outstanding Natural

Beauty, Wilton Windmill is

the only working windmill

in the Wessex region. Picnic

area and site accessible all

year round. Guided tours,

refreshments and stone

ground flour available during

opening times. Fabulous

walking and great views – a

very special place.

88

GreatWestWay.co.uk



GreatWestWay.co.uk 89


THE BRIDGE

TEAROOMS

BRADFORD

ON AVON

The afternoon ritual of

serving tea has been

developed to a fine art here,

and is so accomplished that

the Bridge Tea Rooms has

been recognized as excellent

by the prestigious UK Tea

Guild for many years. Delicate

bone china, the finest leaf

teas, and friendly staff in

Victorian costumes serving

home-made cakes, pastries

and sandwiches. Housed in a

former blacksmith's cottage

dating from 1502, the Bridge

Tea Rooms positively oozes

atmosphere, and the classical

music playing gently in the

background sets a tranquil

tone.

90 GreatWestWay.co.uk


THE PUMPKIN

TOWER

TROWBRIDGE

The Pumpkin Tower is in

the heart of Trowbridge, the

county town of Wiltshire,

with a rich industrial heritage.

As well as visiting the intriguing

Pumpkin Tower, said to be the

creation of local business owner

Thomas Rothschild, named

after the nickname he had

for his daughter, pop into the

Information Centre and pick up

a copy of the Trowbridge Ted’s

Terrible Town Trail. The team can

offer advice on how to get the

most out of your stay, and the

map will take you around the

town, exploring the more gory

side of Trowbridge’s history!


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BRISTOL

OLD VIC

BRISTOL

The oldest continuallyrunning

theatre in the

English-speaking world

can be found, perhaps

unsurprisingly, down

the cobbled King Street

of Bristol. Yet despite

its storied, tiered

interior, the shows here

are as contemporary

as they come. Be

challenged by modernday

interpretations of

Shakespeare classics, hear

top thinkers talk and see

fresh ideas expressed

through dance. A whole

cast of famous actors

learnt to walk the boards

at the Old Vic Theatre

School, including Daniel

Day-Lewis and Peter

O’Toole. Did you know?

Since autumn 2018 you’ve

been able to enjoy a pretheatre

meal in front of the

theatre’s original facade

at the on-site bar and

kitchen.

92

GreatWestWay.co.uk


STRAWBERRY

HILL HOUSE

TWICKENHAM

Strawberry Hill House &

Garden has been open to

visitors for over 250 years.

Created by Horace Walpole in

the 18th century, Strawberry

Hill is internationally famous

as Britain's finest example

of Georgian Gothic revival

architecture.


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94


DONNINGTON

CASTLE

NEAR NEWBURY

Overlooking the market town of

Newbury, and located bang in the

middle of the Great West Way

are the remains of Donnington

Castle. The 14th-century castle was

severely damaged in the English

Civil War. Although only earthworks

and a gatehouse remain, it was

once considered very luxurious

- so luxurious that on separate

occasions it hosted both King Henry

VIII and Queen Elizabeth. Thomas

Chaucer, son of famous poet

Geoffrey Chaucer, once lived here.

This picturesque ruin with wide

open views across the Berkshire

countryside makes for a very

pleasant picnic spot - there's a

lovely 3-4 mile walking loop via

Snelsmore Common for a gentle

hour-long stroll, or from Highclere

Castle you could take a walk up

Beacon Hill where you can admire

Donnington Castle from a distance.

It’s a strenuous but short hike up

to the hill fort, but the fantastic

views are well worth it and you

may even be joined by red kites

and skylarks. Plus you’ll get to see

Lord Carnarvon’s burial place - the

former Highclere Castle resident

is legendary for his role in the

discovery of Tutankhamun’s tomb.


95


WELLINGTON

ARCH

LONDON

At the far East of the Great West

Way route, in bustling central

London, is Wellington Arch.

Originally built as an entrance

to Buckingham Palace, the

structure later became a victory

arch proclaiming Wellington's

defeat of Napoleon. Climb up to

the arch's balconies for glorious

panoramas over London.

96 GreatWestWay.co.uk


THE COSMIC

HOUSE

HOLLAND

PARK

The Cosmic House is an

impressive, idiosyncratic

private house, turned museum

(just opened) - and one of

the world’s most important

examples of Post-Modern

architecture. The Cosmic

House became the UK’s first

Grade I listed Post-Modern

house. Begun in 1978, the

conversion of the house was

a collaboration between

Charles and Maggie Jencks

and the architect Terry Farrell

with contributions from Piers

Gough, Eduardo Paolozzi,

Michael Graves, Allen Jones

and others. As the spiritual

home of Post-Modern design,

it hosted conversations

with the leading architects

and thinkers of the day. Its

symbolic architecture, complex

iconography and cosmic

references are all imbued with

Charles’ characteristic learning

and wit.


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THE ROMAN

BATHS

BATH

Bath was founded upon

natural hot springs with

the steaming water playing

a key role throughout its

history. Lying in the heart

of the city the Roman Baths

were constructed around 70

AD as a grand bathing and

socialising complex. It is now

one of the best preserved

Roman remains in the world.

1,170,000 litres of steaming

spring water reaching 46°C

still fill the bathing site every

single day. The Romans

believed that this was the

mystical work of the Gods but

we now know that the water

source, which comes from

the King’s Spring, fell as rain

water around 10,000 BC.

Visit The Great Bath, the

magnificent epicentre to

the complex and walk on

the ancient pavements as

the Romans did 2,000 years

ago. The Great Bath that lies

below street level can also

be viewed from the Terrace,

which is adorned with statues

and shadowed by the great

Abbey. Other chambers to

explore include the remains

of the ancient heated rooms

and changing rooms as well

as tepid and plunge pools.

98 GreatWestWay.co.uk


YOU MIGHT ALSO ENJOY

CASTLES ON THE GREAT WEST WAY

› Highclere Castle, or ‘The Real Downton

Abbey’ as it is now known, is where most of

Downton Abbey the TV series and movie were

filmed. Highclere Castle is currently home to

the eighth Earl and Countess of Carnarvon.

Throughout the year, Highclere Castle holds

tours and events open to the public where you

can explore the Estate and the various filming

locations that have appeared on our screens.

› Berkeley Castle is considered by many as a

hidden gem; it was built in 1153 by the Berkeley

family, who still live there. Over the centuries

it has changed from a foreboding fortress to

a welcoming family home. 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. Featured in The White Princess, Wolf

Hall, Poldark, The Hollow Crown, The Spanish

Princess and Johnny English Strikes Again.

› Windsor Castle is the oldest and largest

inhabited castle in the world. It has been the

family home of British kings and queens for

almost 1,000 years and is today one of the

official residences of Her Majesty The Queen.

In 2018, the Castle provided a spectacular

backdrop to two royal weddings, which took

place in St George’s Chapel.

Find more inspiration from our website:

GreatWestWay.co.uk/see-and-do/

attractions

GreatWestWay.co.uk 99


Pictured above: The Savill Building, Savill Garden, Windsor Pictured below left-right: Stonor Park, Wonder Woods;

Playing croquet on the lawn at National Trust's Tyntesfield, Somerset

100


GARDENS THROUGH

THE SEASONS

The gardens of the Great West Way are

beautiful whatever the season, but here are

the must-sees throughout the year

Words: Adrienne Wyper

SPRING SPLENDOURS

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!

• SAVILL GARDEN

This 35-acre garden in Windsor Great Park’s

grounds is home to a glorious spring display

of award-winning rhododendrons, in the

sunken woodland garden. Trumpet-like

flowers appear in every shade: pure white,

pale cream, lemon, apricot, shocking pink,

purple and flaming scarlet – many of them

scented.

• BLENHEIM PALACE

Formal gardens include Water Terraces,

an Italian Garden, and the Rose Garden.

Gardens manager Hilary Wood says:

‘The Secret Garden bursts with fresh life

and colour, from narcissus, snowdrops,

hellebores and magnolias. Vastly different

from the main formal gardens, the

tranquillity of this garden, with its winding

pathways and waterways, is a lovely place

to sit, listen to the birds singing and take

time to just relax.’

• TYNTESFIELD

Cocooned in the Somerset countryside,

Tyntesfield is a Victorian Gothic country

house and estate. Spring is special: in the

naturalistic orchard, apple, pear and plum

blossom appears, and tulips brighten

urns and beds along the terraces. And in

the kitchen garden, says Senior Gardener

Marianne Closius, ‘a spring highlight for me

is the blossom covering the wall-trained

fruit.’

• STONOR PARK

Set in a valley in the Chilterns, described

by Lord Gibson, former National Trust

Chairman, as: ‘Possibly the most beautiful

setting for any house in England’, there’s a

lush mix of ponds, fountains and pleasure

gardens. Stroll amid neat box hedges, and

seek out the hidden Japanese retreat. The

estate’s arboretum is a treat during spring

when the cherry blossom appears. →

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101


Pictured left-right: Bowood House and Gardens roses and fountain on The Terrace; Flowers at Bowood;

Bowood House, The Courts Gardens, National Trust; Stourhead; and Westonbirt Arboretum

SUMMER SENSATIONS

• CLIVEDEN HOUSE

The gardens of 300-year-old Cliveden House

hold as much interest as the house – 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 flowers and classical statues in the Long

Garden and come over all romantic amid 900

roses in the heavenly scented Rose Garden.

• BOWOOD HOUSE

Fashionable 18th-century gardener

‘Capability’ Brown worked his magic on 100

acres of parkland here, widely hailed as his

best-preserved masterpiece. Sit by the

mile-long lake, admire sweeping lawns

from the terrace and learn more about

the designer on a summer tour with head

gardener David Glass. Other highlights

include an arboretum, woodland gardens

and Lord and Lady Lansdowne’s secret walled

garden – swathed in early summer with

fragrant lavender, honeysuckle and peonies.

• BERKELEY CASTLE

Henry II gave the Castle to the Berkeley

family in 1153. Below the gatehouse is a

bowling green, where Queen Elizabeth I

is believed to have played. In the terraced

gardens the focus is on fragrance, and

June’s roses are a delight. Seize the rare

opportunity to walk among free-flying

butterflies in the Tropical Butterfly House.

• HAMPTON COURT PALACE

Beside the Thames, at Henry VIII’s

residence, the Royal Horticultural Society's

Hampton Court Palace Garden Festival

(5-11 July 2021) is the world’s largest

annual horticultural show. This year’s

design themes include Scandinavian and

sustainable.

Make time for the rose marquee, where

the rose of the year is revealed.

The setting for the Festival is a product

of the Palace’s rich history - the Baroquestyle

Great Fountain Garden, The Maze,

and Royal Kitchen Garden with its heritage

vegetables.

102 GreatWestWay.co.uk


AUTUMN GLOWS

• WESTONBIRT

ARBORETUM

With 15,000 trees from around

the world, including five national

collections, autumn is spectacular

here. Dendrologist Michal Dvorak

says: ‘With our world-renowned

maples taking centre stage, it’s

easy to miss lesser-known gems.

The smoke bush is a feast of

colour, including fiery yellows, reds,

peaches and purples. The Persian

ironwood is another one not to

miss in autumn as its leaves turn

crimson and gold.’ Don’t miss the

step-free STIHL Treetop Walkway,

and download a fun kids’ activity

booklet, including creating leaf

crowns and hunting acorns.

• STOURHEAD

In south Wiltshire, Stourhead

is one of the Great West Way’s

most famous gardens. Described

as ‘a living work of art’ when it

opened in the 1740s, its classical

architecture includes a grotto, a

gothic cottage and its own Temple

of Apollo. For Alan Power, head

gardener, his favourite time of year

here is autumn: ‘the garden, the

architecture, the plants and the

trees all perform perfectly together.

It’s like an encore before the rest for

winter.’

• UNIVERSITY OF

BRISTOL BOTANIC

GARDENS

Fascinating displays tell the story

of plants in several zones. The

evolution collection boasts species

dating back 200 million years. Two

medicinal herb gardens – Chinese

and Western – display useful plants.

On chilly days, take shelter in the

tropical zone glasshouse, marvel at

giant waterlilies, and admire edible

crops such as cocoa, vanilla, sugar

cane, banana, pineapple and ginger.

• THE COURTS

GARDEN

Poet-in-residence John Bond (2018-

2019) summed up the beauty of

the season in this English country

style garden, open until the end of

October in Melksham: ‘…death,

for once, shows nature at its best,

and leaves outdo the flowers by

a mile in beauty’. As well as the

arboretum, topiary treats include

the line of yews called ‘the dancing

bears’ plus peaceful water gardens

and unexpected vistas.→

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103


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


Pictured left-right: Christmas at Kew;

and The Hidden Gardens of Bath

WINTER WONDERS

• ROYAL BOTANIC GARDENS, KEW

See the stunning gardens in a whole new light with

Christmas at Kew, a show-stopping annual trail of

festive light installations. More than a million tiny

bulbs and flickering flames light up the night, as

rainbow reflections shimmer on the water and trees are

drenched in dazzling hues. Along the route try festive

hot food and treats such as spiced winter warmers and

hot chocolate.

• MONTACUTE HOUSE

One of very few Elizabethan gardens retaining the

compartmentalised design of the period, each with a

distinct feel, from the East Court’s stone balustrades

and foliage planting, to yews and views in the North

Garden, and wide-open spaces on the Cedar Lawn.

• PRIOR PARK LANDSCAPE GARDEN

At this elegant 18th-century landscape garden south

of Bath, designed by Capability Brown, the Palladian

bridge and waterway are a focal point. In winter the

bare branches reveal views that aren’t visible at other

times of year, but greenery still abounds, with glossy

laurels and evergreen shrubs, succeeded by drifts of

delicate snowdrops.

• WADDESDON MANOR

In winter the grounds are transformed by dazzling

colour and light displays, bathing trees and manor

alike in beautiful hues. Wrap up warm and follow the

trail, wending its way past imaginative illuminated

installations.

YOU MIGHT ALSO ENJOY

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 you will also be contributing

to charity. Simply go to their website (ngs.

org.uk) and search for your perfect garden -

pre-booking is essential. Fancy having it all to

yourself? Following the coronavirus pandemic

a number of gardens are offering private visits.

One of the safest, most comfortable and most

enjoyable places for a a family get-together, or

meet up with friends.

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!

Find out more about all the gardens on the

Great West Way and and inspiration from Head

Gardeners from our website:

GreatWestWay.co.uk/discover-our-way/

gardens

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105


HISTORIC STOPS

TRAIN TRAVEL

Making tracks on the Great West Way

can point you at endless amounts of

history and fun facts to be discovered

along its length from London to Bristol

Words: Geoff Moore

TAKING TO THE TRACKS is certainly one way to

explore locations and the history of the Great

West Way. In one go the journey is just 1hr

40min, but stopping en route to explore the

route in your own time is 'slow travel' at its best.

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.

Setting out west from Paddington, how about

making the first stop at Windsor and Eton Central?

It was here where a race to impress a real Royal took

place just outside her castle in the town. Two opposing

rail companies ‘The Great Western’ and ‘The London

and South Western Railway’ set out to be the first to

provide the monarch with a rail service.

In 1840 Queen Victoria encouraged by Prince Albert

took a trip from Slough - which was then the nearest

station to the castle - to Paddington. And today

parts of the original elegant façade can still be seen

indicating its former short lived Royal connection.

The GWR line extension was built to almost within

touching distance of the castle walls. With the two

companies frantically making progress to Windsor it

was the Great Western that finally won the race.

Although they had to build a massive curving brick

arch viaduct over the ‘playing fields of Eton’, plus bridge

the Thames in order to get into the centre.

For the London and South Western Railway, a bridge

failure disrupted their attempt to win and still the town

has two stations within 600 metres of each other.

Windsor and Eton Central and Windsor Eton Riverside.

GWR’s central station has an expansive metal and

glass roof that almost mimic’s Paddington’s. This was to

allow the Queen’s mounted soldiers to wait undercover

before escorting her back to the castle.

Today, you can enjoy an alfresco cocktail in the

stations All Bar One restaurant and bar, the exact

location where in March 1882 the last (of eight)

assassination attempts on Queen Victoria took place.

106 GreatWestWay.co.uk


Pictured:

The Great

Western

Railway built

the grand

Windsor &

Eton Railway

Station in

1897.

GREAT WEST WAY

DISCOVERER PASS

ROUTE MAP

Didcot

Parkway

The Chilterns

Wantage

North Wessex Downs

Waterloo

Station

Frome

Bradford

on Avon

Trowbridge

Melksham

Westbury

Basingstoke

→KEY

Train Routes

Bus Routes

GreatWestWay.co.uk

107


Pictured:

It might be possible

that Isambard

Kingdom Brunel

designed his two-mile

long Box Tunnel with

his own birthday in

mind! It is claimed

that on the 9th April,

the sun shines directly

down the length of the

tunnel - a theory which

was tested a few years

ago by Great Western

Railway and Network

Rail when a rare chance

to observe it came

about due to the line

being shut on the date

because of upgrade

work.

Trains from London Paddington also call at

Twyford, changing onto the line to Henley-on-

Thames, home to the famous regatta.

Disembark in Reading and enjoy 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.

Here you have a choice, you might like to take the

south-west route (see opposite page), or travel the

route via 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 – next stop on the

line is 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.

Heading further west passing Chippenham on

the train to Bath there is the renowned ‘Box Tunnel’.

Here the rail line dives underground through Box Hill

for nearly two miles. Another of Brunel’s great feats

on the GWR. Located on the outskirts of Corsham

the tunnel project was thought to be impossible

to build by fellow engineers of the time. However,

after starting in December 1838 the one mile and

three quarters long subterranean construction was

completed by Brunel in June 1841.

The entrance to it on the Bath side is ornate and

built of Bath Stone in a grand classical style but the

eastern entrance quite austere.

The tunnel itself also hides, adjacent to its dank

darkness, a Cold War secret. Constructed alongside

underground is a series of subterranean roads and

passages. Complete with communication bunkers,

offices, food and fuel storage, the complex was

designed in the 1950’s and 60’s to house the Prime

Minister and the Government plus military officials

in case of a nuclear attack.

108 GreatWestWay.co.uk


When Isambard Kingdom Brunel's

Box Tunnel was first built, despite

his own certainty, there were many

who feared disaster, believing

that the Box Tunnel was a health

hazard, likely to prove fatal, that

the noise of two trains passing

each other in the tunnel would

shake your nerves, and that if you

travelled over a certain speed you

wouldn't be able to breathe!

There was talk that this huge bomb proof selfsufficient

complex was in fact a ruse to fool the Russians,

and that the real contingency plan had the Government

spread around England, Wales, Scotland and Northern

Ireland under the code name Python!

The final stop on this route before reaching Bath is

the glorious Bradford on Avon. This small town sits on

the edge of The Cotswolds and straddles the River Avon.

Cross the waters in ancient footsteps, on the 13thcentury

town bridge, and stand dwarfed in the 14thcentury

Tithe Barn, its lattice of timbers soaring for over

50 metres far above your head.

SOUTH WEST ROUTE

Rather than taking the north-west route to Swindon

from Reading, you might choose to take the southwest

route towards Bath via Newbury and Hungerford,

travelling through the North Wessex Downs Area of

Outstanding Natural Beauty.

The Great Western Railway is far from just one main

line – and this line is a perfect example of an alternative

rail journey where you can get off the beaten track and

out into more rural areas.

There are several short loop walks from Hungerford,

an ancient town also known for its antique shops, or

you could get off the train a stop earlier and walk the

nine miles from Newbury along the canal, stopping first

to discover the town’s fascinating history. During the

18th century Newbury became a coaching centre and in

1717 offered the first daily coach to London. Passengers

would spend 40 hours on the journey and the trip was

not accomplished in one day until 1800. For cultural

activities head to The Corn Exchange, stop for afternoon

tea at Teashop on the canal and if you fancy a flutter visit

the Queen’s favourite racecourse, Newbury Racecourse.

At Hungerford a short walk from the station will

find you at the Hungerford Wharf. Here the ‘Rose of

Hungerford’ operates canal boat trips with dedicated

volunteers of the Kennet and Avon Canal Trust with their

trips starting May 22nd. Their passenger barge can take

around 50 people (in non Covid-19 times) complete with

wheelchair lift. You might enjoy a scenic boat trip to

Kintbury or Great Bedwyn gliding through several locks.

With an onboard café and toilets too. →

Pictured:

Visiting Bradford

on Avon means the

visitor gets the best of

everything, shopping,

accommodation;

restaurants and inns;

river; canal and most

of all an amazing

history that can be

found at every turn.

GreatWestWay.co.uk

109


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.

Click here to book online with 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

Make time in Great Bedwyn to visit the world’s oldest

operating steam driven beam engines, still in their

original building. 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 in order to keep the barges and boats moving and

the locks full.

The next stop on this line is Pewsey. From the station

it is a half mile walk north to Pewsey Wharf. Take the

towpath to the west (left) for a charming easy flat walk

to what has become the UK’s crop circle central! Or, The

Barge Inn at Honeystreet. A sign at the pub proclaims

‘twinned with Roswell, New Mexico’!

The Barge Inn has been a meeting place for ‘Crop

Circle’ enthusiasts as many have appeared in the

surrounding valley over the years. The inn plans to open

from April 12th. This delightful circular rural stroll will

take you back past Lady’s Bridge at Wilcot, a grand stone

regency bridge built by the canal engineer John Rennie in

order to placate the land owner for letting the canal pass

over his land.

Returning to Pewsey, you may spot a series of World

War II pill boxes and tank defences on some crossing

points like at Church Lane Bridge. This was all part of

what was called the GHQ line where if there had been

an invasion in World War 2 a major defensive action was

planned.

Today the towpath carries 21st century

communication too. Fibre optic cables run along much of

it. You may spot the ‘Fibreway ’signs.

Change at Westbury and head to 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.

Your final calling point en route to Bristol, whichever

direction you have taken to get here, is Bath - a city so

beautiful its centre has been UNESCO World Heritage

listed. 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.

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) and clamber up the

rigging of one of Brunel’s other famous creations, the SS

Great Britain. His Clifton Suspension Bridge is here too,

beckoning you along the River Avon and out to Avon

Gorge to set foot atop this world-famous bridge and

quietly thank Brunel for the journey he made possible –

along the Great West Way by rail.

110 GreatWestWay.co.uk


Pictured left:

Walk along the Kennet

& Avon Canal and

you'll encounter a

surprise - the world's

oldest working steam

engines. The Crofton

Beam Engines fed by a

hand-stoked coal-fired

boiler are still plugging

away at the same job

they were designed

to do more than 200

years ago - pumping

water up at the highest

point of the canal.

Right: Passenger on the

Avon Valley Railway;

Steam train; Swindon

and Cricklade Railway.

Did you know? Popular urban myth was

that if you travelled faster than a horse

could gallop, your head would explode! It

took Prince Albert, who himself was a keen

engineer, one year to persuade Queen Victoria

to go on a train. Once she had experienced

the 25 minute journey from Windsor to

Paddington she was charmed and impressed

CLICK

HERE

FOR FURTHER

INFORMATION AND

TO DOWNLOAD THE

GREAT WEST WAY

DISCOVERER PASS

LEAFLET

STEAM ENGINES

Although England has lost many of its

railways over the years, the country has

long been ensconced in a love affair with

steam and there are passionate volunteers

still running heritage steam railways on

the Great West Way.

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

there, the number 15 from the centre of

Swindon stops at the Tawny Owl pub,

close to Taw Valley Halt.

GreatWestWay.co.uk

111


Pictured:

A sumptuous

afternoon

tea and The

Dining Room

at Whatley

Manor

Hotel & Spa,

Malmesbury

112


GOURMET GUIDE

FOOD & DRINK

Discover a wealth of hidden culinary

delights and epicurean experiences on

the Great West Way

Words: Karyn Noble

Sure, you could travel the Great West Way

from London to Bristol in an afternoon, but

epicureans know the reward is in the discovery,

and we’ve got 500 miles of delicious detours

for you! Linger as long as you can, because this stretch

of English countryside needs to be savoured, and slow

travel is the best way to experience it.

This slice of quintessential England is home to

some of the country’s best agricultural land, and with

that comes excellent 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, hotels and restaurants select the best

of it all for their menus, and family-run tea rooms whip

up fresh cakes daily. All of this adds up to one very

tasty journey along the Great West Way.

From thatched pubs to beamed tearooms, farm

shops to Michelin starred restaurants, and food tours

to cookery schools – we hope you enjoy our pick of the

best places to visit along the route from east to west.

Starting the route from London and heading towards

Windsor, thoughts may immediately turn to stately

matters. Apart from admiring Windsor Castle, it’s only

proper to take an elegant afternoon tea here.

Push the boat out (or watch the Windsor Duck Tours

and French Brothers boat cruises) from the terrace

overlooking the Thames River at Sir Christopher Wren

Hotel & Spa, with warm scones, jam and Cornish

clotted cream. Or you could nibble your Highland oak

smoked salmon and cream cheese finger sandwiches by

the roaring fire in their Drawing Room.

For hearty pub food, The Bird in Hand at Knowl Hill

beckons. Renowned for its 28-day dry-aged-on-thebone

steaks, this is the kind of place that reverentially

namechecks all its local suppliers; the Great British

Sunday Roast is definitely worth booking. If you fancy

climbing the gastronomic echelons, Bray-on-Thames

is a must - truly the most exciting ‘foodie’ village to

visit in the UK, home to The Fat Duck (yes, of Heston

Blumenthal fame) The Waterside Inn, and other

Michelin starred gems you will want to add to your

special-night-out list.

Cap it off with a reservation at Monkey Island

Estate, a luxury hotel on a private island in Bray,

perhaps with a nightcap in the Whisky Snug accessed

via a secret staircase.

In the counties of Buckinghamshire and North

Hampshire, head for The Five Arrows restaurant,

located at the gates of the grand Waddesdon Manor →

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113


Pictured left-right:

The Red Lion

Freehouse,

Pewsey; The

Carpenters

Arms, Windsor;

Wadworth

Brewery Shires.

in Aylesbury for a taste of beef from the estate, its

very own ale, and seasonal vegetables from the

kitchen garden. If you’re still in the mood for luxury,

then the Grade-II listed Langley Hotel in Iver is the

place to retire to its Churchill bar for cosy Cognacs.

Gin fans will want to deviate to the Bombay

Sapphire Distillery in Whitchurch, where there has

been a mill since AD903. Here you can drink the likes

of Vespear Martinis alongside the River Test, or take a

masterclass to expand your cocktail repertoire. Finish

up with a Hampshire Charcuterie and Cheese platter

at the Mill Café for a tasty introduction to local

produce.

Next county stop along the route is Wiltshire. If

your ambition is to eat ham in the village of Ham,

then consider it done. Perhaps pressed ham hock

and pigeon terrine at the stylishly refurbished Crown

& Anchor pub with rooms, a traditional inn dating

back to the 1840s. Or a Michelin-starred version of

ham, egg and chips from the Red Lion Freehouse (a

thatched country pub with a boutique guest house)

in Pewsey. Extend yourself to ham in Chippenham,

with a sandwich from the tea room at Dyrham Park

before strolling 270-acre ancient parkland around the

baroque beauty of its mansion house at the western

edge of the Cotswolds. Don’t miss picking up some

of ‘the Wiltshire cure’ at Buttle Farm in Compton

Bassett: a traditional technique for curing their freerange

rare-breed pork and ham.

Farm shops are not only a highlight of the Great

West Way, but your source of excellent edible

souvenirs. At Roves Farm in Sevenhampton, you

can indulge in farm-raised fare at the Woolly Sheep

Café and also take home free-range eggs, sausages,

pies and other treats. True gourmands should head

straight to the butchery for the highest quality homereared

meats.

114 GreatWestWay.co.uk


DID YOU KNOW? IN THEIR

HEYDAY, MORE THAN 40 SHIRES

WERE USED BY WADWORTH

BREWERY TO DELIVER THEIR

ALREADY FAMOUS BEERS TO

LOCAL INNS AND HOSTELRIES?

A TRADITION AT WADWORTH

– AND THEIR GENTLE GIANTS

ARE AS MUCH A PART OF THE

WADWORTH HERITAGE AS THE

CLOSELY GUARDED REAL ALE

RECIPES!

Renowned for its apples and magnificent

dairy produce, Somerset is where you

simply must eat cheese in the village of

Cheddar, either before or after (or both!)

exploring the Cheddar Gorge & Caves.

Make time to visit to The Dining

Room at Whatley Manor Hotel &

Spa near Malmesbury to experience

the daring and innovative cooking by

Michelin Starred Chef, Niall Keating, who

has recently been awarded their second

Michelin star, just two years after earning

their first. Niall draws inspiration from

many different cuisines, including Korean,

Japanese and classic French - it is very

much ‘of the moment’.

The city of Bath will easily enchant

with its Roman and Georgian charms, but

set aside plenty of time for gastronomic

exploration too. One of the youngest

chefs to win a Michelin star, Rob Clayton

of Clayton’s Kitchen, prepares delicate

Mediterranean-influenced dishes, with

some good-value set menus. You can

also dine in style in the neo-classical

salon of the Roman Baths’ Pump Room

Restaurant or in the opulent surrounds

of The Gainsborough Bath Spa, the

only hotel in the country where you can

experience Bath’s thermal waters.

Pack an extra stomach for Bristol: the

city has had quite the renaissance in the

food world, with its many multicultural

influences, and an especially thriving

street food scene. Pick up a coffee at

Hart's Bakery in Temple Meads or head

to Bristol Lido, where you could really

kickstart your day with breakfast at the

poolside restaurant, enjoying hot smoked

salmon and soft-boiled eggs, served

with a Mimosa of Prosecco and Chase

marmalade vodka (best not to swim

afterwards!).

If you need a relaxing afternoon tea,

you can glide down the River Avon on

Bristol Packet Boat Tours’ two-hour

Cream Tea Cruise. But to ensure your trip

is truly ship-shape and Bristol fashion,

try to time your visit for a Wednesday,

Thursday or weekend, when the

Harbourside Street Food Market is in full

swing. →

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115


FUN FACTS • IT TAKES 36 PIECES OF

FRUIT TO MAKE ONE GALLON OF

APPLE CIDER.

• IN A YEAR WEST BERKSHIRE

BREWERY BREW AN IMPRESSIVE

2.6 MILLION PINTS.

• THERE HAS BEEN A MILL WHERE

BOMBAY SAPPHIRE DISTILLERY IS

SINCE AT LEAST AD903.

FABULOUS FOOD &

DRINK FESTIVALS

If you can, time your visit for one of

the food and drink-focused events

along the Great West Way.

MAY

• BRADFORD ON AVON

FOOD FESTIVAL

One-day event featuring food stalls

from local artisan producers, cookery

demonstrations by professional

chefs and a children’s activity area.

JUNE

• EAT! FOOD FESTIVAL

HENLEY

A fortnight of feasting, with a line-up

of events that includes tastings, chef

demonstrations, film screenings and

the finale Riverside Fiesta with street

food and a floating gin bar.

• PUB IN THE PARK

Celebrity chef Tom Kerridge

combines tastings, chef

demonstrations, masterclasses

and music from top live acts in his

‘ultimate pub garden’ over three

lively days.

• EAT READING

Two-day festival showcasing

Reading’s best foodie businesses,

featuring live cookery

demonstrations, street food tastings,

cocktail mixology and a pop-up

street café.

• TASTE OF CORSHAM

Full-day celebration of Corsham’s

local food producers, with food and

drink stalls lining the High Street, live

music and a silent disco.

JULY

• BRISTOL CRAFT BEER

FESTIVAL

A celebration of brewing culture with

local food outlets and live music

from the finest local DJs.

• THE SURREY FOOD

FESTIVAL

A weekend of foodie fun, with talks,

tastings and demos in the marquee

and an extensive line-up of food and

drink stalls, plus live music and a

kids’ zone.

• DEVIZES BEER FESTIVAL

One-day beer festival with more

than 100 real ales and ciders served

up canalside. Live music too.

• LONGLEAT FOOD & MUSIC

FESTIVAL

A harmonious festival sure to

tantalise your taste buds with diverse

food and drink stalls, demonstrations

by celebrity chefs and live music from

an array of artists taking to the stage.

• HENLEY FESTIVAL'S

SUMMER FLING

This 3 night summer party is a

special pop-up event with street

food and bands, a vintage fun fair

and even a Moët Champagne garden

- this is one party you won’t want

to miss! If you do miss it though

then there's still the main event, the

Henley Festival will be back in its

black-tie splendour at new revised

dates of 15th – 19th September.

SEPTEMBER

• GREAT BATH FEAST

Indulge your taste buds as the city

of Bath goes all foodie, celebrating

the best food and drink in the South

West, as well as taste-sensations

from further afield, appealing to

culinary connoisseurs everywhere.

• DEVIZES FOOD AND DRINK

FESTIVAL

Week-long celebration of local food

and drink products, including a

food market and visits to producers

including a goat farm and vineyard.

OCTOBER

• HUNGERFORD FOOD

FESTIVAL

Full-day event featuring street food

stalls, talks and live cooking demos.

Sustainability is a key theme.

There are also hundreds of smaller

events, alongside weekly produce

and street food markets in market

towns throughout the touring route.

You might even stumble upon

Chippenham’s Pancake Races!

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117

GreatWestWay.co.uk

AFTERNOON TEA

A cream tea is a must on your journey

and there are many options for partaking

in this beloved English ritual as you travel

the route. Tables piled high with cake

stands, tea pots and pretty china cups.

Scones smothered in thick, sweet cream.

Dainty sandwiches layered with smoked

salmon, or Wiltshire ham, or West

Country cheese. Fresh homemade cakes

and pastries. Copious refills of herbal teas

or classic English Breakfast. Traditionally,

the jam is strawberry but choose from

raspberry or even blackcurrant!

Some of the best cream teas along the

way are at The Royal Crescent Hotel &

Spa, Honeystreet Mill Café, The Tutti Pole,

Whatley Manor, Woolley Grange Hotel

and the traditional Bridge Tea Rooms.

Experience an authentic afternoon tea

whilst enjoying views over the landscaped

gardens and lakes from the Drawing Room

at The Langley or surrounded by glorious

Cotswold gardens on the terrace at

Whatley Manor. Enjoy a quintessentially

English afternoon tea at Bowood House

or delve into the decadence of yesteryear

at boutique hotel Roseate House - or

head to the grand Pump Room to feel like

Jane Austen and take your tea where high

society has been meeting since the 18th

century. Whether you’re spending weeks

exploring the length of the Great West

Way, or you’re here for a day trip, there’s

always time for afternoon tea.

GreatWestWay.co.uk/see-and-do/

food-and-drink/afternoon-tea

l

gs,

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

IN PARTNERSHIP WITH:

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

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

that includes tastings, chef demonstrations, film

screenings and the finale Riverside Fiesta with

street food and a floating gin bar.

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.

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

days and includes plenty of child-friendly activities.

HUNGERFORD FOOD FESTIVAL (F4)

Hungerford Town Hall and High St, October

hungerfordfoodfestival.com

Full-day event featuring street food stalls, talks

and live cooking demos. Sustainability is a key

theme.

PUB IN THE PARK (BATH B4 / MARLOW J3)

Marlow, May and Royal Victoria Park, Bath,

June • pubintheparkuk.com

Celebrity chef Tom Kerridge 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 stalls, plus live music and a kids’

zone.

TASTE OF CORSHAM (C4)

Corsham, June • corsham.gov.uk

Full-day celebration of Corsham’s local food

producers, with food and drink stalls lining the

High Street, live music and a silent disco.

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 smaller events, alongside

weekly produce and street food markets in market

towns throughou the touring route. You might even

stumble upon Chippenham’s Pancake Races!

BRADFORD ON AVON FOOD FESTIVAL (C4)

Victory Field, Bradford on Avon, 30 May

scrumptiousfoodfestivals.co.uk

One-day event featuring food stalls 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 coffee 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.

FOOD ON THE MOVE

Enjoy dining while travelling the route by train

with our Great West Way Discoverer pass.

Great Western Railway serve delicious produce

from their at-seat trolley service, from classic

snacks and sweet treats, to tasty sandwiches

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

beers, and wines to accompany your journey.

FABULOUS FOOD &

DRINK FESTIVALS

TEA ROOMS & CAFÉS

BEER & BREWERIES

WADWORTH EAT,

DRINK AND STAY

ON THE GREAT

WEST WAY

BRISTOL

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 distilled.

Landlord Pete’s vision is a the heart of The

Newbury and 137, from the distinctive branding

to the stunning décor.

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’ll enjoy diverse food and drink stalls,

demonstrations by celebrity chefs, plus live music

from an array of artists taking to the stage with

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

will be announced closer to the event.

AEROSPACE BRISTOL CAFÉ (B3)

Hayes Way, Patchway, Bristol, BS34 5BZ

aerospacebristol.org/cafe

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

locally 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)

honeystreetmillcafe.co.uk

SPRING’S CAFÉ AND RESTAURANT (B4)

Thermae Bath Spa, Bath, BA1 1SJ

01225 331234 • thermaebathspa.com

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 TUTTI POLE (F4)

thetuttipole.co.uk

WESTONBIRT, THE NATIONAL ARBORETUM (C3)

Westonbirt, Tetbury, Gloucestershire, GL8 8QS

0300 067 4890 • Forestryengland.uk/Westonbirt

The Westonbirt Restaurant offers tasty, freshly

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 Mill flour from nearby Long Newnton.

WINDSOR CASTLE UNDERCROFT CAFÉ –

OPENING 2020 (K3)

rct.uk/visit/windsor-castle

Royal Collection Trust is investing in a series of

projects at Windsor Castle that will transform the

experience of visiting this royal residence. Work is

underway to evolve the medieval Undercroft into

the Castle’s first permanent café. One of the few

remaining parts of Edward III’s majo renovations in

the 1360s, the Undercroft is among the oldest

surviving parts of the Castle and during the 14th

century served as the principal cellar and larder.

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. Call 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

THE WHITE HORSE INN (D4)

whitehorse-comptonbassett.co.uk

4)

tea

4)

r

ore

ren’s

e

Hall, or

NATIONAL TRUST SEASONAL EATING,

DRINKING AND SHOPPING

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

restaurants and tea-rooms have received the

Food for Life Served Here Award? The award

recognises tha they serve fresh, local food that

is ethically 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

DYRHAM PARK, GLOUCESTERSHIRE (B3)

The Tea-room and Tea Garden

PRIOR PARK, BATH (C4)

The Tea Shed

TYNTESFIELD, BRISTOL (A4)

Cow Barn Restaurant

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

CANAL TRUST CAFÉ (C4)

canaltrustcafe.co.uk

DEVIZES WHARF TEA ROOM (D4)

katrust.org.uk/attractions

THE ENGINEMAN’S REST CAFÉ (E4)

croftonbeamengines.org/cafe/

TEASHOP BY THE CANAL (G4)

teashopbythecanal.co.uk

Or take a look a these welcoming spots perfect

to stop and plan the next part of your Great

West Way journey while enjoying a cake and a

nice cup of tea.

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’ll 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-pull

pump mounted on the bar. This gives real ale

bags o flavour and a natura light carbonation

that is very different from the more ubiquitous

lagers and highly carbonated beers produced by

the large international brewers.

You’ll find real ale in almost all pubs along

the Great West Way. It comes in numerous

varieties including IPA (India Pale Ale), bitter,

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

ale along 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

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 follow the

lead of the local tour guides at Bristol

Brewery Tours or Bristol Hoppers.

Join one of the Great West Way’s best food

experiences to really ge to grips with the local

cuisine. There are plenty of places to try homegrown

tipples. Beer, wine and gin are all made along the

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

distillery 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)

distillery.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 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

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 smal local producers. You’ll also

find several celebrity chefs including Rick Stein,

Pierre Koffmann and Marco Pierre White. There’s

also plenty of different 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

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.

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

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 well 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-starred tasting menu from the kitchen of

executive chef Niall Keating is served in this friendly

but formal dining room. There’s often charcuterie

from the manor to start, followed by a creative lineup

of modern British dishes.

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

terrace. The Cabin, offers fine wine, craft beers

and locally sourced food in a relaxing environment

– and includes a stylish outdoor terrace with

retractable roof.

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)

wiltonwindmill.co.uk

A’BECKETT’S VINEYARD (D5)

01380 816669 • abecketts.co.uk

ALDER RIDGE VINEYARD (F4)

01488 686770 • alderridge.co.uk

ALDWICK ESTATE VINEYARD (A4)

01934 864404 • aldwickestate.co.uk

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 OLD BELL HOTEL (C3)

Malmesbury, SN16 0BW,

01666 822344 • oldbellhotel.co.uk

The Old Bell 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.

PLUM + SPILT MILK, GREAT NORTHERN

HOTEL (M3)

gnhlondon.com

RICK STEIN, MARLBOROUGH (E4)

rickstein.com/eat-with-us/marlborough

SHELBURNE RESTAURANT, BOWOOD

HOTEL, SPA & GOLF RESORT (D4)

Derry Hill, Calne SN11 9PQ, 01249 822228

bowood.org/bowood-hotel-resort

The classy restaurant a this luxury hotel has

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 full vegetarian and vegan

menu and excellen traditional Sunday roasts.

THE SWAN BRADFORD ON AVON (C4)

theswanbradford.co.uk

WOOLLEY GRANGE HOTEL (C4)

woolleygrangehotel.co.uk

THE FAT DUCK (J3)

High St, Bray SL6 2AQ

THE HAND AND FLOWERS (J3)

126 West St, Marlow SL7 2BP

FOOD & DRINK TOURS & TASTINGS

ENGLISH WINE

CULINARY DELIGHTS

IN MICHELIN STARRED

RESTAURANTS

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

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 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’ll 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 excellent farm shop sells produce from

the surrounding 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

(E5)

Choldertoncharliesfarm.com/farm-shop

COBBS FARM SHOP & KITCHEN,

ENGLEFIELD (H4)

cobbsfarmshops.co.uk

ROVES FARM SHOP (E3)

Rovesfarm.co.uk/farmshop

Richmond Duck Pond Markets every Sat & Sun

Swindon Farmers’ Market Swindon Designer

Outlet, every Sun

Thames Valley 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

MARVELLOUS FOOD MARKETS

FARM SHOPS

ALDWICK ESTATE VINEYARD

COBBS FARM SHOP

THE NEWBURY

WINDSOR CASTLE UNDERCROFT CAFÉ

WHATLEY MANOR

BATH ARTISANS MARKET

WEST BERKSHIRE BREWERY

TASTE HERE.

GreatWestWay.co.uk/food-and-drink

BRISTOL BEER FACTORY

MOOR BEER

To discover more, visit GreatWestWay.co.uk

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

EAT, DRINK & STAY WITH

ALONG THE GREAT WEST WAY ®

Enjoy great food from pub cla sics to a special treat

George Inn, Norton St Philip, Bath, Somerset

Meet our working shire horses

Bird in Hand, Knowl Hi l, Reading, Berkshire

Try beers brewed with pa sion

Crown Inn, To ldown, Dyrham, Somerset

Wadworth Brewery, Devizes, Wiltshire

Black Swan, Devizes, Wiltshire

Bear Hotel, Devizes, Wiltshire

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

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

agricultural land, and with that comes excellent 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 select the best of it all for their menus,

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

All 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.

Great places to savour along the

Great West Way.

FOOD &

DRINK

DEVIZES FOOD AND DRINK FES

Devizes, September-October

devizesfoodanddrinkfestival.info

Week-long celebration of local food a

products, including a food market in t

Place and visits to producers including

and vineyard.

EAT! FOOD FESTIVAL HENLEY (H3

Henley on Thames, June • eatfoodfe

A fortnight o feasting, with a line-up o

that includes tastings, chef demonstrat

screenings and the finale Riverside Fiest

street food and a floating gin bar.

EAT READING (H4)

Broad St and Market Place, Reading, Ju

livingreading.co.uk

Two-day festival showcasing Reading’s be

businesses, featuring live cookery demons

street food tastings, cocktail mixology and

up street café.

GREAT BRITISH FOOD FESTIVAL

Englefield, Reading (H4), June and

Westonbirt House (C3), August

greatbritishfoodfestival.com

This touring festival brings artisan producers

street food vendors together over two or thre

days and includes plenty of child-friendly act

HUNGERFORD FOOD FESTIVAL (F4)

Hungerford Town Hall and High St, Octob

hungerfordfoodfestival.com

Fu l-day event featuring street food stalls, talk

and live cooking demos. Sustainability is a key

theme.

PUB IN THE PARK (BATH B4 / MARLOW J3)

Marlow, May and Royal Victoria Park, Bath,

June • pubintheparkuk.com

Celebrity chef Tom Kerridge combines tastings,

chef demonstrations, masterclasses and music

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

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.

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 throughout the touring route. You might even

stumble upon Chippenham’s Pancake Races!

BRADFORD ON AVON FOOD FESTIVAL (C4)

Victory Field, Bradford on Avon, 30 May

scrumptiousfoodfestivals.co.uk

One-day event featuring food stalls 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 coffee 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.

FABULOUS FOOD &

DRINK FESTIVALS

TEA ROOMS & CAFÉS

BEER & BREWERIES

WADWORTH EAT,

DRINK AND STAY

ON THE GREAT

WEST WAY

BRISTOL

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 a the heart of The

Newbury and 137, from the distinctive branding

to the stunning décor.

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 sta ls,

demonstrations by celebrity chefs, plus live music

from an array 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.

AEROSPACE BRISTOL CAFÉ (B3)

Hayes Way, Patchway, Bristol, BS34 5BZ

aerospacebristol.org/cafe

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

locally 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)

honeystreetmillcafe.co.uk

SPRING’S CAFÉ AND RESTAURANT (B4)

Thermae Bath Spa, Bath, BA1 1SJ

01225 331234 • thermaebathspa.com

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 TUTTI POLE (F4)

thetuttipole.co.uk

WESTONBIRT, THE NATIONAL ARBORETUM (C3)

Westonbirt, Tetbury, Gloucestershire, GL8 8QS

0300 067 4890 • Forestryengland.uk/Westonbirt

The Westonbirt Restaurant offers tasty, freshly

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.

WINDSO

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’ l 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

THE WHITE HORSE INN (D4)

whitehorse-comptonbassett.co.uk

ABBEY HOTEL (B4)

abbeyhotelbath.co.uk

APEX HOTEL (B4)

apexhotels.co.uk

BAILBROOK HOUSE HOTEL (B4)

handpickedhotels.co.uk/bailbrookhouse

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

THE PUMP ROOM RESTAURANT (B4)

Roman Baths, Bath BA1 1LZ 01225 444477

romanbaths.co.uk/pump-room-restaurant

An elegant space a the Roman Baths where a

range of teas is served, from the sma ler cream tea

to the fu l tiered stand of treats.

THE ROSEATE (H4)

roseatehotels.com/reading/theroseate

ROSEATE HOUSE (L3)

roseatehotels.com/london/roseatehouse

THE ROSEATE VILLA BATH (B4)

roseatehotels.com/bath/theros

NATIONAL TRUST SEASONAL EATING,

DRINKING AND SHOPPING

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

restaurants and tea-rooms have received the

Food for Life Served Here Award? The award

recognises tha they serve fresh, local food that

is ethically 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

DYRHAM PARK, GLOUCESTERSHIRE (B3)

The Tea-room and Tea Garden

PRIOR PARK, BATH (C4)

The Tea Shed

TYNTESFIELD, BRISTOL (A4)

Cow Barn Restaurant

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

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 ca led ‘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 – genera ly from a traditional hand-pull

pump mounted on the bar. This gives real ale

bags o flavour and a natural light carbonation

that is very different from the more ubiquitous

lagers and highly carbonated beers produced by

the large international brewers.

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

the Great West Way. It comes in numerous

varieties including IPA (India Pale Ale), bitter,

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

ale along 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

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.

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

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,

Pierre Koffmann and Marco Pierre White. There’s

also plenty of different 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)

handpickedhot

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 DIN

A’BECKETT’S VINEYARD (D5)

01380 816669 • abecketts.co.uk

ALDER RIDGE VINEYARD (F4)

01488 686770 • alderridge.co.uk

ALDWICK ESTATE VINEYARD (A4)

01934 864404 • aldwickestate.co.uk

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 FAT DUCK (J3)

High St, Bray SL6 2AQ

THE HAND AND FLOWERS (J3)

126 West St, Marlow SL7 2BP

AFTERNOON TEA

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

while away an afternoon.

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

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

jam and cream, and cakes. Most people ea them

in that order, but since many of the most upmarket

places wi l keep replenishing each level, you could

switch back and forth for hours.

Afternoon

ENGLISH WINE

CULINARY DELIGHTS

IN MICHELIN STARRED

RESTAURANTS

The Great West Way runs through some of

England’s most fertile agricultural 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 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 surrounding 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 wi l

find another Cobbs Farm Shop & Kitchen with

a whole host of local produce.

BUTTLE FARM (D4)

buttlefarm.co.uk

CHOLDERTON CHARLIE’S FARM SHOP

(E5)

Choldertoncharliesfarm.com/farm-shop

COBBS FARM SHOP & KITCHEN,

ENGLEFIELD (H4)

cobbsfarmshops.co.uk

ROVES FARM SHOP (E3)

Rovesfarm.co.uk/farmshop

Richmond Duck Pond Markets every Sat & Sun

Swindon Farmers’ Market Swindon Designer

Outlet, every Sun

Thames Valley 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

MARVELLOUS FOOD MARKETS

FARM SHOPS

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.

ALDWICK ESTATE VINEYARD

COBBS FARM SHOP

THE NEWBURY

WHATLEY MANOR

BATH ARTISANS MARKET

BRISTOL BEER FACTORY

MOOR BEER

CLICK

HERE

TO

DOWNLOAD

With so many great experiences to savour

along the Great West Way food lovers should

download our Food & Drink map!

VINEYARD TOURS AND TASTINGS

• ALDER RIDGE

Tours happen between June and September at this 8-acre vineyard

specialising in sparkling wine, conveniently located at Cobbs Farm Shop, a

food-lovers’ destination in its own right, on the Berkshire/Wiltshire border.

• A’BECKETT’S VINEYARD

Tours (1 hour or 90 minutes) can be arranged for groups (minimum of 10

people or the cost thereof). In addition to trying English sparkling wine, or

cider or apple juice from the orchards, don’t miss the Penruddocke’s Red

Pinot Noir, a bronze-medal winner in the Decanter World Wine Awards 2020.

• ALDWICK ESTATE

Take a 90-minute tour from March to October in Somerset’s lush Yeo Valley.

Try the award-winning Seyval Salute sparkling English wine, first released in

2020: a ‘salute’ to the NHS key workers during COVID-19. There’s sumptuous

accommodation on the estate if you imbibe extra enthusiastically.

Pictured leftright:

Family fun

at Pub in the

Park; Vineyard

at the Aldwick

Estate, a

sumptious

afternoon tea

at Whatley

Manor

Hotel & Spa,

Malmesbury


118 GreatWestWay.co.uk

Pictured in

a clockwise

direction: STEAM

Museum of the

Great Western

Railway; STEAM

Museum's

Pattern Shop; The

Merchant's House;

Crofton Beam

Engines; Jane

Austen Centre;

We The Curious.


MUSEUM GEMS

The Great West Way is home to some of

England’s most fascinating heritage sites and

unmissable museums to visit on your journey

Words: Robin Glover

TRAVELLERS ALONG THE Great West Way, whether

driving, cycling, boating or walking, will be amazed

by the many opportunities to visit sites of national

and international importance. If you think London

has a monopoly on arts and culture in England, think again!

The world is well aware of the magnificent Windsor

Castle, majestic Salisbury Cathedral, mystical Stonehenge

and the Roman Baths in Georgian Bath – and each

demands a visit – but there are also many less well-known

finds to discover on your way.

Even in the quaintest of villages you can find a thriving

cultural life, from annual festivals that have been faithfully

recreated for hundreds of years to pop-up art galleries in

repurposed phone boxes.

The market towns and cities along the Great West Way

also reach well beyond their geographical limits in terms

of the quality and breadth of their artistic output. While

some showcase the work of celebrated local artists, each

inspired in unique ways by their remarkable surroundings,

others attract national and international talent. This is a joy

for travellers as it means a variety of art galleries, theatres,

music venues, literary events, comedy nights and more to

explore.

Along the touring route you’ll find big name theatres

rubbing shoulders with smaller - but just as interesting

- backroom gig venues. And one-off woodland poetry

readings that prove as soul-stirring as star-studded book

festivals. Because on the Great West Way, art and culture

happens anywhere and everywhere.

There’s such a rich respect for the arts along the route,

we know you’ll find something to arouse even your most

niche interests.

Before leaving behind the Thames-side delights of Henry

VIII’s Hampton Court, historic Runnymede, notorious

Cliveden and Royal Windsor, seek out the Windsor &

Royal Borough Museum, unassuming but full of interesting

exhibits illustrating the thousands of years of the

settlement’s existence and royal patronage.

By contrast, just a few minutes away, at Eton Wick, is

an absorbing, privately-owned collection of civilian and

military motor vehicles and militaria, The History on

Wheels Museum.

Head a little further upstream and you will come to

the Maidenhead Heritage Centre where you can both

trace the two thousand years of the town’s history and,

unforgettably for enthusiasts of all ages, ‘fly’ in a WWII

Spitfire simulator. Arrive in the town of Reading and there

are many visitor attractions.

Make your next stop the historic village of Cookham

in Berkshire's north-easternmost corner, home to the

Stanley Spencer Gallery, an art museum dedicated to his

life and work as an artist. Pick up a map and continue the

experience on an hour-long walking trail from the centre of

Cookham down to the Thames and back, past the location

of a number of Spencer’s paintings. Our next cultural gem

along the route is the pretty riverside village of Hurley, with

its half-timbered houses, old church and exciting past as

one of the last great secrets of D Day! →

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“In Newbury the West Berkshire Museum is a treasure trove of information

and exhibits illustrating the origins of the county and its people.”

Unknown to its residents, for 75 years, Station Victor was

in fact a radio centre run by the secret intelligence branch

of the American Office of Strategic Services. There's a blue

commemorative plaque, which was unveiled in 2019 to mark

the site of the secret communication stations, (which were

codenamed VICTOR) - find it at the entrance to Hurley Manor.

Whitchurch Silk Mill is a gem of industrial heritage in

beautiful, rural Hampshire. Pop into The Mill Shop following

your visit to buy exclusive silk gifts that have been woven

right there at the Mill.

Further west, Reading Museum, is full of fascinating

regional history and artefacts, a 70-metre long, woven

replica of the famous Bayeux Tapestry and the Huntley

& Palmer exhibition, reflecting on the 150 years of local

biscuit manufacture, and the Abbey Galleries are a great

introduction to exploring the ruins of Reading Abbey, which

is also celebrating a 900 year anniversary in 2021, and

finding out more about Henry I, England’s last ‘unfound’ king.

Also in Reading, The Museum of English Rural Life is where

agriculture, through the ages, is brilliantly brought to life

with interactive exhibits as well as comprehensive displays of

implements, machinery and vehicles.

In Newbury the West Berkshire Museum is a treasure

trove of information and exhibits illustrating the origins of

the county and its people. Newbury came to prominence for

its prosperous wool trade and highly regarded cloth in the

late 15th century, and was soon became industry leaders in

the trade. The museum is housed in the iconic 17th century

cloth hall and the old Granary/Corn Stores in the Wharf. By

contrast, just a few miles further west, in Wiltshire, is a pair

of remarkable survivors from the early days of the Industrial

Revolution - The Crofton Beam Engines built over 200 years

ago to maintain water-levels in the nearby Kennet & Avon

Canal and, amazingly, those great steam engines are still in

working order, doing the job for which they were designed.

Negotiating the pretty lanes of the Vale of Pewsey brings

the happy traveller to Devizes, home of the independent

craft brewers, Wadworth Brewery, featuring a ‘Brewseum’ of

memorabilia, and of the county’s Wiltshire Museum, telling

the 500,000 years story of the county through its awardwinning

galleries, exhibits, high-quality graphics and striking

reconstructions. In order to maximise their enjoyment, visitors

en route to such prehistoric sites as Avebury and Stonehenge

are urged to visit this museum first.

And in Wiltshire’s county town, the Trowbridge Museum

offers insight into the rich textile related heritage in

the heart of the town. The museum has recently seen a

fantastic multi-million pound expansion, doubling the size

of the museum for its 2021 re-opening!

Moving forward in time, the history of 19th and 20th

century steam railways is retold at STEAM - Museum of

the Great Western Railway and, if historic aeroplanes are

a ‘must-see’ for you or your children, you need look no

further than the Boscombe Down Aviation Collection at

Old Sarum, Salisbury, where cockpits are mostly open and

you can sit in and use the controls.

Since its formation in 1942, the Corps of Royal Electrical

and Mechanical Engineers has been the driving-force of the

British Army and the inspiring story of the unit is told at

the REME Museum through their collections of armoured

vehicles and weaponry and child-friendly interactive

displays. →

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Pictured left-right: West

Berkshire Museum;

Brunel's SS Great Britain;

the last Concorde to be

built at Aerospace Bristol;

We the Curious; and

Trowbridge Museum

DID YOU KNOW? STONEHENGE AND

AVEBURY ENIGMATIC STONES FORM

ONE OF THE UK’S FIRST EVER UNESCO

WORLD HERITAGE SITES?

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DISCOVER THE UNEXPECTED IN 2021…

DISCOVER READING

A unique place in history, Reading is a surprise at every turn

Reading Abbey celebrates 900 years of history

The Museum of English Rural Life – the museum of food, farming and the countryside

Britain’s Bayeux Tapestry is 70m long – the only full-scale replica is housed in Reading Museum

livingreading.co.uk

Discover

Calne

From A to B

Calne

Town

Council

Plan your visit at

VisitCalne.co.uk


When you reach Bristol, be prepared for even more, as Aerospace Bristol

houses an awesome collection of aeroplanes and space vehicles spanning more

than a century, including the last Concorde to be built and to fly. Also in Bristol,

don’t miss Brunel's SS Great Britain, one of the most important historic ships in

the world or We The Curious on Bristol’s harbourside, with all sorts of different

experiences and exhibits for you to interact with, and experiments you can take

part in.

Our next ports-of-call are altogether more restful, starting at the charming

Georgian town of Chippenham, there's the Chippenham Museum & Heritage

Centre, set in an immaculate 18th century townhouse and relating the story

of the town’s development since the prehistoric era. On the way to the nearby

market town of Corsham, a small detour will bring you to the picture-perfect

village of Lacock, and National Trust’s Lacock Abbey, Fox Talbot Museum and

Village.

Here, in 1835, William Fox Talbot created the world’s first photographic

negative and it is only proper that the Museum of Photography is established

here.

Pretty Corsham offers two museum ‘treats’, a moving historical experience in

the original 17th century Corsham Schoolroom and Almshouse and The Pound

Arts Centre, a North Wiltshire hub for the performing and visual arts.

The City of Bath, in its entirety, has been awarded UNESCO World Heritage

status and this modest feature cannot do it full justice. Explore it for yourself, at

leisure, and marvel at the splendour and grace of its Georgian beauty. 2021 is

the year to immerse in English history and Bath is offering it in abundance.

The city was built up around its mineral rich hot springs, so you’ll want to

explore the Roman Baths, where it all began - walking on the very ground

bathers did more than 2,000 years ago.

The Archway Project has recently converted the former Victorian spa

buildings close to the Roman Baths into a World Heritage Centre, exploring the

internationally recognised historic city, and opened previously unseen areas of

the Roman Baths themselves – including a Roman sauna!

Other impressive museums and exhibitions include the imaginative

recreations at No. 1 Royal Crescent and the Jane Austen Centre and the superb

collection of fine and decorative arts to be viewed at the Grade I listed The

Holburne Museum. Plus don't miss the brand new Mary Shelley's House of

Frankenstein, the world's first horror experience dedicated to author Mary

Shelley and her most infamous creation, Frankenstein.

VIDEOS AND MULTIMEDIA

› Keep busy at home with Wiltshire

Museum's new At Home programme

featuring do-it-yourself craft activities,

learning resources for kids, stories about

intriguing objects and documents from

their collections and libraries:

wiltshiremuseum.org.uk/donations/at-home

› Take a Google Street View tour of

the Roman Baths: romanbaths.co.uk/

walkthrough Or have a go at these online

games: romanbaths.co.uk/online-games

› Test your fashion knowledge with the

Fashion Museum and Assembly Rooms

online quiz: www.fashionmuseum.

co.uk/quiz and download some children's

activities: fashionmuseum.co.uk/

childrens-page

› Keep an eye on the Youtube account for

The Pounds Art Centre, where they post

videos of performances and readings:

youtube.com/user/PoundArts/videos

› For any foodies out there, you can now

book a virtual food tour of Bath to enjoy

from your own home thanks to Savouring

Bath. You can even purchase a box of tasty

samples to eat during the tour, which will

be delivered to your door: savouringbath.

com/tours/virtual-food-heroes

› Enjoy a live view of the ancient

standing stones at Stonehenge with

their Stonehenge Skyscape tool. Watch

the sun rise and set and experience the

atmosphere and mystery of the iconic

stone circle: english-heritage.org.uk/

visit/places/stonehenge/things-to-do/

stone-circle/skyscape/

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WHAT ITEM WOULD YOU

SAVE FROM A FIRE?

Curators of some of the best museums

along the Great West Way reveal what

single item in their collections they would

choose to save if disaster struck

124 GreatWestWay.co.uk


HOLBURNE MUSEUM

ATHELSTAN MUSEUM

URE MUSEUM OF

GREEK ARCHAEOLOGY

NAME: Will Cooper

ROLE: Curator of Contemporary

Programmes

WHAT I WOULD SAVE FROM A FIRE:

“Diana and Actaeon, Siena, tinglazed

earthenware, about 1495.

There’s a lot to like about this

incredible piece of c15th maiolica;

the naive style of the figures, Actaeon

mid transformation but looking

more like a stag wearing a pair of

green 501s, Diana’s coquettish look

after hitting Actaeon with her

magic arrow. It’s really got it all, but

what I think I like most is that it’s

funny. I was often taught that

museums are serious places of

study and contemplation, which of

course they can be, but I like to

highlight the stuff that makes me

laugh. And this sure does, not bad

for something over 500 years old.”

NAME: Deborah Clogg

ROLE: Chair of Collections Committee

WHAT I WOULD SAVE FROM A FIRE:

“One item we would definitely save is

our recently acquired watercolour of

Malmesbury Abbey by JMW Turner.

Turner visited Malmesbury three

times in the 1790s during his sketching

tours and did many drawings of

the Abbey. In about 1827 he used

these drawings to produce our watercolour,

which was then engraved and

published in his Picturesque Views in

England and Wales.

It is fantastic that a completely

voluntary run museum, thanks to

generous support from the National

Lottery Heritage Fund and the Art

Fund, is now able to display, without

charge, this work by one of Britain’s

greatest artists in the town to which

it relates".

Name: Amy Smith

Role: Curator

WHAT I WOULD SAVE FROM A FIRE:

“If I had the power, I'd like to save the

statues at the entrance – a Roman

marble statue of Venus/Aphrodite

from Cyrene (on loan from the

British Museum) and a 20th-century

interpretation of the head of Helen

of Troy, made by Reading's sculptor

Eric Stanford, who sadly passed

away last year, but made his beautiful

image of Helen on the side while

working on his powerful Spanish

Civil War Monument, now in Forbury

Gardens in Reading. For an easy grab

I'd get the Romano-Egyptian writing

tablet, now in our Education case".

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WILTSHIRE MUSEUM

41 Long St, Devizes SN10 1NS

» wiltshiremuseum.org.uk

DAVID RECOMMENDS: This autumn,

the Wiltshire Museum has a major

exhibition - Eric Ravilious: Downland Man.

An exhibition exploring for the first time,

Eric Ravilious’s (1903-1942) fascination

for the chalk downlands of Wiltshire and

Sussex. The museum is borrowing over 20

artworks from major National Museums

to bring an international standard art

exhibition to the County. A range of

evocative watercolours have been lent by

the Tate, V&A, the Imperial War Museum,

British Museum, National Museum of

Wales and the prestigious Towner Art

Gallery in Eastbourne, as well as private

lenders, to secure a significant range of

evocative watercolours for the display.

Central to the exhibition are Ravilious’s

best-loved watercolours of chalk figures,

which were made in 1939 in preparation

for a children’s book, Downland Man. The

book was never completed, and for many

years the prototype or ‘dummy’ made by

Ravilious was believed lost. When it

resurfaced in 2012 this precious relic was

bought at auction by Wiltshire Museum.

Although never published, it contains

delicate pencil drawings of chalk hill

figures, ancient monuments and

prehistoric earthworks in Wiltshire.

The exhibition is masterminded by guest

curator, James Russell, who created the

successful Ravilious exhibition at the

Dulwich Picture Gallery in 2015. He has

also written an illustrated catalogue to

accompany this exhibition.

ATHELSTAN MUSEUM

Malmesbury, Wiltshire, SN16 9BZ

» athelstanmuseum.org.uk

DEBORAH RECOMMENDS: Apart from

the Turner, visitors will find a fascinating

range of information and exhibits relating

to the heritage and culture of Malmesbury

and its surrounding villages. From

iron age quernstones to local inventions,

visitors can learn about our famous inhabitants,

such as philosopher Thomas

Hobbes, and our wealth of important; and

sometimes quirky; history - eg, the first

person to fly, the first person to be killed

by a 'tyger' in England!

MAIDENHEAD HERITAGE CENTRE

18 Park St, Maidenhead SL6 1SL

» maidenheadheritage.org.uk

ALAN RECOMMENDS: Our ATA (Air

Transport Auxiliary) gallery which

contains the complete story of this

lesser known civilian group that supported

the work of the RAF throughout

World War II. Some of the stories of its

pilots - both men and women and from

all over the world - are quite amazing. In

the gallery we also have a Spitfire flight

simulator which visitors are welcome to

use to experience what it was like to fly

these famous aircraft!

URE MUSEUM OF GREEK

ARCHAEOLOGY

38 Edith Morley Building, University

of Reading, RG6 6EL

» collections.reading.ac.uk

AMY RECOMMENDS: Visiting the

exhibition we're hosting this autumn:

a Spotlight Loan from the British

Museum. Troy: Beauty and Heroism,

which has been twice postponed

because of lockdown is finally here. It

follows up the British Museum's blockbuster

exhibit on Troy in 2019 and is a

chance to bring some of this great art to

regional audiences.

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YOU MIGHT ALSO ENJOY

MAIDENHEAD HERITAGE

CENTRE

NAME: Alan Mellins

ROLE: Trustee

WHAT I WOULD SAVE FROM A FIRE:

“The Bray Village Fire Pump, from

1737, which is awaiting restoration

before we can put it on public

display. It remained in use for 200

years until 1938, when Bray Parish

Council ceased to be responsible for

fire-fighting".

The 270-year-old artefact was

being kept in storage in the village of

Bray. Council Chairman Geoff Hayes

explained "Something had to happen

to it. It just seemed such a shame

that it had to stayed stored in a

barn."

WILTSHIRE MUSEUM

NAME: David Dawson

ROLE: Director

WHAT I WOULD SAVE FROM A FIRE:

“White Horses by Eric Ravilious. This

was a 'dummy' for a planned children's

book on White Horses and Hill

Figures that inspired Ravilious to

paint some of his most famous

watercolours. The text was to be

based on the book 'Downland Man'

by H.J. Massingham. Ravilious was

appointed a war artist and did not

have the time to create the lithographs

so that the book could be published.

He was attached to an RAF squadron

in Iceland and flew a search and

rescue mission. His plane did not

return. The book was presumed lost."

BATH SOCIETY OF ARTISTS

ANNUAL OPEN EXHIBITION

› Victoria Art Gallery, Bath Society of

Artists’ 116th Annual Open Exhibition is

now at the Victoria Art Gallery until 20

November 2021. Art enthusiasts will be

able to browse and buy from a selection

of over 250 fabulous paintings, drawings,

prints and sculptures by the region’s

top artistic talent, at prices to suit every

pocket. Last year the hugely popular

exhibition moved online due to Covid-19,

but this year art lovers will once again

be able to enjoy the show in real life at

the Gallery and place their votes for the

Public Choice Prize.

Alongside the exhibition, all of the works

will be available to view and buy online.

victoriagal.org.uk/bathsociety2021

READING FOR MODERN PILGRIMS

Reading UK has launched a joint initiative

with the Coruna Provincial Government

in Spain to highlight Reading’s role in

medieval times as the starting point of

pilgrimages to Santiago de Compostela

in Galicia. Modern pilgrims can now

walk the St James Way from Reading to

Southampton in the footsteps of those

pilgrims and join up with the world

famous Camino de Santiago in Spain.

livingreading.co.uk/pilgrim

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127


WAYS TO REJUVENATE THE

MIND, BODY

AND SOUL

Take some time out for yourself along

the Great West Way and re-energise your

mind, body and soul. Whether you’re keen

on keeping fit or prefer taking it easy in a

luxury spa, we hope you enjoy our top 10

ways to add some wellness to your trip

1

CONNECT WITH

NATURE

You just can’t beat pulling on your walking boots,

getting out into the English countryside and

breathing in that fresh, fresh air. The whole length

of the route boasts wide, open landscapes just

calling out to be explored. Rolling green downland.

Fields of spring wildflowers. Tranquil lakes. Get

away from the crowds and head out into these

quintessentially English landscapes for some

ultimate restorative me-time. Explore Richmond

Park, London’s largest site of Special Scientific

Interest and European Special Area of Conservation

or visit one of the Great West Way’s Areas of

Outstanding Natural Beauty, from the North

Wessex Downs, The Cotswolds to The Chilterns.

Or why not take a walk around the grounds of one

of the Great West Way’s National Trust gardens

including Tyntesfield, Prior Park Landscape Garden

and Lacock. For a faster pace join a Nordic Walking

event with Bristol Nordic Walking. Or you might

enjoy Alison Howell’s Foot Trails, Oldbury Tours or

Tour & Explore with Anne Bartlett.

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129


2

JOIN IN WITH A

WELLNESS CLASS

No matter where you are on the Great

West Way chances are you won’t be

too far from a yoga or mindfulness class

where you can join in the spirit with

others. Luxury hotels and Health Retreats

including Casterley Barn, Danesfield House

and Hungerford’s Herongate Club all run

regular classes. If staying in Bath you

might enjoy a one-day introductory session

at the Bath School of Shiatsu & Yoga, and

in Bristol yoga and holistic therapies are

hugely popular. Wild Wolf’s Yoga, Bristol

City Yoga and Bristol Yoga Space are all

fairly central. You can even take part in a

yoga session with SUP Bristol while on a

paddleboard floating on the waterways of

Bristol Harbourside.

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3STAY ON A FARM

To get an authentic feel for life on the

land, wake up to the sound of cockerels

at one of the fabulous farms along the

Great West Way. Depending on what sort

of experience you want, you could stay

at a lovely luxurious farmhouse B&B like

Marshwood Farm near Salisbury or Great

Ashley Farm in Bradford on Avon. For the

ultimate luxury experience stay in one of

Buttle Farm’s beautiful barn conversions,

awarded VisitEngland’s highest rating –

5*Gold, or for rustic-romance in a snuggly

shepherd hut on rolling farmland head to

Rushall Organics Farm. You could get stuck

in with a full-on farm stay at Mill Farm

in Devizes, offering lots of farm-based

experiences alongside its accommodation,

from badger watching to donkey rides.


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4

BOOK A LUXURY

SPA BREAK

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 what you

need then there’s plenty of choice on the

Great West Way. Some of the best include

The Roseate Reading, Monkey Island in Bray,

The Langley in Buckinghamshire, Pennyhill

Park in Surrey, Whatley Manor in Malmesbury

and The Royal Crescent in Bath. Cricklade

House and Woolley Grange Hotel in Wiltshire

both have scenic locations ideal for that after

dinner evening stroll. Or if you really want to

splash out, make like a princess (or prince)

for a spa retreat at Cliveden House. 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 and to help you combat any fatigue

caused from lockdown.

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5

BRAVE A DIP

There are some magical places to go wild

swimming along the Great West Way such

as Avoncliff, a luscious river pool with a rope

swing in Bradford on Avon, or Cock Marsh near

Cookham where you’ll find sandy beaches to

paddle out from and clear, clean waters. You

might prefer to plunge into one of the historic

lidos en route such as Clifton’s Victorian Lido

in Bristol, and enjoy the invigorating feel

of an outdoor swim, or with the luxury of

changing rooms, Bristol Lido and the Thames

Lido in Reading are much-loved by locals.

You might also enjoy a refreshing soak in the

natural thermal waters of the rooftop pool at

Thermae Bath Spa.


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133


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.


6

HAVE A ‘ZOO’PER

TIME

Whether your favourite animal is a monkey,

lion, pig or a giraffe, you’re guaranteed to

enjoy your day and re-energise exploring

one of the many zoos or wildlife parks along

the way. Visit Longleat, home to England’s

only Koalas at Koala Creek, and meet their

colourful macaws in an impressive parrot

show display, explore rare breeds at Avon

Valley Wildlife Park, become a ranger for the

day at Bristol Zoo Gardens (the world’s 5th

oldest zoo!), or celebrate World Lion Day on

10 August at Noah’s Ark Zoo Farm.

At Cholderton Rare Breeds Farm the little

ones will love feeding, cuddling and petting

the rabbits, pigs, goats, chickens, ponies,

sheep and more, or just a short detour off the

route at Cotswold Wildlife Park you can walk

the Giraffe Walkway and be eye-to-eye with

these amazing creatures.


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7

GLAMP OR CAMP

For wellness you can’t beat sleeping in a

yurt, glamping pod, rustic cabin or luxury

treehouse. There’s no doubt, camping in the

countryside along the Great West Way can

be a magical experience, sitting round a fire

pit, toasting marshmallows until they’re so

gooey they nearly fall off the stick. Listening

for the twit-twoooo of owls after dark.

Sleeping under a dazzling blanket of stars. If

you enjoy going off-grid then try The Farm

Camp near Bath, or for a unique city stay

try Uplands Treehouse in Bristol. If in search

of some precious couples-only time head

to Totteridge Farm in the heart of Vale of

Pewsey. In what amounts to a Great British

Glamp-off, some sites even offer experiences

like mindfulness walks, guided birdwatching

tours and cooking classes and most have

outdoor spaces where you can sit and read

a book or enjoy a sundowner cider with

mesmerising views.

136 GreatWestWay.co.uk


8TRY YOUR HAND AT

SOMETHING NEW

You might enjoy a bushcraft course with

Survival School, Bristol, or learning about

bee keeping with Wiltshire Beekeepers

Association. Book a foraging experience

with Experience Nomadic for a woodland

foraging feast inspired by the wild ingredients

that grow there in abundance. Take a

creative course such as learning to weave

at Whitchurch Silk Mill – or take part in a

wellbeing summer course at Marlborough

College in Wiltshire, once home to the

Duchess of Cambridge during her school

days. They run a wide range of workshops

including a burgeoning selection of rural

craft courses, an introduction to bee keeping,

drawing and painting the landscape, code

breaking and many more. If you’re interested

in organic farming and happy to volunteer,

WWOOF can even connect you with local

smallholdings where you can learn new skills

helping out around the farm.

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137


9

GET IN TOUCH WITH

YOUR SPIRITUAL SIDE

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

of absorbing sacred spaces along the Great West Way,

and where better to start than one of the almighty

cathedrals? There’s the inimitable Bath Abbey, perfect

for pondering higher spiritual planes, as well as Bristol,

Salisbury and Gloucester cathedrals. Amid those you’ll

also find churches, temples and mosques. A growing

interest in mindfulness techniques means you can find

meditation courses and retreats too. Tarastone near

Salisbury offers Buddhist teachings as well as peaceful

accommodation in a beautiful setting. Finally, you can

feel the power of England’s pagan past at Stonehenge

and Avebury - or, for a lesser-known experience, Stanton

Drew. Sunset or sunrise at summer and winter solstice -

signalling the longest and shortest days of the year - are

when most of the celebrations take place, but they’re

magical places of reflection whenever you visit. 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 highwayman

and unforeseen hazards.

138 GreatWestWay.co.uk


10

TREAT YOURSELF

All sorts of delicious foods and drinks are

produced along the Great West Way – fresh

fruit and vegetables are grown, meat is reared,

beer is brewed and gin is distilled. Sample some

delicious local produce as you explore the

wonderful farm shops. Pile your basket high with

free range eggs, punnets of fresh strawberries,

West Country cider, Cheddar cheese, Wiltshire

smoked ham and more. Why not pack it all up

in a hamper and find a spot to enjoy a leisurely

picnic besides the canal or on a flower-strewn

hillside? At Cobbs Farm Shop & Kitchen in

Hungerford you will find a traditional butchery

counter, delicatessen, fishmongers, and shelves

stacked with locally-grown produce. Or dine in,

with outdoors hospitality expected to reopen

mid-April and indoors hospitality from mid-

May, places will be welcoming you back to enjoy

their pubs, restaurants and cafés along the

route. Linger over an indulgent afternoon tea

in a quaint country café. Sit down to a gourmet

meal in a Michelin-starred restaurant. Sip local

beer in sunny beer gardens... Whatever your

tastes, there’s many a tantalising buffet foodie

experience waiting to be savoured.

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POST-COVID

HOTEL STAYS

From the city, riverside, to

the countryside - a safe and

warm welcome awaits

Words: Jessica Way

HOTELIERS ALONG THE GREAT WEST WAY have been busy preparing

to reopen their doors, and welcome you back safely, on the 17 May

2021, covid restrictions permitting. Whether you are looking for a

city break in a luxury spa hotel, a countryside manor house offering

rambles in acres of outdoor space, or a boutique hotel on the banks of the

river, there is a hotel for every occasion. Hospitality teams have been working

hard behind the scenes to ensure enhanced safety procedures to offer you

peace of mind during your stay, so here’s a look at some of the best hotels,

getting you ready for your summer staycation.

HOTELS IN THE CITY

If you are starting your Great West Way journey in London The Great

Northern Hotel is an exquisitely designed, luxurious boutique hotel relevant

and central to today's reborn King's Cross St Pancras. Opened in 1854, the

hotel embraces its heritage while moving gracefully with the times. Dress to

impress and head to the cocktail bar and glamourous martini lounge. Roseate

House London is just a short walk from Hyde Park offering stunning views

over leafy Westbourne Terrace. If you are arriving from overseas and need a

convenient place to stay in Central London for your 14 days quarantine, the

Roseate House London has launched a special quarantine package, based on

a minimum 14-night stay, with discounted room rates and a complimentary

upgrade to a luxury Suite. Good to know - 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' (see

page 144) and located in the centre of Bath The Roseate Villa Bath. →

140 GreatWestWay.co.uk


GreatWestWay.co.uk 141


Catch The Stonehenge Tour bus in Salisbury:

bus stop U or Salisbury railway station

THE BEST WAY TO DISCOVER THE MYSTERY OF THE STONES

buy tickets

online or

from the

driver

thestonehengetour.info

thestonehengetour

SHT_Great-West-Way-Mag_Advert_195x133_0121_V2.indd 1 20/01/2021 11:07:41


“Why not stay in the most famous crescent in the world, take a dip in

their award-winning spa, then let the tension of the last twelve months

melt away while making a toast to a brighter future?”

Why not combine your city stay with a spa break?

Because who doesn’t enjoy a morning filled with shopping

followed by an afternoon of luxury pampering? The

Great West Way has some of the country’s best and

most unique spa hotels, many of which are located in

convenient proximity to a city centre. The Gainsborough

Bath Spa for example, is located in the heart of Bath,

famed for its Georgian-era architecture. Guests of the

hotel have exclusive access to the Spa Village, set beneath

a glass atrium within the hotel, the spa draws on the city’s

natural thermal waters. A short walk away The Royal

Crescent Hotel & Spa built between 1767 and 1775 is

located in the most famous crescent in the world. For the

re-opening they have launched a special midweek new

package where you will enjoy a night’s stay in a luxury

room or suite including full English breakfast, plus a

Taittinger Champagne gift set. Why not take a dip in their

award-winning spa, then let the tension of the last twelve

months melt away while making a toast to a brighter future?

If it’s culture, dining and nightlife you’re after, you won’t

find better than Abbey Hotel Bath, home to Koffmann &

Mr. White's brasserie-style English and French restaurant,

for its location. An experiential art-driven hotel, for

people seeking true Bathonian encounters, close to all

the main attractions, museums and after-dark venues.

Meanwhile, Dukes Hotel occupies two magnificent

Georgian townhouses on Great Pulteney Street.

You could try the Apex Hotel, Bath’s largest hotel, or

for an elegant and vivacious boutique townhouse hotel

located on the grandest street in Bath head to No. 15

Great Pulteney.

Taking your dog on holiday with you? Just a short drive

from the centre of Bath, Grade II listed Bailbrook House

Hotel, (a Hand Picked Hotel), is dog friendly and set in 20

acres - here you can enjoy the historic Cloisters restaurant

or contemporary dining in The Conservatory.

In the medieval cathedral city of Salisbury, just a short

detour from the route, The Merchant’s House Hotel

has just unveiled 37 brand new and refurbished rooms.

The hotel is also dog-friendly and both guests and nonresidents

are welcome in The Merchant’s Bar.

There are some wonderful places to stay in Bristol,

from hotels on the colourful Harbourside to luxury stays

in former banks and boot factories. For a unique stay, try

a rooftop rocket caravan in the heart of the Old City at

Brooks Guesthouse, with enviable views of the historic

St Nicholas Market and beyond. For culture, hotels don’t

get more arty than the new Artist Residence in Bristol’s

Portland Square, or more central than Bristol Marriott

Royal Hotel, a historic hotel with restored family-friendly

accommodation. You might also enjoy the Rock & Bowl

Motel, or The Bristol Wing, a boutique hostel in the

Grade II listed old Police Headquarters. Alternatively, The

Full Moon is a backpacker hostel adjoining the lively →

GreatWestWay.co.uk

143


Pictured in

a clockwise

direction:

Bailbrook House

reception and

freestanding bath;

The Mitre Hotel;

sumptious four

poster bedroom

at The Roseate

Reading.

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.

And if you’re just in Bristol for a flying visit - where could

be more convenient than Hampton By Hilton Bristol

Airport – the only hotel within walking distance of the

terminal?

There's another favourable Hilton less than two miles

from The Oracle and Madejski Stadium - Hilton Reading.

Reading is technically the UK's largest town, but with so

much buzz and excitement around the town, with plenty

to see and do, it makes for a fabulous destination to rival

any UK city. There is yet more excellent choice of hotels

here to stay in too. Malmaison Reading has stayed open

through much of the pandemic offering a reduced service

to key workers and business travel. Built in 1844, the

hotel is the oldest surviving station hotel in the world -

perfectly retaining the style and decadence of the golden

age of rail travel. Think luxe decor, roll-top baths, and

gigantic, soft beds.

The Novotel Reading Centre also sits in the heart of

the town just a stone's throw from many of Reading's

best restaurants, bars and shops – or head to artful luxury

townhouse, The Roseate Reading, originally Shire Hall.

Marvel over the impressive Italian chandelier complete

with 86,000 Italian-glass beads and original lift shaft that

has been lovingly restored running the full height of the

building. The Roseate Hotel is the perfect place to spend a

glamorous evening contemplating the next stage of your

journey on the Great West Way.

144 GreatWestWay.co.uk


HOTELS BY THE RIVER

Want to slow down your pace and find your own

story on the Great West Way staying near the

river? With so many absorbing things to see and

do along the Royal River Thames, from watching

the historic tradition of Swan Upping to splashing

about in boats, you might want to combine and

enhance your mini-break to one of these fabulous

hotels with some of the suggestions made in our

Enjoy the River article (see p32)?

Start with one of the oldest inns in the world,

The Olde Bell in Hursely. Full of warmth, history

and charm, this quintessential English coaching

inn, with some parts dating back to 1135, offers a

variety of bedrooms in barns and lodges ranging

from the sublime…to the ridiculously sublime!

One of the newest hotels located on the banks

of the River Thames is The Mitre, a stylish boutique

hotel in East Molesey boasting balconies, private

courtyards, fire pits, jacuzzis and stunning river vistas.

Sir Christopher Wren Hotel & Spa is another

with a Thames riverside location. The hotel

comprises several characterful buildings clustered

around a historic cobbled street by Eton Bridge

“One of the newest hotels located

on the banks of the River Thames

is The Mitre with private

courtyards, fire pits, jacuzzis and

stunning river vistas”

and Windsor Castle, with a gym, spa treatments,

outdoor whirlpool and sauna.

Also in Windsor, both Castle Hotel MGallery

and Sir Christopher Wren Hotel & Spa offer

spectacular views of both the Thames and Windsor

Castle. There are also some fantastic foodie stays

to be had in the Thames area. From Hotel du Vin

in Henley, housed in a former brewery, to The

Hand & Flowers in Marlow - a 3 Michelin-starred

pub by celebrity chef Tom Kerridge. You’ll find the

rooms in nearby cottages almost as sensational as

the fine dining, with their 4-poster beds and deep,

double-ended baths.

If it is a riverside break with luxury spa you

desire, the Runnymede-on-Thames is a hotel

with swimming pool, whirlpool bath, saunas and

eucalyptus steam room, and endless pampering

with a range of treatments. History-rich Magna

Carta country and all manner of outdoor pursuits

are also on the doorstep here.

Speaking of spas, they don’t come much

better than the Monkey Island Estate. Located

on a picturesque island in the historic village →

Pictured left to

right: Afternoon

Tea at The Mitre;

garden at the

Monkey Island

Estate.

GreatWestWay.co.uk

145


Pictured left-right:

Venue Henley;

Pennyhill Park &

Spa; The Langley;

Cliveden House

Hotel; and Luxury

Family Hotel,

Woolley Grange.

“In Henley, you might enjoy an

overnight stay at Venue Henley,

a 30 acre estate once home to the

WH Smith family set in the heart

of the glorious Oxfordshire

countryside.”

of Bray in Berkshire, on the River Thames. 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 on the Great West Way.

Further along the river, in Henley, you might enjoy

Venue Henley. Once home to the WH Smith family, this 30

acre estate enjoys both views of the river and the glorious

Oxfordshire countryside. It lies less than three miles from

the centre of Henley-on-Thames, a market town full of

historic buildings and home to the famous annual event the

Henley Royal Regatta, five miles from the riverside Georgian

market town of Marlow and a short car journey to Windsor

and the University City of Oxford.

In Wiltshire’s Bradford on Avon, The Swan Hotel is a

charming inn in the centre of town, by the river, full of

character combining the traditions of an old inn, dating

back to the 16th and 17th Century.

HOTELS IN THE COUNTRYSIDE

If your walking boots are the most important item you

have packed, and you are looking to reach places that

only they can take you, then one of the Great West Way’s

beautiful countryside hotels is waiting to welcome you!

North of the Thames, The Langley, Buckinghamshire

is the former country estate of the third Duke of

Marlborough. The hotel has a wonderful spa, exceptional

dining and rooms retaining exquisite period features, such

as Baroque fireplaces, and grounds designed by England’s

most famous landscape gardener, Lancelot Capability

Brown. If you are looking to stay in Ascot, there’s an

abundance of bedrooms and charming grounds, including

a private walled garden and beautiful fountain plaza at

the Royal Berkshire.

As a county with an impressive landscape of castles,

country houses and sprawling estates, it’s a fine place to

get a taste for how the English aristocracy live. It doesn’t

get much more luxurious - or traditionally English - than

the Cliveden House Hotel, where the Duchess of Sussex

chose to stay the night before her wedding.

Another of the rural Home Counties, Pennyhill Park in

Bagshot is set in 123 acres of Surrey countryside offering

Michelin starred dining and an award-winning spa, or take

146 GreatWestWay.co.uk


a short detour from the route to Hampshire's glorious

17th century luxury hotel, Lainston House, tucked

away in 63 acres of rural countryside and home to the

Season cookery school with award-winning chefs.

For quaint and cozy, try the Queens Arms, East

Garston, an award-winning hotel, pub and restaurant

with its own private lodge right in the heart of the

North Wessex Downs Area of Natural Beauty.

Also in Berkshire, there’s Donnington Grove near

Newbury, an impressive 18th-century Gothic house

which was once home to Daisy Fellowes, a socialite and

fashionista said to have owned the largest jewellery

collection in the world. This hotel and country club is

set in 500 acres of countryside offering countryside

pursuits such as fishing and clay pigeon shooting.

Or perhaps you’re keen to be close to the

Westonbirt, The National Arboretum, if so head

to five-star Whatley Manor Hotel & Spa, in the

Southern Cotswolds set in 12 acres of gardens this is

a ‘grown up getaway’ with a cinema, spa, restaurants

and more.

Cotswolds villages such as Castle Combe,

Lacock, Badminton and Malmesbury all make idyllic

destinations for countryside rambles. Why not stay

in the nearby market town of Chippenham, where

you’ll find lots more options, like Best Western Angel

Hotel - a 17th-century coaching inn, standing in over

30 acres of peaceful, secluded grounds on the edge of

the Cotswolds, or head to The Lygon Arms, a luxury

spa hotel set in the quintessential Cotswold village of

Broadway.

For the ultimate tranquility of a countryside escape

with views in all directions, head to the beautiful

county of Wiltshire. This predominantly green

landscape is a wayfarers' paradise - an ancient, rural

county full of excellent walking routes and intriguing

places to stay. Start with England’s oldest hotel -

sitting proudly next to the 12th Century Abbey in the

centre of the historic, vibrant and charming market

town of Malmesbury, The Old Bell Hotel has been

restored to the height of elegance, glamour and

English charm. Grade I-listed, it’s thought to date back

to the 13th century when it was built to house visitors

to Malmesbury Abbey next door.

For a luxury family experience, Woolley Grange

Hotel in Bradford on Avon is another superb choice.

Guests of all ages are indulged at this Jacobean Manor

House. There’s even complimentary childcare →

GreatWestWay.co.uk

147


Discover Gloucestershire’s best attractions, tours,

shops, restaurants, accommodation and venues


Pictured:

Cricklade

House

Hotel.

“Cricklade House Hotel is a beautiful and dignified country house,

built at the turn of the last century with a most impressive magnificent

Victorian-style glass conservatory”

at Woolley Bears Den, so little ones can get stuck into

seasonal activities, like making butterfly sun catchers,

while adults head off for a well-deserved spa treatment.

With a name like this who could refuse a stay (and

if you’re lucky, a hug too) at The Bear Hotel? Set in

the heart of the quaint historic traditional market town

of Devizes, the hotel is run by Wadworth Brewery. An

original 16th century Coaching Inn with many beams

and other original features, the Bear’s en-suite bedrooms

include grand 4-poster suites with front views of the

Market Square.

Cricklade House Hotel is a beautiful and dignified

country house, built at the turn of the last century with

a most impressive magnificent Victorian-style glass

conservatory which runs the full length of the original

building, making the most of the hotel's elevated position.

Sit out on the terrace and enjoy wonderful panoramic

views over Wiltshire countryside. Beechfield House, also

in Wiltshire, is a stunning 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).

For a unique concept of keyless entry and no reception,

meaning you’re able to stay safely and privately without

having to interact with any other guests book yourself a

room at No.7 & No.8 Kingsbury Street, Marlborough.

Arrive hungry - they also have a fabulous burger

restaurant. Further west, 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, or head to nearby Guyers House Hotel &

Restaurant, a traditional country house with an awardwinning

restaurant.

And if you’re looking for somewhere quick and

convenient for visiting top attractions, you’ll love

Holiday Inn Salisbury-Stonehenge, the closest hotel to

Stonehenge and Avebury World Heritage Site.

DoubleTree By Hilton Swindon is ideal for resting

tired feet after a different type of day spent walking – a

shopping spree at the McArthurGlen Designer Outlet

Swindon.

Find more places to stay,

including bed & breakfasts,

farm stays, self-catering,

pubs, camping and boats

from our website.

CLICK

HERE

GreatWestWay.co.uk

149


Connecting Wiltshire’s Communities

NEW! TransWilts

Walking and Cycling

leaflets from

transwilts.org

Bike hire available from

Melksham

Station

arrowdow

CLICK

HERE

TO

DOWNLOAD


CALENDAR

EVENTS

will be secretly previewed in Bath.

Internationally exhibited British

Artists will be available to view and

buy before hitting the big show. Now,

that's a proper Private View!

îartsalon.co.uk

From confetti battles to

music festivals, to canoe

races and country shows

OCTOBER–DECEMBER 2021

BRISTOL FILM FESTIVAL

OCTOBER–DECEMBER 2021

Returning this year is the muchloved

Bristol Film Festival with top

titles screened in unique spaces.

Donnie Darko is showing in Redcliffe

Caves, you can watch UP at Clifton

Observatory, Jurassic Park at Bristol

Museum and Art Gallery, Interstellar

at The Planetarium, and AIRPLANE at

Aerospace Bristol – and many more.

îbristolfilmfestival.com

Bristol Film Festival

BATH COMEDY FESTIVAL

OCTOBER–NOVEMBER 2021

Bath Comedy Festival presents

household names in the world of

comedy and promotes the big names

of tomorrow.

îvisitbath.co.uk/events

HENLEY LITERARY FESTIVAL

2–10 OCTOBER 2021

Bringing together punters and pundits

from far and wide, this year’s line-up

includes Gyles Brandreth, Sebastian

Faulks, Kate Mosse, Elizabeth Day,

Simon Mayo and Kiran Millwood

Hargrave.

îhenleyliteraryfestival.co.uk

ART SALON

15–16 OCTOBER 2021

Ahead of their International and

National Exhibitions Bath’s Art Salon

has a secret preview of work showing

in their gallery, for 48hrs only, before

it is shipped. The London exhibition

CLIVEDEN LITERARY FESTIVAL

23–24 OCTOBER 2021

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 around the world.

îclivedenliteraryfestival.org

Cliveden Literary Festival

Art Salon

Dates and times should be used as an indicator during the

recovery phase from the global pandemic. Please double-check

details by visiting the website links before you visit.

GreatWestWay.co.uk

151


Marlborough’s Dark Skies Festival

WESSEX WEEK IN MALMESBURY

23–30 OCTOBER 2021

This year Malmesbury welcomes

back Janina Ramirez, Michael Wood

and Tony McAleavy. The original 17th

Century Bird's-Eye-View will be on

display at the Warden Freemen Office

(Market Lane), Campbell Ritchie

will walk visitors through the Saxon

footprint of Malmesbury and learn about

Wessex formation dinosaurs (nothing

to do with dancing!) from Ali Ferris.

îwessexweek.eventbrite.com

THE WIZARDS OF ONCE

HALLOWEEN QUEST AT

STONEHENGE

23–31 OCTOBER 2021

Beware of ghosts and ghouls as

English Heritage’s Stonehenge open

their doors this Halloween. Step

into these grounds if you dare to

explore their stories after-dark with

the help of some intrepid guides.

Young witches and wizards will be

transported to the world of bestselling

children’s author Cressida Cowell

(How to Train Your Dragon) and her

Wizard of Once series as they embark

on a Halloween quest, with prizes for

the most frightening fancy dress.

îvisitwiltshire/whats-on

MARLBOROUGH’S DARK SKIES

FESTIVAL

25 OCTOBER 2021–31 MARCH 2022

Marlborough's first ever Dark Skies

Fest will include stargazing, sketching

workshops, storytelling, exhibitions,

talks and tours. The mysterious

Museum of the Moon will be on

display in Marlborough College

chapel, Professor Chris Lintott will

be talking about how the Universe

began and many other speakers

will combine art and science in a

celebration of our beautiful dark skies.

îmarlborough-tc.gov.uk

The Wizards of Once Halloween Quest at Stonehenge

Salisbury Halloween Ghost Hunt

SALISBURY HALLOWEEN GHOST

HUNT

30–31 OCTOBER 2021

14th century building Live Escape

Salisbury is hosting a paranormal

experience with exclusive overnight

access on the scariest night of the

year! Expect dragging noises, ghostly

figures at windows and plates

smashing in the kitchen.

îlive-escape.co.uk

LEGOLAND FIREWORKS

SPECTACULAR

5–7 NOVEMBER 2021

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

WINDSOR GREAT PARK

ILLUMINATED

18 NOVEMBER 2021–9 JANUARY

2022

Light up your year! Enjoy a magical

evening with family and friends as

woodland and water comes alive

with dazzling lights, dancing stars,

glimmering reflections and breathtaking

projections. Along the special

light trail you’ll pass fountains of

flowers and holograms of mythical

creatures, and be mesmerised by

a dreamlike laser-scape amongst

the trees. At a cosy rest spot, enjoy

mouth-wateringly good food, mulled

wine and hot chocolate, or toast

marshmallows at one of the fire pits.

îwindsorilluminated.com

152 GreatWestWay.co.uk


PINK LADY FOOD

PHOTOGRAPHER OF THE YEAR

20 NOVEMBER–12 DECEMBER 2021

Pink Lady Food Photographer

of the Year, the world’s leading

awards for food photography

and film, is premiering its tenth

anniversary exhibition in Bristol's

Royal Photographic Society, the

oldest photographic society in the

world (patron HRH The Duchess of

Cambridge). With over 20 categories,

ranging from the Politics of Food to

Food Portraiture, the images from the

Awards capture the great sweep of

stories and cultures in the world of

food. This is the first time the awards

are being held outside of London.

îvisitbristol.co.uk/whats-on

TROWBRIDGE LANTERN FESTIVAL

27 NOVEMBER 2021

There’s great excitement that the

Trowbridge Lantern Festival is

returning this November and even

more so that the construction of

lanterns has already begun! This year’s

theme is ‘The Environment’ and the

town is looking forward to all of the

wonderful creations being paraded

through Trowbridge on Saturday

November 27th. Workshops will

be running in local schools again,

as well as the Town Hall and also

Trowbridge Information Centre. Local

artist Jennie Quigley will be hosting a

series of lantern-making workshops in

preparation for the big day.

îtrowbridge.gov.uk

Enchanted Light Trail at Cotswold Farm Park

Pink Lady Food Photographer of the Year

ENCHANTED LIGHT TRAIL AT

COTSWOLD FARM PARK

26 NOVEMBER 2021 - 1 JANUARY

2022

A spectacular night time journey of

magical lights and sounds around the

farm park on a trail which takes you

past crackling fire pits, a festive shop

and hot food and drink.

îcotswoldfarmpark.co.uk/events

HOBBS OF HENLEY CHRISTMAS

LUNCH AND PARTY NIGHT

CRUISES

2,5 AND 9 DECEMBER 2021

Celebrate the festive season in

style by setting sail on The New

Orleans with Hobbs of Henley on a

Thames Christmas Lunch Cruise or a

Christmas Party Night in December.

îhobbsofhenley.com/christmasparty-nights

CHRISTMAS AT KEW

17 NOVEMBER 2021–9 JANUARY

2022

Explore a botanical world filled with

seasonal cheer at Kew Gardens this

winter. A show-stopping trail of

festive light installations, more than

a million teeny glittering lights, and

a fantastic light show grand finale

at the iconic Temperate House, plus

enjoy festive treats such as spiced

cider and toasted marshmallows.

îkew.org/ kew-gardens/whats-on/

christmas

LUKE JERRAM’S MUSEUM OF THE

MOON AT BATH ABBEY

19 NOVEMBER–26 DECEMBER

Measuring seven metres in diameter,

the moon features 120dpi detailed

NASA imagery of the lunar surface.

At an approximate scale of 1:500,000,

each centimetre of the internally lit

spherical sculpture represents 5km of

the moon’s surface.

îvisitbath.co.uk/events

Luke Jerram’s Museum of the Moon

GreatWestWay.co.uk

153


Twilight Trail at Forbury Gardens and Abbey Ruins

WINDSOR ON ICE

28 NOVEMBER–3 DECEMBER 2021

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

Malmesbury at Christmas

CALNE AT CHRISTMAS

5 AND 27 NOVEMBER 2021

Celebrations include a Bonfire and

Fireworks Night held at Beversbrook

Sports Facility (5 November), and a

traditional lantern parade and the

‘switching on' of their town centre

Christmas lights (27 November).

Expect Christmas music, street stalls, a

funfair, fantastic street entertainment

and Father Christmas.

îcalne.gov.uk

MALMESBURY AT CHRISTMAS

3 DECEMBER 2021

Visit Malmesbury High Street as it is

transformed into a bustling Christmas

Market with local shops opening late

and a selection of stalls selling local

arts, crafts and delicious culinary

delights. There will be entertainment

(and even a visit from Santa) at the

historic Market Cross.

îmalmesbury.gov.uk

NEWBURY’S VICTORIAN

CHRISTMAS FAYRE

3– 5 DECEMBER 2021

Visiting the idyllic market town of

Newbury, surrounded by West

Berkshire’s most historic buildings is

a pleasure at anytime of the year, but

especially so during this years' festive

season, with an enhanced festive

offering being planned for the town.

Brand new for 2021, you will be able

to step back in time at Newbury's

first ever three-day Victorian

Christmas Fayre featuring market

stalls, a Victorian carousel, street

performances and of course, Father

Christmas himself. The fayre is set to

include a wide range of market stalls

with traders dressed head-to-toe in

typical Victorian attire, alongside

Victorian-themed roving performers,

live music and entertainment.

Plus don't miss their first day-long

Christmas Lights Switch-On Festival,

10am–9pm Sat 20 November, or the

Festival of Light and Christmas Panto.

îvisitnewbury.org.uk/christmas

TWILIGHT TRAIL AT FORBURY

GARDENS AND ABBEY RUINS

3–31 DECEMBER 2021

Reading’s festive light trail returns

with a mouth-watering, wintery

wonderland of lights and smells,

celebrating a unique part of Reading’s

story. Did you know that Reading was

once known throughout the world as

Biscuit Town? Huntley and Palmer’s

started out as a shop in London Street,

Reading and went on to become the

greatest manufacturer of biscuits in

Twilight Trail at Forbury Gardens and Abbey Ruins

154 GreatWestWay.co.uk


the world. Their tins were works of art

and they invented many of our most

familiar and loved biscuits. Inspired

by the biscuit heritage, the Twilight

Trail is a spectacular light installation

through Reading’s Forbury Gardens

and the 900 year-old Abbey Ruins.

The Trail will feature music and poetry

contributions from local school

children, while writers and performers

will accompany you on a playful walk

through beautiful Forbury Gardens

and the Abbey Ruins.

îwhatsonreading.com

THE ENCHANTED GARDEN OF

LIGHT AT THE AMERICAN MUSEUM

& GARDENS

9–31 DECEMBER 2021

A world of enchantment, magic

and good cheer awaits you in this

magical after-dark adventure through

spectacular light displays which will

emblazon the entire house, gardens

and woodland in glorious seasonal

colour. Sparkling reindeer guide the

way as you enter mesmerising tunnels

of light and are greeted with the

delightful sights, smells and tastes of

the most wonderful season of all.

îamericanmuseum.org/christmas

CHRISTMAS OPERA AT

DANESFIELD HOUSE HOTEL

11–12 DECEMBER 2021

As Christmas fast approaches and

excitement builds once again you

can join Danesfield House Hotel for

a fabulous musical performance.

The evening includes delightful arias,

duets and ensembles from famous

operas such as Carmen, Marriage of

Figaro, Magic Flute, Mikado and many

more. They will be sung by beautiful

voices from Opera Kensington, a

charity that nurtures young and

emerging singers.

îdanesfieldhouse.co.uk

JANUARY–MARCH 2022

DREAMGIRLS AT THE BRISTOL

HIPPODROME

5-22 JANUARY 2022

Direct from the West End with

an extraordinary story and the

unforgettable, spine-tingling vocals

that send audiences wild, this

spectacular musical production

features the classic songs And I Am

Telling You I’m Not Going, Listen, I

Am Changing and One Night Only.

Meet The Dreams - Effie, Lorrell

Christmas Opera at Danesfield House Hotel

and Deena - three talented young

singers in the turbulent 1960s, a

revolutionary time in American music

history. Join the three friends as they

embark upon a musical rollercoaster

ride through a world of fame, fortune

and the ruthless realities of show

business, testing their friendships to

the very limit.

îvisitbristol.co.uk/whats-on

THE PLAY WHAT I WROTE AT

THEATRE ROYAL BATH

11–22 JANUARY 2022

One of the biggest comedy hits ever,

bringing sunshine back to Bath in

the New Year. When The Play What I

Wrote opened in London’s West End,

every single review was a rave, every

show a sell-out and it won every major

theatre award. The Sunday Times

called it “a triumph” and The Observer

said “audiences weep with laughter”.

îvisitbath.co.uk/events

The Enchanted Garden of Light at The American Museum & Gardens

The Play What I Wrote

GreatWestWay.co.uk

155


Tom Rosenthal at Trinity Centre

Matthew Bourne's Nutcracker at Bristol Hippodrome

TOM ROSENTHAL AT TRINITY

CENTRE

18 JANUARY 2022

Since being hailed as 'Britain's best

unknown songwriter' (Sabotage

Times), despite having 5 albums to

his name, Tom Rosenthal only started

playing live last year. His shows cover

a big range of topics, from hummus

to long distance loves. Expect plenty

of intimate moments, a whole lot

of fun, and plenty of chances for the

audience to join in.

îvisitbristol.co.uk/whats-on

THE SNOW QUEEN AT REDGRAVE

THEATRE

23 JANUARY 2022

Join Ballet Theatre UK in their

beautiful re-telling of Hans Christian

Andersen’s classic fairy tale ballet,

The Snow Queen. Watch the display

of international dancers, beautiful

costumes and glittering stage sets

combined to create a magnificent

spectacle, all set to a glorious and

magical score.

îvisitbristol.co.uk/whats-on

SAMANTHA FISH

30 JANUARY 2022

Samantha Fish returns to the UK

for a nine-date tour. The genrebending

guitarist, singer, and

songwriter released her critically

acclaimed album “Kill Or Be Kind”

in 2019. Samantha’s incendiary live

performances have been mesmerizing

audiences around the world.

îvisitbath.co.uk/events

MATTHEW BOURNE'S

NUTCRACKER AT BRISTOL

HIPPODROME

1–5 FEBRUARY 2022

The sweetest of all Matthew Bourne's

treats returns to Bristol for one week

only! It's a Nutcracker for all seasons,

adored by critics and audiences alike.

îvisitbristol.co.uk/whats-on

FATAL ATTRACTION AT THEATRE

ROYAL BATH

7–12 FEBRUARY 2022

The definitive movie thriller becomes

an intoxicating and provocative stage

play at the Theatre Royal Bath

îvisitbath.co.uk/events

The Snow Queen at Redgrave Theatre

Theatre Royal Bath

156 GreatWestWay.co.uk


Celebration: a Festival of Flowers

Highclere Country Show

APRIL–JUNE 2022

DEVIZES TO WESTMINSTER

INTERNATIONAL CANOE RACE

15–18 APRIL 2022

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.

îdwrace.co.uk

THE BRADFORD ON AVON

DUCK RACE

APRIL 2022

At this famous annual Duck Race, over

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 the many

amazing prizes.

îbradfordonavontowncouncil.gov.uk

CELEBRATION: A FESTIVAL OF

FLOWERS

9-15 MAY 2022

Salisbury Cathedral Flower Designers

are delighted to return for this event,

postponed from September 2021.

See and smell over 30,000 stems of

blooms and foliage in spectacular

floral displays inside the magnificent

medieval Cathedral. It will be an

amazing feast for the senses!

îsalisburycathedral.org.uk/events

HIGHCLERE COUNTRY SHOW

28–29 MAY 2022

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.

îhighclereshow.co.uk

PUB IN THE PARK MARLOW

2022 DATE TO BE CONFIRMED

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

ROYAL ASCOT

14–18 JUNE 2022

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

HENLEY ROYAL REGATTA

28 JUNE–3 JULY 2022

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

JULY–SEPTEMBER 2022

KEW THE MUSIC

5–10 JULY 2022

Iconic names in spectacular

surroundings – Kew the Music is

coming back with more unforgettable

summer nights and headline acts

from Van Morrison to DJ Spoony. Plus

don't miss their open-air concerts.

îkewthemusic.org

BRISTOL HARBOUR FESTIVAL

15–17 JULY 2022

Bristol’s largest annual event

celebrates its 50th anniversary in

2022. A flagship event for Bristol’s

unrivalled arts and culture sector,

expect top artists and performers,

along with over 200 visiting vessels

and people joining in the fun along

the harbour from the SS Great Britain

to the city centre, with tall ships,

music stages, dance areas and food

markets.

îbristolharbourfestival.co.uk

Bristol Harbour Festival

GreatWestWay.co.uk

157


Marlborough College Summer School

MALMESBURY CARNIVAL AND

FESTIVAL

AUGUST (DATE TO BE CONFIRMED)

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

ROYAL INTERNATIONAL AIR

TATTOO, FAIRFORD

15–17 JULY 2022

The Royal International Air Tattoo

will return in 2022 with a celebration

of the United States Air Force's 75th

Anniversary in spectacular style. 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

28–31 JULY 2022

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

WOMAD FESTIVAL

MARLBOROUGH COLLEGE

SUMMER SCHOOL

10 JULY–6 AUGUST 2022

One of Europe’s largest multigenerational

learning experiences.

The College’s historic grounds

are conveniently located on

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

17 JULY 2022

Are you ready for one of Bath's

favourite festivals? 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

10 JULY 2022

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.

îbristolpride.co.uk

Bristol International Balloon Fiesta

BRISTOL INTERNATIONAL

BALLOON FIESTA

11–14 AUGUST 2022

Europe’s largest annual meeting

of hot air balloons brings colour to

the sky above Bristol with twicedaily

mass balloon launches and the

chance to take a ride yourself.

îbristolballoonfiesta.co.uk

READING FESTIVAL

26–28 AUGUST 2022

One of England’s biggest and bestloved

music festivals, featuring bigname

acts from around the world –

think Kings of Leon and Foo Fighters.

îreadingfestival.com

HERITAGE OPEN DAYS

SEPTEMBER 2022

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.

îheritageopendays.org.uk

158 GreatWestWay.co.uk


DON’T MISS

Against the backdrop

of a renowned collection

Rossetti’s experience Portraits

critically acclaimed

until exhibitions

9 January of

2022

historical and

The contemporary Tudors: Passion, art, lectures, Power

& concerts, Politics

workshops and

28 events January or indulge to 8 May in 2022

our

Garden Café.

2019 HIGHLIGHTS

George Shaw

A Corner of a Foreign Field

Against the backdrop

of a renowned Édouard Vuillard collection

experience The Poetry critically of the Everyday acclaimed

exhibitions Lauren of Child historical and

The Art of Illustration

contemporary art, lectures,

Rembrandt

concerts, workshops and

A Life in Print

events or indulge in our

Garden Café.

Henri Matisse

Master of Line

Great Pulteney George Street, Shaw

Bath BA2 4DB

www.holburne.org A Corner of a Foreign Field

2019 HIGHLIGHTS

Édouard Vuillard

The Poetry of the Everyday

Lauren Child

The Art of Illustration

Rembrandt

A Life in Print

Henri Matisse

Master of Line

Great Pulteney Street, Bath BA2 4DB

www.holburne.org

in our

ps and

Westonbirt The

National Arboretum

, lectures,

rical and

y acclaimed

Explore the world’s finest

woodland garden, and

discover trees and plants

from all over the globe at

the National Arboretum.

forestryengland.uk/westonbirt


THANK YOU THANK TO THOSE YOU WHO’VE TO HELPED

US ALONG THE THOSE WAY... WHO HELPED

US ALONG THE WAY

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Bristol Airport

Canal & River Trust

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Henley on Thames Town

Hungerford Town

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Marlborough Town

Marlow Town

North Wessex Downs AONB

Reading UK

Royal Borough of

Windsor & Maidenhead

Steeple Ashton Village

Trowbridge Town

Uncover The Cotswolds

Vale of Pewsey

Visit Bath

Visit Bristol

Visit Thames

VisitNewbury

VisitWiltshire

Visit Gloucestershire

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& Hotel Ambassadors

Aerospace Bristol

Bowood House & Garden, Calne

Cobbs Farm Shop & Kitchen,

Hungerford

Lainstone House, Hampshire

Longleat, Warminster

McArthurGlen Designer Outlet,

Swindon

The Roman Baths, Bath

The Royal Crescent Hotel & Spa,

Bath

Stonehenge

Thermae Bath Spa, Bath

West Berkshire Brewery, Yattendon

Westonbirt, The National

Arboretum, Tetbury

Whatley Manor Hotel & Spa,

Malmesbury

Windsor Castle

Title Ambassadors

Gateway Ambassadors Gateway Ambassadors Fashion Museum, Bath Devizes Marina

The Royal Prior Windsor Park Landscape Pub Garden

American Museum & Gardens

French Brothers, Windsor Devizes Marina Day Boat Hire Salisbury Queens Camping Arms, and East Caravanning Garston Club Site

Bristol a’Beckett’s Airport Vineyard, Devizes Abbey Hotel The Gainsborough Bath Devizes Spa Wharf Tea room Salisbury Reading Cathedral Museum

Canal & Abbey River Trust Hotel, Bath

The Abbey Quarter Norton St Philip Didcot Railway Centre Salisbury, The Stonehenge Red Lion East, and Chisenbury Sarum Tours

Great Western The Abbey Railway Quarter, Reading a’Beckett’s Vineyard Glenside Hospital Museum, Donnington Bristol Grove

Sally Narrowboats, REME Museum Bradford on Avon

National Trust

Active England

DoubleTree by Hilton, Swindon

River & Rowing Museum

Active England

Guyers House Hotel, Corsham

Salters Steamers, Reading

Aldermaston Tea Rooms,

Dyrham Park

Roseate House London

Alder Ridge Vineyard, Hungerford

Destination Ambassadors

Visitor Centre, & Shop Hampton by Hilton Bristol The Engineman’s Airport Rest Café Savouring The Bath Roseate Villa, Bath

Aldwick Estate, Bristol

Aldwick Estate Hampton Court Palace, The East Farm Molesey Camp

Shaw House The Roseate Reading

Bath Business Alison Improvement Howell’s Foottrails District

Bradford All on Saints Avon Church, Town Alton Priors

Alison Howell’s Foottrails Venue Henley, Henley-on-Thames

French Brothers

Alton Priors Church Henley Rowing Association Glenside Hospital Museum

Sir Christopher Rose of Wren Hungerford Hotel & Spa, Windsor

Skydive Netheravon

Roves Farm

Calne Town The Apartment Bath

Apex Hotel, Bath Heritage Bed & Breakfast, Great Calne Northern Hotel South Western Royal Oak, Railway Yattendon

Chippenham Town

Arnos Vale Cemetery

Hampton by Hilton Bristol Airport Salisbury Cathedral

Apex Hotel, Bath

Herongate Fitness & Wellbeing, Hungerford Stay in Bath

Corsham

Around and About Bath

Hampton Court Palace

Salisbury, Stonehenge and Sarum Tours

Cotswolds Apsley Tourism House, London

Aspley House The Hidden Gardens of Harrow Bath at Little Bedwyn Stonehenge Salters Landscape Steamers

Destination Arnos Bristol Vale Cemetery, Bristol Atwell-Wilson Motor Hobbs Museum of Henley Helen Browning’s Royal Oak Stonor Park, Savouring Henley Bath on Thames

Devizes Atwell-Wilson Town Motor Museum, Calne Avalon Lodge Bed and The Breakfast Holburne Museum, Henley Bath Greenlands Hotel Stourhead, Shaw Stourton House

Henley Avebury on Thames Landscape

Avebury Landscape Wiltshire Holiday Inn, Salisbury Heritage – Stonehenge Bed & Breakfast Strawberry Skydive Hill House Netheravon & Garden,

Hungerford Bailbrook Town House Hotel, Bath Avon Valley Adventure Honey & Wildlife Street Park Mill Café Hobbs of Henley

Twickenham Stonor Park

Malmesbury Town

Bailey Balloons

The Holburne Museum

South West Heritage Tours

Bailey Balloons, Bristol

Hotel Novotel Reading Centre

Sulis Guides

Marlborough Town

Bainton Bikes

Holiday Inn, Salisbury - Stonehenge South Western Railway

Marlow Barrington Court, Ilminster Barbara McLellan Iford Manor Gardens, Honey Bradford Street on Boats Avon & Café The Swan Stourhead Hotel, Bradford on Avon

North Wessex Bath Apartment Downs AONB Breaks

Reading Bath UK Area Self Catering

The Barn Theatre

Barrington Court

The Jane Austen Centre, Hungerford Bath Wharf and Kintbury

The Kennet & Avon Trade Iford Manor Association Gardens

Swinley Bike SUP Hub Bristol Swinley Forest’s Trail Centre,

Bracknell The Swan, Bradford on Avon

Royal Borough Bath Bus of Company Windsor &

Bath Apartment Breaks The Kingsbury @ No.8, Inspirock Marlborough

Thames Lido, Swinley Reading Bike Hub

Maidenhead Beanhill Farm B&B, Chippenham The Bath Brew House Lacock Abbey, Fox Talbot Jane Austen Museum Centre and Village Thames Rivercruise, Thames Lido Reading

Stonehenge & Avebury WHS

Bath Bus Company

Kenavon Venture

Thames Rivercruise

Berkeley Castle

The Langley, Slough

Three Tuns Freehouse, Great Bedwyn

Swindon Town

Bath Self Catering

Koffmann & Mr. Whites

Three Tuns Freehouse

Tourism Best South Western East Plus Angel Hotel, Chippenham

Beanhill Farm B&B Liberty Car Tours, Bath English and French Brasserie Tintinhull Tintinhull Garden Garden

Trowbridge Blenheim Town Palace, Woodstock Berkeley Castle Lido Spa & Restaurant, Lacock Bristol Abbey, Fox Talbot Totteridge Totteridge Farm Camping Farm Pods, Pewsey

Vale of Bombay Pewsey Sapphire, Whitchurch Best Western Plus Angel Lytes Hotel, Cary Manor Museum and village

Tour and Tour Explore and Explore

Visit Bath Boscombe Down Aviation Collection, Chippenham Salisbury Maidenhead Heritage The Centre Langley

Tours 2 Order Tours 2 Order

Visit Thames

Bozedown Alpacas, Reading

Bombay Sapphire

Manor Farm Courtyard

Lido

Cottages,

Bristol

Thatcham TransWilts

TransWilts

Community

Community

Rail Partner

Rail Partnership

Visit Newbury

Bozedown Alpacas

Lytes Cary Manor

Troutbeck

The Bridge Tea Rooms, Bradford on Avon The Manor House, Castle Combe

Troutbeck Guest House, East Chisenbury

Visit Richmond

Bristol Blue Glass

Macdonald Hotel & Spa Bath

Tucking Mill Self catering

VisitWiltshire Bristol Cathedral

Bristol Cathedral Marlborough College Maidenhead Summer School Heritage Centre Tucking Mill Tutti View, Pole Midford

Bristol Community Ferry Boats Bristol Community Ferry The Merchant’s Boats House, Manor Marlborough Farm B&B

Turner’s House, Tyntesfield Twickenham

Designated Bristol Attraction Packet Boats

Bristol Packet Boats Mill Farm Glamping, Poulshot Marlborough College Summer School The Tutti University Pole, Hungerford of Bristol Botanic Garden

& Hotel Bristol Ambassadors Tandem Hire

Bristol Tandem HireMompesson House, Salisbury The Matthew Of Bristol Tyntesfield, Vaughan’s Wraxall Kitchen

The Bristol Wing

Bristol Zoo Gardens

Monkey Island Estate,

Meadowbank

Bray

House

University

Vintage

of Bristol

Classics

Botanic Garden

Aerospace Bristol

Brooks Guest House B&B, Bath

Merchants House

The Watermill Theatre

Bristol Zoo Gardens

Montacute House

Vaughan’s Kitchen, Devizes

Alder Ridge Vineyard

Bruce Branch Boats

Mompesson House

Wellington Arch

Bowood Britain’s House & Best Gardens Heritage Tours Brunel’s SS Great Britain Museum of East Asian Montacute Art, Bath House

Vintage Classics, West Berkshire Melksham Museum

Cheddar Brooks Gorge Guest & Caves House B&B, Bath Buttle Farm The Museum of English The Rural Museum Life, of Reading English Rural Life Waddesdon We The Manor Curious

McArthurGlen Brooks Designer Guest House Outlet, B&B, Swindon BristolCanal Trust Café National Garden Scheme MV Jubilee

Walton on Whitchurch Thames Camping Silk Mill and

Fashion Brunel’s Museum SS Bath Great Britain, Bristol Castle Combe Circuit Newark Park, Ozleworth Newark Park

Caravanning Wiltshire Club landscape, Site Stonehenge

Longleat

Crop Circle Visitors Centre & Exhibition

Cheddar Gorge

The Newbury Pub

The Newbury Pub

Wanderlust

Wiltshire

Camper

Museum

Co

The Roman Baths

The Chilterns View

Newbury Racecourse

Wiltshire Music Centre

Royal Crescent

Bradford

Hotel

on Avon

& Spa

Chippenham Museum

Newbury Racecourse

No. 1 Royal Crescent

The Watermill

Wiltshire

Theatre,

Wildlife

Bagnor

Trust, Blakehill Farm

Stonehenge Castle Combe Circuit, Chippenham and Heritage Centre No. 1 Royal Crescent, Noah’s Bath Ark Zoo Farm The Wave, Wiltshire Bristol Wildlife Trust, Lower Moor

Thermae Cheddar Bath Spa Camping and Caravanning Church Club Farm SiteCountry No.15 Cottages Great Pulteney, The Bath Old Bell, Malmesbury

Wadworth Chertsey Brewery Camping & Tours and Caravanning Clifton Club Suspension Site Bridge Noah’s Ark Zoo Farm, The Wraxall Old Chapel

We The Curious, Wiltshire Bristol Wildlife Trust, Jones’s Mill

Wellington Woolley Arch, Grange London Hotel

West Berkshire The Chilterns Brewery View, Wallingford & Visitor Centre The Old Bell Hotel, Malmesbury

Old Sarum

Westonbirt, The National Arboretum Cobbs Farm Shop

Oldbury Tours

Chippenham Museum and Heritage Centre Old Sarum, Salisbury

Whatley Manor

Compass Holidays

Parkway Shopping, Newbury

Windsor

Cholderton

Castle

Rare Breeds Farm, Salisbury

The Courts Garden

Oldbury Tours

Pound Arts

Church Farm Country Cottages, Cricklade Hotel Original Wild, Bath Practical Car and Motorhome

Bradford on Avon

Clayton’s Kitchen, Bath

Crofton Beam Engines Parkway Shopping Centre, hire, Chippenham Newbury

Cumberwell Country Pennyhill Cottages Park, Bagshot Prince Street Social

Cliffe Farm Dairy, West Lavington

Postern Hill Campsite, Marlborough

Clifton Suspension Bridge, Bristol

The Pound Arts Centre, Corsham

Cobbs Farm Shop & Kitchen, Englefield

Practical Car & Van Hire, Chippenham

Compass Holidays, Cheltenham

The Prince Street Social, Bristol

Discover more about our Ambassadors at: GreatWestWay.co.uk

Cotswold Water Park, South Cerney

The Courts Garden, Trowbridge

Cricklade House Hotel, Swindon

The Crown & Anchor, Ham

Cumberwell Country Cottages,

Bradford on Avon

Devizes Camping and Caravanning Club Site

Donnington Grove, Newbury

DoubleTree by Hilton, Swindon

Dukes Hotel, Bath

Dyrham Park, Chippenham

Prior Park Landscape Garden, Bath

The Queens Arms Hotel, East Garston

Reading Museum

Red Lion Freehouse, East Chisenbury

REME Museum, Lyneham

River & Rowing Museum, Henley on Thames

Roseate House London, Tyburnia

The Roseate Reading

The Roseate Villa Bath

Royal Berkshire, Sunninghill

The Royal Oak, Yattendon

West Berkshire Museum, Newbury

Whitchurch Silk Mill

White Horse Inn, Compton Bassett

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

Fisherton Mill

The Guild, Wilton

The Merchants House Hotel, Salisbury

St Peter’s Church, Marlborough

Discover more about our Ambassadors at: GreatWestWay.co.uk


Magical Marlborough

The ancient market town that

packs a postcard-perfect punch

www.marlborough-tc.gov.uk/visitors

visitmarlborough


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